On May 14, 1948 the State of Israel was declared, announced by David Ben-Gurion at a small gathering that assembled in the main hall of the Tel Aviv Art Museum. Within a time frame of only nineteen years, culminating in the Six-Day War, Israel fought three separate wars. But within its first four years, thanks to mass immigration, its population doubled. Furthermore, Israel had been confronted with acute economic difficulties, intra Jewish ethnic tensions, a problematic Arab minority and a secular-religious divide. Apart from defence issues, Israel faced a generally hostile or, at best, indifferent international community rendering it hard pressed in securing great power patronage or even official sympathy and understanding. Based on a wide range of sources, both in Hebrew and English, this book contains a judicious synthesis of the received literature to yield the general reader and student alike a reliable, balanced, and novel account of Israel s fateful and turbulent infancy.