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Historic Documents

Declaration of Israel's Independence

Issued at Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948 (5th of Iyar, 5708)

The land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people.
Here their spiritual, religious and national identity was formed.
Here they achieved independence and created a culture of national and 
universal significance. Here they wrote and gave the Bible to the world.

Exiled from Palestine, the Jewish people remained faithful to it in all
the countries of their dispersion, never ceasing to pray and hope for
their return and the restoration of their national freedom.

Impelled by this historic association, Jews strove throughout the
centuries to go back to the land of their fathers and regain their
statehood.  In recent decades they returned in masses.  They reclaimed
the wilderness, revived their language, built cities and villages and
established a vigorous and ever-growing community with its own
economic and cultural life.  They sought peace yet were ever prepared
to defend themselves.  They brought the blessing of progress to all
inhabitants of the country.

In the year 1897 the First Zionist Congress, inspired by Theodor
Herzl's vision of the Jewish State, proclaimed the right of the Jewish
people to national revival in their own country.

This right was acknowledged by the Balfour Declaration of November 2,
1917, and re-affirmed by the Mandate of the League of Nations, which
gave explicit international recognition to the historic connection of
the Jewish people with Palestine and their right to reconstitute their
National Home. 

The Nazi holocaust, which engulfed millions of Jews in Europe, proved
anew the urgency of the re-establishment of the Jewish state, which
would solve the problem of Jewish homelessness by opening the gates to
all Jews and lifting the Jewish people to equality in in the family of

The survivors of the European catastrophe, as well as Jews from other
lands, proclaiming their right to a life of dignity, freedom and labor,
and undeterred by hazards, hardships and obstacles, have tried
unceasingly to enter Palestine.

In the Second World War the Jewish people in Palestine made a full
contribution in the struggle of the freedom-loving nations against the
Nazi evil.  The sacrifices of their soldiers and the efforts of their
workers gained them title to rank with the peoples who founded the
United Nations.

On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations
adopted a Resolution for the establishment of an independent Jewish
State in Palestine, and called upon the inhabitants of the country to
take such steps as may be necessary on their part to put the plan into

This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish
people to establish their independent State may not be revoked.  It
is, moreover, the self-evident right of the Jewish people to be a
nation, as all other nations, in its own sovereign State.

ACCORDINGLY, WE, the members of the National Council, representing the
Jewish people in Palestine and the Zionist movement of the world, met
together in solemn assembly today, the day of the termination of the
British mandate for Palestine, by virtue of the natural and historic
right of the Jewish and of the Resolution of the General Assembly of
the United Nations,

HEREBY PROCLAIM the establishment of the Jewish State in Palestine,
to be called ISRAEL. 

WE HEREBY DECLARE that as from the termination of the Mandate at
midnight, this night of the 14th and 15th May, 1948, and until the
setting up of the duly elected bodies of the State in accordance with
a Constitution, to be drawn up by a Constituent Assembly not later
than the first day of October, 1948, the present National Council
shall act as the provisional administration, shall constitute the
Provisional Government of the State of Israel.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open to the immigration of Jews from all
countries of their dispersion; will promote the development of the
country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on the
precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets;
will uphold the full social and political equality of all its
citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex; will guarantee
full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture; will
safeguard the sanctity and inviolability of the shrines and Holy
Places of all religions; and will dedicate itself 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 the Assembly of November 29, 1947, and will take steps 
to bring about the Economic Union over the whole of Palestine.

We appeal to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the
building of its State and to admit Israel into the family of nations.

In the midst of wanton aggression, we yet call upon the Arab
inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and
play their part in the development of the State, with full and equal
citizenship and due representation in its bodies and institutions -
provisional or permanent.  

We offer peace and unity to all the neighboring states and their
peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish
nation for the common good of all.

Our call goes out the the Jewish people all over the world to rally to
our side in the task of immigration and development and to stand by
us in the great struggle for the fulfillment of the dream of
generations - the redemption of Israel.

With trust in Almighty God, we set our hand to this Declaration, at
this Session of the Provisional State Council, in the city of Tel
Aviv, on this Sabbath eve, the fifth of Iyar, 5708, the fourteenth day
of May, 1948.

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