On Monday, just ahead of the 62nd Independence Day, the Government Secretariat published rare papers documenting the first government meeting in Israel.
The meeting, which was held in Tel Aviv just two days after the state was established on Sunday, May 16, 1948, centered on a debate about the selection of ministers and updates on the war situation at the front.
Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser said:
“It’s exciting to see with the perspective of time gone by how things were handled, and how historical decisions still affecting our lives today were made.”
David Ben-Gurion, serving as both prime minister and defense minister, opened the meeting with this speech:
“We will open the first meeting of the provisional government and hear a report by Moshe Shertok (Sharett). I assume as self-evident, if there has not been a decision on this matter yet, that any discussion during these meetings, whether important or not, is certainly confidential and no one is permitted to discuss it with anyone else, not even his close friends or confidantes, because these are matters of the state and not of the people participating in these meetingsâ€¦The situation in Tel Aviv is well-known â€“ explosions. I do not have any details on the last bombing. This morning four port workers were killedâ€¦The Egyptian columns are progressing from the south. There is an unconfirmed report of a naval landing around Majdal (currently Ashkelon). Posters aveeenistributed in the Negev calling on Jews to surrender. A convoy of 200 vehicles has arrived in Beershebaâ€¦The pressure on the way to Jerusalem and its surroundings has been relieved. We conquered Latrun but were taken out of there. The Arabs got hold of a treasure â€“ one of the new cannons and a few armored carsâ€¦ We have conquered nearly all of Jerusalem, from the heart of the entranceâ€¦ and the Old City, which is besieged by Jews nearly on all sides. The Jews in the Old City are besieged by the Arabs.”
Ben-Gurion then continued on listing the ministers, 12 in all. Minister of Immigration and Health Haim-Moshe Shapira told those who were present:
“I am presenting the question of the assembly of the system. Each should do as he sees fit.”
Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok, who later served as prime minister under the name Sharett, said:
“Half of the Jewish settlement is comprised of natives of Israel. They have no association with this word. The other half contains many Yemeni Jews, Germans, and others who have no such association. This word may have the connotation of bragging, but it is a nice Hebrew word with a pleasant sound to it. Trustee is unacceptable to me because there is a concept of trustee for a trust fund.”