Founding in Tel Aviv

On Friday May 14th, 1948, David Ben Gurion the Chairmen of the Executive of the World Zionist Organization formally declared the establishment of the State of Israel and its Provisional Government. Within hours of the declaration of Independance the United States surprised the world and granted Israel recognition.

From the moment the United Nations approved the partition plan, Palestine had been embroiled in civil war. The Arab inhabitants of Palestine rejected the proposal and pledged to resist it by force. Meanwhile, the British, the nominal rulers of the region, did little to intervene in the conflict. Despite early obstacles, the emerging Jewish military force, the Haganah, gradually gained an advantage. The British had declared May 15th as their final day in Palestine, and the surrounding Arab states threatened to attack if the Jews declared their statehood. Influential figures globally, including US Secretary of State Marshall, implored the Jewish leadership, helmed by David Ben Gurion, not to declare a state, cautioning against potential defeat by the larger Arab armies.

Yet, Ben Gurion recognized this as an unmissable historic opportunity and persuaded the Zionist Executive to declare independence on the afternoon of the 14th, since the 15th was a Saturday. The ceremony took place at the Hall of the Israel Museum on Rothschild Street in Tel Aviv. The hall was crowded, and members of the Zionist executive occupied the front row, all except for Chaim Weizmann. At 4 PM, attendees rose to their feet to sing Hatikvah. Then Ben Gurion commenced reading from the hastily drafted declaration of independence. Upon completion, the declaration was unanimously accepted. Hatikvah echoed in the hall once again, and Ben Gurion pronounced the establishment of the state. In a span of just 30 minutes, the most consequential event in modern Jewish history had transpired. Within hours, the United States recognized the new provisional government, and by dawn, the encircling Arab armies had begun their assault.