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Quotation #157:
A partial Jewish State is not the end, but only the beginning. ... We shall bring into the state all the Jews it is possible to bring ... we shall establish a multi-faceted Jewish economy - agricultural, industrial, and maritime. We shall organize a modern defense force, a select army ... and then I am certain that we will not be prevented from settling in the other parts of the country, either by mutual agreement with our Arab neighbors or by some other means. Our ability to penetrate the country will increase if there is a state. Our strength vis-a-vis the Arabs will increase. I am not in favour of war ... [but if] the Arabs behave in keeping with [their] barren nationalist feelings and say to us: Better that the Negev remain barren than that Jews settle there, then we shall have to speak to them in a different language. But we shall only have another language if we have a state.
By: David Ben-Gurion  
Date: 5 October 1937
Source: this book
which, in turn, attributes it to this letter by David Ben-Gurion to his son
Commentary:
David Ben-Gurion considered a Jewish State in part of Palestine as only a step in the fulfillment of larger ambitions. His vision was spelled out in a letter to his son, Amos.
The wording quoted above, including the ellipses, is copied directly from the English edition of Michael Bar-Zohar's 'Ben-Gurion: A Biography', New York: Delacorte Press, 1977; here is the text exactly as it is given in the Google Books version of the biography:

However, in Ben-Gurion and the Palestinian Arabs: From Peace to War, Shabtai Teveth, who, presumably, also had access to the Hebrew-language original of the letter provides a slightly different translation which seems to include text elided by two of the four ellipses above; here is the text exactly as it is given in the Google Books version of the book:

Benny Mossis, in Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001, translates the text of the letter somewhat differently again; here is the text exactly as it is given in the Amazon version of the book:
These overlapping partial translations seem to justify most of what Jerome Slater quotes, in this article, from the letter; only the last sentence in the quotation below is not corroborated in one of the sources discussed above:
'A partial Jewish state is not the end, but only the beginning. The establishment of such a Jewish State will serve as a means in our historical efforts to redeem the country in its entirety ... We shall organize a modern defense force ... and then I am certain that we will not be prevented from settling in other parts of the country, either by mutual agreement with our Arab neighbors or by some other means ... We will expel the Arabs and take their places ... with the force at our disposal.'

Interpolating the various quotations cited above, a more complete abstract from the letter would be as follows:
'A partial Jewish State is not the end, but only the beginning. The establishment of such a Jewish State will serve as a means in our historical efforts to redeem the country in its entirety. ... We shall bring into the state all the Jews it is possible to bring ... we shall establish a multi-faceted Jewish economy - agricultural, industrial, and maritime. We shall organize a modern defense force, a select army - I have no doubt that our army will be among the world's outstanding - and then I am certain that we will not be prevented from settling in the other parts of the country, either by mutual agreement with our Arab neighbors or by some other means. Our ability to penetrate the country will increase if there is a state. Our strength vis-a-vis the Arabs will increase. I am not in favour of war ... [but if] the Arabs behave in keeping with [their] barren nationalist feelings and say to us: Better that the Negev remain barren than that Jews settle there, then we shall have to speak to them in a different language. But we shall only have another language if we have a state. ... We will expel the Arabs and take their places ... with the force at our disposal.'



Cross-reference(s):
  1. This statement is an excerpt from this letter
  2. This article refers to this statement
  3. This article by Jerome Slater in MondoWeiss refers to this statement
Topics addressed: Related events:

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