MembersWhere Would My Grandchildren Be?

Yariv Ben Eliezer, grandson of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, recalled that his grandfather was once asked about Israel’s future, to which he answered, “I will be buried here [in Israel] but I am not so sure about my grandchildren.”

By Tsvi Sadan |
Photo: GPO/Herman Chananya

Though over the past 70 years Israel has proven to be pretty resilient, Ben-Gurion’s concern about Israel’s future is shared by many Israelis today, who still find it hard to believe that Israel is a permanent reality.

Seventy years is long enough time to check whether or not Ben-Gurion, the man whose legendary foresight was crucial for Israel coming into being, was just an overly concerned “Polish father,” or a realistic statesman. To find out we have traced the whereabouts of the offspring of some of Israel’s past prime ministers, presidents, politicians and generals – people who clearly devoted their lives to Israel and its future. That said, the following does not presume to be a scientific survey, though it does make sense that accounting for the children and grandchildren of Israel’s leaders gives a good indication whether or not Israelis seriously question the state’s future viability.

For Israelis, emigration was a sour issue. Back in 1976, then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called Israeli emigrants “weakling fallouts.” But today, well, after speaking with some leading politicians and journalists,...

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