P. 163

The minutes of the meetings of the Agency's Executive indicates that Minhelet HaAm (which would soon become the Provisional Government) charged Dobkin with handling the flight arrangements for Jerusalemite members of Moetzet HaAm to discussions in Tel Aviv, however no response came to any of his telegrams on this matter. In the second week of May 1948, it became clear to Dobkin that the list of members of Moetzet HaAm had been completed, and that he was among the 37 representatives. Most of them were in Tel Aviv, but ten were in besieged Jerusalem and one was overseas. The ten Jerusalemites were promised that they would be sent in light airplanes that would land in the airstrip in the Valley of the Cross and take them to the state's declaration ceremony in Tel Aviv. In practice, this was never realized and only one of them, Rabbi Fishman (Maimon), was flown to Tel Aviv on Thursday, less than 24 hours before the historic ceremony. Nine were not present at the ceremony and their signatures were added at a later stage, in the places designated for them in the Declaration of Independence.
On May 13, one day before the Declaration Ceremony, Dobkin had a senior political position: He was charged (apparently by Ben-Gurion) with bidding farewell to the last High Commissioner, Sir Alan Cunningham, on behalf of the Jewish Yishuv. He sent a telegram, on behalf of the Jewish Agency, to the Commissioner, that began with the words: "Due to conditions we have no control over, the Chairman of the Executive himself, David Ben-Gurion, is unable to come and give you his blessings for the future and for a successful journey home." Dobkin, who was in Jerusalem, did not come to bid him farewell on behalf of the Agency's Executive, but settled for the telegram. In the opinion of the last Commissioner's biographer, Prof. Moti Golani, one sentence in the telegram expressed significant irony: "We are certain that despite the perilous condition you live the Land of Israel in, you will keep friendly memories of this land and its people."
Dobkin heard the Declaration Ceremony at his office in the National Institutions Building, where several signatories who could not get out of Jerusalem had gathered. There was no electricity in the city and the live broadcast on "Kol Israel", which was broadcasting for the first time in a civilian capacity (it had previously been the name of one of the broadcasting stations of the "Haganah"), was barely picked up on the portable wireless device. At the tenth anniversary of the state, Dobkin told a reporter for "Maariv" Newspaper about his actions and feelings on that historic Friday, on which joy over the founding of the state was mixed with sadness over the fall of Gush Etzion. He remembered that on the morning of that day, the Jerusalemite members of Moetzet HaAm had gathered at the National Institutions Building and unanimously decided to send Ben-Gurion their support for the establishment of the state. He afterwards turned to a painful task: Receiving the bodies of the fallen from Gush Etzion, who were brought to Jerusalem by the Red Cross and arranging their burial before the beginning of the Sabbath.
The state was established. Jerusalem was under siege until early June 1948. During the transitional period from British rule to Jewish rule, there was a lengthy period of public and administrative "chaos", and the Jewish civil servants of the Mandate Government contacted the department

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