David Ben-Gurion is one of the most significant figures in Israeli history and is also a very important player in recent political history. His role as a Zionist and active political leader in the history of the establishment of the State of Israel solidified his position in history as one of the most important people of all time.
1. David Ben-Gurion, born in Plonsk, Poland in 1886, was the first Prime Minister of the nation of Israel. He also served the longest term ever served by an Israeli Prime Minister. Many people also say that he was the founder of the State of Israel because he was the first Prime Minister and was very involved with the government and Israeli politics.
2. Ben-Gurion, the founder of the Zionist movement, was also instrumental in gaining rights and privileges for Jews all over the world who wanted to return to the Holy Land. Following in the footsteps of his father, a very ardent Zionist, David took up the cause and joined a socialist-Zionist group at the age of 17 in Poland.
3. In 1906, Ben-Gurion immigrated to the Land of Israel to work as a laborer in some agricultural settlements and became involved again with Zionist movements and politics. He also helped establish the Jewish self-defense group, Hashomer.
4. Ben-Gurion was studying law in Istanbul beginning in 1912 but the outbreak of World War I caused a lot of disruption in the area. Ben-Gurion was deported from Turkey along with many other leading Zionists by the Ottoman authorities. He spent the duration of the war in the United States and married Paula Monbesz, a fellow Zionist.
5. While David Ben-Gurion was in the United States, he was instrumental in forming the American section of Labor Zionism. He helped to promote the cause of Zionism all over the world and took every opportunity he could to spread the word about the Zionist movement to anyone who would listen.
6. Starting in the 1920’s, Ben-Gurion was elected to be the secretary-general of the Histadrut General Federation of Labor, a post he held until 1935. He considered this position as a potential starting point for his objectives regarding the Zionist movement. The organization became much more than a labor and trade union, also acting in political, social and economic cases. The Histadrut became the basic foundation for the economic and political infrastructure for the would-be state.
7. Zionism generally was a policy of pacifism and gradualism, but Ben-Gurion developed a stronger ideal for Zionism and became much more of an activist during World War II. He challenged the authority of the British in the area and established mass illegal immigrations into the area. He founded Jewish settlements in all different parts of the country and pushed actively for the development of a defense capability by purchasing armaments.
8. After World War II ended, David Ben-Gurion became the head of the provisional government that was established in 1948 and named it the State of Israel. This was a major breakthrough in the ingathering of the exiles and many different stories were lived and written as people made their exodus to the Holy Land and the newly formed State of Israel. Ben-Gurion is described as being an event making man and was very instrumental in the formation of the modern nation of Israel.
9. Ben-Gurion, also well known on the international scene, used his influence in the extremely controversial reparations agreement with West Germany. He also helped Israel develop a pro-Western orientation which helped them stabilize after the War and subsequent economic disturbances.
10. David Ben-Gurion is considered one of the most important and influential people of the last century as noted by his inclusion in the TIME 100 list. This is a highly prestigious honor for anyone to be considered for and actually deemed as having made such significant contributions to the betterment of society.
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