Fashion, History and Politics


While we are taught to not “judge a book by its cover” it is easy to make assumptions based on someone’s looks. In fact political leaders will sometimes use our assumptions to their advantage to drive home their political agenda. In this resource, learners will compare and contrast photographs that illustrate Ben Gurion’s and Menachem Begin’s dress styles. How did they differ? How are their political and moral viewpoints reflected in their choice of clothing? (See the discussion questions for educators in the expanding your horizons section below.) Students will discover how dress can reveal much about the historical context in which one lives, as well as about one’s personality and points of view.   In a culminating activity, the learners  are polled about their own preferences and  have the opportunity to “dress” a current political leader as a way of encouraging their popularity among voters.

Lesson Attachments​

The learner will:

  1. understand how a political leader’s fashion choices send a message to voters 

  2. know how the clothing that Ben Gurion and Begin wore reflected their ideologies

be able to create a new “look” for a political leader that reflects the leader’s ideologies and would encourage their popularity among voters

About the National Library and its educational materials:

The mission of the National Library of Israel is to provide a home for items of national, historic or cultural significance. Each of these primary sources serve as unique entry points into the collective memory of the people of Israel as well as the Jewish people worldwide.

The education department at the library curates the collection of primary sources and uses them as windows into the past; to foster a deeper understanding of Jewish history, and to enable learners to personalize and connect to earlier events.


When you click on the National Library of Israel resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. A group activity to open the lesson and engage the learners.

  2. Discussion ideas and/or questions that are designed to get the learners thinking more deeply about the content.

  3. A creative activity that gives students the opportunity to go beyond learning and analyzing, to crafting something new, that personalizes how they relate to the  primary sources featured in the resource.

  4. The primary sources in this resource have individual links (listed in Expand your horizons below) that provide expanded information. In addition there are nuanced discussion questions that will enable students in small groups to engage independently and effectively in the process of  observing, interpreting, and connecting to the primary sources.


Student handouts, computer, projector

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