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Declaration of Independence
Friday 14th May 1948 - Erev Shabbat 5th Iyar 5708
Eretz Israel [Hebrew: The
Land of Israel] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their
spiritual, religious and national identity was formed. Here they achieved
independence and created a culture of national and universal significance. Here
they wrote and gave the Bible to the world.
Exiled from their land, the Jewish people remained
faithful to it in all the countries of their dispersion, never ceasing to pray
and hope for their return and for the restoration in it of their national
Impelled by this historic association, Jews strove
in every successive generation to to re-establish themselves in their ancient
homeland. In recent decades they returned in masses. Pioneers, ma'pilim
[Hebrew: immigrants coming to Eretz-Israel in defiance of
restrictive legislation] 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, they brought the blessing of progress to all inhabitants of
In the year 5657 (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
its own country.
This right was recognized in the Balfour
Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the
League of Nations which, in particular, gave explicit international recognition
to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel and to the
right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.
The Nazi holocaust, which engulfed millions of Jews
in Europe, was another clear demonstration of the urgency of the
re-establishment n Eretz-Israel of 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 survivors of the European catastrophe, as well
as Jews continued to migrate to Eretz-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
this country made a full contribution in the struggle of the freedom- and peace-
loving nations against the forces of Nazi evil and by the blood of its soldiers
and its war effort, gained the right to be reckoned among the peoples who
founded the United Nations.
David Ben Gurion reading the Declaration
On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the
United Nations adopted a Resolution calling for the establishment of an
independent Jewish State in Eretz-Israel, and called upon the inhabitants of the
country to take such steps as may be necessary on their part to put the plan
This recognition by the United Nations of the right
of the Jewish people to establish their independent 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.
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 HEREBY 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), and until the setting up of the duly elected
bodies of the State in accordance with a Constitution, to be drawn up by the
Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the first day of October, 1948, the
People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive
organ, the People's Administration, shall constitute the Provisional Government
of the Jewish State, to be called "Israel".
THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open to the immigration
of Jews and for the Ingathering of the Exiles from all countries of their
dispersion; will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all
its inhabitants; will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace as
invisaged by the prophets of Israel; will uphold the full social and political
equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex; will
guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture; will
safeguard the sanctity and inviolability of the shrines and Holy Places of all
religions; and will dedicate itself to the principles of the Charter of the
THE STATE OF ISRAEL is prepared to cooperate with
the agencies and representatives of the United Nations in the implementation of
the Resolution of the General Assembly of November 29, 1947, and will take steps
to bring about the economic union over the whole of Eretz-Israel.
WE APPEALto the United Nations to assist the Jewish
people in the building-up of its State and to admit Israel into the family of
WE APPEAL - in the very midst of the onslaught
launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State if
Israel to return to the ways of peace and play their part in the upbuilding of
the State, on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in
all its bodies and institutions - provisional or permanent.
WE EXTEND our hand of peace and unity to all the
neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite 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.
WE APPEAL to the Jewish people throughout the
Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the task of immigration and
development and to stand by them in the great struggle for the fulfillment of
the age-old dream - the redemption of Israel.
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).
Yitzchak Ben Zvi
Rabbi Wolf Gold
Dr. Abraham Granovsky
Rabbi Kalman Kahana
Meir David Loewenstein
Rabbi Yehuda Leib
David Zvi Pinkas
Ben Zion Sternberg
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