By Shimon Peres
Part of the Jewish come upon series
Israel’s present president provides us a dramatic and revelatory biography of Israel’s founding father and primary best minister.
Shimon Peres used to be in his early twenties whilst he first met David Ben-Gurion. even supposing the nation that Ben-Gurion could lead via conflict and peace had now not but declared its precarious independence, the “Old Man,” as he used to be referred to as even then, used to be already a mythic determine. Peres, who got here of age within the cupboards of Ben-Gurion, is uniquely positioned to awaken this determine of stirring contradictions—a prophetic visionary and a canny pragmatist who early grasped the need of compromise for nationwide survival. Ben-Gurion supported the 1947 United countries Partition Plan for Palestine, although it intended surrendering a two-thousand-year-old dream of Jewish cost within the complete land of Israel. He granted the Orthodox their first exemptions from army provider regardless of his personal deep secular commitments, and he reached out to Germany within the aftermath of the Holocaust, understanding that Israel would want as many powerful alliances as attainable in the ecu community.
A protégé of Ben-Gurion and himself a mythical determine at the overseas political level, Shimon Peres brings to his account of Ben-Gurion’s lifestyles and towering achievements the profound perception of a statesman who stocks Ben-Gurion’s dream of a contemporary, democratic Jewish countryside that lives in peace and safeguard along its Arab acquaintances. In Ben-Gurion, Peres sees a ignored version of management that Israel and the realm desperately want within the twenty-first century.
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Extra info for Ben-Gurion: A Political Life
Gradually they spread … The parched earth swallowed or, more accurately, sucked in the liquid treasure that the skies emptied down on it for two whole weeks … In the morning, in groups of ten or a dozen, we young men and women go out to the orchards to pick the oranges. This is one of the easiest and pleasantest tasks. Rachel, not a natural laborer, much to David’s chagrin, had dropped out of the group by now. And she fell in love with somebody else. David went on to describe in detail, in flowing Hebrew and with occasional Yiddish terms thrown in for clarity, the techniques for harvesting oranges and his own prowess and progress in moving up the ranks of pickers.
Hurrah. Today at the ninth hour I alighted on the shore of Jaffa … We’re going to Petah Tikva. I’ll write in more detail from there. I wasn’t ill on the journey even once! ” Though I was born more than a generation after Ben-Gurion, I too experienced as a boy both shtetl life and shtetl Zionism. In our little town, Vishneva, there were no Gentiles. We would see them only on Wednesday, market day, when they came to sell the produce from their farms. Like Ben-Gurion, I too was deeply loved and deeply influenced by my grandfather, Reb Zvi Meltzer.
I had incredible chutzpah. Ben-Gurion hardly knew me, but I said, “Yes, we’ll go with you. ” He agreed, and we went back with him to that tension-filled basement. That congress in Basel was in many ways the defining moment for Zionism and for Ben-Gurion. Our picture of the Shoah, as the Holocaust was called in Hebrew, was complete by then, in all its ghastly details. During World War II the information available had always been only partial and sporadic. We did not have a full picture, in real time, of the magnitude of the disaster that had befallen the Jewish people.
Ben-Gurion: A Political Life by Shimon Peres