> Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, May 14, 1948
The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, May 14, 1948
The full text is available on WikiSource (http://sources.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_the_Establishment_of_the_State_of_Israel).
The Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel was publicly read in Tel Aviv on the eve of May 14, 1948. It was drafted in the months beforehand, and the final version is a result of a compromise between the various parts of the Israeli public of that time. On May 14, 1948, on the day in which the British Mandate over Palestine expired, the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum, and approved the proclamation, declaring the establishment of the State of Israel. The new state was recognized that night by the United States and three days later by the Soviet Union (Stalin thought a communist or communist-oriented Jewish state could be a useful "thorn in the back" to his capitalist rivals in the Middle East). It was however opposed by many others, particularly Arabs (both the surrounding Arab states and the Palestinian Arabs) who felt it was being established at their expense.
The declaration is written in a style reminiscent of U.N. resolutions, beginning with preambulatory sentences explaining the causes for the declaration and the right of Jews to an independent country, and then operative sentences detailing the attributes of the forthcoming State of Israel.
Context of the Declaration of the State of Israel May 14, 1948
The document commences by drawing a direct line from Biblical times to the present:"...the Land of Israel, was the birthplace 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."
It acknowledges the Jewish exile over the millennia mentioning both ancient "faith" and new "politics": "After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom."
The urge of Jews to merge with their ancient homeland has been: "Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses." Now its is the "Pioneers,...and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country's inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood."
In 1897, at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in what it claimed to be its own country. This right was supported by the British government in the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917 and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Palestine and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home. No Arab nations were at the time members of the League of Nations, and hence the Palestinian people lacked representation.
The European Holocaust of 1939 - 1945 is part of the imperative for the re-settlement of the homeland: "the catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe - was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Israel the Jewish State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the community of nations. Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust in Europe, as well as Jews from other parts of the world, continued to migrate to Israel, undaunted by difficulties, restrictions and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland."
In the Second World War, the Jewish community of Palestine supported the Allied Forces against the Axis Powers, and in particular against the Nazis, while some members of the Palestinian community supported the Nazis (see Grand Mufti of Jerusalem). Many maintain that the region's Jews thus earned the right to be among the peoples who founded the United Nations.
On the November 29, 1947 , the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Israel, requiring the inhabitants of Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable. This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.
Thus members and representatives of the Jews of Palestine and of the Zionist movement upon the end of the British Mandate, by virtue of "natural and historic right" and based on the United Nations resolution:"...Hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel to be known as the State of Israel."
And so the state will be open for Jewish immigration and for the "Ingathering of the Exiles" ; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The new state pledged that it will take steps to bring about the economic union of the whole of Eretz-Israel.
To the surrounding Arab states:"...in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions. We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East."
A final appeal is made to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream - the redemption of Israel.
Concluding by "Placing our trust in the Almighty..." the signatories affix their signatures. "First to sign is David Ben-Gurion, and some of the famous names associated with the founding of the state: Yitzchak Ben Zvi,Golda Myerson (Meir), Rabbi Yehuda Leib Hacohen Fishman, Moshe Sharett.