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Autograph Letter Signed from Israel's First Prime Minister DAVID BEN-GURION to Canadian Artist and Poet PAUL Z. HARTAL, Mentioning the Altalena Affair
Sdeh Boker 1971 - BEN-GURION, DAVID. (1886-1973). Polish-born Israeli statesman who, as his country's first prime minister, proclaimed Israel's independence in 1948. ALS. ("D. Ben-Gurion"). ½p. 8vo. Sdeh Boker, May 7, 1971. To Hungarian born, Canadian artist and poet PAUL Z. HARTAL (born 1936). In Hebrew with translation. "To Zev Hartal, Peace and Greetings, I agree that it is not the quantity which matters but the quality. This we have learnt in everything and in the war that we waged since the establishment of the state. However, the fighters against the Romans and the Babylonians did not surpass in quality their enemies. And you are right - that our civil war in the Roman period was the cause of our defeat. In our war against the Arab armies - there was no civil war. The Altalena affair took place during the first truce - and we immediately brought it to an end. Most respectfully." An early supporter of Zionism, Ben-Gurion moved to Ottoman-controlled Palestine in 1906 and become a farmer. Expelled by the Turkish government at the outbreak of World War I, he rallied British and American support, and called for increased Jewish immigration to Palestine. His decades of promoting Zionism led to the strengthening of Palestine's Jewish community and on May 14, 1948, Ben-Gurion proclaimed the birth of the state of Israel. A provisional government was created along with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which was charged with absorbing all other independent military groups. However, several paramilitary groups resisted the reorganization and continued their operations, including the Irgun (headed by future prime minister Menachem Begin) which had chartered the ship Altalena in France to smuggle weapons to its members inside Israel. Although the Irgun had signed an agreement with the IDF to cease operations, the Altalena secretly set sail for Israel at the beginning of June. Aboard were large amounts of arms and ammunition as well as volunteers. When news of the Altalena and Irgun's violation of the prior agreement reached Ben-Gurion, he and Begin began negotiations to distribute the cargo and work out other details. However, before a resolution could be reached, fighting broke out between members of Irgun and the IDF, forcing Ben-Gurion to order the taking of the ship by force. The Irgun surrendered and several hundred members were arrested. The importance of the "Altalena Affair" lies in the establishment of the young state of Israel's authority: the fact that the incident did not devolve into civil war, as Ben-Gurion points out in our letter, was one of the first tests of the fledgling nation. Our letter was a response to a missive Hartal sent to Ben-Gurion commenting on the latter's article published in Tel Aviv's daily newspaper Ma'ariv. A transcription of Hartal's letter accompanies ours, which also mentions the wars of the First and Second Temple periods. With the original envelope and in fine condition. * All our items are sent via Federal Express. Additional postage may be necessary. [Attributes: Signed Copy]
      [Bookseller: Lion Heart Autographs]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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