Israel's 60th Anniversary

May 14, 1948, the Jewish National Council proclaimed the State of Israel

by Beth Rowen
Israel

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Areas of Dispute

Notable Events

Politics


Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, 2001–2006

May 14, 2008, marked the 60th anniversary of the creation of the modern State of Israel. As part of the 19th-century Zionist movement, Jews had begun settling in Palestine as early as 1820. This effort to establish a Jewish homeland received British approval in the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

During the 1930s, Jews persecuted by the Hitler regime poured into Palestine. The postwar acknowledgment of the Holocaust—Hitler's genocide of 6 million Jews—increased international interest in and sympathy for the cause of Zionism. However, Arabs in Palestine and surrounding countries bitterly opposed prewar and postwar proposals to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish sectors. The British mandate to govern Palestine ended after the war, and, in 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine. When the British officially withdrew on May 14, 1948, the Jewish National Council proclaimed the State of Israel.

Prominent Israeli Politicians

Other Players in Modern Israel's History

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The oldest president inaugurated was Reagan (age 69); the youngest was Kennedy (age 43).

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