June 16, 1963 - David Ben-Gurion (pictured right in 1961) resigned unexpectedly today as the Premier and Defense Minister of Israel and gave up his seat in the Knesset (Parliament). He announced his resignation at the close of the weekly meeting of the Cabinet. When the surprised ministers pressed him to give reasons for his decision, he said: “They are personal needs. I propose to keep them to myself.” The 76-year-old leader, who has dominated the 15-year history of Israel, said that no specific national event or state problem had motivated his decision. Finance Minister Levi Eshkol, 67, is expected to succeed Mr. Ben-Gurion as Premier. A Premier’s resignation automatically dissolves the Government, and Mr. Eshkol, if he is chosen, will have to form a new one.
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