Did You Know?
Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952, but he declined.
Chaim Weizmann, Israel’s first president, died on November 9, 1952. The Foreign Ministry was asked to assist in finding candidates and Ambassador to the United States. Abba Eban approached Albert Einstein to ask if he would accept the offer to serve as president of Israel. In his letter to the professor, Eban wrote that he was acting at the instructions of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. He added that acceptance would require relocation to Israel and acceptance of Israeli nationality, but in appreciation of the importance and scope of his work he would be offered freedom to continue his scientific activity. Upon receiving the invitation, Einstein replied in handwriting in English and German.
Albert Einstein on Decision to Not Accept Presidency Offer:
"I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel [to serve as President], and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. All my life I have dealt with objective matters, hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions. For these reasons alone I should be unsuited to fulfill the duties of that high office, even if advancing age was not making increasing inroads on my strength. I am the more distressed over these circumstances because my relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became fully aware of our precarious situation among the nations of the world."