David Ben-Gurion’s ‘One Million Plan’

This clip of David Ben-Gurion (6:23) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explores the risk and opportunities of Ben-Gurion’s famed One Million Plan. Even before the establishment of the State of Israel, Ben-Gurion introduced his plan to bring one million new immigrants to Israel and have them appropriately absorbed. In the midst of World War II and in the wake of the terrible disaster affecting European Jews, Ben-Gurion’s mass-immigration initiative was groundbreaking. In fact, there had never been such an immigration model in all of history.

The plan required an overhaul in new regions of the country. It involved training immigrants in agriculture and other fields that would allow for their successful absorption and economic prosperity. It required development of water and sewage systems to serve the growing population. In her many works on this issue, researcher Devorah Cohen explores themes like the trend of favoritism that existed during the One Million Plan (immigration from some countries was preferred over others), funding challenges, and whether the fledgling state was indeed prepared for absorbing such mass immigration.