David ben Gurion, the man considered by many to be the father of Israel, and its first Prime Minister when the new State came into being in 1948, died on the first of December, 1973.
David ben Gurion, the man considered by many to be the father of Israel, and its first Prime Minister when the new State came into being in 1948, died on the first of December, 1973. And on Wednesday, (6 December), the country's leaders marked the fifth anniversary of his death with a memorial service held at the Sede Boqer kibbutz, in the Negev Desert; a kibbutz founded by Mr. Ben Gurion and his home after retiring from office.
SYNOPSIS: The memorial service to David ben Gurion was attended by people from all walks of life. The President, Mr. Yitzach Navon, followed by the Prime Minister, Mr. Menachem Begin and the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Yigael Yadin, led the way to the grave. They walked through large crowds of Israelis gathered to remember the life and work of their country's founder. For many of them, he was their symbol of nationhood and freedom. The Defence Minister, Mr. Ezer Weizman was also at the graveside.
When David Ben Gurion retired to Sede Boqer in 1963 after two terms as Prime Minister, he hoped the surrounding Negev Desert would someday be developed. Now, if a peace with Egypt is concluded, with the resultant withdrawal of troops from Sinai, his dream could become a reality.
In the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, on Tuesday (6 December), Mr. Begin, Mr. Yadin and other members, at the request of the Speaker, stood in silent tribute to the memory of Mr. Ben Gurion. He had settled in Palestine as a farm labourer in 1906 at the age of 20, and devoted his life to forming and ensuring the survival of the State of Israel.