Howard Bliman, MD
22 February 2018
In May of 1915, First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill asked a world-famous chemist, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, to find a way to dramatically increase Great Britain’s production of acetone, a key ingredient for munitions during the First World War. After two years, Weizmann delivered, and Britain’s wartime production of acetone increased a hundredfold. Grateful to Weizmann for his valuable contribution to the war effort, Churchill agreed to persuade British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to actively support the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
On November 2, 1917, Balfour wrote a momentous letter to the most influential Jewish leader in Britain, Lord Walter Rothschild. This letter which began, “His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” became the legal basis for the partition of Palestine and establishment of a Jewish state.
On November 19,1947, right before an important vote in the United Nations on the partition of Palestine, Weizmann flew to Washington, D.C. to lobby American President Harry Truman. After a brief meeting, Weizmann persuaded a conflicted Truman to support the establishment of a Jewish state, and Truman proceeded to pull out all the stops, and heavily lobbied numerous delegates to ensure that the resolution favoring partition received enough votes to pass.
On November 29, 1947, with a vote of 33 in favor, 10 against, and 13 abstentions, UN Resolution 181 became the international basis for the establishment of the modern state of Israel.
On May 14, 1948, the Jewish Agency for Palestine led by David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the state of Israel, and Truman recognized the new country within minutes of the announcement. The next day, the British Mandate expired and modern Israel was born. Against all odds and despite more threats on its life than any country in modern history, Israel survives and thrives into its seventh decade.
David Ben Gurion became its first prime minister and Chaim Weizmann its first president. The men pictured on this slide played a pivotal role in the history of modern Israel; all save one were Freemasons!