A leader who believed in science

Tom Segev A State at Any Cost

Still trying to understand David Ben-Gurion’s, Israel’s first prime minister. I thought I knew enough but I don’t, so I’m working through two biographies. One is, of course, Israeli historian/journalist Tom Segev’s masterful book from a couple of years ago (see my review of it here, as a book rather than as a reference source).

“He saw science as the pursuit of the truth,” Segev writes, and quotes a general:

One might almost say that he had a mystical faith in the power of and mission of science to solve what seem to be insoluble problems.

Segev, Tom. 2019. A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York. loc. 11,430.

Segev cites Ben-Gurion later in life, responding to someone claiming faith is better than science:

I agree that science is not enough, but it is possible to be totally devoted to science as the highest expression of the human spirit, rising up and up.

“Above all,” stresses Segev, “he saw science as a means of advancing the Zionist project, a central source of the country’s strength. He thus demanded that Israel’s universities and research institutions work in the service of the country, in accordance with government policy.” If only today’s leaders relied on science for guidance.