If readers are familiar with any aspect of the proclamation’s composition, it is the dispute over whether or not to mention God. The debate was famously resolved by this compromise formula: “Placing our trust in Tsur Yisrael”—the “Rock of Israel,” an ambiguous term—“we affix our signatures to this proclamation.”
But other passages in the proclamation also required that choices be made about the role of divine promise in the rights of the Jewish people to the land. In general, the earliest drafts made the most references to God; with each successive draft, the number shrank, eventually reaching none. So is is the proclamation a secular document?
Fourth part of a seven-part series.