Israel’s ex-PM Ariel Sharon dies

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Ariel Sharon (November 2005)

Ariel Sharon’s life was intimately entwined with the life of the country he loved from the moment of its birth.

He fought in its war of independence in 1948 and from that point until he slipped into a coma in 2006 it seemed there was hardly a moment of national drama in which he did not play a role.

He was always a controversial figure in Israeli politics – certainly not universally loved – but in mourning his passing, Israelis are marking the loss of one of the few public figures left whose career stretched back to the earliest days of their state.

Ariel Sharon’s roots were in the world of Zionist pioneering zeal – he was born between the two world wars in Palestine when it was under British control – to a Jewish couple who had fled to the Holy Land from Belarus.

Ariel Sharon in Sinai (October 1967)Sharon was admired among Israelis for his military exploits

His reputation as an uncompromising and unapologetic defender of his country’s interests dates back to his military career.

He was still a teenager when he fought in the war of 1948 and in his autobiography, fittingly called Warrior, he described intense fighting against soldiers from the Jordanian Arab Legion for control of a crucial police fort on the road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

He and his men lay in fields ignited by gunfire in the burning heat with water and ammunition running low.

He remained a soldier for many years afterwards, fighting with distinction in Israel’s battles with its Arab enemies in the wars of 1967 and 1973.

He helped set up Unit 101 – a commando detachment whose job was to conduct reprisal operations across the border in Arab territories to retaliate for attacks against Israel.

Such was his reputation as a military commander that some accounts of his army career say he was nicknamed the Lion of God after a particularly daring tactical parachute operation against Egypt in 1967 in the Sinai desert.

Shadow of Lebanon

But already there was a dark undertone. Allegations emerged that Egyptian prisoners had been shot and there were questions at home about whether the operation had been a military necessity.

Fifteen years later, it was another dark episode that brought Ariel Sharon international attention.

Continue reading the main story

Political Career

  • 1973: Elected Knesset member for Likud
  • 1975-77: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s special security adviser
  • 1977-81: Minister of Agriculture
  • 1981-83: Minister of Defence
  • 1984-90: Minister of Trade and Industry
  • 1990-92: Minister of Construction and Housing
  • 1996-98: Minister of National Infrastructure
  • 1998-99: Foreign Minister
  • 2001-2006: Prime Minister
  • 2005: Left Likud to found Kadima

He was minister of defence when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. The strategic goal was to bring stability to the country’s northern border by crushing Yasser Arafat’s PLO, which was then holed up in southern Lebanon and Beirut.

But the war was deeply controversial at home as well as in the wider world.

And there was worse too.

Fighters from a Christian militia group which was co-operating closely with the Israelis carried out extensive massacres in Palestinian refugee camps in Sabra and Shatilla.

It is likely the names of those camps will be associated with Mr Sharon’s own name as long as the history of that conflict is remembered.

Eventually an Israeli inquiry held that Ariel Sharon was “indirectly responsible” for the killing.

The war cost many lives – Israeli as well as Palestinian and Lebanese – and it casts a long shadow over his historical legacy.

Second intifada

Within Israel Mr Sharon was not finished though.

Long a supporter of the settlers who moved on to the lands Israel captured in the war of 1967 in defiance of international opinion, he saw himself as a natural leader of the Israeli right.

In a volatile place, he could be a provocative figure.

Paul Adams looks back on the life and legacy of Ariel Sharon

In the year 2000, flanked by hundreds of Israeli riot police, he staged a visit to the area of the Old City in Jerusalem which contains sites sacred both to Jews and Muslims – the Temple Mount or Harem al-Sharif.

Even though the area is in the part of East Jerusalem captured by Israel in the war of 1967, Jewish rights to pray there are limited – and it is a microcosm of the tensions that fuel the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

Intense rioting followed his visit there and many people trace the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada to that moment.

Ariel Sharon was characteristically unrepentant.

Bold moves

He became prime minister in 2001, promising to bring peace and security to his country but it was a turbulent period in Israeli politics and he eventually left the governing Likud party to found his own Kadima movement while still in office.

Ariel Sharon in Nitzanim, north of Gaza (May 2005)Sharon pulled Israeli troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005, a move which divided his supporters

Peace remained elusive then as it is elusive now.

It was on his watch as prime minister that construction of a barrier began with the intention of preventing suicide attacks on Israel from the Palestinian territories.

His supporters would argue that it worked. Its detractors would say it entrenched an already deep sense of separateness.

He did not shy away from bold political moves though. The man who had supported Israeli settlers ordered their removal from Gaza when he decided to withdraw from the Palestinian enclave beside the Mediterranean in 2005.

It was precisely his reputation as a hardliner that allowed him to sell to his supporters a decision with which many felt instinctively uncomfortable.

Not long afterwards, he slipped into the coma from which he was never to emerge and we will never know how he would have followed up that decision or where it might have led.

Ariel Sharon died hated by Israel’s enemies but there are plenty of Israelis who would argue that the depth of that hatred was a measure of the success with which he always defended the country he served.

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A Post on the New York Post and the Post Stark Murder Fiasco

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One of my Jewish brothers was murdered over the weekend. This makes me very sad. One of my Jewish sisters is now a widow. Seven of my Jewish nieces and nephews lost their father. Few things tug more at the heartstrings than children who will grow up without a father because his life was knowingly taken by human murderers. From a personal angle, the murder of Menachem Stark is a tragedy. It hurts so much.

By all accounts, Stark was a member in good standing in his Chasidic community. He gave charity generously. He helped those in need. He was well regarded in his social circles. This is the side of the man that was known in the insular Chasidic community.

There may have been another side to this man. Stark was a high roller. He was involved in huge business deals and multi-million dollar investments. The world of the wheeling and dealing real estate mogul is a far cry from the quiet streets of Williamsburg. Many Chasidic men live with one foot in each of these two very different worlds.

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Photo: VINNEWS

It seems that over the weekend he succumbed to the outside world. Someone wanted him dead. Someone from the part of his life that was a mired in litigation, massive loans, a less than sterling reputation as a landlord, and a world with associates who would not feel at home in Stark’s shteible or Shabbos table chose to kill him. Stark met his Maker in the wake of unspeakable violence. To snuff out the life of a human being is the most heinous of crimes. There is no restitution. There is no forgiveness. It’s a crime that is deserving of the stiffest punishments available. In my view, murder is never justified. No matter the circumstances.

Almost all the discussion about this man and his death are about a headline in a tabloid newspaper. The Sunday New York Post ran an article that enumerated many of the allegations and rumors regarding Stark’s business dealings. The article was sordid and hardly journalism but the point of the article was that because Stark had so many potential enemies there were a lot of potential suspects in the murder investigation. It’s an immature angle to the story, but that was their angle. The front page was a photo of Stark in his Chasidic garb with the following headline: “Who Didn’t Want Him Dead?”

It’s hard to imagine a more provocative, attention grabbing, sensationalist headline. Especially because the true king of sensationalist headlines is the New York Post. They do it all the time. It’s also ironic because so many frum Jews in the more insular communities of New York have always thought of the Post as a friend of Israel and the Jews. They share the paper’s conservative bent and thus always thought the Post was something of value. Most serious people have known that the Post is trash for a long time. To them, the headline was gross, but it wasn’t a betrayal. The headline was obscene, but it was completely in character. (Just a few weeks ago, the Post editorial team ran a despicable article saying that New York City was too generous in its meager assistance of the homeless family of Dasani whose story was heartbreakingly portrayed in a superb in-depth article in the New York Times. That’s typical. Disgusting, but typical.)

In response to the terrible headline in the Post, many politicians have called for boycotts of the Post. Other spokespeople have condemned the Post. I join in those condemning the headline and I think the Post doesn’t belong in the home of a God Fearing Jew. It’s trash. We take the trash out. We don’t bring it in. Page Six is enough of a reason for the Post to be assur. Many people have politely called the Post to express their outrage. I admire them for their advocacy.

