Levi Eshkol – In His Own Words

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.


In the 63 years since its IndependenceIsrael has had 12 different Prime Ministers. Four of them, including the present incumbent, served 2 terms. History will judge success or failure according to their actions. But there is another way in which they will be remembered. Their words of wit or wisdom.  Were they so memorable as to be ingrained forever in the minds of men?  (Just an expression – women included, of course).

To view selected quotations from all 12 Prime Ministers click on this link:


Here is one example to whet your appetite.

Levi Eshkol ( 1963-1969)

עברית: פגישת ראש עיריית רחובות ורעיות ניצה עם ...

Eshkol and a much younger Shimon Peres

His term included the momentous years leading up to the 6 Day War and its aftermath. However, it seems that his public utterances were very limited. The only quotation cited in most sites is the first one; I think the last one is the most revealing.

In Israel his most famous saying, which is often quoted but may well be apochryphal, is:

” I know I promised, but I never promised to keep my promise.”

This was reputedly in relation to some political deal.

In reality, Eshkol pursued a very tough line with the Arabs and was a serious proponent of their expulsion, which he viewed simply as an exchange of populations.

Selected Quotations

” Put 3 Zionists in a room and they will form 4 political parties.”

” OK.OK – but what if intelligence is wrong?”  (1)

” The notepad is open and the hand is writing.” (2)

” We must show the Arabs that the Jews are not just standing here and bleating.” (3)

Today I am guided by two guidelines – security and demography.” (4)

We have nothing to give and nothing to concede.”(5)

Now I’m going to show my cards. First, I don’t know what I want. Second, I would like to do something.” (6)

I want them all to go, even if they go to the moon.”(7)


1. Refers to Arab military preparedness.

2.Regarding reprisals for terrorist bombings.

3. General outlook.

4. On negotiation about what to do with Arab refugees.

5. Told to Jean-Paul Sartre just prior to the 6 day war.

6. Discussing how to respond to UN approaches on the refugee issue.

7. Refers to Arabs from Gaza.





Andyboy- Telling it as it is

Hanukkah Greetings


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