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Israel: the Emergence of a Democracy

David Ben-Gurion publicly pronounces the Declaration of the State of Israel in Tel Aviv. He stands beneath a large portrait of Theodor Herzl, founder of modern political Zionism, in the old Tel Aviv Museum of Art building on Rothshild St, May 14 1948. Rudi Weissenstein / Wikimedia Commons

LESS than three years have elapsed since the state of Israel proclaimed its independence at the termination of the British Mandatory régime. Within the brief period of its national life, events have unfolded with a speed and intensity rarely equalled in the history of political institutions. Israel is still beset by all the preoccupations which attended its struggle for birth; but each of its three infant years has seen a marked shift in the primary center of its concern. The year 1948 was characterized by a struggle for sheer physical survival. Military experts had not placed a high estimate on the ability of Palestine Jewry to organize its defense against a combined and simultaneous onslaught by all the neighboring states; and these doubts were not resolved until the end of the year, when Israel's improvised forces passed from tactical defense to a victorious counter-offensive and swept the entire southern desert

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