IsraCast Special - click here to listen to an authentic recording that includes: UN Partition Vote of 1947 | Arab Rejection | "First" Hatikva | David Ben-Gurion - On Independence | Arab Countdown to Six Day War | Moshe Dayan - Six Day War | Gen. Ariel Sharon - "Nua, Nua!" | Nasser's Infamous Phonecall | Gen. Yitzhak Rabin - Six Day War | Abba Eban's "Stalingrad" Speech (source:http://www.isracast.com/Transcripts/territories_trans.htm)
Hatikva @ 60: A special feature including an interactive game, history, melody and lyrics of Hatikva.
Hatikva: Listen and read the lyrics
The State of Israel
The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel
The War of Independence
Yom Ha'atzma'ut Commentary by Reuven Hammer from the Jerusalem Post
Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl, Father of Zionism 1860-1904
David Ben-Gurion (1886 - 1973), Founder of the State of Israel, Prime Minister 1948-1953 and 1955-1963
The Forgotten Refugees
Yom Ha'atzmaut is Israel Independence Day, the anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel. It is preceded by Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers, a reminder that Israel owes its independence and existence to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives. For nearly 2000 years the idea of the re-establishment of the Jewish State was barely a dream. Efforts to re-establish Israel took hold with the First Zionist Congress, called by Theodore Herzl, on August 29, 1897 in Basle, Switzerland. Herzl wrote in his diary after the congress, "In Basle I founded the Jewish state . . . Maybe in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will realize it."
Fifty years and 9 months later, on May 14, 1948, a few years after 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazis and European Jewry looked down the shaft of extinction, while Egyptian fighter-bombers flew overhead, David Ben Gurion proclaimed the independence of the State of Israel. One day later the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon invaded the Jewish state. Thousands of Jewish soldiers died defending their reborn country. You can listen to the exciting and compelling sounds of the United Nations vote on the partition of Palestine, Israelis singing the "first" Hatikvah, and other dramatic events of Israeli independence here or here.
During the war approximately 600,000 Palestinian Arabs fled their homes. Only Jordan offered them citizenship. Refugee camps were set up and maintained primarily by the United Nations, as they still are today. In reaction to the establishment of Israel, nearly 1 million Jews were expelled from their homes by Arab countries. Historically, Jews and Jewish communities have existed in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf region for more than 2,500 years. Approximately 600,000 of these Jewish refugees sought refuge in Israel, including more than 100,000 Iraqi Jews who emigrated in 1951 in a dramatic airlift. These refugees were forced to abandon virtually all of their property, especially as they fled from the most hostile countries of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Libya. They were gradually absorbed and integrated into Israeli society without help from the UN. A new effort by the World Organization for Jews from Arab Countries (WOJAC) is underway to catalogue the loss of their communal and individual assets and document the mass human rights violations committed against them.
In ten Arab countries and Iran there were over 1 million Jews in 1944. Today there are approximately 27,000. The story of these people is told in a film titled The Forgotten Refugees. The movie was shown in March at the Jewish film festival, sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, at the Jacob Burns Film Center. After the film there was a discussion with two of these refugees. One gentleman told the story of his family, how they secretly traveled from Syria, hid in Lebanon, lived under threats against their lives and of their desperation to leave. He was unable to contain his emotions as he told how his family learned on Passover that they had received permission to enter Mexico, living their own Exodus.
Click here to learn more about this film and The Forgotten Refugees.
Shortly after Yom Ha'atzmaut we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, commemorating the re-unification of Jerusalem in 1967.