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Israel’s Declaration of Independence

Why did Israel decide to declare independence in May 1948? What reasons did Israelis offer for their political and national independence? What ideas did they draw upon? And who were the key figures that brought about this watershed moment in modern Jewish history? In this seminar course, we will examine these questions in-depth through the study of the key texts, arguments, and intellectual and historical controversies surrounding the declaration of an independent Jewish state. We will explore some of the great figures—like David Ben-Gurion—who founded modern Israel, and the political ideas and controversies about the nature of the new Jewish state that reverberate to the present day.

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