Many people assume that the end of a war implies that a peace treaty has been signed. Actually, there are several ways to end a military conflict: truce, cease-fire, armistice or peace-treaty. While there terms may all sound similar, each has its own subtle meaning and implication, with a peace treaty being the most secure.

Israel’s War of Independence, which began on May 14, 1948, was interrupted by several types of cease–fires. The actual fighting, however, is not considered to have ended until July 20, 1949, when the last of four separate armistice agreements was finally signed. The first armistice, which was signed on the Island of Rhodes on February 24, was with Egypt. The second, signed on March 23, was with Lebanon. Jordan signed an armistice on April 3rd. The last armistice was with Syria. (Iraq and Saudi Arabia were also involved in the fighting, but, as they did not share a common border with Israel, did not sign forma agreements.) In time, and after several other conflicts, Israel signed separate peace agreements of varying duration with each of these countries.

During the period leading up to and following the declaration of the State of Israel, Jews around the world held their breath, not quite certain what the outcome would be and, for many, not quite certain how they felt about the whole endeavor. With the signing of the armistices, however, the existence of the State of Israel seemed secure and world Jewry breathed a sigh of relief.

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