Three Turning Points that Led to the Birth of the State of Israel

At each point—1897, 1917, and 1947—one Jewish leader appeared, and showed greatness.

May 7, 2019 | Martin Kramer
About the author: Martin Kramer teaches Middle Eastern history and served as founding president at Shalem College in Jerusalem, and is the Walter P. Stern fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

David Ben-Gurion and Chaim Weizmann in 1949. Getty Images.

“I would like to begin with the strange fact that the state of Israel exists.” That is how the philosopher Isaiah Berlin, speaking in 1953, introduced his address to a Zionist association. Today, the existence of Israel is more likely to be taken for granted by Zionists. But in fact, for sheer unexpectedness, few turns of history can compete with it.

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