A special ceremony remembering Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, was held Sunday. The ceremony was held at the site of Ben Gurion's home in Sde Boker, the southern kibbutz he retired to after he retired from politics in 1970. Ben Gurion is buried together with his wife Paula at the kibbutz.
Born in Poland, Ben Gurion became head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946, and proclaimed the establishment of the State on May 14, 1948. After the War of Independence, Ben Gurion was elected Prime Minister, a position he held through 1963, with the exception of one year (1954). He passed away in 1973, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage and a stroke.
Speaking at Sunday's event, President Shimon Peres said that he learned from Ben Gurion that the Jewish people needed to follow their high moral values, even under difficult conditions. “Ben Gurion showed what strength is, when and how to forge ahead under difficult circumstances, when to fall back and when to sprint ahead,” adding that Israel needed to be thankful that a man like Ben Gurion was there to take the lead when important decisions needed to be made.
“Ben Gurion rejected the exile,” Peres said. “He feared it. He dedicated his life to the renewal of Jewish independence. He was graced with serving at a unique time in history, and he grabbed the horns of history to confidently lead and succeed, sometimes against all odds. I didn't read about his experiences, I lived them, along with him,” Peres added.