Ben-Gurion's Army: How the IDF Came into Being (and Almost Didn’t)

On the eve of Israel’s statehood in 1948, with the massed forces of five Arab nations threatening invasion, David Ben-Gurion picked a fight with his own army. Why?

February 3, 2020 | Martin Kramer
About the author: Martin Kramer teaches Middle Eastern history and served as founding president at Shalem College in Jerusalem, and is the Walter P. Stern fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Maj-Gen. Yigal Allon, Lt-Col. Shimon Avidan, Maj-Gen. Yigael Yadin, David Ben-Gurion, and Lt-Gen. Yaakov Dori reviewing the Givati Brigade in 1948. Fred Chesnick, IDF Archive.

The Jewish general, his visage grim and his words deliberate, spoke as follows:

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