Israeli declaration of independence

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
David Ben-Gurion reading the Declaration of Independence in 1948

The Israeli Declaration of Independence ( Hebrew הכרזת העצמאות Hakhrazat HaAtzma'ut orמגילת העצמאות Megilat HaAtzma'ut ) on May 14, 1948 was the establishment of the State of Israel . On the same day, the League of Nations mandate for Palestine ended .

Historical background

As a result of the First World War , during the Sanremo Conference (1920) , the area of Palestine became the British mandate of the League of Nations, which was subordinate to the British Colonial Ministry without its own status as a state. At this point in time, Zionism was already leading to large waves of Jewish settlers entering the country. In the mid-1920s, there were already around 600 Jewish settlements that came together in the yishuv to form their own community. Their goal was to develop this community into a state. Already at the same time there had been clashes between Jewish settlers and the Arab population, as the latter felt threatened by the influx of settlers. A first high point of this development were the riots of 1929, during which the Arab massacres in Hebron and Safed occurred. Although the British authorities announced a restriction on immigration, the number of Jewish settlers reached 265,000 by 1939.

In July 1937, the British Peel Commission concluded that the country could be divided to make peace. While the recently founded “Arab Higher Committee” rejected the plan, the Jewish Agency welcomed these efforts. Even after the Peel Commission's partition plan became known, the Arab uprising , which began in 1936 and was directed against the Jewish settlers and against the British mandate, continued until 1939. It was only put down with the help of the British military. In the 1939 White Paper , the British government stipulated that the number of Jewish immigrants was now dependent on Arab approval, which in turn embittered the Zionists. In response, the Biltmore Conference in New York in 1942 decided to reject the White Paper. The actions of radical Jewish combat groups such as " Lechi " or " Irgun " were directed against the British authorities after the Second World War . These include in particular the attack on the King David Hotel on July 22, 1946. In the same year, Prime Minister Clement Attlee handed the solution to the problem to the United Nations . This resulted in the UN Partition Plan of 1947 , which gave the area to 56% of the Jewish and 43% of the Arab population, while the international territory ( Corpus separatum ) in Jerusalem made up 1%. The Arab League categorically rejected this plan. The Jewish Agency accepted the proposal and organized a provisional people's council as parliament and a provisional government (April 1947), which occupied the intended areas militarily, but also invaded Arab settlement areas. As a result, there were attacks and terrorist acts by Arab militias, as well as massacres of the Arab population ( Deir Yasin massacre on April 9, 1948) and their mass exodus.

The declaration of independence of the State of Israel

Gathering in front of the building in Tel Aviv-Jaffa where the declaration of independence is being read.

The declaration of independence of the State of Israel had already been prepared by many people. The first draft by Zvi Berenson was expanded by a committee that included Moshe Sharet , David Remez , Pinchas Rosen , Chaim-Mosche Schapira and Aharon Zisling .

This draft also referred to the limits set by the UN partition resolution of 1947 . When he came to the vote, however, a narrow majority (5 out of 9) were in favor of not including these territorial restrictions in the declaration, although it was explicitly stated that, for example , no national borders were mentioned in the US declaration of independence .

Zvi Berenson suggested some important changes. Instead of “We hereby declare the establishment of a free and independent Jewish state” it should read: “Herewith we declare the establishment of a free, independent and democratic Jewish state”. He also suggested adding a longer section with binding rights, centered around: "There is a right [in the state] for all residents, regardless of their race, religion, language or gender." The Rosen employees added Berenson's suggestion to add a note in which they suggested that the words “democracy” and “a right for all residents” should be deleted, since this is “just one of many principles in the United Nations Charter , and it is better to do so To formulate principles only very generally and indefinitely ”. Rosen and Scharet actually deleted democracy from the draft.

Another committee, to which Ben-Gurion, Rabbi Fishman, Zisling and Sharet belonged, was entrusted with the final formulation.

Rosen had also removed equality before the law. Scharet added part of it again: the state grants "all its citizens, regardless of their race or religion, full, equal social and political rights".

Almost every word of the draft was discussed in detail by the political leadership. On the evening before the declaration of independence, Ben-Gurion added gender equality. Democracy and equality of languages ​​were not reintroduced in the final version.

This was approved by the Provisional Government on May 12th after long discussions.

