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David Ben-Gurion

Personal data
Date of birth16 October 1886
Place of birthPłońsk, Russian Empire
Date of death1 December 1973(age 87)
Place of deathIsrael
Political partyMapai, Rafi, National List
SpousePaula Ben-Gurion
1st Prime Minister of Israel
In office2 November 1955 - 21 June 1963
PresidentYitzhak Ben-Zvi
Zalman Shazar
Succeeded byLevi Eshkol
Preceded byMoshe Sharett
In office17 May 1948 - 7 December 1954
PresidentChaim Weizmann
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
Succeeded byMoshe Sharett
Preceded byPosition established
1st Chairman of the Provisional State Council of Israel
In office14 May 1948 - 16 May 1948
Succeeded byChaim Weizmann
Preceded byPosition established

     Home | Office Holder | David Ben-Gurion

( , born David Grüen; 16 October 1886 � 1 December 1973) was the first Prime Minister of Israel.

Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946. As head of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and later president of the Jewish Agency Executive, he became the de facto leader of the Jewish community in Palestine, and largely led the struggle for an independent Jewish state in Palestine. On 14 May 1948, he formally proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel, and was the first to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Ben-Gurion led the provisional government of Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and united the various Jewish militias into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Following the war, Ben-Gurion served as Israel's first Prime Minister. As Prime Minister, he helped build the state institutions, presiding over various national projects aimed at the development of the country. He also oversaw the absorption of vast numbers of Jews from all over the world. In 1954, he resigned and served as Defense Minister, before returning to office in 1955. Under his leadership, Israel responded aggressively to Arab guerilla attacks, and in 1956, invaded Egypt along with British and French forces after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal.

He stepped down from office in 1963, and retired from political life in 1970. He then moved to Sde Boker, a kibbutz in the Negev desert, where he lived until his death. Posthumously, Ben-Gurion was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.

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