I am posting this on the eve of Israel's 75th anniversary of independence. The translation is based on what I found on the Israeli Knesset website with my own revisions to bring the words closer to the Hebrew at the sacrifice occasionally of an equivalent English idiom. I have chosen to translate the term "Eretz Yisrael" throughout as "The Land of Israel", though there might be room to understand the term at the same time as "Palestine" in the sense it was understood in 1948, as that territory in question over which the British Mandate applied.
In Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel) the Jewish nation arose. Here their spiritual, religious, and political identity was shaped. Here they first lived as a polity, created cultural values of national and universal significance, and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.
After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.
Out of this historic and traditional connection, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland. In recent generations they returned in their masses. Pioneers, immigrants in defiance of restrictive legislation and defenders, they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself, bringing the blessings of progress to all the country's inhabitants, and aspiring towards independent nationhood.
In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State, Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.
This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which gave specific international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to establish anew its national home.
The Holocaust which recently befell the Jewish people - the massacre of millions of Jews in Europe – proved anew the imperative of solving the problem of its homelessness and statelessness by re-establishing in the Land of Israel the Jewish State, which would open wide the gates of the homeland wide to every Jew and confer upon the Jewish people the status of a full and equal member of the community of nations.
Survivors of the Nazi slaughter in Europe, as well as Jews from other lands, did not stop migrating to the Land of Israel, undaunted by difficulties, restrictions and dangers, and never ceased to assert their right to a life of dignity, freedom and honest toil in their national homeland.
In the Second World War, the Jewish community of this country contributed its full share to the struggle of the freedom- and peace-loving nations against the forces of Nazi wickedness and, by the blood of its soldiers and its war effort, gained the right to be reckoned among the peoples who founded the United Nations.
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of the Land of Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable.
This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign state.
Accordingly we have assembled, members of the People’s Council, representatives of the Jewish community of the Land of Israel and of the Zionist movement, on the day of the conclusion of the British Mandate over Palestine, and by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the basis of the decision of the General Assembly of the United Nations, we hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel: the State of Israel.
We declare that beginning at the moment of the conclusion of the Mandate tonight, the eve of Shabbat, 6 Iyar 5708 (May 15, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the constitution which shall be adopted by the elected constituent assembly not later than the October 1, 1948, the People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People's Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish state, to be called "Israel".
The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the ingathering of the exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the holy places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
The State of Israel is ready to cooperate with the agencies and representatives of the United Nations in implementing the resolution of the General Assembly of November 29, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the economic union of the whole of the Land of Israel.
We call on the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building of its state and to receive the State of Israel into the family of nations.
We call – even in the midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months - to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and take part in the building of the state on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.
We extend a hand in peace and neighborliness to all neighboring states and their peoples, and appeal to them for cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people in its land. The State of Israel is prepared to contribute its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.
We call to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of the Land of Israel through immigration and upbuilding and to stand by its side in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream of the redemption of Israel.
With trust in the Rock of Israel, we hereby affix our signatures in witness to this declaration, at this session of the Provisional Council of State on the soil of the homeland, in the city of Tel-Aviv, this day, the Eve of Shabbat, 5 Iyyar 5708, May 14, 1948.
Yitzchak Ben Zvi
Rabbi Wolf Gold
Dr. Abraham Granovsky
Herzl Vardi Rachel Cohen
Rabbi Kalman Kahana
Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Levin
Meir David Loewenstein
Rabbi Yehuda Leib Hacohen Fishman
David Zvi Pinkas
Ben Zion Sternberg