chapter  19
6 Pages

Shabtai Teveth and the Whole Truth

WithMartin Kramer

Shabtai Teveth, prolific author and the authorized biographer of David Ben-Gurion, passed away on November 2, 2014 at the age of eighty-nine. It is also a reminder of how desperately Israel still needs truth-tellers like Teveth, who knew the flaws of Israel's founders perfectly well, but never let that overshadow the nobility of their cause. Teveth wrote like a journalist up against a deadline. The monumental biography of Ben-Gurion secured for Teveth the National Jewish Book Award in 1987 and the Israel Prize, Israel's highest civilian honor, in 2005. But the project remained unfinished, in part because every few years he would suspend it to write a spin-off. He wrote a book on the 1933 murder of Chaim Arlosorov. Teveth pummeled the "new historians", whose indictments of Israel's conduct in 1948 he described as a "farrago of distortions, omissions, tendentious readings, and outright falsifications".