A Knesset symposium took place subsequent to the presentation of “The Two Walked Together,” a play produced by the Cameri Theater and the Hertzliyah Theater Ensemble.
“Ben Gurion did not fight with the religious, but with the attempt to turn religion into a mechanism,” President Shimon Peres said Monday night. “Ben Gurion saw himself as a religious person. He was the greatest statesman, and he had prophetic vision. He never made a mistake, and his path led to the establishment of the State. The World Zionist Organization had been the blueprint for the state. In an argument between Ben Gurion and Jabotinsky, history proved that Ben Gurion was right. He always gave general credit for victories, and took the blame for failures on himself.”
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said in response that “Etzel’s rebellion brought about the establishment of the state, a rebellion which Ben Gurion joined.” Rivlin emphasized that he “misses the days when leaders argued about ideology, and not on matters which do not exist.” Peres and Rivlin spoke in a symposium in the Knesset subsequent to the play “The two walked together,” by A.B. Yehoshua. The play centers around the meetings between David Ben Gurion and Zeev Jabotinsky in the nineteen-thirties, and the impact of their conflict on the disagreement between the Israeli right and left today. The play is a joint production by the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv and the Ensemble Theater in Hertzliya, under the direction of Oded Kotler.
The writer-playwright A.B. Yehoshua said, “For his whole life, Ben Gurion was angry over Jabotinsky and the Beitar movement’s departure from the Zionist Histadrut – that is why he refused to transfer [Hertzl’s] remains to Israel, despite Jabotinsky’s specific request.”
The Symposium’s moderator, Professor Shlomo Aviner praised the playwright Yehoshua for presenting Jabotinsky’s social-economic doctrines, and that these doctrines are one of the goals of Zionism. According to Aviner, Zionism imparted to the Jewish nation that despite harsh disagreements, there was never a civil war.
The play took place in the Knesset auditorium in front of a large audience which included family members of Ben Gurion and Jabotinsky, government ministers Ehud Barak, Moshe Ya’alon, Dan Meridor, Ya’akov Ne’eman, Yisrael Katz, Beni Begin, Limor Livnat, Orit Noked and Shalom Simhon. Many former and present Knesset Members were present in the auditorium. Supreme Court president Asher Grunis and his wife were also present in the auditorium, as were almost all the current Supreme court judges, long-standing Israeli Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino and Governor of the Bank of Israel Stanley Fischer. Additional guests included former President of Israel Yitzhak Navon, former Presidents of the Supreme Court Dorit Beinish, Aharon Barak and Meir Shmagar, former Knesset Speaker Shevach Weiss, senior officials from the Cameri theater headed by CEO Noam Semel and Artistic Director Imri Nitzan, many executives and members of the theater’s board of trustees, the heads of the National Student Union and the National Student Council, soldiers, and many guests.