It seems to me that the headline is terrible because it makes a murder victim into an object of character assassination. It does not wonder who would commit such a heinous crime. It wonders what kind of person becomes an enemy to so many others. That’s an awful angle to take on a murder story. Although, I don’t doubt the Post has taken this approach to other murders. I just wouldn’t know because I don’t read the Post.

Some Chasidic bloggers have penned responses to the Post headline. I think they have a right to be outraged. But I do think some of the outrage is misguided and counter productive. I know that we are in pain, but we still must be responsible and accurate.

First, the headline says “Who Didn’t Want Him Dead?”. The headline was written by an editor. It was not written by any of the journalists assigned the story. Threats have been made to a journalist. I heard this from someone who knows the journalist personally. Photoshopped images of the journalist captioned “Who Wouldn’t Want Him Dead” have been produced. If you are mad about the headline, please direct your anger to the appropriate party. Do not threaten

Second, please learn English. The headline does not imply that his death was justified in any way. Nor does it give license to kill all slumlords. Please. The headline means that there are a lot of potential suspects because of his many colorful business associates and dealings. No sense in generating anger because of a misreading of the headline.

Third, he wasn’t just a philanthropist. It’s appropriate to eulogize our loved ones and community members by remembering them fondly. Even (and I am not making a moral equivalency here) mob bosses are remembered fondly at their funerals. But we cannot confuse the glowing positive memories with the harsh realities of the real world. We’ve all done things that we wouldn’t want announced at our funeral. But just because they are not cried over at our funeral does not meant that they are not true.

Fourth, let’s try to be consistent. If we hate sensationalist journalism, let’s not do it ourselves. Let’s not support the Post. Let’s try to be balanced and measured in our writing. Combating hyperbole and shoddy journalism with histrionics and wild accusations helps no one.

Fifth, let’s shelve the anti-Semitism card on this one. There is nothing different or unique about this disgraceful Post headline than any others. It has nothing to do with him being a Jew. It has nothing to do with him being a Chasid. It has everything to do with the fact that this is a really interesting story. Crying anti-Semitism when there is none is the easiest way to helping create real anti-Semitism.

Sixth, enough with the Hashem Yinkom Damav please. If the first reaction to death and murder is to take revenge, I think we have to consider whether we have a serious character issue.

So let’s join together and tell the Post how disgusted we are with this story and headline. Let’s also tell them that we don’t like their other nasty headlines either. Let’s be honest and truthful about what we do and do not know. Let’s not cry anti-Semitism.

Most of all, let’s try to compensate for any chillul Hashem that is occurring by increasing our efforts to be mekadesh Hashem. Let’s remember that the first question we will be asked when we reach the Heavenly Court is whether we dealt honestly in business. Let’s make sure that we pass that test. Let’s see if we can generate the same kind of outrage that we have about this headline for things that actually affect our communities. Headlines are harmless. Abuse and corruption are crimes with real victims.

Finally, I can only assume that the Stark family is going to be enduring a very difficult emotional and financial period. I am sure that their community will take good care of them as they always do. Perhaps some solidarity from us outsiders to their community would be a fine gesture in this difficult time. If only as a token of unity, I think it would be an appropriate thing to do. Families of murder victims deserve our help and camaraderie. Let’s give it to them.

– See more at: http://finkorswim.com/2014/01/06/a-post-on-the-new-york-post-and-the-post-stark-murder-fiasco/#sthash.Hmz2djIT.dpuf

WHY RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL AS THE JEWISH STATE HAS BECOME SUCH A BIG DEAL

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Demands that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state have become a major stumbling block in John Kerry’s search for a settlement to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said Palestinians’ refusal to formally acknowledge the country’s Jewish character had become the key topic in his discussions with Mr Kerry.

Palestinian officials admitted that Mr Kerry has pressed the issue with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, who has so farrefused to bend.

“The Americans have made it very clear that [recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] is their position,” one Palestinian official told The Daily Telegraph. “They talk about it in meetings with our side and make an issue out of it. We have made it very clear that we are not going to sign any agreement that recognises Israel as a Jewish state.”

Israel as a Jewish State is not a strange idea; in fact throughout its history, the Jewish people have recognized themselves as a religion/nation tied to a specific land. Which is why United Nations Resolution 181, the original partition resolution passed by the UN in November 1947, called for dividing Palestine into Independent Arab and Jewish States.

Israel’s Independence Proclamation (it has no constitution) refers to the new state’s Jewish nature no less than 19 times and as well as guaranteeing equal rights to all inhabitants “irrespective of religion, race or sex.”

WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People’s Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People’s Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called “Israel”. 

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

The Magen David (Jewish Star) on the Flag of Israel is also a public affirmation of Israel’s Jewishness.

So why hasn’t the question of Israel’s Jewish become an issue before this Prime Minister?  The simple answer is that the Palestinians didn’t make it an issue.  Take a look at the history.

From 1948-1967 there was no issue with what is today called the Palestinian territories, the West Bank was part of Jordan, Gaza was part of Egypt.  BTW the PLO began its terrorist activities in 1964–before the Six-Day-War.

Israel has only been negotiating with the Palestinians for approximately 20 years. Until Oslo in 1993 the Palestinians believed they could destroy the Jewish State militarily. Afterward their goal changed. As I described in a Hot Air piece on Sunday morning:

While the number of Palestinian refugees in 1949 was somewhere around 800,000 (there were 900,000 Jewish refugees from Arab states) today the number is over 4 million. The Palestinian refugees are the only example in history where the number of refugees has grown without a population shift. These refugees are also unique in that the UN counts the original refugees, their children, grandchildren, first cousin twice removed on their mother’s side, friends etc. as refugees.

Abbas’ hardline refusal to recognize Israel is part of the stated strategy to destroy Israel. The purpose of this unique artificial growth is one of the stated Palestinian goals is to flood Israel (within the green lines) with Palestinian Muslims. Being a democracy, if Israel allows herself to be flooded with those 1948 refugees’ along with descendants of those 1948 refugees, she will cease to be the Jewish State. Instead Israel will be just another Muslim country in the Middle East

But still it didn’t become an issue, because the deal that Arafat had negotiated (and then walked away from) in 1999 with Israeli PM Barak, did not include the Palestinians flooding Israel with the extended families of refugees. Arafat had negotiated a symbolic right of return of only 50,000, so the question of Israel’s Jewishness was not an issue.

After Arafat walked away from the deal and started the Second Intifada, Ariel Sharon became PM. By then there were no negotiations, Sharon was trying to stop the horrible wave of terrorism. The next PM Ehud Olmert proposed a similar deal as Barak, so again it was not an issue.

In 2010 as negotiations were still going on, Fatah the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority issued a new Charter.

The Internal Charter of Abbas’ Fatah Party written in 2010 did not remove Fatah’s rejection of Israel’s existence as a Jewish state (or any other kind of state) nor did it remove its support  of terrorism against Israel. It speaks of

“sacrific[ing] our souls, blood, time and effort. All these are the weapons of the revolutionaries … our tragedy continued throughout all those long years. You must know that our enemy is strong and the battle is ferocious and long. You must know that determination, patience, secrecy, confidentiality, adherence to the principles and goals of the revolution, keep us from stumbling and shorten the path to liberation. Go forward to revolution. Long live Palestine, free and Arab!”

The Charter speaks of the “enemy” and does not mention accepting Israel as a Jewish state or even as a state.

Also, it does not mention any replacement of the Fatah Constitution, which calls for

 “Opposing any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine” (Article 22) and insists that “Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated” (Article 19).

Therefore even if Abbas means what he says about “recognizing” Israel and can convince his party to go along, based on the Charter and the Constitution that recognition is useless without the rest of the sentence “…as a Jewish State.

Netanyahu’s reaction to the 2010 action was to make sure the Palestinians would stop their quest to destroy Israel by flooding the country with the extended families of the refugees, he moved the Jewish State demand from the background to an overt issue.

In October 2010 negotiations were going on to convince Netanyahu to extend the Judea and Samaria building freeze. Netanyahu made a very simple offer to the PA. If you were to recognize Israel as the Jewish State, we will extend building freeze indefinitely. As reported by Al Jazeera the answer was a resounding no:

Netanyahu’s proposal met with swift rejection from senior Palestinian officials.

