It’s been 75 years since the Jewish community in British Palestine rejected a last-minute plea from the Truman administration and declared independence as the last British forces left the embattled land. It wasn’t the most auspicious moment. One day earlier, the strategically located Gush Etzion bloc of Jewish agricultural settlements fell to Arab assailants following a bitter siege.
Disregarding Truman’s pleas and warnings from Western military leaders that they faced certain defeat, the Jews of Palestine voted for independence. They went on to win the War of Independence, thanks largely to an influx of Soviet-bloc weapons from Czechoslovakia, but 75 years later questions about its future still swirl around the Jewish state.