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Founders of Israel Saw Different Futures for New Country

Image: Founders of Israel Saw Different Futures for New Country
In this 2005 file photo, Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon speaks during the 3rd meeting of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 08:18 PM

When Israel and its Jewish people declared sovereignty in 1949, there was a renewed sense of optimism. At the same time, several of the founders of Israel — including Ariel Sharon, commander of the nation’s military at the time of independence — stressed the importance of allocating resources toward defense.

The United Nations granted Israel independence in 1948, but a bloody 15-month war with neighboring Arab nations followed. Several of Israel’s founders foreshadowed conflicts even after the country’s leaders gained legitimate control of the nation.

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Defenders of the Jewish nation have been involved in a number of wars — some brief, others lasting longer — with Arab nations after the War of Independence in 1948. Other notable battles have included the Sinai War (1956), Six Day War (1967), Yom Kippur War (1973), and an invasion into Lebanon (1978).

The military armies representing Israel’s Arab neighbors have consistently outnumbered Israel’s army, yet Israel won each of the battles on its home turf.

Sharon, known as a vehement defender of his native land, made a name for himself early in the country’s history as a leader interested in arming the nation. Sharon died early in 2014 and had been in active leadership up until 2006 when he suffered a stroke.

According to the Times of Israel, Sharon in 2005 stated his rationale behind leadership and allocating resources toward defense.

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“Planning is something a lot of people know how to do, but executing, as you know — far fewer, far fewer,” Sharon stated a year before he abruptly, unexpectedly left public office because of his health condition.

Throughout its young history, Israeli leaders have gone on record with varied viewpoints on who should gain citizenship of the country — persons of Jewish descent or those of other ethnicities as well. The debate continues, as evidenced by the Israeli apartheid controversy.

One of the founders of Israel to assert Israel should have more of a neighborly stance was Chaim Weizmann, who was the country’s first president. Weizmann, born in the Russian empire, died just three years after Israel became an independent nation. During his brief reign, Weizmann defended his beliefs, pointing to economic growth as one reason.

"If the Jewish people will go build Palestine ... the Jewish state will become a reality," Weizmann was once quoted as saying.

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When Israel and its Jewish people declared sovereignty in 1949, there was a renewed sense of optimism. At the same time, several of the founders of Israel — including Ariel Sharon — stressed the importance of allocating resources toward defense.
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2014-18-18
Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 08:18 PM
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