Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel (Jewish Lives)

Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel (Jewish Lives)

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0300180454

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


David Ben-Gurion cast a great shadow during his lifetime, and his legacy continues to be sharply debated to this day. There have been many books written about the life and accomplishments of the Zionist icon and founder of modern Israel, but this new biography by eminent Israeli historian Anita Shapira strives to get to the core of the complex man who would become the face of the new Jewish nation. Shapira tells the Ben-Gurion story anew, focusing especially on the period after 1948, during the first years of statehood. As a result of her extensive research and singular access to Ben-Gurion’s personal archives, the author provides fascinating and original insights into his personal qualities and those that defined his political leadership. As Shapira writes, “Ben-Gurion liked to argue that history is made by the masses, not individuals. But just as Lenin brought the Bolshevik Revolution into the world and Churchill delivered a fighting Britain, so with Ben-Gurion and the Jewish state. He knew how to create and exploit the circumstances that made its birth possible.” Shapira’s portrait reveals the flesh-and-blood man who more than anyone else realized the Israeli state.

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of his perception of his role as head of the Jewish Agency’s political department. He also held innumerable talks with the high commissioner, repeatedly plying him with Zionist arguments and occasionally persuading him to increase the immigration quota slightly in view of the impressive increase in the absorption of workers into the Jewish economy. Most likely his long speeches exhausted the high commissioner, but Wauchope was a patient man and welcomed the Yishuv’s new, energetic leader.

meetings, they spent many hours together, revealed to each other their visions, their hearts’ desires and hopes, and in the end realized that with respect to Zionism there was no great distinction between them. Both wanted a Jewish state in Palestine. In the end they signed two agreements and formulated a third. But their differences also came to light. When they sought to mark the great achievement of meeting and coming to terms with a particularly impressive act, Ben-Gurion proposed a

ill and was hospitalized in Liverpool, where he was cared for by a lovely young student nurse. Love blossomed between Mary Callow, daughter of an Anglican family that had lived in the Isle of Man for generations, and the handsome young man from Tel Aviv. A short time later Amos told his parents that he loved Mary and intended to marry her. Nothing reflects the complex relationships in the Ben-Gurion family like the letter that Ben-Gurion fired off to Paula, in which he cautioned her not to exert

not flinch: “This time any compromise is out of the question,” he wrote to Galili. “Either they accept orders and obey them—or we open fire. I am opposed to any negotiations and agreement with them. The time of agreements is past and will not return.” Here he added a statement that reflected his view of the difference between a state and a voluntary society: “If there is force—it must be used unhesitatingly.” To this he added two handwritten words: “And immediately.”7 The Palmach, which

Zion, 38, 39, 43 return to Palestine, 36–37 Berdyczewski, Micha Yosef, 6, 10, 15, 193 Bergen-Belsen, 136 Berlin, Isaiah, 184, 211 Bermann, S. H., 235–236 Bertonov, Yehoshua, 185 Betar (Brit Trumpeldor youth movement), 77, 80, 97, 99, 137 Bevin, Ernest, 89, 142, 143, 153 Bialik, Hayim Nachman, 6, 69 Bible, 192–193, 213, 214–215 Bichovsky, Shimon, 70 “Black Saturday” (Operation Agatha), 144, 147 Bols, Eric, 215 Bols, Louis, 215 Bolshevik Revolution, 49, 50, 57, 58, 68 Borochov, Ber,

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