...“Has Ben-Gurion declared independence, yes or no?” asked Linder, beside himself with impatience.
“David Ben-Gurion declared independence this afternoon in Tel Aviv. The Jewish state comes into being at midnight.”
There was a dead silence. Midnight was minutes away. Even the air seemed to be holding its breath.
“Oh, my God, what have we done?” cried one of the women diggers, fitfully rubbing her chin with the tips of her fingers. “What have we done? Oh, my God, what have we done?” and she burst into tears, whether in ecstasy or dismay I will never know.
Then cheers, tears, embraces. Every breast filled with exultation as we pumped hands, cuddled, kissed, in an ovation that went on and on. Nobody wanted it to stop.
“Hey, Mahler!” shouted Linder cutting through the hullabaloo, “Our state - what's its name?”
The violinist stared back blankly. “I don't know. I didn't think to ask.”
“You don't know?”
Mahler shook his head.
“How about Yehuda?” suggested someone. “King David's kingdom was Yehuda - Judea.”
“Zion,” cried another. “It's an obvious choice.”
“Israel!” called a third. “What's wrong with Israel?”
“Let's drink to that,” said Elisha with delight, grabbing hold of a tin mug and filling it to the brim. “A lehaim to the new state, whatever its name.”
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Hat tip: Legal Insurrection
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