When Sir Alan Cunningham, the last British High Commissioner, left Palestine on May 14, 1948 , a few hours later the Jewish People's Council, founded in March, held a public session in the old art museum on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv .

This People's Council was a body consisting of 37 people, composed of the board of the National Council and the "Jewish Agency" as well as twelve other delegates. However, only 25 members were present as 11 others were stuck in the embattled Jerusalem and another was overseas. During the meeting, David Ben Gurion , the country's first prime minister , read the official declaration of independence of the State of Israel, which was broadcast nationwide by the radio station Kol Israel as its first program. The reading to around 250 invited guests at 4 p.m. lasted 32 minutes. The news was greeted with cheers in the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the Jewish settlements.

The declaration consisted of 19 paragraphs, which are divided into three parts. The first part comprises the first ten paragraphs and contains a historical argument. In the second part, which consists of only one paragraph, follows the actual declaration of independence. The third part with seven paragraphs follows political guidelines and specifications for the new state. A final paragraph is followed by the signatures of the 37 members of the People's Council.

German translation

Original of the declaration of independence. Exhibited in the Israel Museum

The Jewish people arose in the Land of Israel. Here his intellectual, religious and political nature was shaped. Here it lived freely and independently, Here it created a national and universal culture and gave the world the Eternal Book of Books.

Driven out by force, the Jewish people remained loyal to their homeland even after they were exiled. His hope never gave way. His prayer for homecoming and freedom never fell silent.

Inspired by the power of history and tradition, Jews of all generations tried to regain a foothold in their old country. Over the past few decades they have come in great droves. Pioneers, defenders and immigrants who made their way into the country despite the blockade, awakened wastelands to bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and cities and established an ever-growing community with its own economy and culture, which strived for peace, but also knew how to protect itself, which brought the blessings of progress to everyone in the country and set itself the goal of complete independence.

In 1897 the first Zionist Congress met. He answered the call from Dr. Theodor Herzls, the seer of the Jewish state, and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national renewal in their country. This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917 and also confirmed by the League of Nations mandate, which established the historical connection of the Jewish people with the Land of Israel and their right to the rebuilding of their national homeland.

The catastrophe that struck the Jewish people in our time and destroyed millions of Jews in Europe proved irrefutably anew that the problem of Jewish homelessness must be solved by the restoration of the Jewish state in the land of Israel, in a state whose gates open to every Jew, and which ensures the Jewish people the rank of an equal nation in the family of nations.

The survivors of the Holocaust in Europe and Jews from other countries spared neither hardship nor dangers to leave for the land of Israel and assert their right to an existence in dignity and freedom and a life of honest work in their homeland.

During the Second World War, the Hebrew community in Israel made its full contribution to the struggle of the peace and freedom-loving nations against the Axis powers. With the blood of her soldiers and her commitment to victory, she acquired the right to participate in the founding of the United Nations.

On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel. She called on the people of the country to take all necessary measures to implement this decision. The recognition of the Jewish people's right to exist as a state by the United Nations at that time is irrevocable.

Like all other peoples, it is the natural right of the Jewish people to determine their history under their own sovereignty in their own sovereign state.

As a result, we, the members of the National Council, as representatives of the Hebrew people and the Zionist organization, have met here today, on the last day of the British mandate over Palestine, and hereby proclaim by virtue of our natural and historical right and on the basis of the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations establishing a Jewish state in the Land of Israel - the State of Israel.

We resolve that from the moment of termination of the mandate, today at midnight, the sixth day of the month of Ijar of the year 5708, May 15, 1948, until the assumption of office by constitutionally determined state authorities, but not later than October 1, 1948 , the National Council as a provisional Council of State and its executive body, the People's Administration, should act as the temporary government of the Jewish state. The name of the state is Israel.

The State of Israel will be open to Jewish immigration and the gathering of Jews in exile. He will devote himself to the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants. It will be based on freedom, justice and peace in the spirit of the visions of the prophets of Israel. It will guarantee all its citizens, regardless of religion, race or gender, social and political equality. He will guarantee freedom of belief and conscience, freedom of language, education and culture, protect the Holy Places and remain true to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

The State of Israel will be ready to cooperate with the organs and representatives of the United Nations in the implementation of the resolution of November 29, 1947, and to endeavor to establish the entire Palestinian economic unity.

We turn to the United Nations with the request to provide help to the Jewish people in building their state and to accept the state of Israel into the family of nations.

