The life story of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, is interesting enough on its own, but when told by his protégé, former Prime Minister and current President Shimon Peres, it captivates readers with its open window to Israel’s inner circle of founders. Peres’ biography of Ben-Gurion spans the latter’s life and tells of his many political battles from the perspective of a trusted younger colleague. The dizzying political mazes and the changing party names and allegiances demonstrate the incredible accomplishment of creating a functioning state from a squabbling group of ideologues. Ben-Gurion emerges from Peres’ tale as a man of great decision who battled or ignored opposition to take bold measures and a leader open to a variety of creative ways that would have given Palestinian Arabs independence. A reader would be forgiven for seeing Peres’ David Ben-Gurion as an artificial remake into a model for Peres’ and Yitzhak Rabin’s actions in signing the Oslo Accords.
Rabbi Gil Student writes frequently on Jewish issues and blogs at TorahMusings.com.