Ben-Gurion’s Uncensored Diary Revealed: 'Pester and Motivate the Refugees to Move Eastward'

David Ben-Gurion's journals, written between 1948 and 1953, expose many secrets: having Mizrahi Jews surveilled, trying to get Palestinian refugees to leave and detailing rapes committed by soldiers are just a few of them

David Ben-Gurion looking through documents at his Tel Aviv office, 1959.
David Ben-Gurion looking through documents at his Tel Aviv office, 1959. Credit: FRITZ COHEN / GPO
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

In one of the pages of his diary, David Ben-Gurion details the targets surveilled by the intelligence agencies of the fledgling Israel, which was not yet a year old. The list, written in Ben-Gurion’s handwriting, includes “secessionists” (members of the Irgun and Lehi militias, who did not bow to the authority of the Yishuv’s elected institutions), “Mizrahi Jews” (specifically the North African immigrants living in transit camps), “political parties” (his political rivals) and the Israeli Communist Party, Maki. Ben-Gurion composed this list after a meeting with Isser Harel, the first head of the Mossad and the Shin Bet security service, who had complained that he had not been allocated sufficient funds or staff.