"The security portfolio was imposed on me… even before the establishment of the state"
"The security portfolio was imposed on me… even before the establishment of the state, in the congress at the end of 1946, and since then I have been busy only with security matters."
Ben Gurion speaks at the Knesset, October 31, 1965
"As you well know, I was not Minister of Defense ever since the establishment of the state. At the end of 1953 I retired at the end of 1953 for personal reasons, and whoever wishes to know the reasons for that and for how long, may read my letter to the president of the state from November 2, 1953.
Whomever wishes to fabricate reasons from his imagination is welcome to do so.
However, already in July 7, 1953, the government allowed me a long leave of absence, and replacements were appointed for me in the Ministry of Defense and in the Prime Minister's office. I used that leave for a three month long, thorough examination of the status and needs of the security situation, about which a submitted a full and detailed report to the government on October 18, 1953. I proposed a three year plan to improve the state's security, and following the government ratification of the plan, I announced my wish to retire.
On December 7, 1953 I submitted my resignation and the resignation of the government to the president, and since legally the interim government remains in power until a new one is established, I requested another leave of absence from the government, and on December 13, 1953 I retired to Sde Boker.
I returned to the Ministry of Defense with the Knesset approval on February 21, 1955. Therefore I headed the Ministry of Defense since the establishment of the temporary government on May 14, 1948 until a few months before the end of 1953 and from February 1955 until today, all in all ten years and ten months. Actually, the security portfolio was imposed on me by the Jewish Agency even before the establishment of the state, in the 22 congress in 1946, and since then I dealt with security matters only, and made all the preparation for a war which I was certain would erupt following the departure of the English, not with criminal bands as was the case so far, but with the regular armies of the neighbouring states, mostly commanded by British officers; and I think that I know no less than anybody else in Israel about security matters and the IDF. The ordered and methodical organization of the IDF did not begin in May 1948, when the order was published to establish a ground, air, and naval army, and the Minister of Defense was entrusted with fulfilling that order, because we were already in war, and the crucial mission as I saw it was not the ordered establishment of the army – but the routing of the enemy. And only at the end of 1949, following the Knesset approval of the Israeli Defense Service Law proposed by me on behalf of the government, did the ordered organization of the IDF begin."
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