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David Ben Gurion
David Ben Gurion

David Ben-Gurión - Zionist Leader, the first Prime minister and the one that lasted more time in the charge - was born like David Green in Plonsk, Poland, in 1886 and was educated in a Hebrew school founded by his father, an ardent Zionist one. 17 years after age Ben-Gurión it turned in Zionist and joined the socialistic Zionist group Poaléi Zión.

(1886 - 1973)

Founder of the State of Israel,
Prime minister 1948-1953 and 1955-1963.

In 1906 Ben-Gurión immigrated to the Earth of Israel, he was employed like worker at agricultural establishments, was internalized in the politics and the Zionist polemic, and helped to the establishment of the Jewish group of self-defense Hashomer. In 1912 he began studying Right in Istanbul, but the explosion of the First World war drove to his deportation, on the part of the Ottoman authorities, together with that of Zionist prominent others.

Ben-Gurión spent the years of the war in the United States, where he married Paula Monbesz, a Zionist partner, and it was active in the formation of the American wing of the Labour Zionism. It returned to Palestine like soldier of the Jewish Legion, a unit of the British army created by Zeev Jabotinsky.

In the 20s, Ben-Gurión was an elect General Secretary of the Histadrut - General Confederacy of the Work, function that he was considering to be a potential base of being able for the achievement of the Zionist targets.

He practised like General Secretary of the Histadrut until 1935, turning it into much more than a trade union organization: a political, social and economic global institution with your own network of factories, corporations of development, cultural frames and health services, and a financial institution. The Histadrut offered this way the economic infrastructure, as the social and political texture of the state in formation.

Ben-Gurión played then a preponderant role in the merger of Ajdut Haavodá and Hapoel Hatzair in Mapai, which turned into the government party during the first decades of the state, with Ben-Gurión to the head. His attitude towards the socialism was pragmatic, looking for the simultaneous achievement of the national goals and Socialists.

About 1935, the Labour Zionism had turned into the most important faction of the Zionist movement and Ben-Gurión it filled the key vacancy of President of the Executive of the Jewish Agency - "quasi I govern" of the Jews in Palestine - function that he exercised until 1948, when the State of Israel was established.

During these years, Ben-Gurión guided the course of the Zionist history and molded the character of the Jewish state. Being based on a political platform that was combining vision with pragmatism, Ben-Gurión left the official Zionist politics of caution and gradualism, to adopt a firm line activist.

During the Second World war his strategy opposite to the conflict between the British restrictions to the Jewish immigration and the establishment, and the fact that Great Britain was fighting against the Germany Nazi was summed up succinctly in his affirmation of which the Zionist ones "would fight in the war as if the White Book did not exist and would fight the White Book as if there was no war".

After the war, it defied the British authority organizing the massive "illegal" immigration and established borders of fact of the Jewish state, creating Jewish establishments everywhere of the country. It impelled the development of a capacity of Jewish defense and pressed for the acquisition of heavy armament - artillery and planes - while others were speaking in terms of a light infantry.

In 1948, like chief of the Provisional Government, David Ben-Gurión it proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel and the beginning of the "crucible of the exiles" - movements of bravery and vision, which took to the reality events of historical magnitude.

In this sense, Ben-Gurión belongs to the leaders' rare lineage that there are "men who do the events" and not "men full of events" - in accordance with the definition of the philosopher and historian Sidney Hook - being the first individuals that the correct individuals "lead" the history in the direction that they plan, and the last ones, merely "in the suitable moment".

In the first years of the state, the strong and charismatic Ben-Gurión leadership the population of the country led to waves of massive immigration that they duplicated. The dirigió the companies of absorption, investing most of the limited resources of the nation in the integration of the immigrants; he assured the distant areas, constructing establishments in the periphery; and it instituted a universal education on the base of not partisan public school system.

Like Minister of Defence, it planned and carried out the tense transition of clandestine organizations to a regular army - molding the character and the structure of the Forces of Defense of Israel (FDI). Later it headed national projects as the "Operation Magic carpet" (air transport of the Jews of Yemen), the construction of the National Aqueduct and innovative projects of regional development.

In the international sand, Ben-Gurión put his political career in game to achieve the approval of the very controversial agreement of repairs with West Germany. It extracted Israel of the block of not aligned nations, adopting a prowestern orientation. This step sat the bases for a strategic alliance with France and Great Britain, which reinforced Israel in the diplomatic, economic and military spheres in the 50s.

In 1953, exhausted for years of intense public service, Ben-Gurión resigned the government for two years. It was established in the kibbutz Sde Boker in the Néguev, serving as personal example to the Israeli youth. After the elections of 1955, he was Primer Ministro again.

Reaffirming the defense politics, he advocated an answer more solved to the terrorism of allende the borders and adopted a strategy of defense based on a narrow cooperation with France, which lasted in more than one decade.

The Campaign of the Sinai of 1956 - although Israel possibly moved back from the Sinai under international pressure - managed to suspend the acts of sabotage and terrorism against the towns in the south, and raised the blockade to the Israeli navigation in the Red Sea.

In 1963 Ben-Gurión resigned once again the government, in protest for the moral aspects of a fiasco of intelligence happened in 1954 - finishing to almost three decades of leadership, including 13 years like Prime minister of the State of Israel.

Ben-Gurión did an attempt on returning to the social life in 1965, supporting an electoral reform and the formation of a new party, Rafi, which obtained only 10 benches in the elections to the Knéset of this year. It remained like member of the Knéset for another five years, moving back from the social life in 1970, 84 years after age.

Ben-Gurión - one of the most influential figures during the modern Zionism - died in 1973 and he was buried in Sde Boker.

Source: MFA

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