Israel After the War: 3 The Need for Political Change
DAVID BEN-GURION was dying before the fighting had stopped, and there were few in Israel-at any rate among the older half of the population-who failed to comment that his death marked the end of an epoch with almost sublime precision. What kind of epoch it was in contrast to the one that had now begun it is still much too early to say. But the contrast may come to appear a sharp one. Soon after Ben-Gurion’s death, one who had been very close to him for many years was asked on the state radio how he thought the Old Man would have acted in the circumstances of the October War. He thought for a moment and then said, “The first thing that he would have done would have been to tell the truth, all the truth.”
The shadow of the great man hangs over recent events here in other respects. It was Ben-Gurion who, more than any other man, set the mold into which the public affairs of this country have long been cast-for all that he himself rebelled against the system in his later years and tried to demolish it. And it was Ben-Gurion again, more than any other, who sought to confirm the preeminence of the political leadership of Israel throughout Jewry, who reduced the Jewish Agency Executive to the status of junior partner of the government, and who was at one with non-Zionists abroad in going a good way toward dissolving the autonomous political role of Diaspora Jewry which it had originally been the major work of Zionism to establish.
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