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Recognition of the State of Israel

Lesson Author
Required Time Frame
1 Day
Grade Level(s)
Lesson Abstract
Students will analyze and discuss primary source documents pertaining to the Creation of the State of Israel.

Students will analyze and discuss primary source documents pertaining to the Creation of the State of Israel.

Rationale (why are you doing this?)

The rationale is to further student understanding of the impact of the Creation of the State of Israel on the dynamics of the Middle East of 1948.

Lesson Objectives - the student will

The student will:

-          Understand why the State of Israel was established.

-          Comprehend United States support for the Recognition of Israel

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met

Missouri Standards

2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

6. Relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions

7. The use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps, documents)


Kansas Standards

Benchmark 4: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points of the World Since 1945.

3. (K) describes the emergence of the Middle East as an influential region in world politics (e.g., creation of the state of Israel, emerging Middle Eastern post WWII nationalism: Suez Crisis, petroleum based interdependence).

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

1. (A) analyzes a theme in world history to explain patterns of continuity and change over time.

2. (A) develops historical questions on a specific topic in world history and analyzes the evidence in primary source documents to speculate on the answers.

3. (A) uses primary and secondary sources about an event in world history to develop a credible interpretation of the event, forming conclusions about its meaning (e.g., use provided primary and secondary sources to interpret a historical-based conclusion).

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed

Harry S. Truman, A Life by Robert H. Ferrell

Truman Library Website: The Recognition of the State of Israel Online Research File, Background Information on the Recognition of the State of Israel

Harry S. Truman and the Recognition of Israel, Publication of the Harry S. Truman Institute for National and International Affairs to Commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of United State Recognition of Israel

Primary sources needed (document, photograph, artifact, diary or letter, audio or visual recording, etc.) needed

-          Map – “Palestine Military Situation”, June 11,1948

-          To Honorable Harry S. Truman from Eddie Jacobsen, Oct.3. 1947

-          Memorandum for the State – War- Navy Coordinating Committee; from A. J. McFarland, Colonel, U.S. Army, Secretary, June 21,  1946

-          Draft, Recognition Statement by President Harry S. Truman, May 14, 1948

-          Trygve Lie, Former Secretary General of the United Nations Quote

Note – All of these primary sources are available on the Truman Library Website.

Technology Required

Internet access to the Truman Library Website but paper copies of the documents from the site could be used as well.

Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?

1st the teacher will give the brief background on the Creation of the State of Israel:


Brief  Background-


The movement for a Jewish state predates the 20th century. The Balfour Declaration in the WWI era gave roots to Jewish settlement in Palestine. The British controlled Palestine from the end of WWI until 1948. Jewish immigration was limited at this time due to concerns over Arab reaction to such an influx of new settlers. The aftermath of the Holocaust heightened efforts to create a refuge for these victims of Nazi Germany. The United Nations approved the partition of Palestine in November of 1947. Palestine would be divided into Jewish and Arab areas. All of this led to the Creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. President Truman recognized Israel as a de facto state only 11 minutes after Israel’s creation. Many scholars view America’s and especially President Truman’s role as essential in the creation of this new state.

Students will then be given primary source documents pertaining to the Creation of the State of Israel. They will be put into cooperative learning groups and asked to analyze 2 documents. One will be pro (Jacobsen letter) and one will be con (Memorandum) on the topic of Israeli Recognition. They will also be given a copy of the June 1948 map of Palestine to discuss.


Have them address the following questions

1.)    What were the pressures on the Truman Administration in regards to the issue of Palestine?

2.)    What were the controversies?

3.)    Why is acceptance of Israel such a major issue for the world in 1948?


The groups will then share their findings with the entire class as to issues on both sides of the recognition question. A class discussion will ensue.


The class as a whole will read President Truman’s draft of the May 14, 1948 recognition statement.  Why do you think that President Truman made the changes that he did? What would you predict to be the reaction of people to this statement?


Conclude with the following quote from Trygve Lie, Former Secretary General of the United Nations:


“I think we can safely say that if there had been no Harry S. Truman, there would be no Israel today.”


Ask for student reaction to the quote. What are their opinions after this class activity?

Assessment: fully explain the assessment method in detail or create and attach a scoring guide

Students will write a brief reaction paragraph which lists a pro and con for the Creation of Israel and a reason for US recognition. Points will also be given for class participation.

20pts. will be given for the lesson.

The following scoring rubric will be used:


Paragraph – 1 – 5- 10


Class Participation in the Activity – 1 – 5 – 10


Total _________