Ben-Gurion's Pragmatic Approach to Borders

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.

David Ben-Gurion at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel in 1949. George Pickow/Three Lions/Getty Images.

David Ben-Gurion at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel in 1949. George Pickow/Three Lions/Getty Images.

Response
April 23 2018
About the author

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.


I read “The May 1948 Vote that Made the State of Israel,” Martin Kramer’s fascinating account of the story behind Israel’s declaration of independence, with much pleasure and interest. The essay has much to teach us not only about the annals of the Jewish state in its formative years but also about how history in general gets written (and rewritten).

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More about: History & Ideas, Israel & Zionism