chapter  1
17 Pages

Pilgrimage to the backside of the desert

WithDavid Ohana

David Ben-Gurion, founder of the nation and Israel’s first prime minister, passed away on December 1, 1973, and his annual commemoration takes place at his graveside at the Midreshet Ben-Gurion. Many political, administrative and military leaders are present, and usually the prime minister, the president, members of the government and official representatives of the state institutions. The ceremony is a confrontation of the real Israel with Ben-Gurion’s vision, the potentialities it sought to realize and the problematic nature of the place where the ceremony is held. The metamorphoses the ceremony has undergone bear witness both to the changing face of the country and the relationship of its society to the image of its founder. The following chapter will examine those shifts and transformations through the lenses of the ceremony.