THE NEW YORK TIMES:
New State of Israel; Truman Recognizes it and Hopes
for Peace" By
GENE CURRIVAN; May 15, 1948
Tel Aviv, Palestine, Saturday,
May 15 -- The Jewish state, the world's
newest sovereignty, to be known as the State of Israel,
came into being in Palestine at midnight upon termination
of the British mandate.
Recognition of the state by the United States, which
had opposed its establishment at this time, came as
a complete surprise to the people, who were tense and
ready for the threatened invasion by Arab forces and
appealed for help by the United Nations.
In one of the most hopeful periods of their troubled
history the Jewish people here gave a sigh of relief
and took a new hold on life when they learned that the
greatest national power had accepted them into the international
Ceremony Simple and Solemn
declaration of the new state by David Ben-Gurion
(right) , chairman of the National Council and the first
Premier of reborn Israel, was delivered during a simple
and solemn ceremony at 4 P.M., and new life was instilled
into his people, but from without there was the rumbling
of guns, a flashback to other declarations of independence
that had not been easily achieved.
The first action of the new Government was to revoke
the Palestine White Paper of 1939, which restricted
Jewish immigration and land purchase.
In the proclamation of the new state the Government
appealed to the United Nations "to assist the Jewish
people in the building of its state and to admit Israel
into the family of nations."
The proclamation added:
"We offer peace and amity to all neighboring states
and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with
the independent Jewish nation for the common good of
all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its
full share to "the peaceful progress and reconstruction
of the Middle East."
World Jews Asked to Aid
The statement appealed to Jews throughout the world
to assist in the task of immigration and development
and in the "struggle for the fulfillment of the dream
of generations -- the redemption of Israel."
for the ceremony had been laid with great secrecy. None
but the hundred or more invited guests and journalists
was aware of the meeting until it started, and even
the guests learned of the site only ten minutes before.
It was held in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, a white,
modern-design two-story building. Above it flew the
Star of David, which is the state's flag, and below,
on the sidewalk, was a guard of honor of the Haganah,
the army of the Jewish Agency for Palestine.
As photographers' bulbs flashed and movie cameras ground
out reels of the scene, great crowds gathered and cheered
the Ministers and other members of the Government as
they entered the building. The security arrangements
were perfect. Sten guns were brandished in every direction
and even the roofs bristled with them.
The setting for the reading of the proclamation was
a dropped gallery whose hall held paintings by prominent
Jewish artists. Many of them depicted the sufferings
and joys of the people of the Diaspora, the dispersal
of the Jews.
The thirteen Ministers of the Government Council sat
at a long dais beneath the photograph of Theodor Herzl
(right), who in 1897 envisaged a Jewish state. Vertical
pale blue and white flags of the state hung on both
sides. To the left of the ministers and below them sat
other members of the national administration. There
are thirty-seven in all, but some were unable to get
here from Jerusalem.
At 4 P.M. sharp the assemblage rose and sang the Hatikvah,
the national anthem. The participants seemed to sing
with unusual gusto and inspiration. The voices had hardly
subsided when the squat, white-haired chairman, Mr.
Ben-Gurion, started to read the proclamation, which
in a few hours was to transform most of those present
from persons without a country to proud nationals. Then
he pronounced the words "We hereby proclaim the establishment
of the Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel,"
there was thunderous applause and not a few damp eyes.
After the proclamation had been read and the end of
the White Paper and of its land laws pronounced, Mr.
Ben-Gurion signed the document and was followed by all
the other members of the administration, some by proxy.
The last to sign was Moshe Shertok, the new Foreign
Minister and the Jewish Agency's delegate to the United
Nations. He was roundly applauded and almost mobbed
The ceremony ended with everyone standing silently while
the orchestral strains of the Hatikvah
filled the room. Outside, the fever of nationalism was
spreading with fond embraces, warm handshakes and kisses.
Street vendors were selling flags, crowds gathered to
read posted bulletins, and newspapers were being sold
As the Sabbath had started, there was not the degree
of public rejoicing that there would have been any other
The proclamation was to have been read at 11 P.M., but
was advanced to 4 because of the Sabbath. Mr. Shertok
explained that the proclamation had to be made yesterday
because the mandate was to end at midnight and the Zionists
did not want a split second to intervene between that
time and the formal establishment of the state.
In the preamble to the declaration
of independence the history of the Jewish people
was traced briefly from its birth in the Land of Israel
to this day. The preamble touched on the more modern
highlights, including Herzl's vision of a state, acknowledgment
of the Jewish national homeland by the Balfour Declaration
in 1917 and its reaffirmation by the League of Nations
mandate and by the United Nations General Assembly resolution
of Nov. 29, 1947.
It asserted that this recognition by the United Nations
of the right of the Jewish people to establish an independent
state could not be revoked and added that it was the
"self-evident right of the Jewish people to be a nation,
as all other nations, in its own sovereign state."
The proclamation stated that as of midnight the National
Council would act as a Provisional State Council and
that its executive organ, the National Administration,
would constitute a provisional government until elected
bodies could be set up before Oct. 1.
Israel, the proclamation went on, will be open to immigration
by Jews from all countries "of their dispersion." She
will develop the country for the benefit of all its
inhabitants, it added, and will be based on precepts
of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew prophets.
The new state, according to the proclamation, will uphold
the "social and political equality of all its citizens
without distinction of race, creed, or sex" and "will
guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education,
statement pledged safe-guarding of the sanctity and
inviolability of shrines and holy places of all religions.
It also contained a promise to uphold the principles
of the United Nations.
There was great cheering and drinking of toasts in this
blacked-out city when word was received that the United
States had recognized the provincial Government. The
effect on the people, especially those drinking late
in Tel Aviv's coffee houses, was electric. They even
ran into the blackness of the streets shouting, cheering
and toasting the United States.
OTHER HEADLINES OF THAT DAY
U.N. Votes a Mediator; Special Assembly Is Ended
U.S. Moves Quickly: President Acknowledges de
Facto Authority of Israel Immediately: Truce Aim Stressed:
Soviet Gesture to New Nation Anticipated -- Others Due
Tel Aviv Is Bombed, Egypt Orders Invasion: Air
Attack Opens: Planes Cause Fires at Port -- Defense
Fliers Go Into Action: Border Is Breached: Cairo Vanguard
Takes Colony -- Trans-Jordan Reports a Movement
Cunningham Goes as Mandate Ends: British Commissioner
Boards Cruiser Off Haifa -- Jews Take Down Union Jack
U.N. Bars Jerusalem Trusteeship; Vote Follows Mandate