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 partition plan had been approved by the United Nations, Civil War had been taking place in Palestine. The Arabs in Palestine refused to accept the proposal and vowed to oppose it by force. The British, who were still the nominal rulers, did little to stop the fighting. After some initial setbacks, the nascent Jewish army, the Haganah, generally gained the upper hand. The British had designated May 15th as their last day in Palestine. The Arab states surrounding the mandate vowed to attack if the Jews declared a state. Much of the world, including the US Secretary of State Marshall, urged the Jewish government led by David Ben Gurion not to declare a state, warning that the much larger Arab armies would defeat it.

Ben Gurion was convinced that this was a moment in history that could not be missed and convinced the Zionist Executive to declare independence on the afternoon of the 14th, the 15th being Saturday. The ceremony was to take place at the Hall of the Israel Museum on Rothschild Street in Tel Aviv. The hall was packed. In front sat the member of the Zionist executive. All were there except for Chaim Weizmann. At 4 PM, everyone rose to sing Hatikvah. Then Ben Gurion began reading from the hastily drafted declaration of independence. After he finished reading it, the declaration was adopted unanimously. Hatikva was sung once again, and Ben Gurion declared the State is established. In the 30 minutes, the most momentous event in modern Jewish history was over. Within hours the United States had recognized the new provisional government, and by dawn, surrounding Arab armies were attacking.