The chief of the security service publicly called me "Government Enemy No.1." On one occasion the security chief (nicknamed "Little Issar") suggested to Ben-Gurion to put me under "administrative detention" -- arrest without a court order. Ben-Gurion agreed, but under one condition: that the leader of the opposition, Menachem Begin, would silently agree. Begin refused adamantly and threatened to kick up a stink. He also warned me in secret.
My office was bombed several times, I myself was attacked and my hands broken. (As I have said before, that attack was a blessing in disguise. A young woman named Rachel volunteered to move in with me to help me along for a few weeks, and stayed for 53 years, until her death.)
At the height of our fight, Ben-Gurion ordered the National Theater (Habima) to produce a piece openly directed against me. It showed the vicious editor of a weekly paper, who enjoyed making people miserable. Though he never usually went to the theater, he attended this premiere. The documentary shows him, his wife and colleagues applauding wildly. The piece did not survive three performances.
IT MUST be admitted that he was a very courageous leader. Though a staunch anti-Communist, he let Stalin support Israel with arms during the 1948 War of Independence. He made peace with Germany just eight years after the Holocaust, because the young state desperately needed money. He entered into the famous collusion with France and Britain to attack Egypt (with disastrous results.)
Towards the end, he surrounded himself with young disciples -- Moshe Dayan, Teddy Kollek, Shimon Peres and others, and his elderly colleagues became afraid of him. They ganged up on him and threw him out. His efforts to form a new party and stage a comeback ran into the sand. In the end we made a kind of peace.
When we look back today upon his entire career, it must be admitted that his influence on today's Israel is immense. For better and for worse, he laid the tracks on which Israel is still rolling.
Mostly for the worse.
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