Proclaiming Independence: Five Days in May from Ben-Gurion's Diary Academic Article uri icon


  • AT EXACTLY 4:00 P.M. ON Friday, 14 May 1948, Ben-Gurion stood up in the auditorium of the Tel-Aviv Museum, rapped the gavel, and the assembled rose. The plan called for the Philharmonic, which was unseen on the upper floor, to play the Jewish national anthem. Anticipating the significance of the moment, the-crowd spontaneously broke out with Hatikvah before the orchestra began to play. At the conclusion of the singing, BenGurion announced: "I shall now read to you the Scroll of the Independence which has passed its first reading by the National Council." He thereupon began: "The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people .. ." His reading was interrupted by loud and prolonged applause when he concluded the dramatic passage midway through the Scroll: "We hereby proclaim the establishment of the Jewish State in Palestine, to be called the State of Israel."' On concluding the reading, he called on the assembly to stand as the sign of their agreement to the adoption of the Scroll of the Independence. When the audience was again seated, he announced that those members of the National Council who were in Jerusalem and could not come to TelAviv had also ratified the document. Ben-Gurion then proceeded to read out the first proclamations of the new state including the abrogation of the British White Paper prohibiting Jewish immigration. All were immediately approved. The signing of the Scroll was undertaken by those members present on a portion of parchment that was to be appended to the "official" parchment that had yet to be inscribed. The meeting ended with the assembly on its feet as the orchestra played Hatikvah and Ben-Gurion declared: "The State of Israel is established! This meeting is ended." The proceedings took but thirty-two minutes.

publication date

  • January 1, 1998