Avi Shilon, a historian and political scientist, is the author of Menachem Begin: A Life (2012), Ben-Gurion: His Later Years in the Political Wilderness (2016), and, most recently, The Left Wing’s Sorrow: Yossi Beilin and the Decline of the Peace Camp (Hebrew, 2017). He teaches at NYU’s Tel Aviv campus and Ben-Gurion University, and contributes op-ed pieces to Haaretz.
Despite his many paradoxes, it is possible to fit the Zionist leader’s positions into a single, comprehensive worldview. In fact, to read him faithfully, it’s necessary.
How could the man who at one point openly scorned religion also be the forefather of the political coalition that ensured for it a key place in Israeli life?
Israel’s sixth prime minister was a leader of consequence and achievement. But how does he relate to Israel’s origins?
The sanctification of specific borders as an ultimate goal was, to Ben-Gurion, a political mistake, a denial of their malleability in response to historical events.