Fifteen Years as Prime Minister is Enough, David Ben-Gurion Says: Now He's Writing the History of Israel

June 27, 1966

Add to History Board Share Print
Back to The Collection
Manuscript
See full images and transcript
Fifteen Years as Prime Minister is Enough, David Ben-Gurion Says: Now He's Writing the History of Israel
Autograph Letter Signed
4 pages | SMC 772

Quick Reference

      Background

      Responding to an American admirer’s plea that he not retire, Ben-Gurion explains why he left politics – “In my view no single man should be identified with the State, and 15 years as Prime Minister is enough” - and outlines his reasons for writing his epic history of Israel, 1870 – 1965. He adds that he has never cared what people think of him, so long as he feels he’s doing his duty.


      Autograph Letter Signed (“D. Ben-Gurion”), in English, 2 pages, octavo, Sdeh Boker, June 27, 1966. To Israel Ginsburg in New York. With transmittal envelope, addressed in unknown hand.

      Accompanied by typed transcript of Ginsburg’s letter to Ben-Gurion, 1 page, quarto, New York, May 9, 1966.
      Read More

      all pages and transcript

      Page 1/4

      Page 1 transcript
      19

      Sdeh Boker, 27.6.66

      Dear Mr Israel Ginsberg

      Many thanks for your kind letter.

      I retired three years ago for two reasons: 1) In my view no single man should be identified with the State, and 15 years as Prime Minister is enough; 2)  I saw the need of telling our youth how we did what we have now in Israel, because I believe our historical task is far not yet finished, and we will need in days to come the same devotion, pioneering will, moral and scientific superiority which made possible everything we have done so far.  I want our youth to know what type of people have done it, what difficulties that  [they] had to overcome, and what internal 

      Page 2/4

      Page 2 transcript
      20

      strength they needed and possessed.  For this purpose I decided to write the history of the last 95 years, from 1870 to 1965.  I am doing that in the last 3 years and will require another 6-8 years.

      I never cared what people are saying or writing about me - as long as I know that I am doing my duty within my limited ability.

      Yours sincerely

      D. BEN-GURION

      318 Madison Str
      New York, N.Y. 10002
      U.S.A.

      Page 3/4

      Page 3 transcript

      By Air Mail

      Mr. Israel Ginsberg
      318 Madison Str.
      New York, N.Y. 10002
      U.S.A.

      Page 4/4

      Page 4 transcript

      318 Madison Street.
      New York, N. Y. 10002
      U. S. A. May 9, 1966

      Mr. David Ben-Gurion.
      Sedeh Boker.
      Israel.

      Dear Mr. Ben-Gurion:

      The two enclosed clippings express different views of you.  No doubt, other publications, in this country and overseas, have also given their opinion about you, your ideals, motives, etc.  Of course you have read a good many newspapers and have formed your own thoughts on what is best for Israel.  Your past life, and I hope the present time too, needs no explanation or reason why you perform certain acts.  I fully realize they constitute deeds of goodness for all Mankind.  The constant betterment of your beloved Israel and all Humanity is uppermost in your mind.  This creed has been a firm foundation since your youth.

      Hence, this letter.  I have read that age is not important.  Our attitudes toward life and what good we can accomplish for our fellow man is the sole purpose for our existence in this world.  American psychologists constantly harp on this subject.  As an Elder Statesman and Diplomat Emeritus you remain in a sound position to influence this generation.  In a most gracious manner and humble way.  I do not believe you will surrender to any form of inactivity.  To repeat an American hack neyed [sic] phrase, "Keep up the good work."  Do NOT retire.

      With great admiration and a fervent prayer that you and Mrs. Ben-Gurion will constantly enjoy good health plus many years of happiness.

      Sincerely,

      ISRAEL GINSBURG