“The whole world holds Netanyahu responsible for what is happening in the region, after he chose to push ahead with the settlement project at the expense of an advance in the peace process. Settlement freeze is a commitment Netanyahu should respect,” Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, told Al Jazeera.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior official of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, described the settlement issue as “an aggression on Palestinian rights and land”.

“What Israel calls itself is an Israeli matter that does not concern us. The two issues are not related,” he told Al Jazeera in reference to Netanyahu’s condition that Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

Nabil Abu Rudainah, the spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said a return to peace talks required a freeze on settlement building by Israel.

“The issue of the Jewishness of the state has nothing to do with the matter,” he told the Reuters news agency. According to Al Jazzeera Abbas replied almost imminently with a resounding no.

The “I recognize Israel” quote is nothing but a ruse…time and time again the Palestinians have refused to recognize the JEWISH State of Israel. And the only reason to reject that recognition is that the Palestinians ultimate goal (as stated) is the destruction the Jewish State if Israel.

The Mandela moment: Now it’s time to move forward South Africa

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The past few weeks have been a milestone in our country’s history — there’s no doubt about that. We’ve made huge pronouncements about how we are so very thankful for all that Madiba has done for us, how we pledge to continue and honour his legacy, how so much still needs to change. But what now? I’m sure many of us are asking ourselves this question. Sure we’ve made progress since 1994 and sure many of us are already hard at work moving our beloved country forward. But this week of reflection — both of our history and what still needs to be done — has given many of us renewed energy for the road ahead. What do we need to do to make things right for the past in our country? How does what we do depend on where we were located in the past? As an architect of apartheid injustice or as architect of resistance to injustice; as an implementer of apartheid injustice or as an implementer of resistance to injustice; as someone dishonoured by apartheid injustice or dishonoured in the act of resisting or perpetrating apartheid injustice; as a beneficiary of apartheid injustice or as a beneficiary of resistance to injustice; or as a young inheritor of apartheid injustice or as an inheritor of resistance to injustice. Definitely loads to discuss on this point — but the real point is wherever we were locate our history is complex and not uncomplicated — all of us need to participate in actions to move us forward as a country.

These actions of restitution — “doing sorry” rather than just “saying sorry” and “receiving sorry” rather than believing “sorry is not enough” — need to happen urgently and on multiple levels. Not only in the large institutional, legal and structural ways — by government through affirmative action, black economic empowerment, land restitution and our past truth and reconciliation commission but also in everyday ways — where people can contribute to making things right at individual, interpersonal and community levels — where everybody has a role to play, and does so not out of the largesse of charity (that makes us feel good but not obligated to doing our part) but out of a duty to moving forward.

So what can we do to move forward South Africa?

As an academic (at the Human Sciences Research Council and the University of Cape Town) and as a practitioner (the current Chair of the Restitution Foundation, a small Cape based NGO) I have a few ideas (that I’m sure not everyone will agree with, but at least they are ideas for action). I think, however, that together we can all come up with many more creative and everyday actions. As a new year begins and as we live in the moment Nelson Mandela’s passing has given us to reflect, refocus and renew our efforts to change, let’s think deeply and creatively about the actions that must be done to move forward.

Broadly speaking these actions should include helping people to remember the past so our actions are motivated by duty; to recover lost dignity and to dismiss feelings of shame associated with poverty or undue senses of superiority; to experience a sense of belonging and equality no matter who we are; and to have access to a decent life through opportunities for fair work and useful education. Some will cost money; all will cost time and effort.

In practical terms here are a few I have thought about:

  1. Inheritance of personal wealth: Change your will today to include someone who does not own property rather than just pass on your inherited wealth to your kids. Remember that your inherited wealth was only possible through apartheid’s unjust laws (job reservation, land ownership, differential education).
  2. Education of another: Pay for another young South African to get a great high school education and go to university. Include in your financial sponsorship the mentoring and social capital that your own kids will receive because you know how to help them access jobs, helpful networks and make good personal decisions along the way.
  3. Look people in the eyes: When someone asks for work, money or any other help, no matter how you respond materially, look them in the eye and talk to them with dignity and respect.
  4. Living wages: Beginning with the people you employ at home or in business, sit down and do a job and personal needs assessment. Then pay the person a living wage (rather than a minimum wage).
  5. Public holidays: Make each of our public holidays (Human Rights Day, Youth Day, Women’s Day, Heritage Day and Reconciliation Day) an opportunity to share a meal and a chat about its significance. Do so with a small group of people of who at least half come from a different history in the South African community as you. Tell each other your stories of growing up in South Africa, and listen intently. Repeat frequently.
  6. Cross “racial” adoption: Adopt a child with a different history to yours. And live your family life in such a way that celebrates all of your historical heritages, which may mean learning another language and celebrating different customs.
  7. Religious groups: Change the colour of Sunday mornings or Friday evenings/afternoons. This may mean starting something new, or intentionally gathering a diverse group of people in a mid-week prayer, study or discussion group. So many of us in this country are religious that this action alone could really help us to move forward.
  8. Learn/teach a language different to yours: Works both ways. Ask someone to help you learn to speak isiZulu, isiXhosa or seSotho. Help someone become proficient in business or academic English.
  9. Vote: It doesn’t matter who for but don’t just stay at home. Become active in insisting that people in power deliver on their promises for the benefit of those most excluded. Don’t let your opposition only be heard as a grumble over a beer or over supper. Support the ruling party if you like but hold them accountable to good governance at every turn (booing included!). Strengthen the opposition parties if you like but insist they come up with viable alternatives rather than just complaining about existing polices or looking after the interests of their local constituencies (potholes be damned!). This is the democracy we wanted after all.

Please send your ideas to samovingforward@gmail.com or post a response here. Please also share this post widely to your networks via Facebook or on email. Written submissions can be made to: SA Moving Forward, Private Bag X9182, Cape Town, 8000. Please include a short paragraph about who you are in your submission. I’m planning to make the outcome widely known in the coming few months, while we are still living in this Mandela Moment!

Sharlene Swartz is a research director at the Human Sciences Research Council, adjunct associate professor with the department of sociology at University of Cape Town and chairperson at the The Restitution Foundation.

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Declaration of Israel’s Independence 1948

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Declaration of Israel's Independence 1948

Declaration of Israel’s Independence 1948

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

ERETZ-ISRAEL [(Hebrew) – The Land of Israel] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent decades they returned in their masses. Pioneers, ma’pilim [(Hebrew) – immigrants coming to Eretz-Israel in defiance of restrictive legislation] and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country’s inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.

In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.

This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular, gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home.

The catastrophe which recently befell the Jewish people – the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe – was another clear demonstration of the urgency of solving the problem of its homelessness by re-establishing in Eretz-Israel the Jewish State, which would open the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a fully privileged member of the comity of nations.

Survivors of the Nazi holocaust in Europe, as well as Jews from other parts of the world, continued to migrate to Eretz-Israel, undaunted by difficulties, restrictions and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland.

In the Second World War, the Jewish community of this country contributed its full share to the struggle of the freedom- and peace-loving nations against the forces of Nazi wickedness and, by the blood of its soldiers and its war effort, gained the right to be reckoned among the peoples who founded the United Nations.

On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.

This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

ACCORDINGLY WE, MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLE’S COUNCIL, REPRESENTATIVES OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ERETZ-ISRAEL AND OF THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT, ARE HERE ASSEMBLED ON THE DAY OF THE TERMINATION OF THE BRITISH MANDATE OVER ERETZ-ISRAEL AND, BY VIRTUE OF OUR NATURAL AND HISTORIC RIGHT AND ON THE STRENGTH OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL.

WE DECLARE that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People’s Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People’s Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called “Israel”.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL is prepared to cooperate with the agencies and representatives of the United Nations in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of the 29th November, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the economic union of the whole of Eretz-Israel.

WE APPEAL to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State and to receive the State of Israel into the comity of nations.

WE APPEAL – in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months – to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.

WE EXTEND our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.

WE APPEAL to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream – the redemption of Israel.

