8. The Rebirth of the Jewish State

Q. What international forces finally gave rebirth to Jewish independence?

Disillusioned by the "answer of assimilation," and the seesaw process of Jewish emancipation and reaction, of honour and dishonour in the lands of their dispersion, the final deciding factor was, of course, the infamous and barbaric Nazi Holocaust. Jews and Christian pro-Zionists were more convinced than ever if Jews were to survive, a national homeland was imperative for the "People of the Book in the Land of the Bible."

It is a regrettable turn in the history of British-Jewish relations that David Ben-Gurion had to fight the White Paper of 1939, and British resistance to Jewish immigration during the anti-Zionist policy of Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, in 1946. In Palestine, the Jews there had to resist Arab fighting from November 29, 1947, the date of the United Nations Partition Decision, until May 15, 1948.

At midnight, May 14, 1948, the British Mandate over Palestine would end. That afternoon, David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973. b. David Green) read the Procla-mation of Independence. The Provisional Government appointed him as the first Prime Minister of the reborn State of Israel, and Minister of Defence.

A few minutes after Israel's Proclamation of Inde-pendence, the White House announced that "the United States recognizes the Provisional Government as the de facto authority of the new State of Israel." This was a personal decision of President Harry S Truman (1884-1972), overruling the State Department. Who's Who in Jewish History After the Period of the Old Testament (Joan Comay) states: "No American President had as direct an impact on Jewish history as Truman" (page 409).

It should be of interest to hear Ben-Gurion's opening remark before reading the Proclamation:

Eretz-Yisrael (the Land of Israel), was the birth-place of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.
Ben-Gurion went on to review in brief, Jewish history. Then, he continued:
Accordingly we, . . . hereby declare the establishment of the Jewish State in Eretz-Yisrael, to be known as MEDINAT YISRAEL (THE STATE OF ISRAEL).
After outlining the principles and purposes of the State, he concluded:
Placing our trust in the Almighty, we affix our signatures to this Proclamation at this session of the Provisional Council of State, on the soil of the homeland, in the city of Tel-Aviv, on this Sabbath Eve (Erev Shabbat), the 5th of Iyar, 5708 (14th May, 1948).

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