In 1900, a 14-year-old Jewish boy in Poland named David Gruen founded a Zionist youth group. He made his way to Palestine when he was 20, where he eventually changed his last name to Ben-Gurion. He went on to become a founding father of Israel and its first prime minister. One of Ben-Gurion’s key aides in founding the Jewish state was Shimon Peres, now the country’s president. Thirty-seven years younger than his hero, Peres similarly emigrated from Poland to Palestine and similarly served as Israel’s prime minister. Peres won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, for his efforts in the talks that led to the Oslo Accords.
With the help of journalist David Landau, Peres has written a new biography of Ben-Gurion, his mentor: Ben-Gurion: A Political Life, available now from Nextbook Press. Landau, a former editor of Haaretz and Israel correspondent of The Economist, spoke to Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about Ben-Gurion, his realpolitik approach to leadership, and what lessons his example can provide to Israel’s leaders today. [Running time: 30:09.]