July 20, 2024

Israel Becomes a State in 48

Tel Aviv Independence Hall Tel Aviv Independence Hall © Evan Spiler | Dreamstime.com

[Editor's note: As I write this article, my wife and I are watching the excellent 1960 film "Exodus" starring Paul Newman.  The movie, based on Leon Uris' novel of the same name, weaves a fascinating tale of life for Jewish immigrants in post World War 2, attempting to settle in the land at the time known as Palestine.   This article is only a brief summary of the timeline of events and facts, as a starting point for further discussion and research.  I welcome any feedback in the comments section, and will be revisiting this topic in the future!]

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Israel becoming a state,  on May 14, 1948. Almost 2000 years after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans and the dispersion of the Jewish people throughout the world ("diaspora"), many Christians and Jews feel this miraculous regathering of the Jewish people and reforming of the nation of Israel is prophecy fulfilled. 

The path of history leading up to the establishment of the Israel as a state is a rocky one, and obviously to this day remains embroiled in politics, controversy, land disputes and cultural/religious clashes in the Middle East that few of us fully understand.   

The idea of the creation of a separate Jewish state in the Holy Land of Palestine, then ruled by the Ottomans, although already in practice, was officially brought to play by the Zionism movement, led by Austro-Hungarian Journalist, Theodor Herzl.


Timeline of Israel's Formation

1881: The first Jewish relocation to Palestine took place as Jews escaped Europe.

1896: Theodor Herzl published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State)

1897: Herzl became president of the First Zionist Congress

1904: The Second Jewish Migration to Palestine took place.

The Ottoman Empire that previously ruled Palestine eventually crumpled during World War I, leaving Palestine for the British to take over.

1917: Britain published “Balfour Declaration” and sent it to the British-Jewish society leader. This declaration affirmed Britain’s desire to support the establishment of a Jewish nation in Palestine.

1920: Violence erupted in Jerusalem as Arabs attacked Jewish settlers and looted their shops.

1922: The Declaration was approved by the League of Nations, a predecessor of the United Nations. However, it faced immense criticism and objection by the Arabs.

1919-1930s: The Third, Fourth and Fifth Jewish Migrations to Palestine took place

1936-1939: Arabs rebellion, also known as the Great Revolt, against the immigration of the Jews took place. During this period, ten percent of Arab males became victims of violence by mainly the Zionists and partly the British.

1939: White Paper of 1939 was introduced. It demanded that an independent Palestinian state be created which would contain a Jewish homeland within 10 years, while simultaneously limiting Jewish migration to conciliate the Arabs. This Paper rejected the proposals for the partition of Palestine.

In light of the above events, following World War II, the British faced many objections by the Jews and Arabs alike. The Jews protested to their migration restrictions, especially since so many Jews were fleeing the Holocaust and needed to seek refuge, but those who attempted to settle in Palestine were either detained or sent away. Thus, armed battles between the Jews and the British took place, led by extremist Jewish groups. The Arabs protested that a more restricted limit should’ve been set for the immigration of Jews.

July 22, 1946: A group of Jewish armed forces, named Irgun, attacked the British Armed Forces Headquarters and administrative control centers in Jerusalem. This was one of the remorseless attacks on the British during that era, with a hit-rate of over 90 people.

1947: The British, failing to find a solution acceptable to both the Jews and Arabs, announced that they would withdraw from Palestine and the case was taken up by the United Nations, which voted for a Resolution stating that Palestine should be partitioned. The Jewish Agency, an authorized delegate of the Jews, agreed to it, while the Arabs objected to it. As a result, a domestic war erupted between the Arabs and the Jews, that lead to the expulsion or fleeing of about a quarter of a million Palestinian Arabs by April 1948.

May 14, 1948: The Israeli Declaration of Independence was declared by David Ben-Gurion, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency.

An Arab-Israeli war involving several Arab countries followed for a year, after which a truce was announced.

May 11, 1949: Israel became an official member of the United Nations by a vote.







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Last modified on Saturday, 12 May 2018 21:47
Nathan Gopen

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Nathan Gopen is a professional software engineer and MIT graduate. He is committed to using his skills in software, multimedia and graphic design to create inspiring and powerful new ways of comprehending and studying the vast riches of God's Word.

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