We turn to the Arabs living in Israel - even in the midst of murderous attacks to which we have been exposed for months - with a call to preserve the peace and, on the basis of full civil equality and appropriate representation in all temporary and permanent organs of the state, we are working on its construction to contribute.

We extend our hand to all our neighboring states and their peoples for peace and good neighborliness and call for cooperation and mutual help with the independent Hebrew people in their homeland.

The State of Israel stands ready to do its part in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

Our call goes out to the Jewish people in all countries of the Diaspora to help us in the field of immigration and construction and to stand by us in striving for the fulfillment of the dream of generations - the redemption of Israel.

With confidence on the Rock of Israel, we place our names as testimony under this declaration given at the session of the Provisional State Council on the soil of our homeland in the city of Tel Aviv. Today on the eve of the Sabbath, Iyar 5, 5708, May 14, 1948.

The signatories

The 37 signatories were with year and place of birth:

David Ben-Gurion * 1886 in Płońsk Jizchak Ben Zwi * 1884 in Poltava
Mordechaj Bentov * 1900 in Grodzisk Mazowiecki Daniel Auster * 1893 in Knihininów
Rabbi Zeev Gold * 1889 in Szczuczyn Peretz Bernstein * 1890 in Meiningen
Eliyahu Berligne * 1866 in Mahiljou Abraham Granovski * 1890 in Făleşti
Jitzchak Gruenbaum * 1879 in Warsaw Meir Grabovsky * 1905 in Rîbnița
Zerah Warhaftig * 1906 in Waukawysk Meir Vilner * 1918 in Vilnius
Eliyahu Dobkin * 1898 in Babrujsk Kalman Kahana * 1910 in Brody
Rachel Cohen * 1888 in Odessa Meir David Löwenstein * 1901 in Copenhagen
Herzl Vardi * 1903 in Kaunas Jitzhak-Meir Levin * 1894 in Góra Kalwaria
Saadia Kobashi * 1904 in Yemen Nahum Nir * 1884 in Warsaw
Golda Meir * 1898 in Kiev Zvi Luria * 1906 in Łódź
David-Zwi Pinkas * 1895 in Sopron Jehuda Leib Maimon * 1875 in Mărculeşti
Zvi Segal * 1901 in Poland Eliezer Kaplan * 1891 in Minsk
Moshe Kol * 1911 in Pinsk Aharon Zisling * 1901 in Minsk
David Remez * 1886 in Kopys Pinchas Rosen * 1887 in Berlin
Avraham Katznelson * 1888 in Babrujsk Benzion Sternberg * 1895 in Chernivtsi
Mordechai Shattner * 1904 in Hungary Berl Repetur * 1902 in Ruschyn
Chaim Mosque Shapira * 1902 in Hrodna Moshe Sharet * 1894 in Kherson
Bechor-Schalom Schitrit * 1895 in Tiberias

Immediate consequences

On the night of May 14-15, 1948, at midnight, the official British mandate expired. Shortly afterwards, Egypt , Transjordan , Syria , Lebanon and Iraq declared war on the Israeli state. In the Palestinian War that followed, the Jewish settlers not only maintained their territory, but expanded it by 21% compared to the UN partition plan. The West Bank could initially be annexed by Transjordan, which led to the formation of the Kingdom of Jordan . The first state to de facto recognize Israel under international law on May 15, 1948 was the USA ( de jure , the USA did not recognize Israel until January 25, 1949 after the first democratic Knesset election). Three days later, the Soviet Union followed , which was the first to recognize the Israeli state immediately de jure and at the same time established the first diplomatic relations.


Web links

Commons : Israeli Declaration of Independence  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Elmar Krautkrämer: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict , p. 4.
  2. a b Elmar Krautkrämer: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict , p. 5.
  3. a b c Joram Shachar: יהודית, הוא צעק, לא דמוקרטית. In: Haaretz, December 2, 2014.
  4. a b Jay Harris: The Israeli Declaration of Independence
  5. ^ A b Elli Wohlgelernter: One day that shook the world
  6. Angelika Timm: From the Zionist Vision to the Jewish State , p. 11; there are also extracts from the declaration in German translation.
  7. a b Israel's declaration of independence in the original document
  8. a b Israel's Declaration of Independence in German translation with image of the signatures
  9. Ehud En-Gil: העם העברי שנמחק ונשכח. In: Haaretz , December 12, 2014.