Ben-Gurion David, born Dawid Grün (16 October 1886, Płońsk – 1 December 1973, Tel Aviv-Jaffa) – Israeli politician, activist of the Zionist movement, the first Prime Minister of Israel.
David Ben-Gurion was born in Płońsk as Dawid Grün. He received a traditional Jewish upbringing. In 1905, while studying at the Imperial University of Warsaw, he joined Poale Zion, a Zionist socialist organisation. In 1906, he emigrated to Eretz Israel and changed his name to Ben-Gurion. He settled in a kibbutz and was an active member of Jewish self-defence. In 1916, he was expelled from Palestine to the United States for his political involvement. After the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain gave its support to the idea of the creation of the State of Israel, Ben-Gurion fought for the liberation of Palestine in the ranks of the British troops.
He was a determined politician, always striving to achieve the goals he set for himself. He held important positions in the World Zionist Organisation, the Histadrut – General Organisation of Workers in Israel (which he co-founded), and in the Jewish Agency in Palestine. He cooperated with the British, but at the same time supported illegal immigration. During World War II, he urged Jews to join the British Army, yet after the war he sought to drive the British out of Palestine by force.
His life goal – the creation of the State of Israel – came into being on 14 May 1948. It was Ben-Gurion who proclaimed the Israeli Declaration of Independence and became the first Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the newly established state. In foreign policy, he was an advocate of strong ties with the West. In 1952, he signed a war reparations agreement with West Germany. He mobilised Jews from all over the world to financially support Israel, which contributed to the country’s economic growth. He encouraged the influx of thousands of Jewish immigrants to the country. He held the office of Prime Minister five times. Although his party – Mapai – routinely achieved good results in the elections to the Knesset, he was never able to establish a government with single-party majority. After retiring from politics in 1969, he spent the last years of his life in a kibbutz in the Negev desert.