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Ben-Gurion watched from the sidelines, from his seat in the Jewish Agency, on what was happening not far from his office, in the Head Office of the Jewish National Council. As stated, he was not one of Rutenberg's great admirers, and had stated in private meetings that Rutenberg was, in fact, an amateur politician. Ben-Gurion had also refused to transfer powers from the Jewish Agency to the Jewish National Council, the second most powerful institution, as Rutenberg demanded.
Rutenberg, as was his wont, had attacked the most burning issues, first and foremost the severe unemployment that had afflicted the Yishuv even before the war broke out and more forcefully after its outbreak. He also initiated the imposition of an internal emergency tax, similar to an income tax and for that purpose, he participated in conventions and initiated campaigns to increase tax collection. His success was limited.
Another problem was his attitude towards the British. Most of the Yishuv at the time was Anti- British, due to the "White Paper" laws, and Ben-Gurion was particularly extreme on this position. Rutenberg, on the other hand, was connected to the British throughout his years in the Land of Israel, which assisted him greatly on the electricity issue, something which did not help him in establishing his status as the "leader of the Yishuv."
Rutenberg also tried to deal with the strikes that broke out often, particularly the teachers' strike, who had not received their salaries for months – and failed. He also intervened in a typical dispute in those days, in a period in which the citrus orchards were the number one economic sector in the Land of Israel: A dispute between the citrus growers and the Histadrut regarding the salaries of the orchard workers. This time he failed as well.
From the sidelines, Ben-Gurion made sure he did not invade the Jewish Agency's prerogatives – management of the Yishuv's foreign affairs. Rutenberg's visits to the Jewish National Council's offices in Jerusalem became fewer and fewer as the obstacles in his path piled up. In the eyes of some, he looked like "Gulliver" in the land of the Lilliputians. In the eyes of others, like someone who wanted to manage the Yishuv the way he managed his company, without any consultation or opposition. Even his initially loyal supporters, the Revisionists, were disappointed. Their newspaper "HaMashkif" wrote: "We were happy that a personality that thinks in terms that deviate from the provincial complexity could be found in the Yishuv," however it turned out – as written in the newspaper article – that he is not prepared for great revolutions. On the contrary. He came to terms with the Mapai takeover of the National Institutions.
Rutenburg's biographer, Eli Shaltiel, wrote: "We can easily guess what impressions these critical reactions made upon Rutenberg. He, the man of power, who could not suffer criticism and opposition to his opinions, was now forced to face an attack which, undoubtedly, seemed to him as unrestrained."
And so it continued on for less than a year (until August 1940). In the beginning of the summer, Rutenberg disappeared for several weeks. It turns out he traveled to London on the business of the

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