Historic objects displayed at Knesset as 70th Independence Day approaches

Seventy years after the dramatic UN vote that led to the establishment of the State of Israel, Kibbutz Bror Hayil is lending to the Knesset the copy of the protocol and the gavel used in the vote by the president of the General Assembly.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A festive ceremony will take place next week in the Knesset as two historic objects arrive for display in honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary, the Israeli news site Walla reported. They are the gavel and protocol that the then-president of the UN General Assembly, Oswaldo Aranha of Brazil, used in the historic vote that gave international backing to the establishment of the State of Israel on November 29, 1947.

The objects are being lent to the Knesset by their keepers in Bror Hayil, a kibbutz in the south. The way these kibbutzniks obtained these two historic items is a story unto itself.

Bror Hayil was the only kibbutz established in the period between the approval of the Partition Plan and the declaration of the State on May 15, 1948. It was teetering on the verge of failure in 1952, when a group of Brazilian youth from the Dror-Habonim-Gordonia movement moved there from a neighboring kibbutz.  The kibbutz became the destination for graduates of the Zionist youth movements in Brazil, and so began establishing its unique character.

‘A Brazilian Colony’

The members always remained strongly connected to their home country, with officials of the Brazilian embassy visiting them consistently throughout the years. “A Brazilian colony,” kibbutz member Avraham Sheinfeld laughingly called his kibbutz. “Brazilian diplomatic missions, businessmen, cultural and intellectual figures all visit us,” he said proudly.

That’s why it was only natural that when they built their small museum of Brazilian heritage and music in 1966, named it for Oswaldo Aranha, the ardently pro-Zionist Brazilian diplomat who presided over the historic vote at the UN. At the festive opening, the late Aranha’s son presented Israel’s foreign minister, Abba Eban, with an extraordinary gift: the gavel his father used, and the paper on which he had noted the votes on the Partition Plan. Eban promptly handed it over to the new museum.

These are mementos of one of the most dramatic days in the history of Zionism that are a symbol to the oldtimers of their strong bond with the country in which they were born. After the Knesset holds its event, the gavel will be returning to Bror Hayil, as the kibbutz is planning its own festivities in honor of the 29th of November.