After 75 years, long-lost full recording of UN vote on Israel’s establishment found

In decades-old audio reel that reached Ynet, full seven-minute UN General Assembly session can be heard for first time

Korin Elbaz Alush|
Exactly 75 years on, Ynet obtained the never-before-heard raw recording of the November 29, 1947, session that preceded the vote on Resolution 181 on the partition of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate into a Jewish state and an Arab state.
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  • Thailand was the only one of the international body's 57 member states that was absent from the vote, while the rest voted either for, against, or abstained.
    Brazil's Oswaldo Aranha, then-President of the UN General Assembly, read out the final tally: 33 for, 10 abstain and 13 against.
    Although the famous UN session became a compulsory part of elementary school curricula in Israel, the full, uncut recording seemed to have been lost in time.
    Ynet has reached out to the State Archives, Knesset Archives, National Library, and many others, hoping to get the full recording, but to no avail.
    In the decades-old audio reel that reached Ynet and its sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth, wrapped in rusted metal casing with a sticker labeled "Un vote 29/11/1947", the recording of the session lasts for almost seven minutes.
    The reel was found years ago in a garbage can along with other important historical recordings, such as an interview with Nachum Goldman, a prominent figure in Zionist leadership at the time who took part in lobbying efforts to persuade UN member states to vote for the resolution.
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    סלילי ההקלטה המקורית של ההצבעה באו"ם בכ"ט בנונבמבר
    סלילי ההקלטה המקורית של ההצבעה באו"ם בכ"ט בנונבמבר
    The original audio reel of the 1947 United Nations General Assembly vote on the partition of British Mandate Palestine
    The reel was discarded after the dissolution of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, Israel's public broadcaster until 2017, but was saved thanks to passersby that recognized its importance.
    That reel made its way to Eyal Ilya, a private collector and director of auction house Pentagon Auctions.
    "This is one of the most important items that ever reached me, especially from a historical aspect," he tells Ynet. "I've received items from the Broadcasting Authority before. In some cases, I've had to resort to litigation in order to keep them. This recording will be auctioned off for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hopefully, it'll eventually reach a museum or some significant archive in Israel."
    "This is the only full recording in existence, which is crazy. The initial asking price is $200,000. It's worth significantly more, but you have to start somewhere," he says.
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    אייל איליה
    אייל איליה
    Collector Eyal Ilya
    "I can't estimate the final price yet. Digital recordings are fine, but I believe it's imperative to keep the physical reel itself."
    Can it reach $1,000,000?
    "With rich people abroad, Jews... yeah, it can reach that high. This is an insane piece of history."

    People were dancing in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem

    The reel was authenticated by Photo Linof, an established Tel Aviv-based recording lab and photography studio.
    "It's a really old reel," says studio owner Ofer. "We had to convert it to a half-inch tape in a specialized process in order to maximize audio quality."
    Upon listening to the recording, nations such as Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon voted could clearly be heard voting (int: They weren't fans. they were followed by Belarus, Costa Rica and Brazil, who voted in favor. A second count was conducted to make sure there were no mistakes in the final tally.
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