David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion COHEN FRITZ - GPO

Since immigrating to the Land of Israel, David Ben-Gurion only visited a synagogue twice. The first time was when his grandson was called to the Torah for the first time, at the request of the child’s parents, Mary and Ben-Gurion’s son Amos. According to his testimony, the second time was on the eve of the establishment of the state. However, near the opening of the first session of the Constituent Assembly on Tu B'Shvat, February 14, 1949, he went at Rabbi Meir Bar-Ilan's request to the Yeshurun ​​Synagogue in Jerusalem to hear thanksgiving prayer, noting in his diary: "This is my first time in the Land of Israel that I attend a synagogue during prayer. "

Before Ben-Gurion's arrival in the synagogue, it became clear that the prime minister did not have a head covering. "Mr. Ben-Gurion did not have a hat. He did not bring his cylinder or even bring a suitable hat from his apartment in the Kirya." After a quick search, a hat was found for the prime minister. Rumor has it that the hat was found at the home of President Haim Weizman's family, "but the brown hat did not fit the prime minister's festive attire" (Haaretz, February 16, 1949).

Ben-Gurion's appearance in the synagogue "aroused excitement among the audience" and he was offered a prayer book. "With a smile, Mr. Ben-Gurion rejected the book, implying that he knew the prayer by heart. But later he accepted it and asked for permission to keep it as a memento" (Haaretz, February 15, 1949).

Tu B'Shevat 5749 (1949), was actually the first since the establishment of the state, as well as the first at Yeshurun ​​Synagogue, and the opening of the Constituent Assembly preceded a day of planting at four centers in the country as described by Dr. Yossi Spanier: in the area of Nabi Yusha police fortress (Metzudat Koach) in the eastern upper Galilee, in the area of Yehiam in the western Galilee, at Sha’ar Hagai on the way to Jerusalem and in Be'er Sheva. The planting was conducted in collaboration with the KKL and the IDF, as a “green monument” across 30,000 dunams. The goal was to plant six million trees in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust, and that every military unit would plant a tree in the name of every soldier from its ranks who had fallen in battle.

Ben-Gurion, who served as prime minister and defense minister, gave a speech at Sha’ar Hagai: "We planted a forest and will plant many forests to fulfill the wishes and desires of the fighters who gave their lives for the liberation of their homeland, its prosperity and building, so that all of Israel, from all its places of exile, could return and be reestablished in its country, and live in it lives of freedom and prosperity. But not in the forests that we plant and not in the stone monuments that we build will the memory of the heroes who fell for the salvation of their people and their homeland be enshrined and preserved, but in the heart of the Jewish people, in the heart of all Israel, in our generation and throughout the ages, is where the memory of the heroes who dared and succeeded will be.”

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