When Menachem Begin Made Peace with David Ben-Gurion

The rivalry between Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, and the Irgun leader Menachem Begin culminated in 1948, when Ben-Gurion ordered the Haganah to open fire on an Irgun ship. Thereafter, the animosity between the two men was limited to fiery speeches and tense exchanges on the floor of the Knesset. The tension finally cooled only in 1967, on the eve of the Six-Day War. Shlomo Nakdimon tells the story:

Begin, who was then the opposition leader, came to then-Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and suggested that he invite Begin’s bitter rival, Ben-Gurion, to join his government to serve as his deputy or defense minister. That’s when their relationship took a turn for the better. I witnessed how Ben-Gurion came to the Knesset, entered the buffet, and started looking for Begin. How the Knesset ushers tracked down Begin to tell him Ben-Gurion invited him for a conversation, of which they had many but which unfortunately were never recorded and got lost in history.

One day, in February 1969, at the Knesset buffet, I saw Begin alongside his chief of staff Yeḥiel Kadishai holding a brown envelope with the words “state of Israel” inscribed on it. My curiosity led me to find out the letter’s contents a few days later. It was a copy of a letter addressed to Begin, in which Ben-Gurion slammed Eshkol.

“I opposed your way before the establishment of the country and sometime after that, the same way I opposed Ze’ev Jabotinsky [who was a Russian Jewish Revisionist Zionist leader and Begin’s mentor],” Ben-Gurion wrote to Begin. “But I’ve never had a personal grudge against you and as I got to know you more over the last few years—I’ve learned to cherish you.”

Begin’s reply to Ben-Gurion was quite similar [in tone].

Ben-Gurion, who was undoubtedly always destined for great things, made two mistakes in his life: distancing himself from Jabotinsky and distancing himself from Begin before Israel’s establishment and in its early years. They could have been, perhaps were even meant to be, the best of partners, and it goes without saying who lost out the most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: David Ben-Gurion, Israeli history, Levi Eshkol, Menachem Begin

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University