In 1948, the State of Israel declared its independence, in a ceremony led by David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv. The first act of the new government was to remove British restrictions on Jewish immigration. The Declaration of Independence granted full civil rights to Arab citizens of Israel, and called for peace and cooperation with neighboring Arab countries. The following day, the armies of five Arab nations attacked Israel. Despite decades of hardship, terror and wars, Israel has become a world leader in research and agriculture -- and most of all, the center of spiritual inspiration for the Jewish world.