EXPLAINER: Israel comes into being: looking back 70 years


It's been exactly 70 years since Jewish leaders proclaimed the State of Israel.

JOHANNESBURG - The 15th of May 1948 shook the world.

It marks exactly 70 years to the date when Israel officially came into being.

The state was proclaimed just a day earlier on 14 May 1948 and came into effect on 15 May. 

For some, it was a moment of triumph but for others, it was nothing short of a catastrophe.

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According to history.com, the calls for a State of Israel dates as far back as 1896 when Jewish-Austrian journalist Theodor Herzl published The Jewish State.

Herzl went on to become the leader of Zionism, convening the first Zionist Congress in Switzerland in 1897. 

The "Balfour Declaration" was issued in 1917 and declared the British Empire&39;s intent to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The League of Nations, later replaced by United Nations (UN), authorised Britain to include Palestine in its mandate.

After World War II, the United States took up the Zionist cause and after Brittain was unable to find a solution, the UN voted in favour of partitioning Palestine. 

History.com reports that by 14 May 1948, the Jews had secured full control of their UN-allocated share of Palestine as well as some Arab territory.

Britain then withdrew the expiration of its mandate and the State of Israel was proclaimed.

The next day, forces from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq invaded.

During the Six-Day War, Israel seized the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights

In the process, Israel gained control over Gaza and tripled its land territory

A UN-brokered ceasefire in 1949 saw hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs from Israel leaving the territory. 


(Sources: history.com and cnn.com)