this evening (tuesday 15th), 8.00-8.40pm (repeated 5.00pm sunday), on bbc radio 4
present at the creation (presented by jonathan freedland)
“Jonathan Freedland recalls the extraordinary day in 1948 when Israel declared its independence. He meets the last two surviving eye-witnesses of the declaration ceremony and gets a rare glimpse of the original document itself as he tells the story of that day in May”
including contributions from …
• yael medini, then 17, daughter of moshe sharett
• nabil sha’ath
• historian yoram shachar
• yair sharef, son of cabinet secretary ze’ev sharef
• writer amos oz
• professor of economics giora hanoch, then 16, helping his uncle, lucien salzman (zaltzman), with the sound recording for the palestine electrical recording company
“On May 14 1948, a few hundred people crammed into the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to hear a proclamation that would change the course of history – and alter the fate of two peoples competing over a single, much-promised land. That document was the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel.
The consequences of that act would be fateful, starting with the 1948 war that followed within days, an event revered as the War of Independence by Israelis and lamented as the Nakba, or catastrophe, by Palestinians.
It was a day of near-chaotic improvisation and rush as the founders of Israel scrambled to declare their new state – one official had to flag down a passing car to get the parchment scroll to the ceremony on time.
Even the name of the new country was only decided in the final hours, the choice of Israel rather than Zion or Judea coming as a surprise to a waiting world.
Hearing from a range of voices – including Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Sha’ath and acclaimed Israeli novelist Amos Oz, both children on the day of the declaration – this is the riveting, unexpectedly human story of frantic taxi rides, smudged documents and last-minute decisions that lie behind one of the most momentous events of the last century.”
(see also https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-these-israelis-were-present-at-the-declaration-of-independence-1.6008926, https://www.thejc.com/comment/columnists/a-rushed-day-of-dreams-when-israel-was-born-70th-anniversary-israel-independence-1.463534, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_Declaration_of_Independence, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Recording_of_the_Israel_Declaration_of_Independence)
(if you miss it, available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b2j8xn)