A State Is Born

The Establishment of the Israeli System of Government, 1947-1951

By Jonathan David Fine

Subjects: Israel Studies, Comparative Politics, Middle East Politics, History, Postcolonial Studies
Hardcover : 9781438467979, 444 pages, March 2018
Paperback : 9781438467962, 444 pages, January 2019

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Part I. Va’adat HaMatzav (January 1947–April 1948)


1. The Backdrop for the Establishment of Va’adat HaMatzav

2. The Activity of Va’adat HaMatzav up to the Outbreak of the War of Independence (October–December 1947)

3. Va’adat HaMatzav during the War of Independence

4. Long-Range Planning: The Judicial System and the Final Report of Va’adat HaMatzav

5. Va’adat HaMatzav and the Planning of the Interior Ministry and the Labor Ministry
Part II. The Government Ministries during the War: From the Establishment of the Provisional Government to the First Elections (April 1948–January 1949)


6. Establishing the Legal and Executive Foundations of the Government System

7. The Ministry of the Interior during the War of Independence (May 1948–January 1949)

8. The Labor Ministry during the War of Independence (May 1948–January 1949)
Part III. The Establishment of the Israeli Government After the First Elections (January1949–November 1951)


9. Elections to the First Knesset: Results and Significance

10. The Interior Ministry (January 1949–November 1951)

11. The Labor Ministry (January 1949–November 1951)

General Summary
Biographical Appendix
Map Appendix

Comprehensive historical study of policy planning and implementation during the crucial formative years of the Israeli government system.


Although Israel was not the only country that emerged during the postcolonial era following World War II, it was very different than others in the British Empire such as India, Iraq, Egypt, Kenya, and Nigeria. In A State Is Born, Jonathan David Fine uses newly discovered archival materials to reveal the complex challenges Israeli decision makers faced during the transition from British colonial rule in Palestine to Israeli sovereignty in the newly founded State of Israel. Including discussions of topics such as the Va'adat HaMatzav (special Committee for the transition period) and the formation of the ministries of Interior and Labor, Fine focuses on the planning policy and implementation behind the establishment of the Israeli governmental system during its most crucial formative period, 1947–1951, a dramatic transitory phase for both Jews and Arabs that continues to reverberate to this day.

Jonathan David Fine (1958–2015) was Senior Researcher at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT) and Assistant Professor at IDC Herzlyia's Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy in Israel. He is the author of Political Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: From Holy War to Modern Terror.


"Detailed with a biographical appendix of the key figures, this book is essential for any library with Zionist or Middle East collections, as well as political science studies." — AJL News and Reviews