1 page | SMC 219
Invitations, viewed long after the fact, tend to call up memories. This one, to a special session of the People's Assembly to declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel, - attire "dark-colored festive" - is no exception. It seems natural, then, to think back, if none too fondly, to 586 BCE or so, when the First Temple was destroyed, and the Jews expelled from their Kingdom of Judah homeland; to the Diaspora, for two dark millennia; and then, finally, to that bright happy spark at Basel, in 1897, when the First Zionist Congress swore a goal of a Jewish homeland in Palestine - almost extinguished so soon after, in the Shoah.
But on Friday afternoon, May 14, 1948, the Yishuv's People's Assembly met at the Tel Aviv Museum, to hear David Ben-Gurion read a proclamation. "The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people," he began:
"Here their spiritual, religious, and national identity was formed. Here they achieved independence and created a culture of national and universal significance. Here they wrote and gave the Bible to the world. Exiled from their land, the Jewish people remained faithful to it in all the countries of their dispersion, never ceasing to pray and hope for their return and for the restoration of their national freedom."
Soon afterward in the ceremony came the Declaration that "WE... on the day of termination of the British Mandate... and on the strength of the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations, HEREBY DECLARE the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel, to be known as the STATE OF ISRAEL..."
The very next day, the party over, the bombs began to fall.
Printed Document, accomplished in mimeograph, and signed (in print) "The Secretariat," in Hebrew, being a secret invitation to the public declaration of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948; 1 page, quarto, on the letterhead of the "People's Administration," Tel Aviv, 4 Iyar 5708 (May 13, 1948).
all pages and transcript
Tel Aviv, 4 Iyar 5708
We're honored to send you herewith an invitation to a session [announcing the]
D E C L A R A T I O N OF I N D E P EN D E N C E
which will take place on Friday, 5 Iyar 5708 (14.5.1948) at 4 p.m. in the hall of the museum (Rothschild Boulevard 16).
We request that you keep the contents of this invitation a secret, as well as the appointed time of the council's assembly.
The invitees are requested to come to the hall at 3:30.
The invitation is a personal one. Attire: festive, dark-colored clothing.