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David Ben Gurion – Israel’s First Prime Minister

David Ben Gurion – Israel’s First Prime Minister


– David Ben Gurion. For many, the name likely rouses imagery of a bold revolutionary,
an idealistic founder and well, an airport. Israel’s first prime minister
was a critical figure in the conception and
realization of the nation but the magnitude of his
impact can only be matched by his complexities, his
clashes and his struggles. So here are the top nuances
of David Ben Gurion’s life and work that you
might not have learned in history class. (upbeat music) David Ben-Gurion was known
for his wide variety of ideas. A sort of Jewish Ben Franklin. A modern Leonardo da Vinci but what many people don’t
realize is that many of his ideas were borrowed from other people. He just helped make them a reality. So founding a Jewish state,
that idea was actually popularized by Theodor Herzl. Ben-Gurion was passionate about the state, working as the leader
of the pre-state militia known as the Hagana,
negotiating with the British and preparing for an inevitable clash with the surrounding Arab nations. But the idea of a Jewish
state started gaining steam around 1896, when Ben-Gurion was only 10. As a liberal socialist Ben-Gurion, certainly identified
with the early political and economic policies
of the fledgling country but he didn’t invent these movements. Labor Zionism the idea of
cultivating a national identity through a connection with the land, that credit goes to
these guys, among others. Okay, so what does
Ben-Gurion get credit for if the vast majority of his
political accomplishments weren’t started by him at all? Well he may not have started them but he sure did execute them. He took those dreams and
turned them into actions. If Hertz was the quarterback,
Ben-Gurion was the wide receiver running into the end zone. The early Zionist movement
was closely intertwined with the Socialist spirit
of the working class. A sort of political peanut
butter and jelly if you will and Ben-Gurion was at
the forefront of it all. In 1921, Ben-Gurion was
elected secretary general of the Histadrut,
transforming an organization of workers in what was then Palestine into a unified labor force. He saw that unity as
the backbone of Zionism. This also helps new immigrants acclimate into Israeli society, giving them work and a sense of purpose. Ben-Gurion saw this
synergy between the workers and the economy as essential
to the country’s development. Before the state was established, Jews and Palestine had three militias with very different military philosophies that often came into conflict. The Irgun, the Haganah and Lechi. Ben-Gurion led the Haganah
which was far more diplomatic than the others. He was so committed to
defense and restraint with his militia that he
insisted on no retaliation for Arab attacks against civilians and strictly emphasized a
self-defense only attitude where the Irgun picked
fights with the British, Ben-Gurion Haganah did all they could to maintain some sort of bond, in hopes of preserving diplomacy. When Britain enacted the 1939 White Paper calling for a Jewish home
within a fully Palestinian state Ben-Gurion had serious problems, as the policy brought Jewish immigration practically to a halt at a
time when it was essential. But despite the dilemma, he
maintained diplomatic relations encouraging the Jewish population to join the British Army in World War II. He was famously quoted as saying, “We shall fight in the war against Hitler “as if there were no White Paper, “but we shall fight the White
Paper as if there were no war” Then there was the highly controversial, arguably aggressive, Plan Daled, which was very
uncharacteristic of Ben-Gurion. After the UN proposed a
plan to partition the land into two separate states in 1947, the Jews of Palestine found
themselves in a dire situation. Though they didn’t get nearly
as much land as they wanted the leaders accepted it. The Arab leaders on the other hand, rejected the plan completely, vowing to drive the Jews
into the Mediterranean sea. Violence increased with
thousands of fighters from nearby Arab nations,
infiltrating Palestine and eventually establishing a blockade, stopping supplies from reaching the 100,000 Jews in Jerusalem. In March 1948, under
Ben-Gurion’s direction, the Haganah developed Plan Daleh. Not plan A, not plan B, not even plan C but the Hebrew equivalent
of plan D as a last resort. It was a controversial proposal to secure and fortify the borders
of the Jewish sections of the newly partitioned land. Now keep in mind, land
allocated for the Jewish state was tiny and almost indefensible
given it’s narrow borders. To help ensure it’s security, the Jewish forces decided to
minimize the potential threat imposed by Arab villages
in strategic locations. Plan Daleh gave Israel
the ability to establish the strategic defensive borders it needed but some historians also point to it as a factor that led to the
Palestinian refugee issue that the world is still
struggling with today. After declaring independence
Ben-Gurion united the pre-state militias into
a single defensive force, the IDF, but in doing so
he also instituted a draft that to this day, sees most
Jewish-Israeli 18 year olds serving for two to three years. With a national population of about 630,000 Jews at the time,
a purely volunteer army would give Israel nowhere
near enough manpower, to stand up to even one
attacking nation, let alone five. But service as an obligation
every Israel citizen would receive military training, in effect creating a people’s army. That would even include women
between the ages of 18 and 28 as long as they didn’t have children. Today Israel’s one of only eight countries that include women in the draft. On the other hand, Ben-Gurion
allowed for the exemption of full-time students
studying Torah from enlisting a policy that continues
to be hotly debated today. Still by making it a people’s army, Ben-Gurion created the most powerful force to unify the citizens of the new country, despite differences in