PLACING OUR TRUST IN THE ALMIGHTY, WE AFFIX OUR SIGNATURES TO THIS PROCLAMATION AT THIS SESSION OF THE PROVISIONAL COUNCIL OF STATE, ON THE SOIL OF THE HOMELAND, IN THE CITY OF TEL-AVIV, ON THIS SABBATH EVE, THE 5TH DAY OF IYAR, 5708 (14TH MAY, 1948).
David Ben-Gurion
Daniel Auster
Mordekhai Bentov
Yitzchak Ben Zvi
Eliyahu Berligne
Fritz Bernstein
Rabbi Wolf Gold
Meir Grabovsky
Yitzchak Gruenbaum
Dr. Abraham Granovsky
Eliyahu Dobkin
Meir Wilner-Kovner
Zerach Wahrhaftig
Herzl Vardi Rachel Cohen
Rabbi Kalman Kahana
Saadia Kobashi
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Levin
Meir David Loewenstein
Zvi Luria
Golda Myerson
Nachum Nir
Zvi Segal
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Hacohen Fishman
David Zvi Pinkas
Aharon Zisling
Moshe Kolodny
Eliezer Kaplan
Abraham Katznelson
Felix Rosenblueth
David Remez
Berl Repetur
Mordekhai Shattner
Ben Zion Sternberg
Bekhor Shitreet
Moshe Shapira
Moshe Shertok

Israeli Declaration of Independence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Declaration of Independence
Israel Declaration of Independence.jpg

Location Tel Aviv
Author(s) First Draft:
Zvi Berenson
Second Draft:
Moshe Shertok
David Remez
Felix Rosenblueth
Moshe Shapira
Aharon ZislingThird Draft:
David Ben-Gurion
Yehuda Leib Fishman
Aharon Zisling
Moshe Shertok
Signatories David Ben-Gurion
Daniel Auster
Yitzhak Ben-Zvi
Mordechai Bentov
Eliyahu Berligne
Fritz Bernstein
Rachel Cohen-Kagan
Eliyahu Dobkin
Yehuda Leib Fishman
Wolf Gold
Meir Grabovsky
Avraham Granovsky
Yitzhak Gruenbaum
Kalman Kahana
Eliezer Kaplan
Avraham Katznelson
Saadia Kobashi
Moshe Kolodny
Yitzhak-Meir Levin
Meir David Loewenstein
Zvi Luria
Golda Meyerson
Nahum Nir
David-Zvi Pinkas
Felix Rosenblueth
David Remez
Berl Repetur
Zvi Segal
Mordechai Shatner
Ben-Zion Sternberg
Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit
Haim-Moshe Shapira
Moshe Shertok
Herzl Vardi
Meir Vilner
Zerach Warhaftig
Aharon Zisling
Purpose Declare a Jewish statein Mandatory Palestineshortly before the expiration of the British Mandate.[1]

The Israeli Declaration of Independence (Hebrew: הכרזת העצמאות‎, Hakhrazat HaAtzma’ut orHebrew: מגילת העצמאות‎ Megilat HaAtzma’ut), was made on 14 May 1948 (5 Iyar 5708), the British Mandate terminating soon afterwards at midnight Palestine time.[2] David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization[3][4] and the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine,[5] declared the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as theState of Israel.[6]

The event is celebrated annually in Israel with a national holiday Yom Ha’atzmaut (Hebrew: יום העצמאות‎, lit. Independence Day) on 5 Iyar of every year according to the Hebrew calendar.

Background[edit]

The possibility of a Jewish homeland in Palestine had been a goal of Zionist organizations since the late 19th century. The British Foreign Secretary stated in the Balfour Declaration of 1917:

His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.[7]

After World War I, the United Kingdom was given a mandate over the area known as Palestine, which it had conquered from the Ottomans during the war. In 1937 the Peel Commissionsuggested partitioning Mandate Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state, though it was rejected as unworkable by the government and was at least partially to blame for the renewal of the 1936–39 Arab revolt.

The UN partition plan

In the face of increasing violence after World War II, the British handed the issue over to the recently established United Nations. The result was Resolution 181(II), a plan to partition Palestine into Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem. The Jewish state was to receive around 56% of the land area of Mandate Palestine, encompassing 82% of the Jewish population, though it would be separated from Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by most of the Jewish population, but rejected by much of the Arab populace. On 29 November 1947, the resolution to recommend to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation, with regard to the future government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union was put to a vote in the United Nations General Assembly.[8] The result was 33 to 13 in favour of the resolution, with 10 abstentions. The Arab countries (all of which had opposed the plan) proposed to query the International Court of Justice on the competence of the General Assembly to partition a country against the wishes of the majority of its inhabitants, but were again defeated. Resolution 181(II): PART I: Future constitution and government of Palestine: A. TERMINATION OF MANDATE, PARTITION AND INDEPENDENCE: Clause 3. provides:- Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, …, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than 1 October 1948.

Drafting the text[edit]

The first draft of the declaration was made by Zvi Berenson, the Histadrut trade union’s legal advisor and later a justice of the Supreme Court, at the request of Pinchas Rosen. A revised second draft was made by three lawyers, A. Beham, A. Hintzheimer and Z.E. Baker, and was framed by a committee including David RemezPinchas RosenHaim-Moshe ShapiraMoshe Sharett and Aharon Zisling.[9] A second committee meeting, which included David Ben-Gurion,Yehuda Leib Maimon, Sharett and Zisling produced the final text.[10]

Minhelet HaAm Vote[edit]

On 12 May 1948, the Minhelet HaAm (Hebrew: מנהלת העם‎, lit. People’s Administration) was convened to vote on declaring independence. Three of the members were missing; Yehuda Leib Maimon and Yitzhak Gruenbaum were detained in besieged Jerusalem, while Yitzhak-Meir Levinwas in the United States.

The meeting started at 1:45 and ended after midnight. The decision was between accepting the American proposal for a truce, or declaring independence. The latter option was put to a vote, with six of the ten members present supporting it:

Chaim Weizmann, chairman of the World Zionist Organization[3] and soon to be the firstPresident of Israel, endorsed the decision, after reportedly asking “What are they waiting for, the idiots?”[9]

Final wording[edit]

The draft text was submitted for approval to a meeting of Moetzet HaAm (Hebrew: מועצת העם‎, lit. People’s Council) at the JNF building in Tel Aviv on 14 May. The meeting started at 13:50 and ended at 15:00, an hour before the declaration was due to be made, and despite ongoing disagreements, with a unanimous vote in favour of the final text.

During the process, there were two major debates, centering around the issues of borders and religion. On the border issue, the original draft had declared that the borders would be that decided by the UN partition plan. While this was supported by Rosen and Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit, it was opposed by Ben-Gurion and Zisling, with Ben-Gurion stating, “We accepted the UN Resolution, but the Arabs did not. They are preparing to make war on us. If we defeat them and capture western Galilee or territory on both sides of the road to Jerusalem, these areas will become part of the state. Why should we obligate ourselves to accept boundaries that in any case the Arabs don’t accept?”[9] The inclusion of the designation of borders in the text was dropped after the provisional government of Israel, theMinhelet HaAm, voted 5–4 against it.[10] The Revisionists, committed to a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River (that is, including Transjordan), wanted the phrase “within its historic borders” included but were unsuccessful.

The second major issue was over the inclusion of God in the last section of the document, with the draft using the phrase “and placing our trust in the Almighty”. The two rabbis, Shapira and Yehuda Leib Maimon, argued for its inclusion, saying that it could not be omitted, with Shapira supporting the wording “God of Israel” or “the Almighty and Redeemer of Israel”.[9] It was strongly opposed by Zisling, a member of the secularist Mapam. In the end the phrase “Rock of Israel” was used, which could be interpreted as either referring to God, or the land of Eretz Israel, Ben-Gurion saying “Each of us, in his own way, believes in the ‘Rock of Israel’ as he conceives it. I should like to make one request: Don’t let me put this phrase to a vote.” Although its use was still opposed by Zisling, the phrase was accepted without a vote.

