David Ben-Gurion

3 December 2019

In 1948, David Ben-Gurion declared the independent state of Israel. He also became Israel’s first Prime Minister.

The life of David Ben-Gurion

David Ben-Gurion was born on 16 October 1886 in Poland by the name of David Grun. His father was an avid Zionist. David attended a Hebrew school and led a Zionist youth group in his teens. At the age of twenty, David left for then British Mandatory Palestine. Here he used the ancient Hebrew name, Ben-Gurion. During the First World War, David was expelled from Palestine. He left for New York (US) and met his wife Paula Munweis. He married her in 1917.

David Ben-Gurions Tomb

The graves of David Ben-Gurion and his wife overlook a view of the Tsin canyon and the Avdat highlands in the heart of the Negev.

The State of Israel

On 2 November 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration, promising a national home for the Jews. David and his wife Paula moved back to British Mandatory Palestine. He became chairman of the Zionist Executive, a forerunner of today’s Jewish Agency. The organization called on Jews around the world to move to Palestine.

However, the British began to hold back the flow of Jews to Palestine. David Ben-Gurion stuck out his neck for the Jews against the British rulers and continued to do so after World War II. After the war, the United Nations, the United States, and the Soviet Union agreed that an Israeli state should be established. The British indicated that they wanted to end the mandate on 15 May 1948. David Ben-Gurion, meanwhile, had established a government and declared the Jewish state on 14 May 1948.

Prime Minister Ben-Gurion

David Ben-Gurion became Israel’s first Prime Minister and Minister of Defence from 1948 to 1953. After a brief two-year stop, he became Prime Minister again from 1955 to 1963. Then he retired and retreated to a kibbutz in the Negev Desert. He died at the age of 87 on 1 December 1973.