Messianism, utopia and pessimism in the 1950s: A study of the critique of the 'ben-gurion statey'

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The 1950s are often categorized as the Ben-Gurion Era or the BenGurion Republic in the annals of the state of Israel. The image of the founding father - elected prime minister and charismatic figure wielding unquestioned authority, in the tradition of Peter the Great or Lenin - is stamped on the period indelibly. The era is largely embodied in Ben-Gurion's personality and deeds; there is a likeness between the innovating leader and his times, for it was an era of creation. BenGurion's active role in shaping various sectors of Israel during its formative years justifies the portrait. Besides the image of his supreme status as Father of the State and the man guiding its development, there was also a perception of thorough collaboration between him and broad groups of the intelligentsia. Current is the claim that BenGurion sought to mobilize intellectuals for his own purposes, and that they usually responded with alacrity and unreserved enthusiasm, out of a deep admiration, and perhaps even worship, of Ben-Gurion the man, the authority and the symbol. Imputed to the intelligentsia is a willingness to be drafted thusly, and a dereliction in adhering to sceptical and critical values. An additional claim is that a kind of alliance formed between the intelligentsia and Ben-Gurion, with intellectuals of great repute becoming parties to it.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Restless Mind
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honor of Amos Perlmutter
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781135241780
ISBN (Print)9781138985322
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013


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