The Marvel of Balfour
“… As is the generation, so is the leader… As is the leader, so is the generation…”
Talmud, Erchin 17a

Over the past 70 years, the Jewish people have thirsted for leadership, have bled for leadership, or its lack.

The State of Israel has borne our hopes and fears; disappointments and rejoicing. It has confused and confounded its critics, sometimes falling short of its own ideals, sometimes exceeding them beyond all imagination.

And through it all were the Prime Ministers – the woman and men who have had to make some of the hardest calls in Jewish history.



Join the Academy and Rabbi Ramon Widmonte in partnership with Camps Bay Shul & Sydenham Shul as we leap into the minds, diaries, writings, hearts, hopes, stories and lives of the 8 longest serving Prime Ministers of the State of Israel: David Ben Gurion, Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzchak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Yitzchak Shamir, Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Look over Ben Gurion’s shoulder as he reads the proclamation of independence, sweat with Levi Eshkol as he faces down Egypt, tremble with Golda Meir as the Syrian tanks smash through the Golan, mourn with a nation at Rabin’s grave, rejoice as Menachem Begin shakes hands with Anwar Sadat, hold fire with white-knuckled Yitzchak Shamir as Scuds fall on Tel Aviv, hold the nation together with Ariel Sharon on the edge of civil war and hug Gilad Shalit with Benjamin Netanyahu

Part 1 of the course will include the first four on our list, Prime Ministers from the Mapai/Labour Party: David Ben Gurion, Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir and Yitzchak Rabin. Part 2 will include the next four, from the Herut/Likud party: Menachem Begin, Yitzchak Shamir, Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Each Prime Minister had highs and lows. In their own lifetimes, each was heavily criticised and also wildly praised. Their stories mirror, for the large part, the passionate epic of the Jewish people since the dark days of the Holocaust, and understanding their decisions and wisdom leads us all to a better grasp of the State of Israel, the Middle East and the future of the Jewish people.

Join us!

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The Academy is a vibrant, modern-orthodox program for Jewish thought, scholarship and education and that inspires our community with a lifelong love of Jewish learning. About us…

In association with the London School of Jewish Studies (President: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Dean: Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum, Honorary President: Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks)