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Prof. Buber: You want to translate all of Philo?
Ben-Gurion: It all needs to be translated. That's a book from the Second Temple period
that played a huge role.
Prof. Buber: Did you enjoy all of Philo's answers?
Ben-Gurion: I did not enjoy them. I was disappointed. Yet he is the only one that remains from the period of Polybius. That was an entire Jewish world.
The participants descended into an argument on the abilities of translators to convey great works from one language to another. They took upon themselves to "do their homework" for the next meeting.
And so, every few weeks, the greatest intellectuals of the ten-year-old State of Israel could be seen going up the stairs of the rear wing of the National Institutions Building and disappearing within Ben-Gurion's office for two and sometimes three hours. The scholars, who were joined in the following meetings by renowned authors and poets such as Haim Hazaz and Leah Goldberg, were customarily level-headed and slow, something that infuriated Ben-Gurion. He demanded to speed up the pace. In each meeting, he demanded to see lists of proposals and these only come little by little.
Ben-Gurion later took the initiative and met with translators, among them Professors Alexander Fuks and Chaim Wirszubski. He was disappointed when they told him that a good translator could translate one to two books per year. In one of the meetings, he presented a list of his own, containing the first twenty books to be translated.
Matters started to move and the "Bialik Institute" of the Jewish Agency took responsibility for the enterprise. Ben-Gurion hoped that fifty books would be translated, and eventually a hundred
were translated.
The scholars, literary people and Ben-Gurion continued to meet. Ben-Gurion told his guests that his office personnel, and particularly the Director-General Teddy Kollek, are at their disposal at all times. The arguments on the list of books that needed to be translated continued alongside the work. The following is an example of such a controversy on the question of whether Dante Alighieri's book "De Monarchia" should be published.
Ben-Gurion: I do not know whether Dante Alighieri's book is an exemplary book.
Prof. Buber: I believe it is. I object to quite a lot of its content, but it is a great book. When I received the manuscript of the translation and read several of its chapters,
I was truly charmed. It is an exemplary book. Leah Goldberg: I too believe it is a wonderful book.
Ben-Gurion [summarizes the brief discussion on this issue]: One versus many – the majority has it. In one of the meetings, Ben-Gurion expressed his concern that the translated books are not being

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