David Ben-Gurion (16 October 1886 – 1 December 1973) was the main founder and the first Prime Minister of Israel.
Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946. As head of the Jewish Agency, and later president of the Jewish Agency Executive, he became the de facto leader of the Jewish community in Palestine, and largely led its struggle for an independent Jewish state in Palestine. On 14 May 1948, he formally proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel, and was the first to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which he had helped to write. Ben-Gurion led Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and united the various Jewish militias into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Subsequently, he became known as "Israel's founding father".
Following the war, Ben-Gurion served as Israel's first Prime Minister. As Prime Minister, he helped build the state institutions, presiding over various national projects aimed at the development of the country. He also oversaw the absorption of vast numbers of Jews from all over the world. A centerpiece of his foreign policy was improving relationships with the West Germans. He worked very well with Konrad Adenauer's government in Bonn and West Germany provided large sums in compensation for Germany's mistreatment of Jews in the Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany.
In 1954, he resigned and served as Minister of Defense, before returning to office in 1955. Under his leadership, Israel responded aggressively to Arab guerrilla attacks, and in 1956, invaded Egypt along with British and French forces after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal.
He stepped down from office in 1963, and retired from political life in 1970. He then moved to Sde Boker, a kibbutz in the Negev desert, where he lived until his death. Posthumously, Ben-Gurion was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th century.
1.) Zev Chafets (2008). A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews, Christian Zionists, and One Man's Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance. HarperCollins. p. 37. ISBN 9780060890599. "“To be a realist here, you have to believe in miracles,” David Ben-Gurion once remarked. He didn't believe that literally, of course; he was an atheist. But he insisted that his offi- cials and generals take Old Testament names."
2.) Tariq Ali (2003). The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity (2 ed.). Verso. p. 10. ISBN 9781859844571. "Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan were self-proclaimed atheists."
3.) Giulio Meotti (2011). A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism. ReadHowYouWant.com. p. 147. ISBN 9781459617414. "Even atheist and socialist Israelis like David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, and Golda Meir were marked by the stories and legends of King David and the prophets. In other words, their lives had been shaped by Hebron."
4.) Karen Armstrong (1997). Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths. Random House Digital, Inc.. p. 369. ISBN 9780345391681. "Even a committed atheist like Ben-Gurion found its sacred position on his own emotional map more compelling than the demographic and historical facts that were staring him in the face."
5.) Jonathan B. Isacoff (2006). "2". Writing the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Pragmatism And Historical Inquiry. Lexington Books. p. 54. ISBN 9780739112731. "David Ben-Gurion makes an especially fascinating study as a spokesman for Jewish messianic teleology in that by most accounts he was a secular atheist."
6.) Eyal Chowers (2012). The Political Philosophy of Zionism: Trading Jewish Words for a Hebraic Land. Cambridge University Press. p. 124. ISBN 9781107005945. "David Ben-Gurion (1886–1973), the first prime minister of Israel and its foremost politician in the age...Though an atheist, he saw the Bible as the most important source for shaping the new Hebrew's identity..."
7.) Israel Shahak (1994). Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years. Pluto Press. p. 8. ISBN 9780745308197. "In 1956 I eagerly swallowed all of Ben-Gurion's political and military reasons for Israel initiating the Suez War, until he (in spite of being an atheist, proud of his disregard of the commandments of Jewish religion) pronounced in the Knesset on the third day of that war, that the real reason for it is 'the restoration of the kingdom of David and Solomon' to its Biblical borders."