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The State of Israel’s declaration of independence—64 years ago on this day in the Hebrew calendar—was at the time, and has been forever since, a point of impassioned conflict. Even leaving aside the five Arab armies that immediately invaded the country and the substantial international opposition at the time, it’s worth noting that the Jewish administration’s vote in favor of independence passed only by a margin of 6 to 4. Religiously, responses range from enthusiastic endorsements of the state as the first flowering of messianic redemption to grave condemnation of the human impudence involved.

But one way or another, after two millennia of Jewish homelessness and suffering, and in exasperatingly delayed fulfillment of those two millennia’s worth of daily, desperate prayers, it’s impossible to ignore the sheer gravity and poignancy of the moment. And I would venture further that, listening to Ben Gurion resolutely read the declaration that day in 1948, anyone would be hard-pressed to miss hearing the divine voice dramatically reverberating through the strokes of history.

Here’s a video of the declaration (with English subtitles):

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