A historical look at Israel’s independence day

David Ben Gurion reads the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, during the ceremony founding the State of Israel. (Photo by Zoltan Kluger/GPO via Getty Images/Wikimedia Commons)

David Ben Gurion announced Israel’s independence on May 14, 1948—73 years ago today. (Although this year the event was marked in April, according to the Hebrew calendar.) The anniversary comes as Israel is in an eerily familiar situation, heading into another weekend with Arab fighters launching a barrage of rockets from Gaza. Meanwhile, violence between Jews, Palestinians and Israeli Arabs has broken out across Jerusalem, Acco, Lod and Ramla and elsewhere. While Canadian Jews prepare to observe the religious festival of Shavuout on Monday, which marks the giving of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai, Israelis are seeking shelter in safe rooms and bunkers.

In this episode of The CJN Daily, we’re joined by David Matlow, a Canadian who has amassed the world’s largest collection of Theodor Herzl memorabilia and Zionism artifacts. Matlow shares stories from Israel’s creation, including why Ben Gurion decided to hurry up and declare the State of Israel in a secret ceremony in the basement of a Tel Aviv building—and why they almost called Israel by a different name.

Learn more about today’s subjects:

The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. Find more great Jewish podcasts at thecjn.ca.

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