In 1948 Prime Minister Ben-Gurion Orders an Investigation into the: “herds (cattle, sheep, goats) and other possessions that ‘were taken’ from the Arab villages during and after the occupation…”

Signed by David Ben-Gurion

$1500
Item: 20629
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BEN-GURION, DAVID. (1886-1973). Polish-born Israeli statesman who, as his country’s first prime minister, proclaimed Israel’s independence on May 14, 1948, just six months before writing this letter. TLS. (“D. Ben-Gurion”). 1p. 8vo. Tel-Aviv, November 11, 1948. To Zalman Mischari (Kaufman). In Hebrew with translation. On very early stationery headed, “State of Israel, The Temporary Government, The Prime Minister’s Office.”

“You must check all the farms in the Upper and Lower Galilee – kibbutzim, moshavim, moshavot – how many herds (cattle, sheep, goats) and other possessions that ‘were taken’ from the Arab villages during and after the occupation – grain, furniture and all kinds of objects – and to submit a detailed list to the Minister of Defense…” 

David Ben-Gurion reads Israel’s Declaration of Independence

With the proposed United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in November 1947 and the subsequent announcement of the end of the British Mandate, the State of Israel proclaimed its independence on May 14, 1948. Within hours, Israel was invaded by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. The 1948 Arab-Israeli War lasted until March 1949 and the resulting Israeli victory gave the modern state about 30% more territory than had been previously allocated by the proposed UN partition. Among the territories gained were the Upper and Lower Galilee regions which had been set aside for an Arab state as part of the UN plan. During the fighting, looting by Israeli troops, notably in the Galilee cities of Nazareth and Haifa, was a problem and is likely the subject Ben-Gurion refers to in our letter.

“During the battle for Nazareth there was a certain amount of looting by the Israelis. In a few instances ‘greed for loot’ (as Lieutenant-Colonel Netenel Lorch described it) prevented units from adequately organizing the defense of a locality which they had just captured, so that the Arabs were able to counter-attack successfully. But looting had been specifically condemned on the eve of the battle. ‘No soldier will indulge in looting in the city,’ warned the last operational order before the assault on the city,’” (Israel, Gilbert).

Our letter, penned in the middle of the war on the official stationery of the temporary government of the State of Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, references several types of cooperative agricultural settlements which played an important role in settling Jews in Israel.

Minor wear and in very good condition. Letters written at the beginning of the state of Israel’s birth are rare; we could find no other examples with Arab-related content from this period.

In 1948 Prime Minister Ben-Gurion Orders an Investigation into the: “herds (cattle, sheep, goats) and other possessions that ‘were taken’ from the Arab villages during and after the occupation…”

Signed by David Ben-Gurion

$1500 • item #20629


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