By leveraging the resources of each of BGU's institutes for the benefit of all the others, BGU can establish itself as the premier place to study Israel's story, and to develop new ways to share it with the world.​

David Ben-Gurion's handwritten diary at the Ben-Gurion Archives

As the university inspired by one of Israel's national founders, we take pride in housing the Ben-Gurion Archive and playing a leading role in the preservation of Israel's key texts — for future generations of Israelis, and for all Jews everywhere. But more than preservation, it is our active promotion of the study and enjoyment of Israeli and Hebrew literature that has made BGU and the Negev a hothouse​ for literary creation and experimentation, and a mecca for both established and aspiring Israeli writers who enrich their national culture in important ways.  

Our Ben-Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism encourages multi-disciplinary research on the philosophy, politics, culture, and geography of Israeli and Zionist history, with a special emphasis on the life and letters of David Ben-Gurion. The Institute's graduate Woodman-Scheller Israel Studies International Program (WSISIP)—home to the highest concentration of Israel Studies experts in the world—trains graduates to be influential Israel educators and ambassadors for Israeli history, society, and culture in both Jewish and non-Jewish communities around the globe.

The cross-disciplinary Azrieli Center for Israel Studies (MALI) brings emerging scholars together with senior faculty and the resources of the entire University for knowledge production and dissemination, both in the academic world and beyond. The research produced in MALI's “learning labs" is designed to connect scholars with the field, whether by informing educators and policymakers or facilitating relationships between Israeli and Diaspora Jews. Moreover, it seeks to advance inclusive, exciting discourse about Israel that reflects the true complexity of its society.

the literature archives at the Heksherim Institute

A Hothouse of Study and Creation

Our Department of Hebrew Literature — the largest of any Israeli university — is home to prominent scholars, writers, poets, and critics, as well as the Moshe David Gaon Center for Ladino Culture, the Folklore Studies Program, and the new Literary Laboratory. A first-of-its-kind systematic and computational study of Hebrew literature and related fields, the Laboratory aims to complement and even challenge the conventional readings of texts, offer new answers to old questions, and point to fruitful avenues of inquiry. The department is perhaps best known, however, for its initiative Heksherim—The Research Institute for Jewish and Israeli Literature and Culture, which promotes the connections between culture and community in Jewish and Israeli society. The largest institute of its kind in the world, Heksherim facilitates dialogue between literary scholars and writers and supports research on the multiple intersections between Hebrew literature and Jewish life. In addition, Heksherim publishes The BGU Review, an English-language journal of ideas and windows onto Israeli society.

The new Writer's House in Honor of Amos Oz, a project of Heksherim located in Beer-Sheva's Old City, serves as an academic center for research groups from Israel and around the world. Also a hub for literary events, including writing workshops, visits by authors, book launches, lectures, and shows for children, the Writer's House aims to instill a love of reading and learning in the citizens of Beer-Sheva and the wider Negev, as well as to strengthen the city and region and catalyze their cultural renewal.

The Writers' House in honor of Amos Oz

Heksherim also houses the Amos Oz Archive, offering generations of Israeli readers a view onto the creative process behind one of their most beloved literary icons. Containing nearly 20,000 items, including all editions of his works, his personal letters, and his early drafts, the archive makes BGU and the Negev a beacon for scholars and lovers of great Israeli literature. There are also the archives of such renowned Israeli authors as Aharon Appelfeld, Yehuda Amichai, Ruth Almog, David Avidan, Yocheved Bat-Miriam, David Schutz, and Nissim Aloni, all of which are open to researchers, students, and the general public alike.

Finally, Heksherim is also home to the Amos Oz Initiative for Literature and Culture in Arad, a platform supported by Stuart B. Young z"l and Toni Young for bringing scholarship into dialogue with the wider community. Along with literary events and workshops in Arad throughout the year, the Initiative's annual Tali Latovitsky conference features lectures by research students, creative writing sessions, and a special creative writing seminar; the initiative includes the Amos Oz Prizes for outstanding writing, granted to BGU graduate students, an emerging writer, and students at Arad's local schools.

Reinforcing a National Resource

To increase the output and impact of all BGU's Israel Studies and Hebrew literature institutes, we seek to create a new, interdisciplinary School of Israel Studies in the years ahead. By leveraging the resources of each institute for the benefit of all the others, BGU can establish itself as the premier place to study Israel's story, and to develop new ways to share it with the world. Moreover, the school will attract more talented students from Israel and abroad, who seek access to exceptional scholars and authors and to a unique atmosphere of research and creativity.

Researcher scans book for digital humanities

Support BGU's efforts to strengthen the study of our national culture and history >>​