P. 161

On Wednesday morning, Ben-Gurion still had time to speak with the Member of the Agency's Executive Golda Meyerson on several burning issues and returned immediately afterward to Tel Aviv with the convoy.
Over the next three months, Ben-Gurion made several additional visits. The most significant visit was in April. He stayed in Jerusalem for six days, between the 20th and the 25th. According to his diary, the convoy he travelled with was not attacked, however it is known in retrospect that this was a long convoy of about two hundred trucks, buses and private vehicles and its front end was not attacked, not so the rear end, where there were casualties and damage to vehicles – Seven trucks had burned.
The visit also included the Seder Night, which Ben-Gurion celebrated with a unit of soldiers, "in one of the largest camps in Jerusalem," as noted by the newspapers. He filled all six days with meetings in his office, as well as several visits at the headquarters of units of the "Etzioni" Brigade and the Palmach in the city. Ben-Gurion noted in his diary that there is a gloomy atmosphere in Jerusalem and claims being made that most of the leaders – from the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Council – are operating from Tel-Aviv and that the National Institutions Building in Rehavia is practically empty.
On Monday, April 25, Ben-Gurion flew back to Tel-Aviv. He was driven from his office in Rehavia to the airstrip prepared in the Valley of the Cross and according to his diary "many children gathered to see the plane take off. They were shooting at us from Katamon, but not a single child moved. The flight took 35 minutes."
As noted, the political and security activity was mostly conducted in Tel Aviv. Who therefore, remained in Jerusalem and visited the offices of the National Institutions Building almost every day? The regular employees certainly alongside several heads of the Agency and the Jewish National Council: Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Yitzhak Gruenbaum, Rabbi Fishman-Maimon and Eliyahu Dobkin. Another member of the Executive, Bernard Joseph (Dov Yosef), who was appointed Military Governor of Jewish Jerusalem, could not become available to perform his duties in the Jewish Agency. Other members in the Agency's Executive were absent from the city or the country, including Moshe Shertok, the Head of the Political Department, who regularly resided in New York and accompanied the discussions in the UN, and Golda Meyerson, his successor, who set out for a lengthy visit in the United States in order to promote an emergency fundraising campaign for the Yishuv and its war effort. The Head of the Financial Department, Eliezer Kaplan, also resided most of the time in Tel Aviv. Another member of the Executive, Moshe Sneh, resigned at the beginning of the war.
Of all the members of the Executive in Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion primarily trusted two: Dov Yosef and Eliyahu Dobkin. However, as Yosef was appointed military governor, most of the burden was laid upon Dobkin. Aside from a few trips abroad, Dobkin would walk from the workers' buildings in Rehavia to the National Institutions Building nearly every day since 1935.

   159   160   161   162   163