Almost 70 years after it was signed, dozens of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the original signatories of Israel’s Declaration of Independence gathered in the Knesset Sunday, in order to recreate the historical signing event.
The signing event was the official kick-off for the preparations for Israel’s first Congress on Judaism and Democracy – two fundamental values which provide the bedrock for the state and the declaration.
“The Declaration of Independence serves as a shining example of the crucial balance between Judaism and democracy, emphasizing the dual role of Israel in offering a home to Jews from around the world, while also retaining a democratically-elected government and full equality of social and political rights to all its citizens,” said Haim Tiab, Chairman of the Congress.
Participants at the event signed and read key passages from the declaration, underscoring their significance for the modern era.
“It was very moving to take part in the event, which shed light on the beautiful principals on which the state was founded,” Noa Gefen – the granddaughter of Eliyahu Dobkin, who was a leading figure of the Labor Zionism movement, a signatory of the Declaration of Independence and a founder of the Israel Museum, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “Sometimes, we tend to forget what our parents and grandparents dreamed of [when founding the state], and I hope events such as this would help remind us of that,” she added.
The Congress on Judaism and Democracy will convene in February and will be attended by prominent figures such as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman. The Congress will see the discussion of sensitive issues in Israeli society where the values of democracy and Judaism are sometimes at odds, such as the Sabbath in the public sphere, the treatment of minorities in the country, and the relationships between different sects of Judaism.