This Independence Day in Israel – on Wednesday – marks a big one. It’s the country’s 70th anniversary. Israelis know how to party – from concerts to block parties to street festivals. Before the partying, however, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect back on how near a thing Israel’s declaration of independence was.
While future prime minister David Ben-Gurion was determined to declare independence, he needed to convince his Mapai Party colleagues first. The rank-and-file were with him but not all the party leaders. Although Jewish forces had managed to turn things around on the Arab guerrillas in certain places, Ben-Gurion’s fellow Mapai leaders doubted their ability to withstand regular, well-armed Arab armies.
Ben-Gurion had already shown determination in his response to the “temporary trusteeship” proposal for Palestine, which had been introduced at the United Nations on March 19 by the head of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Warren Austin.