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JNS Spotlights Ben-Gurion Day in the USA

JNS Spotlights Ben-Gurion Day in the USA

November 22, 2023

Current events

Paula Kabalo, Head of Ben-Gurion University’s Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism

Jewish News Syndicate — David Ben-Gurion famously stated, “The people of Israel will be tested in the Negev.”

According to Paula Kabalo—Head of the Azrieli Center for Israel Studies as well as Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s (BGU) Ben-Gurion Research Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism—the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre makes these words more relevant than ever.

Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, laid out four tests pertaining to the Negev: A test of creative capacity and boldness; a test of the capacity of Jewish science and research; a test for Jewish youth and its pioneering capacity and creative enterprise; and a general test for the people of Israel and their state.

“Why did all these forces have to be put to the test? It had to do with the peril of concentrating most of the country’s population on a coastal plain of several kilometers wide, between Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Haifa,” Kabalo said. “Such a state, based on territory that lacks strategic depth, is prone to existential danger in the event of a massive attack. This makes the Negev a necessity, not a choice.”

While Ben-Gurion Day is commemorated every year in Israel on the sixth of the Hebrew month Kislev, American’s for Ben-Gurion University brought it to the U.S. last year for the first time. The initiative aims to rally Americans around a vision for 21st-century Zionism that is shaped by the pioneering spirit of David Ben-Gurion–who turned his dream of a Jewish homeland into reality and saw the Negev as the place where Israel’s innovative future would emerge.

“More so today than ever before, it is imperative that we honor Ben-Gurion’s legacy and keep his dream alive. He turned his dream of a Jewish homeland into reality. Together, we will prevail to keep this vision for the future of Israel alive,” said Doug Seserman, CEO of A4BGU.

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