Never-Before-Seen 48-Year-old Footage Released of Israel’s First Prime Minister Reminiscing in English About Jewish State, Saying, ‘It’s Only the Beginning’
Interviews conducted nearly five decades ago with the late David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, were revealed on a Channel 10 talk show on Sunday.
The never-before-seen interviews were conducted in English by Dr. Yitzhak Clinton Bailey, an American-born ethnographer who lived near Ben-Gurion in Sde Boker, the Negev community founded by the Zionist leader.
In the snippets broadcast on Israel’s “The Morning Show with Orly and Guy,” Ben-Gurion talked about the early days of the state. Prodded to talk about his role in it, he said, “I didn’t guide Israel; I guided myself. I never guided Israel.”
When asked by Clinton Bailey whether he feared for his country, Ben-Gurion answered, “I always feared for it. Not only now. That state does not yet exist. It’s the beginning only.” It was 1968 at the time, two decades after the state’s establishment.
According to show hosts Orly Vilnai and Guy Meroz, who were interviewing Clinton Bailey about the old films, Ben-Gurion also talked about his belief in Buddhism alongside Judaism, though this was not among the clips they aired.
Instead, they moved on to show the “Old Man” (as he was known) — who gave the interviews to Clinton Bailey five years before his death in 1973 — engaging in manual labor and discussing why he wanted to build Sde Boker.
“The most important thing I learned, I learned by living here, living this life,” he said, while hoisting a ladder and moving it around a barn. He is then seen digging outside with a shovel, saying: “I wanted to live in a place where I know that my friends and myself… we did it, all of it… the trees here, I know that I planted them. The trees speak to me in another language. I know people can create life.”
The interviews were taped a few months after Ben-Gurion’s beloved wife, Paula, died. According to Channel 10, he expressed how sad he was, and how much he missed her.