At the meeting on 14 May, several other members of Moetzet HaAm suggested additions to the document. Meir Vilner wanted it to denounce the British Mandate and military but Sharett said it was out of place. Meir Argov pushed to mention the Displaced Persons camps in Europe and to guarantee freedom of language. Ben-Gurion agreed with the latter but noted that Hebrew should be the main language of the state.

The writers also had to decide on the name for the new state. Eretz Israel, Ever (from the name Eber), Judea, and Zion were all suggested, as were Ziona, Ivriya and Herzliya.[11] Judea and Zion were rejected because, according to the partition plan, Jerusalem (Zion) and most of Judean mountains would be outside the new state.[12] Ben-Gurion put forward “Israel” and it passed by a vote of 6–3.[13]

The debate over wording did not end completely even after the Declaration had been made. Declaration signer Meir David Loewensteinlater claimed, “It ignored our sole right to Eretz Israel, which is based on the covenant of the Lord with Abraham, our father, and repeated promises in the Tanach. It ignored the aliya of the Ramban and the students of the Vilna Gaon and the Ba’al Shem Tov, and the [rights of] Jews who lived in the ‘Old Yishuv’.”[14]

Declaration ceremony[edit]

The invitation to the ceremony, dated 13 May 1948.

A celebratory crowd outside the Tel Aviv Museum to hear the Declaration

The ceremony was held in the Tel Aviv Museum(today known as Independence Hall) but was not widely publicised as it was feared that the British Authorities might attempt to prevent it or that the Arab armies might invade earlier than expected. An invitation was sent out by messenger on the morning of 14 May telling recipients to arrive at 15:30 and to keep the event a secret. The event started at 16:00 (a time chosen so as not to breach the sabbath) and was broadcast live as the first transmission of the new radio station Kol Yisrael.

The final draft of the declaration was typed at theJewish National Fund building following its approval earlier in the day. Ze’ev Sherf, who stayed at the building in order to deliver the text, had forgotten to arrange transport for himself. Ultimately, he had to flag down a passing car and ask the driver (who was driving a borrowed car without a license) to take him to the ceremony. Sherf’s request was initially refused but he managed to persuade the driver to take him.[9] The car was stopped by a policeman for speeding while driving across the city though a ticket was not issued after it was explained that he was delaying the declaration of independence.[13] Sherf arrived at the museum at 15:59.

At 16:00, Ben-Gurion opened the ceremony by banging his gavel on the table, prompting a spontaneous rendition of Hatikvah, soon to be Israel’s national anthem, from the 250 guests.[13] On the wall behind the podium hung a picture of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, and two flags, later to become the official flag of Israel.

After telling the audience “I shall now read to you the scroll of the Establishment of the State, which has passed its first reading by theNational Council“, Ben-Gurion proceeded to read out the declaration, taking 16 minutes, ending with the words “Let us accept the Foundation Scroll of the Jewish State by rising” and calling on Rabbi Fishman to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing.[13]

The entire declaration ceremony was recorded and broadcast live on Kol Yisrael (Voice of Israel) radio station.

Signatories[edit]

David Ben-Gurion declaring independence beneath a large portrait of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern Zionism

As leader of the YishuvDavid Ben-Gurion was the first person to sign. The declaration was due to be signed by all 37 members of Moetzet HaAm. However, twelve members could not attend, eleven of them trapped in besieged Jerusalem and one abroad. The remaining 25 signatories present were called up in alphabetical order to sign, leaving spaces for those absent. Although a space was left for him between the signatures of Eliyahu Dobkin and Meir VilnerZerach Warhaftig signed at the top of the next column, leading to speculation that Vilner’s name had been left alone to isolate him, or to stress that even a communist agreed with the declaration.[13]

When Herzl Rosenblum, a journalist, was called up to sign, Ben-Gurion instructed him to sign under the name Herzl Vardi, his pen name, as he wanted more Hebrew names on the document. Although Rosenblum acquiesced to Ben-Gurion’s request and legally changed his name to Vardi, he later admitted to regretting not signing as Rosenblum.[13] Several other signatories later Hebraised their names, including Meir Argov (Grabovsky), Peretz Bernstein (then Fritz Bernstein), Avraham Granot(Granovsky), Avraham Nissan (Katznelson), Moshe Kol (Kolodny), Yehuda Leib Maimon (Fishman),Golda Meir (Myerson), Pinchas Rosen (Felix Rosenblueth) and Moshe Sharett (Shertok). Other signatories added their own touches, including Saadia Kobashi who added the phrase “HaLevy”, referring to the tribe of Levi.[15]

After Sharett, the last of the signatories, had put his name to paper, the audience again stood and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestraplayed “Hatikvah”. Ben-Gurion concluded the event with the words “The State of Israel is established! This meeting is adjourned!”[13]

Context and aftermath[edit]

Ben Gurion (Left) Signing the Declaration of Independence held by Moshe Sharet

Main article: 1948 Arab-Israeli War

The declaration was signed in a context of civil war between the Arab and Jewish populations of the Mandate that had started the day after the partition vote at the UN six months earlier. Neighbouring Arab states and the Arab League were opposed to the vote and had declared they would intervene to prevent its implementation. In acablegram on 15 May 1948 to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States claimed that “the Arab states find themselves compelled to intervene in order to restore law and order and to check further bloodshed”.[16]

Over the next few days after the declaration, armies of Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Iraq, andSyria engaged Israeli troops inside the area of what had just ceased to be Mandatory Palestine, threatening officially and militarily to occupy the whole of the former Mandate territorycitation required: 14 December 2013, thereby starting the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. A truce began on 11 June, but fighting resumed on 8 July and stopped again on 18 July, before restarting in mid-October and finally ending on 24 July 1949 with the signing of the armistice agreement with Syria. By then Israel had retained its independence and increased its land area by almost 50% compared to the 1947 UN Partition Plan.

Following the declaration, Moetzet HaAm became the Provisional State Council, which acted as the legislative body for the new state until the first elections in January 1949.

Many of the signatories would play a prominent role in Israeli politics following independence; Moshe Sharett and Golda Meir both served as Prime Minister, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi became the country’s second president in 1952, and several others served as ministers.David Remez was the first signatory to pass away, dying in May 1951, while Meir Vilner, the youngest signatory at just 29, was the longest living, serving in the Knesset until 1990 and dying in June 2003. Eliyahu Berligne, the oldest signatory at 82, died in 1959.

Eleven minutes after midnight, the United States de facto recognised the State of Israel,[17][18] followed by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi‘s Iran (which had voted against the UN partition plan), Guatemala, Iceland, NicaraguaRomania, and Uruguay. The Soviet Unionwas the first nation to fully recognize Israel de jure on 17 May 1948, followed by PolandCzechoslovakiaYugoslavia, Ireland, and South Africa.[citation needed] The United States extended official recognition after the first Israeli election, as Truman had promised,[19] on 31 January 1949.[20] Israel became a member of the United Nations on 11 May 1949.[21]

In the three years following the 1948 Palestine war, about 700,000 Jews immigrated to Israel, residing mainly along the borders and in former Arab lands.[22] Around 136,000 were some of the 250,000 displaced Jews of World War II.[23] And from the 1948 Arab–Israeli War until the early 1970s, 800,000–1,000,000 Jews left, fled, or were expelled from their homes in Arab countries; 260,000 of them reached Israel between 1948 and 1951; and 600,000 by 1972.[24][25][26]

At the same time, a large number of Arabs left, fled or were expelled from, what became Israel. In the Report of the Technical Committee on Refugees (Submitted to the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine in Lausanne on 7 September 1949)- (A/1367/Rev.1), in paragraph 15,[27] the estimate of the statistical expert, which the Committee believed to be as accurate as circumstances permitted, indicated that the refugees from Israel- controlled territory amounted to approximately 711,000.

