Ben Gurion, Sharett Favor Isaac Ben Zvi for President of Israel
Menu JTA Search

Ben Gurion, Sharett Favor Isaac Ben Zvi for President of Israel

Download PDF for this date

Isaac Ben Zvi, veteran Zionist labor leader and former president of the Jewish National Council of Palestine, which was replaced by the Israel Parliament after the establishment of the Jewish State, is supported as a candidate for the Presidency of Israel by Premier David Ben Gurion, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett and other influential members of the Mapai, Israel’s Labor Party.

On the other hand, the majority of Mapai leaders were reported today backing the candidacy of Joseph Sprinzak, Acting President of Israel and Speaker of the Parliament. A final decision will be made on Sunday when the central committee of the Mapai meets to nominate the party’s candidate.

The support offered Mr. Ben Zvi by Premier Ben Gurion and Mr. Sharett is reportedly motivated by a desire to avoid further complications connected with the naming of a new Speaker of the House, should Mr. Sprinzak become President. Mr. Ben Zvi, who is 68 years old, was born in Russia and came to Israel in 1907. He was exiled by the Turkish Government from Palestine in 1917 and went to the United States where he recruited volunteers for the Jewish Legion, in which he himself served. The British Government later appointed him a member of the Palestine Advisory Council which was established after World War I.

Dr. Itzhak Gruenbaum, former Minister of Interior in the provisional government of Israel, was today nominated for the Presidency by the leftwing Socialist Mapam Party, in a letter to Acting President Joseph Sprinzak. The Poale Mizrachi today indicated that it intended to nominate Aaron Barth, while the Mizrachi will name Dr. Mordecai Nurok, Minister of Posts. Telephones and Telegraphs. None of the three is expected to obtain a majority vote in the Knesset.


The Premier’s Office late last night announced that Prof. Albert Einstein had replied negatively to a query from Premier Ben Gurion whether he would accept the Presidency of Israel if elected. The Premier’s Office revealed that last week, after Dr. Weizmann’s funeral, Premier Ben Gurion had instructed Ambassador Abba Eban to approach Prof. Einstein to ask whether he would accept the post.

Prof. Einstein replied that he was deeply moved by the proposal, but that he felt unsuited for the position, adding that he never assumes any task which he cannot conscientiously fulfill, Prof. Einstein said that he felt he was not qualified in the field of human relations; that he had a little understanding of the physical world and that it was his ardent desire to continue undisturbed the observation of this world.

Earlier yesterday, the Premier’s secretary said he had no knowledge of an approach by Mr. Ben Gurion to Prof. Einstein.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund