David Ben-Gurion

(1886-1973) – Israel’s “founding father,” was born in Poland and immigrated to Palestine in 1906.  He formally declared the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, and was the first to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence which he helped write.  Ben-Gurion served as the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

David Ben-Gurion (Wikipedia)

David Ben-Gurion
דָּוִד בֶּן-גּוּרִיּוֹן
Ben Gurion 1959.jpg
1st Prime Minister of Israel
In office
3 November 1955 – 26 June 1963
PresidentYitzhak Ben-Zvi
Zalman Shazar
Preceded byMoshe Sharett
Succeeded byLevi Eshkol
In office
17 May 1948 – 26 January 1954
PresidentChaim Weizmann
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
DeputyEliezer Kaplan
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byMoshe Sharett
Chairman of the Provisional State Council of Israel
In office
14 May 1948 – 16 May 1948
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byChaim Weizmann
Minister of Defense
In office
21 February 1955 – 26 June 1963
Prime MinisterMoshe Sharett
Preceded byPinhas Lavon
Succeeded byLevi Eshkol
In office
14 May 1948 – 26 January 1954
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byNew office
Succeeded byPinhas Lavon
Personal details
David Grün

(1886-10-16)16 October 1886
Płońsk, Congress Poland, Russian Empire
Died1 December 1973(1973-12-01) (aged 87)
Ramat Gan, Israel
Nationality Congress Poland
 Ottoman Empire
 Mandatory Palestine
Political partyMapai, Rafi, National List
Spouse(s)Paula Ben-Gurion
Alma materUniversity of Warsaw
Istanbul University

David Ben-Gurion (Hebrew: דָּוִד בֶּן-גּוּרִיּוֹן‎; pronounced [daˈvɪd ben gurˈjo:n] (About this soundlisten), born David Grün; 16 October 1886 – 1 December 1973) was the primary national founder of the State of Israel and the first Prime Minister of Israel.

Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946. As head of the Jewish Agency from 1935, and later president of the Jewish Agency Executive, he was the de facto leader of the Jewish community in Palestine, and largely led its struggle for an independent Jewish state in Mandatory Palestine. On 14 May 1948, he formally proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel, and was the first to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which he had helped to write. Ben-Gurion led Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and united the various Jewish militias into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Subsequently, he became known as "Israel's founding father".

Following the war, Ben-Gurion served as Israel's first Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. As Prime Minister, he helped build the state institutions, presiding over various national projects aimed at the development of the country. He also oversaw the absorption of vast numbers of Jews from all over the world. A centerpiece of his foreign policy was improving relationships with the West Germans. He worked very well with Konrad Adenauer's government in Bonn, and West Germany provided large sums (in the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany) in compensation for Nazi Germany's confiscation of Jewish property during the Holocaust.

In 1954 he resigned as both Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, although he remained a member of the Knesset. However, he returned as Minister of Defense in 1955 after the Lavon Affair resulted in the resignation of Pinhas Lavon. Later in the year he became Prime Minister again, following the 1955 elections. Under his leadership, Israel responded aggressively to Arab guerrilla attacks, and in 1956, invaded Egypt along with British and French forces after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal during what became known as the Suez Crisis.

He stepped down from office in 1963, and retired from political life in 1970. He then moved to Sde Boker, a kibbutz in the Negev desert, where he lived until his death. Posthumously, Ben-Gurion was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th century.

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