On hearing the news, Jews were dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv. The dancing celebrated the November 1947 United Nations partition vote that created a Jewish homeland. At last, Jews would have a safe haven to escape a world that had persecuted them for centuries, fatally compounded by the Holocaust.
While the celebration went on, David Ben Gurion said that he felt like a mourner at a wedding. His acerbic comment on the news was, “But I could not dance. I knew that we faced war and that we would lose the best of our youth.” With his usual political insight, Ben Gurion was right. For the six months following the November partition vote, Britain would retain control over Palestine and serve as a shield between the newborn Jewish state and five Arab countries posed to attack it. At the end of those six months, the British shield would be gone and Israel would be an open target.