The May 1948 Vote that Made the State of Israel

A long-accepted wisdom has it that just days before the state’s birth, its founders settled two burning issues in a pair of closely decided votes. The wisdom is half-wrong.

April 2, 2018 | Martin Kramer
About the author: Martin Kramer teaches Middle Eastern history and served as founding president at Shalem College in Jerusalem, and is the Koret distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

A portrait of David Ben-Gurion taken in the 1960s. Horst Tappe/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images.

Israel’s 70th anniversary, which falls on April 19 (by the Hebrew calendar), coincides with a resurgence of interest in David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father. In addition to new biographies, most notably by Anita Shapira (2014) and Tom Segev (Hebrew, 2018), the Ben-Gurion revival probably owes most to a 2016 film, Ben-Gurion, Epilogue, directed by Yariv Mozer. Made up mostly of excerpts from a long-lost film interview given by Ben-Gurion in 1968, during his twilight years, the documentary ran in Israeli theaters and on TV and was screened by almost every Jewish film festival worldwide.

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