David Ben-Gurion

David Ben-Gurion (bĕn-gōō´rēŏn), 1886–1973, Israeli statesman, b. Plońsk, Poland, as David Grün. He settled in Palestine in 1906, but lived for periods of time in Istanbul, London, and New York. He was an active Zionist and during World War I helped to organize the Jewish Legion in support of the British. In the struggle to found an independent Jewish state in Palestine he followed a policy of cooperation with the British during World War II, but led the political struggle against them and authorized sabotage activities after the war. A founder and leader of the Labor (Mapai) party and an early leader of the Histadrut (the trade-union federation), he was the first (1948–53) prime minister of the newly created state of Israel. In 1955 he returned to the cabinet as defense minister under Moshe Sharett and later that year again became prime minister, reflecting a shift in Israeli policy toward confrontation with Israel's hostile Arab neighbors. Amid growing controversy he resigned in Feb., 1961, but was quickly returned to office. He again resigned in June, 1963. In retirement Ben-Gurion continued to be politically active, forming a splinter party from the dominant Labor party in 1965. A selection of his writings was published as Rebirth and Destiny of Israel (1954); he also wrote Israel: Years of Challenge (1965), Israel's Security (1960), The Jews in Their Land (1966), Memoirs (1970), Israel: A Personal History (1971), and My Talks with the Arabs (1973).

See biographies by M. Edelman (1964), M. Bar-Zohar (tr. 1967), O. Zmora, ed. (1967), R. St. John (rev. ed. 1971), and A. Shapira (2014).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

David Ben-Gurion: Selected full-text books and articles

Rebirth and Destiny of Israel By David Ben-Gurion; Mordekhai Nurock Philosophical Library, 1954
Israel: Its Role in Civilization By Moshe Davis Harper, 1956
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "The Spirit of the New Israel" by David Ben-Gurion
Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians By Noam Chomsky South End Press, 1999 (Revised edition)
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "Aftermath"
The Founding of Israeli Democracy, 1948-1967 By Peter Y. Medding Oxford University Press, 1990
Librarian's tip: Discussion of David Ben-Gurion begins on p. 21
The Politics of Partition, 1921-1951: King Abdullah, the Zionists, and Palestine By Avi Shlaim Oxford University Press, 1998
Librarian's tip: Discussion of David Ben-Gurion begins on p. 12
Eisenhower and Israel: U.S.-Israeli Relations, 1953-1960 By Isaac Alteras University Press of Florida, 1993
Librarian's tip: Discussion of David Ben-Gurion of begins on p. 1
Israel and the Western Powers, 1952-1960 By Zach Levey University of North Carolina Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 1 "The Quest for a Security Guarantee from the United States 1954-1956"
Zionism, Socialism and United States Support for the Jewish Colonization of Palestine in the 1920s By Davidson, Lawrence Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ), Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer 1996
The Middle East By Dilip Hiro Oryx Press, 1996
Librarian's tip: "David Ben-Gurion" begins on p. 144
Britain, Israel, and the United States, 1955-1958: Beyond Suez By Donald Cameron Watt; Orna Almog Frank Cass, 2003
Librarian's tip: Chap. 2 "Israeli Interests in the Middle East"
War in Palestine, 1948: Strategy and Diplomacy By David Tal Frank Cass, 2003
Librarian's tip: "The Ben-Gurion 'Seminar'" begins on p. 24
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