The Israeli-Arab war of 1948 was a formative and revolutionary event whose ramifications in terms of the development of the Middle East and the IsraeliArab conflict are apparent to this day. Since the end of the war, it has formed the focus not only of an ongoing military conflict and national, religious, and social debate, but also of a struggle between different narratives in the context of polarized and divided public memories. The 1948 War marked a transition from a local Zionist-Arab confrontation to a regional Israeli-Arab conflict, and its immediate consequences included, most significantly, the consolidation of the sovereignty of the state of Israel, on the one hand, and the creation of the phenomenon of Palestinian refugeehood, on the other. The impact of these processes has not been confined to Israeli and Palestinian society, but has extended over the development of the political regimes in the Arab countries; it has also included the tragic end of the rich and longstanding history of the Jews in the Islamic countries. Despite the years that have passed and the changing circumstances and generations, the memory of the war seems to continue to influence the societies that were involved in the fighting. The changing perspectives on the war and the diverse names by which it is called – the First Israeli-Arab War, the First Palestine War, the Israeli War of Independence, and the Palestinian Nakba – thus illustrate the nature of this war and its essence as a catalyst for change in the history of the Middle East. The 1948 War erupted during a period of local, regional, and global transition

following the Second World War, and against the background of the process of decolonization that occurred after the outbreak of the Cold War. Following the adoption of a resolution calling for the partition of Palestine by the General Assembly of the United Nations in November 1947, the war began as a struggle between the Jewish community in Palestine (the Yishuv) and the Palestinian Arab community, with the involvement of foreign voluntary forces. After the end of the British mandate and the establishment of the state of Israel in May 1948, a full-fledged military conflict ensued between the Israeli army and the Arab standing armies. With occasional lulls, this conflict continued until the last armistice agreement signed in the summer of 1949. The war took place on several fronts and, on the Israeli side, was characterized by the unprecedented scale of fatalities, which amounted to one percent of the

entire Jewish population in Palestine. The nature of the war and, in particular, the mobilization of society and economy for the war effort, gave the 1948 War its total character, placing it in the category of the total wars waged during the first half of the twentieth century. This book examines the Israeli mobilization and the involvement of the

Jewish home front in the war – two of the key factors behind the Israeli victory in the war. Our study focuses on several key issues: The connection between individual, communal, and voluntary mobilization and national mobilization led and coordinated by the institutions of the Yishuv and, later, those of the state of Israel; public participation in the process of social and economic mobilization; the actions taken by local government during the war and its relationship with the central government in the supply of vital civilian services and in meeting the needs of a society in a state of emergency; and the impact of the war on civilians. As a historical account of a society at war, the study integrates the national and local spheres, macro and micro developments, and the nation and community, focusing on the city of Tel Aviv as a representation of the reality and conduct of the Israeli home front during the war and its involvement in the war effort. On 2 October 1947, David Ben-Gurion, the chairman of the executive of

the Jewish Agency, announced the introduction of a “state of emergency and security” within the Yishuv, thereby initiating the mobilization process. This book reviews the processes of social and economic mobilization which continued through April 1949, when the austerity policy was introduced in the state of Israel. The transition from an intercommunal conflict to regular war, and from the Yishuv to the state, was also reflected in changes in the patterns of mobilization. As was the case in various European countries during the First World War, Israeli mobilization in the 1948 War underwent a process of transition and change from self-mobilization based on personal and voluntary willingness on the individual and communal level to national mobilization based primarily on the use of the powers of state.1