Stand back and take it all in
Levi Eshkol
Acrylic on canvas
1 x 1m (39.37 x 39.37 inch)

Levi Eshkol

לוי אשכול

Levi Eshkol was born Levi Shkolnik in Kiev, then part of Russia. Eshkol received a traditional Jewish education from the age of four and left home at the age of 16 for Vilnius to continue learning at the Jewish gymnasium. It was here that he began his connections with the Zionist movement. At age 19, he emigrated to Palestine and worked as an agricultural laborer in irrigation. He became active politically and participated in several lengthy missions into Nazi Germany during the 1930’s as part of the Ha’avara Project, where he raised capital from the German Jewish community for their resettlement in Israel. He served the Haganah command and was appointed the first Director General of the Ministry of Defense. As Director of the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency, he helped establish over 400 new settlements in the first four years of the State. He played a key role in Israel’s water infrastructure, crucial to its economic growth. After Ben Gurion’s retirement in 1963, Eshkol assumed the post of Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. He forged a strong relationship with the United States and established full diplomatic relations with West Germany. He presided over the 1967 Six Day War establishing a national unity government where he relinquished his Ministry of Defense to Moshe Dayan. Israel defeated Egypt, Jordan and Syria and occupied the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights. After the war, Jerusalem was reunified and its boundaries were expanded. Eshkol died of a heart attack while holding office in 1969