Imagining hair

Gaining a level of understanding of a historical personage’s motivations is tough for me. I’m tempted to acquire every available biography and pore over them, but that’s an impractical strategy, so I make do with a few books or articles or whatever. A key founder of Israel and its first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, is fascinating. Here’s what one historian says about him, and you can see why it’s a compelling image when you look at Ben-Gurion’s portrait:

Years later, Ben-Gurion’s closest aide, Yitzhak Navon, who in the late 1970s was to become the fifth president of Israel, related that Ben‑Gurion had never been able to free himself of the scenes he had wit­nessed in Germany in the autumn of 1945. “When he remembered that journey, he would emotionally describe what he had experienced, and tear at his hair and ask, ‘How could it happen? Such horrible slaughter. Such awful atrocities,’” Navon recalled.

Karpin, Michael. 2006. The Bomb in the Basement: How Israel Went Nuclear and What That Means for the World. Simon & Schuster, New York, p. 7.