The Parallel Lives of David Ben-Gurion and Abdullah bin Hussein

Born within four years of each other, David Ben-Gurion and Abdullah bin Hussein emerged out of the same political womb to forge Israel and Jordan in battle. Both nations should be grateful.

David Ben-Gurion on June 6, 1946; Abdullah bin Hussein in Transjordan in January 1935. Anthony Calvacca/New York Post Archives via Getty Images; Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images.

David Ben-Gurion on June 6, 1946; Abdullah bin Hussein in Transjordan in January 1935. Anthony Calvacca/New York Post Archives via Getty Images; Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images.

Observation
Nov. 17 2020
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.

Seventy-five years ago, a world map would not have shown the names of either Israel or Jordan. Both states, the one Jewish, the other Arab, are relatively new, the products of two national movements. Although both had many founders, two men stand out as founding fathers: David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, and Abdullah bin Hussein, the first king of Jordan.

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More about: David Ben-Gurion, Israel & Zionism, Jordan, King Abdullah