Status in Israeli law[edit]

Independence Hall as it appears today

The declaration stated that the State of Israel would ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex, and guaranteed freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture. However, the Knessetmaintains that the declaration is neither a law nor an ordinary legal document.[28] TheSupreme Court has ruled that the guarantees were merely guiding principles, and that the declaration is not a constitutional law making a practical ruling on the upholding or nullification of various ordinances and statutes. Whenever an explicit statutory measure of the Knesset leaves no room for doubt, it is honored even if inconsistent with the principles in the Declaration of Independence.[29]

In 1994 the Knesset amended two basic lawsHuman Dignity and Liberty and Freedom of Occupation, introducing (among other changes) a statement saying “the fundamental human rights in Israel will be honored (…) in the spirit of the principles included in the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel.”

The scroll[edit]

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Although Ben-Gurion had told the audience that he was reading from the scroll of independence, he was actually reading from handwritten notes because only the bottom part of the scroll had been finished by artist and calligrapher Otte Wallish by the time of the declaration (he did not complete the entire document until June).[14] The scroll, which is bound together in three parts, is generally kept in the country’s National Archives, though it is currently on display at the Israel Museum.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Zionists Proclaim New State of Israel; Truman Recognizes it and Hopes for Peace New York Times, 15 May 1948
  2. Jump up^ Communication dated 11 May 1948 from J. Fletcher-Cooke of the United Kingdom delegation to the United Nations Commission on Palestine to Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Principal Secretary to the Commission: Retrieved 7 December 2013
  3. Jump up to:a b Then known as the Zionist Organization.
  4. Jump up^ Brenner, Michael; Frisch, Shelley (April 2003). Zionism: A Brief History. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 184.
  5. Jump up^ “Zionist Leaders: David Ben-Gurion 1886–1973”. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  6. Jump up^ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affirs:Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel: 14 May 1948
  7. Jump up^ Yapp, M.E. (1987). The Making of the Modern Near East 1792–1923. Harlow, England: Longman. p. 290. ISBN 0-582-49380-3.
  8. Jump up^ UNITED NATIONS General Assembly: A/RES/181(II): 29 November 1947: Resolution 181 (II): Future government of Palestine: Retrieved 26 April 2012
  9. Jump up to:a b c d e The State of Israel Declares Independence Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  10. Jump up to:a b Harris, J. (1998) The Israeli Declaration of Independence The Journal of the Society for Textual Reasoning, Vol. 7
  11. Jump up^ Gilbert, M. (1998) Israel: A History, London: Doubleday. p. 187. ISBN 0-385-40401-8
  12. Jump up^ “Why not Judea? Zion? State of the Hebrews?”. Haaretz. 7 May 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2012.Why not Judea? Zion? State of the Hebrews?Haaretz, 7 May 2008
  13. Jump up to:a b c d e f g One Day that Shook the world The Jerusalem Post, 30 April 1998, by Elli Wohlgelernter
  14. Jump up to:a b Wallish and the Declaration of Independence The Jerusalem Post, 1998 (republished on Eretz Israel Forever)
  15. Jump up^ For this reason we congregatedIton Tel Aviv, 23 April 2004
  16. Jump up^ PDF copy of Cablegram from the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States of the 15 May 1948: Retrieved 13 December 2013
  17. Jump up^ United states de facto Regnition of State of Israel: 14 May 1948: Retrieved 14 December 2013
  18. Jump up^ Israel and the Legacy of Harry S. Truman Truman State University
  19. Jump up^ Press Release, 31 January 1949. Official File, Truman Papers Truman Library
  20. Jump up^ The Recognition of the State of Israel: Introduction Truman Library
  21. Jump up^ United Nations General Assembly Resolution 273.
  22. Jump up^ Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, chap. VI.
  23. Jump up^ Displaced Persons Retrieved 29 October 2007 from the US Holocaust Museum.
  24. Jump up^ Schwartz, Adi (4 January 2008). “All I Wanted was Justice”Haaretz.
  25. Jump up^ Malka Hillel Shulewitz, The Forgotten Millions: The Modern Jewish Exodus from Arab Lands, Continuum 2001, pp. 139 and 155.
  26. Jump up^ Ada Aharoni “The Forced Migration of Jews from Arab Countries”, Historical Society of Jews from Egypt website. Accessed 1 February 2009.
  27. Jump up^ [1] Report of the Technical Committee on Refugees (Submitted to the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine in Lausanne on 7 September 1949)- (A/1367/Rev.1)]
  28. Jump up^ The Proclamation of IndependenceKnesset website
  29. Jump up^ The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs

External links[edit]

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

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Jean Henri Dunant- A Christian Zionist

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n a new book, Emory professor Shalom Goldman explores American Christians and their ‘Zeal for Zion’.

Prof. Shalom Goldman (Ariel Jerozolimski)

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For those who think Christians are either far right, pro-Israel/anti-Arab Evangelicals or far left, pro-Arab/anti-Israel “mainline” Protestants and Catholics, Shalom Goldman’s Zeal for Zion – Christians, Jews and the Idea of the Promised Landshould come as good news. The radical Right is a small minority among American Evangelicals, he writes, and the Christian world at large, for all the streams of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism it’s produced, has also nurtured broad, deep strains of Zionism that predate Theodor Herzl’s ideological epiphany in the mid-1890s. Since then, the term Christian Zionist “has been used to describe Catholics and Protestants, liberals and conservatives, reformers and traditionalists,” writes Goldman, a New York-born professor of Hebrew and Middle Eastern studies at Atlanta’s Emory University.

The history of Christianity’s encounter with Zionism is older and far more nuanced and pluralistic than commonly understood, and this encounter has, by and large, been a sympathetic one, Goldman says during an interview in Jerusalem. Today, despite the political convictions and associations that often turn Christians vehemently pro or con on Israel’s relations with Arabs, there is basic support on the part of most Christians, especially Americans, for the Zionist enterprise, he says.

“America’s engagement with Israel is undergirded by its biblical understanding, and the Book of Genesis is more important to American Christians than the Book of Revelation [in which the Jews’ return to the Promised Land precedes the apocalypse and final redemption through Christ],” he says. “For Christians in America, Israel is proof that God works in history. Even among American Evangelicals, support for Israel is not primarily about Armageddon and ‘end times.’ It’s about making sense of a world that seems out of control. With the earthquakes, starvation, catastrophes, [Christians ask] where is God? Well, they see that God has taken His people and brought them back to the land He promised them. That means that God is still here.”

Covering the 1880s to the present, Zeal for Zion personalizes this Christian-Jewish encounter over Zion by telling of the deep heart-felt and ideological connection between, for instance, “Hatikva” composer Naphtali Herz Imber and the British diplomat/adventurer Laurence Oliphant, and between Herzl and Anglican cleric Rev. William Hechler. The book also tells of the tortured duality of early 20th-century Catholicism’s attitude toward Jews and Zionism, and how the Holocaust changed it.

Goldman also recounts the attachment to Israel felt by the great modern authors Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Graves and Vladimir Nabokov, reminding readers that there was a time when gentile intellectuals and cultural heroes saw this country as a symbol of justice.

There are all sorts of fascinating historical details here. Christian Zionist Lord Arthur Balfour, whose 1917 declaration is considered by Israel as the world’s first official recognition of the Jews’ right to a state, “was not an admirer of Jews in general or of the British Jewish community in particular. As one of his biographers noted, ‘In common with many Zionists of his time, both Jew and gentile, he accepted many of the allegations made against Jews by anti-Semites.’”

The book also notes that among Herzl’s Christian guests at the First Zionist Congress in Basel was Jean Henri Dunant, founder of the International Red Cross, whose long-time refusal on technical grounds to recognize Israel’s Magen David Adom was seen here as a sign of anti-Semitism. And Goldman notes that one of the most influential Christian Zionists of the mid-19th century, whose book Mohammed the Imposter was the first important American work on Islam, was a New York University professor named George Bush.

BUT IT is the book’s concluding chapter, “Jewish Settlers and Christian Zionists (1967-2007),” that is, of course, most relevant today. Goldman traces the alliance between American Evangelical leaders such as Jerry Falwell and John Hagee with the settler movement and the Likud leadership. “Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Likud politicians continued to cultivate the support of the American Christian Right. The most effective and forceful of these political figures is Binyamin Netanyahu.”