the language, culture and level of observance. The Law of Return is one
of the most transformative pieces of Israeli legislation, opening the door of
citizenship to any Jew, no matter race, denomination
or country of origin was a hallmark of the tiny new nation. Ben-Gurion was quite possibly the policy’s biggest champion. He strongly believed that
the influx of immigrants was essential to the
new country’s population and set immigration as a top priority. The Knesset, Israels
parliament, unanimously approved the Law of Return in 1950, when Arab countries
expelled, or encouraged their Jewish citizens
to leave in retaliation. Israel declaring it’s independence, the law allowed for no
less than 700,000 Yemenite, Iraqi, Moroccan and other
Mizrahi Jews to immigrate. Despite his enthusiasm for
the Law of Return though, Ben-Gurion didn’t have
the greatest respect for this Mizrahi community
and was concerned about their impact on Israel culture. Meanwhile he became frustrated when America Jewish
communities, didn’t immediately pack up and move to Israel. Obviously this didn’t create many friends among American Zionists. But in the end, many
American’s did come around. By the 1970s, American
immigration to Israel reached a peak of 10,000 people annually. To this day, two to three
thousand American immigrants arrive every year. After the end of World War
II, there was much discussion whether Germany and other countries owed reparations for the holocaust. Many survivors were vehemently opposed to reparations of any kind. To them, it implied
that money could make up for the brutality, suffering
and theft, and mass murder. But Ben-Gurion recognized
that there were realities to running a new vulnerable country. Shortages, and rationing were rampant and many survivors of the Nazi camps needed proper rehabilitation. Admitting Germany’s guilt
was a major concession but it would also aid
in West Germany’s agenda to more quickly become
accepted by the western powers. Menachem Begin, another Israeli founder and Ben-Gurion’s rival,
fervently opposed the agreement, having suffered the loss of
own parents in the holocaust. Thousands of other survivors
and children of survivors were similarly disgusted by the idea. Ben-Gurion responded with
a more pragmatic argument. He said, “I don’t want
to run after a German “and spit in his face. “I don’t want to run after anybody. “I want to sit here and build here.” In September 1952, he
accepted a controversial billion dollars in reparations, an amount that today would be
close to 10 billion dollars. On May 23rd, 1960,
Ben-Gurion declared proudly to the Knesset and the world, that one of the worst Nazi war criminals, Adolf Eichmann had been
arrested and brought to Israel to stand trial. Now you remember when Obama
announced that we got Bin Laden? Take that and multiply
it by like a zillion. Knowing Argentina was a haven for ex-Nazis Ben-Gurion had a range for Mossad agents to capture Eichmann and bring
him to Israel to stand trial. By the way, how this
happened was super cool and you can either check out
the movie Operation Finale or R video on the Eichmann trial. The trial wasn’t just
a forum to bring one of history’s ruthless monsters to justice, it also opened the lid on the
trauma that was the holocaust. Before the trial, survivors
had mostly kept quiet. Rarely opening up about the
horrors they had endured but Eichmann’s trial
helped bring that truth out as thousands of survivors
finally opened up, overcoming the stigmas
and survivor’s guilt so many of them had
endured after being free. On a deeper level, this
trial was also a declaration that the Jewish people
would no longer be bullied. United in their homeland, Israeli Jews were showing the world that
they refused to be the helpless tortured victims of the past. Eichmann’s trial was
Ben-Gurion’s way of establishing that once and for all. When Ben-Gurion finally
retired from politics in 1970, he settled down in a small
and humble kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev, or Southern Israel. But one of the things he
continued to advocate for in the final years of his life was developing the Negev desert. The former prime minister was insistent that one of the keys to Israel’s future depended on the advancement
of 4700 square miles of desert which is literally half
of Israel’s land mass. He felt it was a crucial test, which would lead to the
development of technologies such as desalination of salt water, solar and wind power and
understanding the vegetation of the arid climate that
all would be essential for Israel’s survival. Given that today technology is Israel’s most developed industry, he just might have been onto something. David Ben-Gurion died of
complications from a stroke on December 1st 1973,
during the Yom Kippur War. Even though he had
dedicated his life to Israel and for years worked through
chaos as it’s head of state he valued simplicity and
lived by that philosophy in his retirement. You can actually visit
the Ben-Gurion home. A perfectly maintained freeze-frame of how he lived in Negev. Property with no more than a few rooms. A testament to his modesty
and simple life he loved. Thanks for watching,
see you guys next week. (upbeat music)

Comments (11)

  1. I love Isreal!!! Thank you for this video!

  2. Nice information regarding first pm of Israel P. M. Mr. David Ben Gurion. Thanks for your video.

  3. LONG LIVE ISRAEL! 👧🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖🇮🇱💙🇮🇱💜🇮🇱💚🇮🇱💛🇮🇱💖

  4. David Ben Gurion,, the father of Zionist Ethnic cleansing. "We must expel the Arabs and take their places" No, it's not a fake quote. This link proves it's real. https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/the-ben-gurion-letter/

  5. God will always be there for isreal 🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇮🇱🇪🇷🇮🇱🇪🇷

  6. inventor of modern-day terrorism, good job

  7. David Ben Gurion? Please it's clearly Yoda

  8. ✨𝔹 𝔻 𝕊 🕊🇵🇸✌🏽💕

  9. Biggest sick murderer in Israeli history

    Now he’s rotting and burning in HELL 😂

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