A Real Reaction to the Partition Plan
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted in favor of the Palestine Partition Plan, which called for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Reprinted below is a news article detailing how students at Yeshiva University reacted to announcement of the resolution’s adoption with ecstatic celebrations. Sentiments of joy, however, were accompanied by words of caution, as two editorials from The Commentator (reprinted below) show.
Yeshiva Hails Birth of Jewish State; Assemblies, Celebrations Mark Event.
The Commentator, December 11, 1947
An assembly, unanimously acclaimed as the most stirring and memorable days in the annals of the Teachers Institute, took place on Sunday, Nov. 30, 1947 in Room 404. Called by the administration of the Teachers Institute to celebrate the victory of the partition proposal in the United Nations General Assembly and the rebirth of a Jewish state in Palestine, the gathering outdid itself in spirited singing of Hebrew songs led by Arthur Arian ’50 and energetic dancing of the traditional Hora…
After the tearful singing of the “Hatikva”… the assembly was adjourned, but would not break up. Instead, it transferred itself to the halls outside the assembly room, where the spirited dancing of the Hora continued unabated to the inspiring refrain “Ma’Anachnu-Yisrael.”
From the halls, the crowd of students streamed down to the lobby in front of Dr. Belkin’s office, where the singing and dancing energetically resumed. Dr. Belkin, who appeared for a moment in response to insistent demand, addressed a few words to the students.
The Jewish State: A Challenge to the United Nations
On November 29, the UN for the first time since its inception showed that it consisted of nations united, as the Eastern and Western blocs joined together in support of the Palestine partition proposal. Nevertheless, thirty-three votes are not enough to enable them to realize their decision. Only when both the Arab and Jewish states are functioning in peaceful surrounding can the UN consider this issue settled.
In an effort to reach a settlement, which would guarantee passage of the partition plan, the nations decided to let the militias of the nascent states act as the enforcing powers. Something half done also denotes something left half undone, and this lack of an outside police force must be corrected.
The United States has taken it upon itself to sound out various nations on the prospects of their sending troops to the holy land. The United Nations can never be a potent force in world politics if its members, on their own, attempt to solve the problems the organization as a whole has undertaken. If a force is to be recruited to supervise partition, that force should come from the United Nations and through no other source.
A statement by the UN to the effect that any group which resorts to force to prevent the implementation of partition will be considered as an aggressor and will be treated with all the powers delegated to the assembly for such purposes, might force these aggressors to think twice before they take action.
The Jewish State: A Challenge To The Jewish People
The dream of a Jewish state is rapidly approaching reality. The eyes of the world are focused on Eretz Yisroel to see what sort of edifices the nation that gave the world the Ten Commandments will raise. We must show that the people of the book can put the ideals of that book into practice.
Our task is not an easy one, but we dare not fall short of the goal. The main prerequisite for this job is unity. Every group which claims to represent our people must contribute to the new state in a positive manner. No such group can withdraw its support nor can it remain neutral in this undertaking. We will no longer tolerate any group which will boycott the government of our state because it does not see eye to eye on certain policies.
This is no longer a time for bickering or factional animosities. All difference must be straightened out over a conference table with the spirit of compromise prevailing. The pogroms and massacres of the past make it imperative that we capitalize on this opportunity.
Hundreds of thousands of our brothers in Europe and Cyprus have announced their intentions of immigrating to Palestine. In order to enable the land to support these immigrants, the proposed Jordan Valley Authority must become a reality. This is just one project where outside aid will be needed by the Yishuv. American Jews must be ready to contribute both money and talent to the building up of the homeland. Every Yeshiva boy, every Jew who is not a member of a Zionist organization should join one immediately, as it is through such groups that our aid will be sought. The Zionist organizations on the other hand, will have to revise their powers somewhat, for it is obvious that the Jews of Palestine must be permitted to govern themselves without any outside interference.
There is much work to be done, but people who have dreamed of a Jewish state for thousands of years should not spare any effort to realize their dreams. We are indeed fortunate to have lived to see the foundations set up for the embryonic state. Perhaps this time our age-old cry of “next year in Jerusalem” will be fulfilled.