Autograph Letter Signed, in Hebrew, 8vo, Berlin, Nov. 26, 1924. DAVID BEN GURION.
DAVID BEN GURION

(1886-1973) first Prime Minister of Israel. Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, culminated in his instrumental role in the founding of the state of Israel. After leading Israel to victory in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Ben-Gurion helped build the state institutions and oversaw the absorption of vast numbers of Jews from all over the world. Posthumously, Ben-Gurion was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.

Autograph Letter Signed, in Hebrew, 8vo, Berlin, Nov. 26, 1924.

Ben-Gurion emphasizes the importance of talented labor in Palestine. He was in Berlin trying to secure a visa into Poland. In the mid-1920s a large number of Polish Jews immigrated to Palestine due to the political and economic crises in Poland the Johnson-Lodge Immigration Act passed by the U.S. Congress which curtailed mass immigration to America. If Ben-Gurion was trying to enter Poland (the country of his birth) to promote immigration to Palestine, he was not successful. He begins this letter telling his friends that "he is unable to get a visa to go to Poland and must return to Aretz." The letter deals with Ben-Gurion’s strategy to promote immigration to Palestine and to create "a firm bond between the Histadrut and the Hehalutz." Ben-Gurion says that upon his return to Aretz, his first concern will be "to increase the Aliya of Halutzim [pioneering aliya], creating a firm bond between the Histadrut and the Hehalutz, and making the central role of our movement abroad the development of Hehalutz." He continues, "At the moment I see two Histadruts which contain within the creative forces of our movement: the Workers Histadrut in Aretz and the Hehalutz Histadrut abroad. The strength, value, talent, greatness, influence and success of one is tied to the other. The fates of both are intertwined." He then asks his friends to "prepare the Hehalutz for its great destiny," a job he notes as being a great responsibility and hard work. He assures them that the "Histadrut will help as much as it can." The letter is signed, "D. Ben-Gurion."

Israel’s General Federation of Labor, the Histadrut, was an organization of trade unions established in 1920 during the British Mandate for Palestine. It was founded by Ben-Gurion and others to look out for the interest of Jewish workers and designed to "form a tightly controlled autonomous Jewish economic state within the Palestine economy. It functioned as much more than a traditional labor union, providing... social services and security, setting up training centers, helping absorb new immigrants... teaching them Hebrew.... "[jewishvirtuallibrary, section on British Palestine Mandate]. As the goal at the time was to increase the number of Jews going to settle in Palestine, a strong bond needed to be secured between the Histadrut and those in the Hehulutz who were helping in countries abroad to teach, train and compel Jews to immigrate to Palestine. The job of the Hehalutz, which was primarily a youth movement, an umbrella of the Zionist Youth Movement, was to bring Jews to Israel, training them for pioneer life in skilled trades. As early at 1924, Ben-Gurion was trying to get more skilled immigrants to Israel. He felt that the only way was to get the Hehalutz to work hand in hand with the trade unions and to promote all that they were doing for workers in Palestine. Ben-Gurion, in this letter, is emphasizing his desire to see that the two, the pioneers in Palestine and those abroad who were to help train skilled workers and promote the Histadrut, work together to form a state that could be independent. Ben-Gurion, a major Zionist leader, led the Jewish community in Palestine on its struggle for an independent Jewish state.

Item #4039

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