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Who Saved Israel in 1947?

The usual answer is Truman—but it could just as easily be Stalin. In fact, thanks to Zionist diplomacy, it was both; and therein lies a lesson for the Jewish state today.

A truck with the faces of Soviet Communist leaders Lenin and Stalin at the labor day parade held in Tel Aviv on May 1, 1949. Pinn Hans/Israeli Government Press Office.

A truck with the faces of Soviet Communist leaders Lenin and Stalin at the labor day parade held in Tel Aviv on May 1, 1949. Pinn Hans/Israeli Government Press Office.

Essay
Nov. 6 2017
About the author

Martin Kramer teaches Middle Eastern history at Shalem College in Jerusalem and is the Koret visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. His most recent book is The War on Error (2016).


November 29 marks the 70th anniversary of UN General Assembly resolution 181, recommending the partition of Mandate Palestine into two separate Jewish and Arab states. On that day in 1947, millions of listeners sat glued to their radio sets to follow the voting. The outcome set off spontaneous celebrations among Zionists everywhere, for it constituted the first formal international endorsement of a Jewish state.

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More about: History & Ideas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli War of Independence, Joseph Stalin, Soviet Union