Häromdagen fick ambassaden ta del av ett brev skrivet av ingen mindre än Israels förste premiärminister David Ben-Gurion. Så här skriver ambassadör Ben-Dov om brevet och Ben-Gurions syn på Sverige:
What did David Ben-Gurion think about Sweden?
In a letter written exactly 69 years ago, David Ben-Gurion wrote:
”Sweden is one of the most progressive and enlightened countries, and we see great benefits not only economically but also morally and socially in a cooperation and exchange of knowledge and ideas between our two countries and peoples.”
A wonderful reminder of the great closeness and mutual understanding that characterized the very first years of Swedish-Israeli relations. From the personal archive of Swedish Ambassador to Finland Nicola Clase – two fascinating letters by Israel’s legendary first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and his also very famous Swedish colleague PM Tage Erlander, Sweden’s longest-serving PM of modern times.
The heart-warming and historically very interesting sequence of letters was published by Ambassador Clase’s grandfather, the great Swedish publicist Gunnar Fagrell. The occasion was a special issue of the magazine ”Världshorisont” (”International Horizons’), devoted to the then very young State of Israel. Prime Minister Ben Gurion, having received a copy and according to his often attested habit, decided to write and express his appreciation for the Swedish publication. Prime Minister Erlander – when made aware of this – decided to write his comment as well!
The warmness and closeness of feeling between the two ”fathers of their nations” is striking and for all to see in the attached texts. While PM Ben-Gurion stresses the resemblances and all there is in common between the two progressive and enlightened nations Sweden and Israel, PM Erlander for his part writes with the greatest feeling about the unspeakable tragedy of the Holocaust and Israel’s miraculous rebirth after millennia.
An important reminder of what relations between Sweden and Israel historically have been and what their potential remains until this day!
I should very much like to thank Ambassador Clase, Sweden’s Ambassador to Finland, as well as my colleague and friend Hagit Ben-Yaakov, Israel’s Ambassador to Finland, for sharing this wonderful story.