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Happy Independence Day, Israel!

Posted by Richard on May 3, 2006

Today is 5 Iyar, 5766, in the Hebrew calendar, the day that Israelis celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut — Israel Independence Day. On this day of the Hebrew calendar 58 years ago (it was May 14, 1948, in the Western calendar), the British lowered their flag and withdrew from Palestine, enabling the Jewish community, led by David Ben Gurion, to declare the creation of Israel:

This was the day when the British finally left the Land of Israel. It was marked by the departure of the High Commissioner, who hastened back to England. Thus ended the Mandate on Palestine. On the same day the people’s representatives gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum to set up a provisional Government. David Ben Gurion read the Declaration of Independence, which formalized the establishment of the independent State of Israel. He called on the neighboring Arabs to remain in the country and to live together in peace. The Declaration states that the State of Israel is based on the principles of justice and democracy, and constitutes the national home for the Jewish People.

After 2,000 years of exile a sovereign Jewish state had been reestablished. The newly emerging state had yet to be recognized by the nations of the world. Everything was done swiftly and secretly, meticulously planned by David Ben Gurion.

After the Declaration the crowds took to the streets and danced all night, just as they did on the night of the U.N. Partition vote. 

Israel was immediately attacked by all its neighbors, who also urged the Palestinian Arabs to flee "temporarily" to escape the fighting, promising they could soon return and claim the property of the Jews, who would be wiped out.

Despite horrendous odds against it, Israel prevailed. It became the first free, democratic state in the Middle East. And for over 57 years (until the Iraqis adopted a democratic constitution on Dec. 15, 2005), it was the only democratic state in the Middle East.  It’s certainly the freest.

The descendants of the Palestinian Arabs who remained are now Israeli citizens, make up about 20% of the population, and have more political, social, and economic freedom than Arabs in any Arab nation (not that most of them are at all appreciative). The descendants of those who left "temporarily" until the Jews could be wiped out are still living in third-world "refugee camps" run by thugs and thieves — and still struggling to wipe out the Jews.

I don’t think they’ll ever succeed. Congratulations, Israel!

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