The Forgotten First Draft of Israel’s Declaration of Independence

Sept. 22 2016

Since Israel has no formal constitution, its Declaration of Independence occupies a special place as the nation’s foundational document. In its final form, the declaration was the product of extensive wrangling by various parties with different ideas about what sort of country the Jewish state should be. Jodi Rudoren describes the original version:

[The early drafts] were written in English by a little-known, Ukrainian-born lawyer, Mordechai Beham, who confided to his in-laws over lunch in Tel Aviv on April 24, 1948 that he had been enlisted to write the defining manifesto and had no idea where to begin. After several hours in the private library of an American rabbi who lived nearby, Beham, [then age] thirty-three, emerged with a document that began with Thomas Jefferson’s famous phrase “when in the course of human events.” He also cribbed from Deuteronomy, the English Bill of Rights, and the United Nations’ partition plan for Palestine.

Only a few of Jefferson’s words survived in the final version read out by David Ben-Gurion three weeks and a dozen drafts later. But Yoram Shachar, a law professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, argued . . . that the American influence was nonetheless profound, noting that God appears in both documents’ concluding paragraphs.

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Read more at New York Times

More about: Declaration of Independence, History & Ideas, Israeli Declaration of Independence, Israeli history, Thomas Jefferson

 

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror