!We Have a State 2018-02-19T22:11:56+00:00

We Have a State!

The British Leave

On May 14, 1948, the establishment of the State of Israel was declared. It was a Friday, a few hours before the start of the Sabbath, at the height of the War of Independence. On the Day that the British Mandate in the Land of Israel expired, representatives of the Jewish Yishuv in the Land of Israel and representatives of the Zionist movement assembled in the Tel Aviv Museum. They approved the declaration establishing the State of Israel. David Ben Gurion, who led the state in its early years, read out the declaration. On that historic day, the Declaration of Independence became a founding document in the history of the State of Israel. After the reading, dances of joy broke out on the streets of the country. They continued into the night, providing a brief moment in which to forget the bloody battles and the knowledge that the country was at war.
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Joy in the Shadow of War

The celebrations after the declaration of Israel’s independence took place in the shadow of the war. The day before the declaration, the “queen fell”. Gush Etzion fell on 5.13.48. 240 civilians and soldiers fell in the battles of Gush Etzion. The Knesset eventually set that day as Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers. Thus memorializing and resurrection are entwined in the narrative of Israel and Zionism.

The Declaration of Independence

the Land of Israel, Palestine] 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.

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 Eretz-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 comity of nations.
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 Eretz-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 comity of nations.
ACCORDINGLY WE, MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S COUNCIL, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ERETZ-ISRAEL AND OF THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT, ARE HERE ASSEMBLED ON THE DAY OF THE TERMINATION OF THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER ERETZ-ISRAEL AND, BY VIRTUE OF OUR NATURAL AND HISTORIC RIGHT AND ON THE STRENGTH OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL.
WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People’s Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People’s Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called “Israel”.
THE STATE OF ISRAEL 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.
WE APPEAL to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State and to receive the State of Israel into the comity of nations.
WE APPEAL – 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.


PLACING OUR TRUST IN THE “ROCK OF ISRAEL”, 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, THE 5TH DAY OF IYAR, 5708 (14TH MAY,1948).


Jerusalem – the Capital of Israel

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On December 5, 1949, approximately one and a half years after the establishment of the State of Israel, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. This proclamation was based on a decision by the government and was widely supported by all the parties in the Knesset. Following this decision, the government decided to move all its offices to Jerusalem. At the end of that month the Knesset moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, to Frumin House on King George Street. One month after Ben Gurion’s proclamation, the Knesset held a special discussion about the status of the city in its Jerusalem home. The Knesset declared, “With the establishment of the Jewish State, Jerusalem again became its capital.”
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The Story of Gush Etzion

On 4.30.43, the Avraham Group, a group of religious pioneers, founded the religious kibbutz, Kfar Etzion. It was an isolated Jewish settlement in the north of Mount Hebron. Gradually, its members labored to overcome the hardships of the rocky mountain and the difficulties of making a living. Water holes were dug, agricultural terraces were built, orchards were planted and livestock farming was developed- a dairy farm and a poultry farm. A vacation resort was prepared and plans were made to build an industrial plant and to operate a quarry.

A rich life, religious and otherwise, was led in the Kibbutz. After the establishment of Kfar Etzion, three other settlements were founded and Gush Etzion became a flourishing and prosperous Jewish area. In October, 1947, there were about 250 people living in the settlements of Gush Etzion: Kfar Etzion, Massu’ot Yitzhak, Ein Tzurim and Revadim.
With the start of the war, the people of Gush Etzion found themselves in the heart of the war. Repeated Arab attacks on the settlements and the roads turned them into besieged settlements. A small number of settlers, with reinforcement from Haganah forces – Palmach and Hish fighters and students, faced organized Arab gangs, armed with light weapons and unlimited ammunition. The Jews were poorly armed with almost no ammunition. Daniel Mass, the commander of the Palmach was appointed commander of Gush Etzion.
On January 5, 1948, when the attacks and the isolation were unbearable, it was decided to evacuate the women and the children. At dawn on May 12, 1948, the last battle of Gush Etzion began. Arab Legion forces together with gangs, backed by artillery and armored vehicles stormed the military posts and the settlements of Gush Etzion. Wave after wave of Arabs attacked the few exhausted defenders that were still left to defend Gush Etzion with their last ounce of strength. The outer military posts were captured and the Jewish fighters withdrew. There was still contact with headquarters in Jerusalem, however no reinforcements reached the settlements. At dawn, on May 13, 1948, the attack resumed. The aim of the attackers – the conquest of Gush Etzion.
The defenders, including a group of fighters from Massu’ot Yitzhak that was defending the approaches to Kfar Etzion, repelled many attempts. However, in the afternoon, the enemy, in armored vehicles, broke through the gate and entered the kibbutz. The last direct transmission from Kfar Etzion to Jerusalem was, “The queen fell”. Kfar Etzion fell in battle. After the fall of Kfar Etzion, its defenders were viciously slaughtered. 127 defenders fell that day in Kfar Etzion; only four survived.

Haim Nachman Bialik – the National Poet

bialik

medina

Hatikva – The Israeli National Anthem

Lyrics: Naphtali Herz Imber | Music: Samuel Cohen

As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,
With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,
Then our hope – the two-thousand-year-old hope – will not be lost:
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem

The symbol of Israel

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An original movie from the State Archives of the departure of the British, the War of Independence, the illegal immigration, the establishment of the IDF and more

An invitation to the signing of the Declaration of Independence ceremony

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the Declaration of Independence ceremony

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