May 29, 1911 — Poet Leah Goldberg Born
Poet Leah Goldberg, an Israel Prize winner, is born in Königsberg, Prussia, now Kaliningrad, Russia. She begins writing poetry in Hebrew and Russian around age 12 in Lithuania and starts publishing poems in magazines and an anthology in the 1930s before moving to Tel Aviv in 1935. In 1950 she becomes a lecturer and later the chairwoman of the Hebrew University general and comparative literature department.
May 30, 1972 — 26 Killed in Lod Airport Massacre
Three Japanese Red Army terrorists with machine guns and grenades kill 26 people at the Lod airport in an attack contracted by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Eight of the victims are Israelis, including biophysicist Aharon Katzir, considered a presidential candidate. One Canadian and 17 Christian pilgrims from Puerto Rico also are killed. Two terrorists die in the attack; the third is captured, tried and convicted.
May 31, 1936 — Politician Zevulun Hammer Born
Zevulun Hammer, a National Religious Party politician who is elected eight consecutive times to the Knesset, is born in Haifa. He serves in the IDF’s Nahal program, combining military service with agricultural settlements. He is first elected to the Knesset in 1969 and remains in the parliament until his death from cancer in 1998. He holds Cabinet posts as a welfare, religious affairs, and education and culture minister.
June 1, 1967 — Dayan Named Defense Minister
As war approaches, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol gives up the defense portfolio and appoints Moshe Dayan the defense minister. Dayan is valued for his military experience and for his ties to former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. The move is part of the effort to form a national unity government, which includes adding opposition leaders Menachem Begin and Yosef Sapir to the Cabinet as ministers without portfolio.
June 2, 1990 — 3rd Tel Aviv Student Film Festival
The third biennial Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival opens in the Fastlicht Auditorium on the campus of Tel Aviv University, whose film students and faculty founded the festival in 1986. Divided into international and Israeli films, it is one of the most prestigious student film festivals in the world. The winners include American Adam Davidson for “Lunch Date,” which wins the Oscar for live-action short film in 1991.
June 3, 1948 — Ben-Gurion Reports to Provisional Government
David Ben-Gurion, serving as prime minister and defense minister of the provisional Israeli government, reports on the status of the War of Independence, discussions with the United Nations and the new nation’s domestic needs. He accuses the British of assisting the Arab war effort, praises the resistance of Jerusalem residents and highlights the large number of arriving immigrants despite the fighting.
June 4, 2009 — Obama Speaks in Cairo
President Barack Obama calls for “a new beginning” in relations between the United States and the Muslim world during an address before 3,000 people at Cairo University. The policy speech makes clear that Obama is pivoting away from the effort to spread democracy across the Middle East. Obama reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Israel and recognizes the desire for statehood among the Palestinians, whose situation he calls “intolerable.”
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education