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Facsimile of the Israeli Declaration of Independence


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    Brief Narrative
    Facsimile of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, commissioned by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for installation in the museum’s permanent exhibition. The facsimile was reproduced, with the State of Israel’s permission, from the original document, which is housed at the Israel State Archives in a custom-designed, silver storage case. The Declaration was proclaimed by the Va’ad Leumi (Jewish National Council or Jewish People’s Council) and was delivered by Zionist statesman David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973) on May 14, 1948, at the Tel Aviv Museum in Mandatory Palestine. The Council approved the Declaration, also known as the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel or the Proclamation of Independence, several hours before the British Mandate for Palestine (British control) was scheduled to expire. A limited number of people attended the event, selected members having been invited secretly the day before by the Provisional government. However, the delivery was broadcast live on the radio, and solidified as a momentous event in national memory. The first section of the Declaration summarizes the historical links between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. The second asserts that the establishment of the State of Israel is based on the natural right of a people to exercise self-determination. The third formally proclaims the establishment of the State of Israel. The fourth establishes the timeline for the beginning of Independence, the creation of a constitution, and the election and operation of governmental bodies. The fifth declares the fundamental principles and guidelines of the Israeli state, which are based on justice, peace, equal rights, and freedom. The sixth calls for the cooperation of external and internal factors. The seventh bears the signatures of those who proclaimed the document. The United States recognized the new state on the night of May 14, while the Soviet Union recognized it three days later.
    manufacture:  1992-1993
    manufacture: New York (N.Y.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
    front, likely handwritten, black ink : [Hebrew text]
    front, lower right corner, embossed : Faksimile
    Manufacturer: Faksimile, Inc.
    Subject: Va’ad Leumi
    Founded in 1920, the Va’ad Leumi (the Jewish National Council or the Jewish People’s Council) represented the organized Jewish community in Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel), which was governed by the British Mandate of Palestine. The organization served as the executive body of the Elected Assembly of Representatives. The Assembly was the supreme representative body of the Yishuv (the Jewish community), and the members were selected in general elections run by the community. The Assembly held one session a year to elect the members of the Va'ad Le`umi. This was a smaller body, and could more easily manage the national and communal affairs of the community. During the 1930’s and 1940’s, Va’ad Leumi’s budget grew, and it became responsible for more of the community’s social and political functions. The organization’s structure grew to meet the increase in needs and included a range of departments: political, social welfare, education, health, communities, culture, physical training, and press. There was also a Rabbinate and many small groups responsible for working with the Jewish Agency and British representatives, as well as focusing on internal defense and security concerns. During World War II, the organization managed recruitment to the British Forces. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, the Va’ad Leumi’s departmental structure served as a basis for the government.

    Physical Details

    Information Forms
    Object Type
    Scrolls (lcsh)
    Facsimiles. Documents.
    Physical Description
    A vertically aligned, rectangular document resembling a parchment scroll, divided into three sections of cream-colored paper sewn together with off-white, diagonal, thread stitches. The heavyweight paper of the facsimile is textured with raw edges that have been distressed to make it appear old and worn. The upper two sections are large and rectangular with several short paragraphs of black ink text, likely handwritten, recorded from right to left in Hebrew characters. The lower section is square-shaped with the same style of text across the top, and four columns of distinctive signatures below. There are several pairs of holes arranged one above the other in a column and spaced along the left edge of the top two sections. A shiny, twisted, light blue and off-white textile cord is woven through the holes. The top end of the cord is knotted to hold it in place, while the bottom end dangles loosely in front of the lower section. The bottom of the cord passes through holes in a thick, circular, red plastic seal with an irregular surface that resembles wax and bears a stamped Star of David. There is an embossed manufacturer’s mark in the lower right corner. The document is mounted in a display case that conceals the back.
    overall: Height: 46.750 inches (118.745 cm) | Width: 11.500 inches (29.21 cm)
    overall : paper, ink, textile, plastic

    Rights & Restrictions

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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The facsimile of the Declaration was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1992.
    Primary Number
    Record last modified:
    2023-06-14 07:09:16
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