The modern state of Israel was founded on May 14, 1948, when Israeli Labor Party leader David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the new Jewish state. The background was the awakening in the mid 19th century of a desire among the Jews of the Diaspora for a country of their own. Pogroms and anti-Semitism in Europe also contributed to this development. In November 1917, through the Balfour Declaration, the British Government declared its support for the proposal to establish a Jewish homeland in the then British Mandate of Palestine.

At the San Remo Conference April 19–26, 1920, the victorious powers of World War I recognized the Balfour Declaration formulation of the “national home for the Jewish people” in the area and the historic bond between the Jewish people and the British Mandate of Palestine, which then included the entire area on both the west and east sides of the Jordan River.

In September 1922, the League of Nations and Great Britain then divided the area so that the Jewish National Home would be limited to the area west of the Jordan River, that is, only about a fifth of the original area. The area east of the Jordan River became the state of Transjordan, which later in the war year of 1948 changed its name to Jordan, because that country wanted to mark its annexation of areas west of the Jordan.

After the Holocaust of World War II, in which six million Jews were murdered, the UN General Assembly proposed on 29 November 1947 that the British Mandate of Palestine be divided into a Jewish and an Arab state. This was accepted by the Jews but rejected by the neighboring Arab countries. When the State of Israel was declared, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq, plus a token force from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, invaded Israel, but were defeated by the Israeli forces.