Monday 4 January 2010

Blog-log Day 6 - a giant of the 20th century

This was high on my list of visit options in Tel Aviv and managed to get there today before heading up to Jerusalem via Mobi'in.

And sure enough, David Ben Gurions house did not diappopint. Getting there early meant there was no-one else in the house so we had the whole place to ourselves.

The charm, the simplicty, the learned knowledge hungry nature of the man that I had read about stood out more than anything else.

The ground floor is so of it's time - 50's I think - the green tiling has a style that is so retro today, the furniture if unfussy.

The only element that feels like it crowds the house at all are the gifts from Heads of State and adoring associations. Just how many elephants died for high quality african tusks to be presented to him..?

But upstairs was the gem - or gems. The library. This was clearly a book thirsty, knowledge hungry, avid reader. Books everywhere - wall to ceiling. To say I felt some jealousy would be to go too far but when you appreciate the breadth of the reading and you realise that the collection is stunning...

Ben Gurion was not without his critics - his ability to leave his party and form a new movement occurred twice - relatively unsuccessfully - the last when he was over 80!

But his role on the world stage is undisputed and he was a political giant whilst being of very small stature.

There are no shortages of biographies on line and published available and it;s worth getting behind the man and his achievments to understand who he was and what drive him.

Crucially he fought for his nationality, created a nation, established institutions - he quite literally led and drove the movement that made Israel a reality and not just an intellectual concept - and at a time when pogroms and the genocide of the holocaust created such a need for hope and refuge,

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