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    God in the Israeli Declaration of Independence – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why does the name of God not appear in Israel’s Declaration of Independence?

    A. The founders of the State in 1948 could not agree about whether to mention God or not.

    Obviously the believers could not imagine leaving the Divine name out, but there were secularists who saw the establishment of Israel in earthly political terms and could not bring themselves to accept even a perfunctory reference to the Almighty.

    In the end there was a compromise. The final paragraph commenced, Mitoch Bittachon B’Tzur Yisra’el – “With faith in the Rock of Israel” – which the believers understood in Biblical terms (see e.g. Isa. 30:29) as a reference to God, whilst the secularists satisfied themselves with a less spiritual interpretation.

    One of the signatories, Rabbi JL Maimon (Fishman) incorporated his own personal expression of faith in the way he signed his name; he wrote the initials of B’Ezrat HaShem Yitbarach – “With the Help of the Lord, Blessed be He” – followed by his Hebrew signature.

    It would be interesting to carry out a straw poll in the Knesset these days, over 70 years later, to find out how many would support a mention of God. My personal view is that the majority would have no problem.

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