Origins of the Israeli Polity: Palestine under the Mandate

By Dan Horowitz; Moshe Lissak | Go to book overview

8
The State of Israel and the Political Heritage of theYishuv

The political system of the Yishuv seems to have exhausted most of the possibilities for institution building in a nonsovereign system. Its unique characteristics were rooted in the particular conditions of the Zionist endeavor. Naturally these characteristics had an impact on the transition from nonsovereign community to fullfledged state. Officially, the State of Israel was established on 15 May 1948. Actually the transformation to statehood was a gradual process which took place in the course of the War of Independence and was affected by the specific conditions created by the British political and military withdrawal from Palestine.

The existence of a viable and authoritative political system made it possible to fill the vacuum created by the disorderly British exit and the departure of tens of thousands of Arabs from the territory. Moreover, this change took place under conditions of war; the military effort alone required the swift mobilization of manpower and other resources in order to survive the prolonged conflict against first the local Arab population and later the armies of the Arab states. It is clear that the existence of a prestate political system enabled the Jewish community in Palestine to adjust to the revolutionary change that occurred in 1948--and to survive. This was the

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