Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

The Birth of Israel, 1945-1949: Ben-Gurion and His Critics

Academic journal article The Middle East Journal

The Birth of Israel, 1945-1949: Ben-Gurion and His Critics

Article excerpt

The Birth Of Israel, 1945-1949: BenGurion and His Critics, by Joseph Heller. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000. xii + 293 pages. Append. to p. 307. Notes to p. 354. Bibl. to p. 362. Index to p. 379. $49.95. Reviewed by Miriam Joyce

Based on extensive research in Israeli archives, Joseph Heller reviews the events that led to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Heller focuses on the various political groups within the Yishuv (Jewish community) in Palestine-each passionately supporting a different ideology and pursuing a different future for the country. These visions included a wide range of possibilities from a binational state to a Jewish state that encompassed both banks of the Jordan river. Heller examines how David Ben-Gurion, leader of the moderate left Mapai Party, worked to maintain control of the Zionist movement while moving toward the goal of an independent Jewish state. At the same time, Heller documents Ben-Gurion's approach to the great powers, his attempts to win support for a Jewish state from both the United States and the Soviet Union. In addition, Heller studies Ben-Gurion's pragmatic regard for the use of force as an instrument of policy, including his willingness to form a united resistance that included militant right-wing terrorist groups.

Committed to the establishment of an independent Jewish State in Palestine, Ben-Gurion was willing to compromise and accept partition. He reasoned that "victory was possible only in part of the Land of Israel" (p. 292). The man who would become Israel's first Prime Minister understood that, in order to achieve a Jewish state, both diplomacy and force had to be utilized. Appearing before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, he compared the Yishuv's struggle against the British in Palestine to the American colonies' battle for independence in 1776. Later, during the British crackdown on Jewish resistance (the end of June, 1946), Ben-Gurion continued to rely on the "accumulation of strength through illegal immigration and the building of a strong military force" (p. 128).

Ben-Gurion remained confident as the Yishuv's military forces prepared for war against the Arabs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.