TEL AVIV, May 14, 1948 (UP) -- The birth of a nation-Jewish Israel-took only 30 minutes today.
In that half hour David Ben Gurion, 60-year-old Polish Jew who has fought 40 years for a Jewish state, read to 400 leading Zionists the proclamation bringing the new nation formally to life.
Many in the big room of the three-story Tel Aviv museum on Rothschild Blvd. wept as Mr. Ben Gurion spoke. They were tears of happiness.
Mr. Ben Gurion spoke steadily in a firm voice. But he choked a little as he afterwards commented:
"We waited 2,000 years for this-and it took only half and hour to do it."
Around him those who had attended the brief and simple ceremony wept and kissed and shook hands in almost hysterical joy.
The atmosphere as the ceremony began was solemn. Mr. Ben Gurion stood beside a long table covered with a light gray cloth. The 12 members of the provisional government he heads were seated at the table.
The walls of the room were blue and white, the Jewish colors. Portraits of Zionist pioneers looked down from the walls. Mr. Ben Gurion wore a light blue suit, a white shirt and a blue tie-the Jewish colors again.
His white, bushy hair and his heavy dark eyebrows framed his tired, pale face.
Over the museum-the first house to be built in the all-Jewish city of Tel Aviv in 1912-Haganah planes circled, guarding against any possible air attack.
The ceremony opened with the singing of "Hatikva," the Jewish national anthem. Then, without preamble, Mr. Ben Gurion began reading the lengthy proclamation.
As the Jewish leader reached the passage in the proclamation which declared "establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel," some older Zionists sobbed audibly.
"Thank you, God, for this great day," cried Rabbi J.L. Fishman.
Mr. Ben Gurion stopped reading at that point, and the whole group rose to stand for several moments with heads bowed in silent prayer.
Then Mr. Ben Gurion resumed, and read on to the end.
While flashbulbs popped, he and his 12 fellow members of the provisional government signed the proclamation, and the ceremony was over.