Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel

(1948)

On Friday, May 14, 1948, at four o'clock in the afternoon, David Ben-Gurion, leader of Palestine's Workers Party and head of the Jewish Agency, read a statement declaring the inauguration of an independent Jewish state in Palestine that night, as thirty years of British Mandate over the country came to an end. This Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel had two main aims. The first aim was legal. The declaration was meant to close a possible legal gap, as neither the British Mandate authorities nor the United Nations had designated a specific successor or a complete legal apparatus for transferring power to a new state. The second aim of the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was practical: Knowing that the British departure might encourage neighboring states to invade the borders of the anticipated Jewish state as planned by the UN resolution, Ben-Gurion wanted to establish Israel's legitimacy. And, indeed, the new state soon gained...

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British military group during mandate of Palestine in the court of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Library of Congress)

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