As if to illustrate the chapter, on the eve of Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to Israel, Hagee’s Christians United for Israel organization held a giant “Night to Honor Israel” in Jerusalem. Among those present were veteran settler leaders Ron Nachman, mayor of Ariel, and Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin. The guest of honor was Netanyahu.

“Christian Zionism preceded modern Jewish Zionism, and I think enabled it,” the prime minister told the crowd. “But [Jewish Zionism] received a tremendous impetus several decades ago when leading American clergymen, among them, most notedly, Pastor John Hagee… began to say to their congregations and to anyone who would listen, ‘It’s time to take a stand with Israel!’ Today, Christians by the… tens of millions have heard the call and they stand with Israel.”

According to the stereotype, all American Evangelical Christians think like Hagee’s followers: that the Jews must return to Israel and that Israel must hold onto all of the Promised Land because this is God’s plan for Jesus’s return, a return that will occur, as Revelation says, with apocalyptic death and destruction. This stereotype leads many liberal Jews to conclude that the Evangelicals’ embrace of Israel is cynical in the extreme, because ultimately the Jews they claim to love have to either accept Jesus or die horribly.

Followers of this strain of Christianity, writes Goldman, are called “dispensationalists.” “[T]hese biblical literalists asserted that history was divided into eras or ‘dispensations,’ the last of which would soon begin. ‘Israel’ of the Bible was understood by dispensationalists as the actual Jewish people of present times, and the return of ‘Israel’ to their land was a prerequisite of Redemption.”

But he stresses that of the estimated 80 million American Evangelical Christians, only nine million to 10 million carry this belief that Jesus’s return depends on Israel retaining all of its biblical land.

“This is the kind of thing you hear from Hagee, who comes from a classical Pentecostal background and is very heavily influenced by dispensationalism,” Goldman said in the interview. “When he told the [2007] AIPAC convention that ‘50 million Christians are marching behind you,’ that really was not accurate. He actually represents a small sector of Christian fundamentalists. My claim is that for the great majority of American Christians who support Israel, it’s more about the idea of God acting in history, of God fulfilling His promise, than about what’s supposed to happen in end times.”

I asked him what he thought it would do to American Evangelicals such as those at a “Night to Honor Israel” if Israel traded Judea and Samaria for peace. “If there was a deal,” he replied, “my reading of right-wing Christian engagement with Israel is that they would make their peace with it. Some of them are so strident as to think of peace as the enemy, but I think that if Israel were to make such a deal, they would see it as part of God’s plan.”

Goldman, 62, came to Israel in 1968 and stayed for five years, spending much of his time on kibbutzim. “I was one of the post-Six Day War generation of Jews who came to Israel, but I never really intended to stay. It was more like my great adventure.”

With the publication of Zeal for Zion,  he has been speaking to American Jewish groups about Christian attitudes toward Israel, especially among the high-profile dispensationalist types.

“A lot of the questions I get asked come down to: ‘Is this good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?’ I say I’m not going to answer that question for you. I’m a professor, I’m trying to look at the situation in all its complexity. As Jews, this is our responsibility, to try to figure out the people and events going on around us, not to rush to judgment about them.”

The Nobel Peace Prize 1901
Henry Dunant, Frédéric Passy

Henry Dunant – Biographical

Jean Henry Dunant‘s life (May 8, 1828-October 30, 1910) is a study in contrasts. He was born into a wealthy home but died in a hospice; in middle age he juxtaposed great fame with total obscurity, and success in business with bankruptcy; in old age he was virtually exiled from the Genevan society of which he had once been an ornament and died in a lonely room, leaving a bitter testament. His passionate humanitarianism was the one constant in his life, and the Red Cross his living monument.

The Geneva household into which Henry Dunant was born was religious, humanitarian, and civic-minded. In the first part of his life Dunant engaged quite seriously in religious activities and for a while in full-time work as a representative of the Young Men’s Christian Association, traveling in France, Belgium, and Holland.

When he was twenty-six, Dunant entered the business world as a representative of the Compagnie genevoise des Colonies de Sétif in North Africa and Sicily. In 1858 he published his first book, Notice sur la Régence de Tunis [An Account of the Regency in Tunis], made up for the most part of travel observations but containing a remarkable chapter, a long one, which he published separately in 1863, entitled L’Esclavage chez les musulmans et aux États-Unis d’Amérique [Slavery among the Mohammedans and in the United States of America].

Having served his commercial apprenticeship, Dunant devised a daring financial scheme, making himself president of the Financial and Industrial Company of Mons-Gémila Mills in Algeria (eventually capitalized at 100,000,000 francs) to exploit a large tract of land. Needing water rights, he resolved to take his plea directly to Emperor Napoleon III. Undeterred by the fact that Napoleon was in the field directing the French armies who, with the Italians, were striving to drive the Austrians out of Italy, Dunant made his way to Napoleon’s headquarters near the northern Italian town of Solferino. He arrived there in time to witness, and to participate in the aftermath of, one of the bloodiest battles of the nineteenth century. His awareness and conscience honed, he published in 1862 a small book Un Souvenir de Solférino [A Memory of Solferino], destined to make him famous.

A Memory has three themes. The first is that of the battle itself. The second depicts the battlefield after the fighting – its «chaotic disorder, despair unspeakable, and misery of every kind» – and tells the main story of the effort to care for the wounded in the small town of Castiglione. The third theme is a plan. The nations of the world should form relief societies to provide care for the wartime wounded; each society should be sponsored by a governing board composed of the nation’s leading figures, should appeal to everyone to volunteer, should train these volunteers to aid the wounded on the battlefield and to care for them later until they recovered. On February 7, 1863, the Société genevoise d’utilité publique [Geneva Society for Public Welfare] appointed a committee of five, including Dunant, to examine the possibility of putting this plan into action. With its call for an international conference, this committee, in effect, founded the Red Cross. Dunant, pouring his money and time into the cause, traveled over most of Europe obtaining promises from governments to send representatives. The conference, held from October 26 to 29, with thirty-nine delegates from sixteen nations attending, approved some sweeping resolutions and laid the groundwork for a gathering of plenipotentiaries. On August 22, 1864, twelve nations signed an international treaty, commonly known as the Geneva Convention, agreeing to guarantee neutrality to sanitary personnel, to expedite supplies for their use, and to adopt a special identifying emblem – in virtually all instances a red cross on a field of white1.

Dunant had transformed a personal idea into an international treaty. But his work was not finished. He approved the efforts to extend the scope of the Red Cross to cover naval personnel in wartime, and in peacetime to alleviate the hardships caused by natural catastrophes. In 1866 he wrote a brochure called the Universal and International Society for the Revival of the Orient, setting forth a plan to create a neutral colony in Palestine. In 1867 he produced a plan for a publishing venture called an «International and Universal Library» to be composed of the great masterpieces of all time. In 1872 he convened a conference to establish the «Alliance universelle de l’ordre et de la civilisation» which was to consider the need for an international convention on the handling of prisoners of war and for the settling of international disputes by courts of arbitration rather than by war.

The eight years from 1867 to 1875 proved to be a sharp contrast to those of 1859-1867. In 1867 Dunant was bankrupt. The water rights had not been granted, the company had been mismanaged in North Africa, and Dunant himself had been concentrating his attention on humanitarian pursuits, not on business ventures. After the disaster, which involved many of his Geneva friends, Dunant was no longer welcome in Genevan society. Within a few years he was literally living at the level of the beggar. There were times, he says2, when he dined on a crust of bread, blackened his coat with ink, whitened his collar with chalk, slept out of doors.

For the next twenty years, from 1875 to 1895, Dunant disappeared into solitude. After brief stays in various places, he settled down in Heiden, a small Swiss village. Here a village teacher named Wilhelm Sonderegger found him in 1890 and informed the world that Dunant was alive, but the world took little note. Because he was ill, Dunant was moved in 1892 to the hospice at Heiden. And here, in Room 12, he spent the remaining eighteen years of his life. Not, however, as an unknown. After 1895 when he was once more rediscovered, the world heaped prizes and awards upon him.

