Israeli Declaration of Independence

Article

May 28, 2022

The Israeli Declaration of Independence (Hebrew מְגִלַּת הָעַצְמָאוּת‎ [Megillat ha-atzmaut] lit. “Scroll of Independence”) is a legal document that proclaims the establishment of the State of Israel and outlines the basic principles of its structure.

Background

During the five months that followed the resolution of the UN General Assembly of November 29, 1947 on the division of Mandatory Palestine into two independent states (Jewish and Arab), intensive preparations were underway for the declaration of independence of the Jewish state. Britain refused to participate in the implementation of the partition plan, and announced its intention to withdraw its armed forces and civilian personnel from the mandated territories by mid-May 1948. American diplomacy tried to put pressure on the Jewish Agency and the Yishuv to delay the declaration of a Jewish state. The US doubted the Yishuv's ability to hold its own against the Arabs, and also withdrew its support for the partition plan for Palestine, offering instead to hand it over to the UN until an agreement was reached between the Jews and the Arabs. Despite objections from Western European governments and pressure from the US State Department, and overcoming divisions in the People's Government and within the Mapai party, David Ben-Gurion insisted on declaring an independent Jewish state on the eve of the expiration of the British Mandate. On May 12, the People's Government decided by six votes to four to declare independence within two days. This decision was significantly influenced by the opinion of the leadership of the Haganah that the new state would be able to withstand the expected invasion of the armies of the Arab states.

Declaration of Independence

On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the creation of an independent Jewish state. The proclamation was made on Friday, May 14, 1948, at 4:00 pm, eight hours before the end of the British Mandate for Palestine, in the building that housed the Tel Aviv Museum of Fine Arts (the former home of Meir Dizengoff) on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv . The time was chosen so that the ceremony could end before Shabbat, and the choice of location is determined by