May 24, 1948 — Battle for Latrun Begins
Inexperienced Israeli soldiers, including many newly arrived Holocaust survivors, launch an attack on the Jordanian-held hilltop fortress at Latrun, 10 miles west of Jerusalem, in an effort to relieve the siege of Jerusalem. Ordered by David Ben-Gurion against the advice of military leaders, the attack uses outdated tactics without air support and fails. About 75 Israeli soldiers are killed. Three subsequent attacks also fail, and Israel does not capture Latrun until the Six-Day War in June 1967.
May 25, 2010 — Israeli Jazz Festival Opens in NYC
Jazz artist John Zorn hosts opening night of New York’s first Israeli Jazz Festival at The Stone, his venue. The five-day festival celebrates the many Israelis who have risen to the top of the global jazz scene, including bass and oud player Omer Avital and clarinet and saxophone player Anat Cohen.
May 26, 1924 — U.S. Restricts Jewish Immigration
Congress passes the 1924 Immigration Act, which restricts immigration from any country to 2 percent of that country’s U.S. residents in the 1890 census. As a result, the law greatly limited immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe, the areas from which millions of Jews had emigrated from 1880 to 1920. Cutting off the United States as a destination for Jews spurs increased immigration to Palestine, where 82,000 Jews arrive from 1924 to 1929, the period known as the Fourth Aliyah.
May 27, 1911 — Teddy Kollek Born
Teddy Kollek, Jerusalem’s mayor from 1965 to 1993, is born in a Budapest suburb. His parents name him Tivadar after Theodor Herzl, the father of the Zionist movement. After growing up in Vienna, he moves to Palestine with his family in 1934 to escape Nazism. He is sent to Britain in 1938 and gains 3,000 visas for Jews in concentration camps. He helps smuggle Holocaust survivors into Palestine from 1940 to 1947.
May 28, 1964 — PLO Established
A 400-delegate Palestinian National Council convened by King Hussein of Jordan in Jerusalem’s Old City establishes the Palestine Liberation Organization. Ahmad Shuqayri, a former lawyer from Acre and a one-time Syrian representative to the United Nations, is elected the chairman. He holds the position until being forced to resign in December 1967.
May 29, 1979 — Dayan Addresses Peace Process
During an address to the Knesset, Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan speaks about the events of the past two years that culminated in the peace treaty Israel and Egypt signed March 26, 1979. Dayan emphasizes Israel’s commitment to the peace process and its strong relationship with the United States. He praises Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and expresses optimism that the three-year process to achieve normalization between Israel and Egypt will succeed.
May 30, 2009 — Ephraim Katzir Dies
Ephraim Katzir, Israel’s fourth president, dies at age 93 in Rehovot. Born in Kiev, Katzir and his family made aliyah when he was 9. He earned a doctorate in biochemistry from Hebrew University, was the founding head of the biophysics department at the Weizmann Institute, received the Israel Prize and served as the Israel Defense Forces’ chief scientist. He took office as president in May 1973 and served during the Yom Kippur War that year and during Anwar Sadat’s visit to Israel in 1977.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education.