The Establishment of Israel - A Photo Retrospective
Shalom Life and LIFE Magazine take you back to 1948
When World War II finally came to an end, Britain found itself in conflict with the Jewish community, as the Haganah joined Irgun and Lehi in an armed struggle against British rule.
At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors and refugees sought a new life far from their destroyed communities in Europe. The Yishuv attempted to bring these refugees to Palestine but many were turned away or rounded up and placed in detention camps by the British. In 1947, the British government announced it would withdraw from Mandatory Palestine, stating it was unable to arrive at a solution acceptable to both Arabs and Jews.
On December 1 1947, the Arab Higher Committee proclaimed a three-day strike, and Arab bands began attacking Jewish targets. The Jews were initially on the defensive as civil war broke out, but gradually moved onto the offensive. The Palestinian Arab economy collapsed and 250,000 Palestinian-Arabs fled or were expelled.
On 14 May 1948, the day before the expiration of the British Mandate, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, declared "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel."
The following 20 photographs depict the struggles faced for these Jewish pioneers to settle in their new home, their home of Eretz Yisrael.
Two Israeli soldiers. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
View of Haifa from Mt. Carmel in June 1948. Frank Scherschel
Jewish people attempting to leave portion of city surrendered to Arab forces. Jerusalem, Israel. June 1948. John Phillips
Tel Aviv. May 1948. Frank Scherschel
Click on the page numbers to the right for more photos.