David Ben-Gurion (help·info) (Hebrew: דָּוִד בֶּן-גּוּרִיּוֹן, born David Grüen on 16 October 1886, died 1 December 1973) was the first Prime Minister of Israel and a Zionist leader. Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, culminated in his instrumental role in the founding of the state of Israel. After leading Israel to victory in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Ben-Gurion helped build the state institutions and oversaw the absorption of vast numbers of Jews from all over the world. Upon retiring from political life in 1970, he moved to Sde Boker, a kibbutz in the Negev desert, where he lived until his death. Posthumously, Ben-Gurion was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.
David Ben-Gurion was born in Płońsk, Congress Poland which was then part of the Russian Empire. His father, Avigdor Grüen, was a lawyer and a leader in the Hovevei Zion movement. His mother, Scheindel, died when he was 11 years old.
Ben-Gurion grew up to be an ardent Zionist. As a student at the University of Warsaw, he joined the Marxist Poale Zion movement in 1904. He was arrested twice during the Russian Revolution of 1905. He emigrated to Ottoman Palestine in 1906, shocked by the pogroms and anti-Semitism of life in Eastern Europe, and became a major leader of Poale Zion with Yitzhak Ben-Zvi.