How Ben-Gurion Ensured a Government Monopoly on the Use of Force

Ancient Jewish history, with which he was well acquainted, showed what could happen in the absence of a central military command. He made sure it wouldn’t happen again.

Haganah fighters training at Camp Yona, Tel Aviv, in the 1940s. Mondadori via Getty Images.

Haganah fighters training at Camp Yona, Tel Aviv, in the 1940s. Mondadori via Getty Images.

Response
Feb. 17 2020
About the author

Efraim Inbar is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS).


In retrospect, David Ben-Gurion made two fateful decisions in 1948: to declare statehood, and to establish the state’s central authority over the instruments of armed force. In his latest essay in Mosaic, Martin Kramer duly focuses on the May 12, 1948 meeting of ten members of the People’s Administration, Israel’s cabinet-in-waiting, under Ben-Gurion’s chairmanship.

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More about: David Ben-Gurion, IDF, Israel & Zionism