TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Which country asked Albert Einstein to be its president?

July 30, 2013 - Which country asked Albert Einstein to be its president?


In 1952, Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann, asked his friend Albert Einstein (“the greatest Jew alive,” Weizmann said) if he would be willing to lead the young nation.

Though the Israelis assured him that “complete facility and freedom to pursue your great scientific work would be afforded by a government and people who are fully conscious of the supreme significance of your labors,” Einstein turned down the offer. According to, for one thing, though he was very sympathetic to Israel, he was never an ardent Zionist-he believed in “friendly and fruitful” cooperation between Jews and Arabs. Secondly, he worried that he lacked the interpersonal skills to be a world leader.

Still, Einstein said, “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,” and he was “deeply moved” by Weizmann’s offer.
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