The State of Israel has experienced 12 different Prime Ministers during it’s 71 years of existence. Some PM’s are more well known, while others are less. A few have been colorful & theatrical while others more grey and reserved.
David Ben Gurion, the founding father of the state, has some interesting nuances to his personality. He refused to use the word את, which means ‘the’ in a sentence. Due to this, when one listens to a recording of him today (or reads his writings) it sounds as if the sentences are a little stiff/lacking a connecting word at times. BG was also known for his extraordinary memory. When later on in his life he felt like he was developing memory issues, he would practice Yoga by standing on his head. One can still see him doing this while walking by his ‘head standing’ statue on the beach in Tel Aviv.
Golda Meir used to sit in her kitchen with her closest confidants and brainstorm regarding critical issues in Israel. A kitchen in Hebrew is called a ‘mitbach’. As a result of this, when the security cabinet meets today for critical decisions, they are called the ‘mitbachon’ (I guarantee you that they don’t meet in the PM’s kitchen any more..).
And then there is Menachem Begin, arguably the best & wittiest orater that Israel has ever had. When elected to be PM in 1977, a reporter asked Begin what kind of Prime Minister he was going to be. Begin answered without hesitation “Good Jewish style”. In the heated atmosphere leading up to the elections in 1981, a well known cultural figure named Dudu Topaz blasted Begin’s Sephardi voter base by calling them ‘Chachchachim’, which means ‘riffraff’. The following day, Begin stood in front of a crowd of hundreds of thousands and brilliantly turned this around to his advantage. He said that this ‘riffraff’ are all Jewish brothers with all Jews from all nationalities, fighting and living together. Many say that this turned the polls around to his advantage.
We’ll finish with Levi Eshkol, Israel’s 3rd PM, from 1963-69. Eshkol was one of the countries main architects for building Israel’s water system, including the National Water Carrier. Born & raised in the Ukrain, Eshkol was fluent in Yiddish and was known to flavor many of his sentences with that fading language. Can you imagine a world leader constantly using Yiddish expressions today?
We’ll stop here for now. You are welcome to view the link, in it I’m sitting in Levi Eshkol’s seat located in the decision room of what used to be the PM’s official residence (until 1974). Glad that I was sitting there talking to you on a video, definitely would not want to be the one making critical decisions during critical times.