Despite the prizes and the honors, Dunant did not move from Room 12. Upon his death, there was no funeral ceremony, no mourners, no cortege. In accordance with his wishes he was carried to his grave «like a dog»3.

Dunant had not spent any of the prize monies he had received. He bequeathed some legacies to those who had cared for him in the village hospital, endowed a «free bed» that was to be available to the sick among the poorest people in the village, and left the remainder to philanthropic enterprises in Norway and Switzerland.

 

Selected Bibliography
Les Débuts de la Croix-Rouge en France. Paris, Librairie Fischbacher, 1918.
Dunant, J. Henri. His manuscripts are held by the Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Genève.
Dunant, J. Henry, A Memory of Solferino. London, Cassell, 1947. A translation from the French of the first edition of Un Souvenir de Solférino, published in 1862. The author published the original as «J. Henry Dunant», although he is usually referred to as «Henri Dunant».
Gagnebin, Bernard, «Le Rôle d’Henry Dunant pendant la guerre de 1870 et le siège de Paris», bound separately but originally published in Revue internationale de la Croix-Rouge (avril, 1953).
Gigon, Fernand, The Epic of the Red Cross or the Knight Errant of Charity, translated from the French by Gerald Griffin. London, Jarrolds, 1946.
Gumpert, Martin, Dunant: The Story of the Red Cross. New York, Oxford University Press, 1938.
Hart, Ellen, Man Born to Live: Life and Work of Henry Dunant, Founder of the Red Cross. London, Gollancz, 1953.
Hendtlass, Willy, «Henry Dunant: Leben und Werk», in Solferino, pp. 37-84. Essen Cityban, Schiller, 1959.
Hommage à Henry Dunant. Genève, 1963.
Huber, Max, «Henry Dunant», in Revue internationale de la Croix-Rouge, 484 (avril, 1959) 167-173. A translation of a brief sketch originally published in German in 1928.

1. The emblem in Muslim countries is the red crescent and in Iran is the red lion and sun. (For a brief history of the Red Cross see history of the Red Cross.)

2. «Extraits des mémoires» in Les Débuts de la Croix-Rouge en France, p. 72.

3. Taken from a letter written by Dunant and published by René Sonderegger; quoted by Gigon in The Epic of the Red Cross, p. 147.

From Nobel Lectures, Peace 1901-1925, Editor Frederick W. Haberman, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1972

This autobiography/biography was written at the time of the award and first published in the book series Les Prix Nobel. It was later edited and republished in Nobel Lectures. To cite this document, always state the source as shown above.

 

Sleeping On The Bus

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mahne yehuda market in jerusalem. taken by גיל...

mahne yehuda market in jerusalem. taken by גילה ברנד (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bus Livery Design

Bus Livery Design (Photo credit: pantranco_bus)

English: in the Negev desert, Israel Defense F...

English: in the Negev desert, Israel Defense Forces עברית: תצלום מרחוק של חיילים שומרים על גבעה בנגב, Original Image Name:חיילים שומרים בנגב, Location:נגב (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: machane yehuda market in jerusalem עב...

English: machane yehuda market in jerusalem עברית: שוק מחנה יהודה, Original Image Name:שוק מחנה יהודה, Location:שוק מחנה יהודה (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Legacy of Diversity: The Israel Defense Forces

A Legacy of Diversity: The Israel Defense Forces (Photo credit: Israel Defense Forces)

English: IDF dress uniform of a Srg. First cla...

English: IDF dress uniform of a Srg. First class, medic from the Golani Brigade. עברית: מדי א’ של צה”ל. סמל ראשון, חובש קרבי מחטיבת גולני בעל צל”ש (אלוף פיקוד) ואות מלחמת לבנון השניה (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sleeping On The Bus

Posted by: Zionist Shark in GeneralZionist Shark November 14, 2013 72 Comments 777 Views

EnglishTranslationImage121-1I have many misty, watercolored memories from my time as an IDF Lone Soldier, back in the 1990s. And there are few memories I can recall as clearly as the feeling of riding the bus home from my tank base, on the Fridays when we weren’t scheduled to spend Shabbat on our base, ‘somewhere’ in the Negev Desert.
idf egged
On your base, on patrol, on guard duty, on the border, you feel like a soldier. You wear your heavy-duty “bet” uniform that is designed to take a beating – the uniform whose job it is to get anointed with a layer of tank grease and mud, and then ask for seconds.

On the bus, you finally start to feel like yourself – like a kid who only recently was in high school (or in my case, college). You’re still wearing a uniform, but it’s your “alef” dress uniform with the colored beret you earned by completing your masa kumta (one of many long overnight marches), and all of the unit tags and insignia pins you are issued as you gradually earn the right to call yourself a “pazamnik” over 3 long years. Of course you also get to rock your favorite pair of sunglasses, asserting just a little bit of your personality, amidst the soldierly sartorial sameness.
egged highway
On the bus, you’re not yet home, but in your mind, you’ve already begun to make the mental transition. As you slide into your seat, you can almost taste your mom’s special chicken orcholent/chamin or jachnun or chraimeh or kubbeh soup or shakshuka or sabich or schnitzel orkababim (or in my case, the grilled chicken and Marzipan rugelach I bought for myself at Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market on the walk to the apartment I shared with 2 other Lone Soldiers) that she knows is your favorite. As she watches over the simmering pots, she looks up at the clock, beyond excited that in a few short hours, she’ll see her baby walk through the door. She can’t wait to shower you with love. Love in the form of hugs and kisses. Love in the form of a full plate, a full belly, and a full bed.

On your base, on patrol, on guard duty, on the border, your guard is up. You are perma-tense. Awake. Aware. Anxious.

On the bus, you begin to let your guard down. There are weeks during combat training that allow you only a precious few hours of sleep. So when Friday comes and you nestle your head in the crook between your seat’s headrest and the bus window, your body seems to sense that you don’t need to be quite as vigilant as you were just a short time ago. Your eyelids seem to sense that they are suddenly much heavier than they were just a short time ago.

You are bone-weary and finally, deliriously, blissfully, on the way home – just another kid who wants to tell mom and dad about his week. You picture yourself walking through the front door of your family home in just a few short hours, as you’ve done thousands of times in your short life. Your senses are attuned not the sounds of gun or tank fire and the smell of cordite and diesel, but to the comforting sounds of the voices of family and friends, and the comforting smells of your favorite comfort foods.

And then you are asleep – a deep sleep that will only be interrupted by the sounds of the bus arriving at its destination, the sounds of your fellow passengers rising to gather their belongings and get off the bus.

F131113ASY06

Unless you are Eden Atias (HY”D) of Nazrat Illit.

Eden Atias who was only 19 years old.

Eden Atias who was only 3 months into his army service.

Eden Atias whose alef uniform hadn’t yet had the opportunity to earn any insignia.

Eden Atias whose alef uniform still probably had the crease from the factory.

Eden Atias who never got to walk off the bus under his own power.

Eden Atias who was buried tonight.

atias1-e1384345518861

Would Eden Atias still be alive if our government stopped letting terrorist murderers out of the prison they earned the right to inhabit for so much longer?

Would Eden Atias still be alive if John Kerry had kept his wishful-thinking, flotilla-supporting, intifada-threatening mouth shut?

Would Eden Atias still be alive if we worried less about confidence-building measures and Palestinian ‘dignity’, and more about keeping ourselves safe?

Would Eden Atias still be alive if we worried less about the ignorant, hypocritical, morally relativist ‘world opinion’, and more about asserting our legal and moral rights to live proudly in our homeland?

As I try to sleep tonight, I will be thinking about these questions.

As I try to sleep tonight, I will be thinking about Gal Gabriel Kobi.

As I try to sleep tonight, I will be thinking about Tomer Hazan.

As I try to sleep tonight, I will be thinking about Eden Atias.

May G-d comfort the family of Eden Atias among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. And may we know no more sorrow.

EDIT: If it seems like I wrote the name Eden Atias a few times too many, perhaps it’s to make up for the fact that so many media outlets either couldn’t be bothered to include it at all, or only deigned to do so in the context of Israeli evildoing. Just another example of the media at its perfidious finest.