David Ben-Gurion

David Ben-Gurion(1886-1973)

“Anyone who does not believe in miracles is not a realist.”

I’m yet another David you’re bound to meet on your tour of David’s Land.

Although I was already an ardent Zionist by my teen age years in Poland, 1906 was the year when my lifelong mission really began—that’s when I arrived in the Land of Israel. My comrades and I of the Second Aliya (wave of Jewish immigration) were young workers seeking to create a new type of Jewish society in David’s Land. A society that was to be grounded in the principles of Zionism and Socialism.

I started out trying my hand at agriculture, but quickly realized that my abilities were better utilized in other pursuits. Following the outbreak of World War I, the Ottoman authorities deported me. I traveled on behalf of the Labor Zionist cause to New York where I met Paula, who was to become my wife.

My public service career began when I was instrumental in founding the Histadrut—the national federation of labor. Eventually I was elected chairman of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency—a sort of Jewish “government in the wings” during the later years of the British Mandate of Palestine.

I worked endlessly towards the establishment of the Jewish State and when Israel came into being on May 14, 1948, I became Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

The young generation, ‘sabras’ born here in Israel, call me “the Old Man.” I encourage our young people to carry on with the pioneering spirit and settle the Negev Desert—that’s where our future lies. In fact, as personal example, when I left government, I chose to retire to Kibbutz Sde Boker, deep in the heart of the desert.

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