David Ben Gurion

David Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister (ראש ממשלה) of Israel.  Before that he was a mover and a shaker in the movement to establish the State of Israel. He was born in 1886 in Czarist Russia, with the name David Gruen which he brought into Hebrew as Ben Gurion. He was an early leader of the Zionist Movement whose aim was the establishment of a Jewish State.

Ben Gurion first came to Israel, then known as Palestine in 1906. He worked as a common laborer (פועל), joining the Poelai Zion (פועלי ציון) Party, and because of his personality was soon elected chairman.   The British were very suspicious( חשדו ) of him when World War I broke out and deported him.  He went to the United States (ארצות הברית) where he met his future wife, a nursing student, Paula Munweiss. They got married (התחתנו) , and in 1918, he joined the British Army, going to Egypt to fight. The war (מלחמה) was over by then,  and the British received Palestine as a Mandate to enforce the Balfour Declaration.  He went to Palestine with his wife and became the leader of the Labor Zionism movement.

In 1948, as The British Mandate was finishing, Ben Gurion started to prepare the country for the upcoming struggle with the surrounding Arab countries who he knew were going to invade as soon as the British left. He consolidated the army, with the Palmach, on the left with the Lechi on the right to make the Israeli Defense Forces (צה”ל). On May 14th 1948, the State of Israel was born, and plunged immediately into a war for its right to be the homeland for the Jews. Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister.

As Prime Minister, he organized the IDF , the Israel Defense Forces, helped unify the country, sometimes through controversial means.  He negotiated agreements (הסכמות) after the war with Germany and France.   He helped settle hundreds of thousands refugees, Jews from Arab countries who fled to Israel when the gates of immigration were opened.

During his second stint as Prime Minister he was plagued by the Lavon Affair, which split the Mapai Party and in 1963, resigned (התפטר) from office. He died in 1973, after the Yom Kippur War. He was a great statesman and leader.

Vocabulary about David Ben Gurion

ראש ממשלה


פועלי ציון


ארצות הברית






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