Recognition of Israel

In the Spring of 1948, Palestine became embroiled in American domestic politics. Jewish votes were important to President Truman in the coming election. Key advisers, especially Clark Clifford, pushed him to stand firmly for UN partition to win those votes.

As May 15th approached, pressure on President Truman increased. He was urged to recognize the new Jewish state that was certain to be proclaimed when partition occurred. Others counseled against recognition, arguing it would antagonize Arab states and jeopardize American access to oil.

President Truman's regard for Secretary of State George C. Marshall was tremendous. The Secretary's opposition to recognition of a new Jewish state in Palestine troubled President Truman and resulted in the sharpest disagreement the two ever had.

 A Nation is Born

On May 14th Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion reads the proclamation of nationhood. Striking the speaker's table for emphasis, he announced, "The name of our state shall be Israel."

The American statement recognizing the new State of Israel bears President Truman's last-minute handwritten changes. American recognition came shortly after midnight in Palestine, just minutes after the new nation was proclaimed.

President Truman accepted the gift of a Torah from Dr. Chaim Weizmann, first president of the new state of Israel, during Weizmann's visit to the White House on May 25th, 1948.

Key document: Recognition of Israel

Key artifact:

Dr. Chaim Weizmann presented this Torah Scroll and to President Truman in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 25, 1948.