What Ben-Gurion Knew Would Happen after Israel Declared Independence

If the Jews could hang on through the tough early months, he thought, they would grow considerably stronger while their opponents might well become weaker. And so it proved to be.

A barricaded street during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. Universal History Archive/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

A barricaded street during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. Universal History Archive/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

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Feb. 12 2020
About the author

Eliot A. Cohen is dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and the author of, among other books, Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime.


Martin Kramer, brilliant historian that he is, has described compellingly how David Ben-Gurion used the crisis of May 1948 to establish civilian control over the future Israel Defense Forces (IDF); it was not the least of his gifts to the new state.

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More about: 1948, David Ben-Gurion, Haganah, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli War of Independence