David Ben-Gurion (Oct 16, 1886 Plonsk (Poland) - Dec 1, 1973 Tel-Aviv) was the founder of the modern state of Israel, which he proclaimed on May 4, 1948. He served Israel as its first prime minister until 1963 except for a brief period from 1954 to 1955. He was also minister of defense.
A Zionist, he settled in Palestine as an orchard worker in 1906. He was involved in the foundation of the worker's union Histradut (general secretary 1921 - 1935) and of the socialist party Mapai. As chairman of the Jewish Agency (1935-1948), he organized the immigration of Jewish refugees from Europe to Palestine against the resistance of the Palestinian Arabs and the British, who held a League of Nations mandate over the area and wished to avoid immigration policies that would upset the status quo. In 1944, he became president of the World Zionist Organization.
He read extensively, accumulating a library of some 20,000 books.
- Bar-Zohar, Michael: Ben Gurion, 1971-1974
- Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Zionist Leaders: Ben-Gurion