Stand back and take it all in
David Ben Gurion
Acrylic on canvas
1.8 x 1.2m (70.86 x 47.24 inch)

David Ben Gurion

דוד בן גוריון
1886 - 1973

At 19 years old David Ben Gurion (then David Grün/Green) was an idealistic young man teaching Hebrew in a Jewish school in Warsaw. He refused to speak Polish. This small act of defiance was an early signifier of a man with grit, stubborn tenacity and far reaching vision. He moved to the Land of Israel in 1906 and found work, first picking oranges in Petach Tikva, later as an agricultural laborer in the Galilee. He got involved in Zionist politics and established the self-defense group Hashomer. He studied law in Istanbul but was deported by the Ottomans with the outbreak of World War 1. He spent the war in the US where he met and married, and helped build American Labor Zionism. He later joined the British Army’s Jewish Legion and returned to Mandatory Palestine. He rose to become head of the World Zionist Organisation (1935) and the Jewish Agency. When the British restricted Jewish immigration, Ben Gurion fought them with illegal immigration and settlements, and pushed for heavy armaments. On May 14th, 1948 Ben Gurion delivered Israel’s Declaration of Independence and united Jewish resistance fighters to form the Israel Defense Forces. As the State of Israel’s first Prime Minister, he became the “Father of the Nation”, where the country’s population doubled in his first five years. Serving in office for 14 years, he presided over Operation Magic Carpet (rescue of Yemenite Jews), the Sinai Campaign (1956), Eichmann’s capture (1960) and trial (1962) and the establishment of Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona.