Friday, June 8, 2018

David Ben-Gurion - Part 4

Good morning FFFs!
How was your week? Mine was good. I'm still using an old computer, but I was able to get my computer to our "computer guy" at church. I haven't heard anything about it, so I'm still hoping he can fix it.

I got my June story published. It's called "His Mighty Acts" and takes place during WWII. I've written a little bit on my other new story that takes place on a horse ranch. I'm still waiting to hear back from the ranch with answers to my questions. Pray that I'll hear back soon.

With this old computer I feel like I'm not getting much done, but I know I am. I mean I got 1980s book of family letters finished and ready to order the proof copy. Now I can start work on compiling the 1940s. Those will be fun as they're letters from my grandparents to each other before they were married. I can't wait to read them all. :)

I know this part is short, but I have other things to do, and I really don't have a whole lot to say this time. This is the final part of David Ben-Gurion. I hope you've enjoyed it, and that you've learned a little something.

Fighting for Survival
The explosions of dropping bombs filled the air in Tel Aviv, Israel, with their sound. Ben Gurion paused a moment in his talk over the radio to U. S. citizens. “The noise you are hearing now,” his voice was calm as he spoke, “is the noise of bombs being dropped by enemy aircraft on this city.”
The war for Israel’s survival had begun. As Minister of Defense and Prime Minister, Ben Gurion was immersed with work, disbanding the many resistance groups and forming the Israel Defense Forces, directing the war, and raising support from abroad. The war was grim and the fighting fierce. The Arabs attacked city after city only to be driven back and repulsed by the small groups of Jews that were defending their homes. The fighting was furious as Jews throughout Israel strove to defend the land they loved. In Jerusalem, the Arabs had cut off the supply roads, and only through Ben Gurion’s quick decision to use a small rocky goat trail to bring supplies in, were the inhabitants saved from starvation and slaughter. As Ben Gurion said, “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” And it was so. The Arabs thought they would quickly and easily achieve the victory because, after all, they had more men, more supplies and were better trained. They did not realize, however, that the Jews were fighting not only for their nation, but for their lives and homes, their families and land, their religious and cultural heritage. And, as the Lord was with the Israelites when they drove the Cananites out of that very land so many years ago, so He was with the people of Israel in their struggle for a homeland.

After four strenuous weeks of heavy fighting, a truce was called to try to come to terms of peace, but to no avail. At the end of the truce the Arab nations tried once again with all their might to annihilate Israel out of existence. Ten more bloody days of war passed, but in the end Israel was still there and even stronger than it was before. For Ben Gurion had not been idle during the four weeks of the truce. More arms had been gathered, more supplies brought in, the Haganah reorganized, and encouragement given. Finally, in early 1949, peace agreements were signed with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Israel, with Ben Gurion as Prime Minister, was a recognized nation. Though but a tiny strip of land surrounded by enemies, it was yet a haven and fortress for the beleagured Jewish people of the world.

The End Years
It was late evening in November 1953 as Ben Gurion and his wife sat cosily together in their home in Tel Aviv. “Do you know?” Ben Gurion said, “I believe I want to resign from being Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.”
Paula smiled. “I don’t see why you shouldn't. After all, you have been a leader in one way or another for over 52 years.”
Ben Gurion looked confused. “But Paula, we’ve only been a nation for not quite six years.”
“Ah, but you forget,” she smiled. “You were a leader before we even became a nation. You were a leader here in Palestine when the Ottoman Empire ruled, and before that, you were a leader in your own home town in Russia.”
“You are right, dear. And I’ll do it! Let’s move out to a frontier town.”
“Which one?” Paula asked with another smile. She knew it would be difficult for her hard working husband to relax and take things easy, even if he was in his 60’s. Therefore, a move to a frontier town didn’t surprise her.
After thinking a minute, he replied, “Perhaps down south in Sedeh Boker in the Negev.”
“All right,” Paula agreed readily. “How soon shall we go?”
Sedeh Boker was indeed on the frontier. Not many would have called it even a town. A small cluster of wooden shacks with a wire fence around them sat in the middle of an empty landscape. Dry barren wilderness surrounded it on all sides. The earth was hard and cracked by the sun’s fierce rays and eroded by the hot winds that swept over the desert, leaving only sparse vegetation on which to feed sheep. It was certainly not a place where most people would think of moving when they retired.

As Paula could have predicted, Ben Gurion’s retirement lasted only two years. When he was asked to help in the government as Defense Minister under Prime Minister Moshe Sharret, he couldn’t refuse. Once in office again, it wasn’t long before he was re-elected Prime Minister. And for eight more years, he continued to serve as Israel’s leader. Then once again he retired from political office, although he continued to be active in politics and leadership from his home in Sedeh Boker. And from that now flourishing town, where lush vineyards grew and orchards of apple, peach, plum and almond trees thrived, Ben Gurion began promoting a college to be located on a nearby plateau.
In 1968, Paula, Ben Gurion’s beloved wife and helpmeet of 53 years died. Two years later Ben Gurion really did retire. Much of his time was spent reading from his personal library of 20,000 books, and working on a third volume of his collected letters. Then, on December 1, 1973, in the midst of the Yom Kippur War, at the age of 87 years, he died and was buried by the side of his wife. Upon his death, not only the nation of Israel mourned its fallen leader, but others around the world grieved as well. America’s President Richard Nixon said, “It was with the deepest sorrow that I learned of the death of David Ben-Gurion. . . The people of America join with the people of Israel in mourning the passing of a gallant man. As we shared his ideals and hopes, not only for Israel but for all mankind, so we share in their loss.” Ben Gurion was a leader, beloved of his countrymen, hated by his foes, and honored by millions who came after him.

Today the land of Israel is no longer an uninhabitable land of dry, arid deserts and swampy, malaria infested grounds with Jews longing to someday dwell in the land of their fathers, but being denied the right to live there. Now thousands of Jews from all parts of the world have reclaimed the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They have drained swamps and established thriving cities, causing the desert to bloom and bear abundant fruit as Isaiah, the prophet of old had foretold. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice , and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly. . . They shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. . . For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” Everywhere, Jews have purchased land in Israel and with hard work have made a place fit for habitation. The college that Ben Gurion started in the Negev is prospering, and after his death was renamed Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in honor of Israel's great leader, who sought to pass on to the younger generations opportunities for learning and knowledge.
The land of Israel is not a land only of Jews. Arabs live peacefully with them, sharing in the labor and also in the government of the people. But, despite the early peace agreements signed with their neighbors, and almost 60 years of prosperous existence, the Israelis still face a constant struggle for survival. Yet they will survive, for the prophet Isaiah has also declared, “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail . . . they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.” Ben Gurion’s life of vision, courage, and determination still challenges us today to be leaders who never give up.

How was your week?
Have you read the June story yet?
What do you want to read next week?


Amy said...

I may have already said this, but can't remember... This story is touching --and it reminds me of "living books" like a lot of homeschoolers use for history. Have you ever thought about writing books like this for that purpose?

Rebekah said...

Hi Amy,
That was actually one reason I wrote this story. :) I'm glad you enjoyed it. I might have to do some editing and publish it as a small book. Thanks for your encouragement. :)

nikkolayebba said...

I’d must check with you here. Which is not something I often do! I get pleasure from studying a post that may make individuals think. Additionally, thanks for allowing me to remark! online casino gambling