May 10, 1948 — Meir, Jordan’s King Meet

Golda Meir, the head of the Jewish Agency’s political department, travels in disguise to Amman, the capital of Transjordan, for a secret meeting with King Abdullah. Meir and Abdullah also secretly met at Naharayim on the Jordan River in November 1947, when Meir offered support for Transjordan’s plan to annex the Arab areas of post-partition Palestine if the king keeps his troops out of the war against Israel. But Abdullah says at the second meeting that he no longer is free to operate independently of his Arab neighbors, and peace between Israel and Jordan waits until 1994.

May 11, 1949 — U.N. Admits Israel

The U.N. General Assembly votes 37-12 with nine abstentions to admit Israel as the 59th U.N. member. The approval of Israel’s third application for membership comes after the Security Council votes 9-1 in favor, with Egypt opposed, on March 4 and after a passionate, 2½-hour speech by Israel’s ambassador, Abba Eban, on May 5. The Security Council rejected Israel’s initial application in May 1948 because of doubts about the state’s viability, then again said no in December. 

May 12, 1965 — Israel, W. Germany Begin Diplomatic Ties

Israel and West Germany exchange notes establishing official diplomatic relations, completing a process of increasing connections that began with Israel’s acceptance of Holocaust reparations from West Germany in 1952. The relationship is controversial, including the naming of a career German military officer, Rolf Pauls, as his nation’s first ambassador to Israel, but Israel benefits. Egypt, Iraq and Syria are among the Arab states that cut off relations with West Germany over the move.  

May 13, 1975 — Israel, U.S. Sign Economic Pact

The United States and Israel sign a wide-ranging economic agreement at the end of a two-day summit chaired by U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon and Israeli Foreign Minister Yehoshua Rabinowitz in Washington. The pact focuses on four areas: economic cooperation, particularly investment in Israeli industry; elimination of double taxation on income earned in both countries; loan guarantees for investments in Israel; and increased bilateral trade.   

May 14, 1947 — Gromyko Backs 1-State Solution

Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko addresses a special U.N. General Assembly session on Palestine and calls for the British Mandate to give way to one state shared by Jews and Arabs. But after recognizing the Jewish right to self-determination and Arab claims, Gromyko also says the Soviet Union could support Palestine’s partition into independent Jewish and Arab states if a special U.N. commission determines that enmity between the two groups prevents a unitary state. 

May 15, 1941 — Palmach Founded

The Palmach is formed as an elite division within the Yishuv’s Haganah military organization to protect Jewish settlers in Palestine from any attack by the Axis powers or Arabs during World War II. The Palmach’s name is an abbreviation of Plugot Mahatz (Strike Force). Led by Yitzhak Sadeh, the elite group has six units: three ground units, one naval, one aerial and one intelligence. After the war, the Palmach smuggles in tens of thousands of Jewish refugees, then suffers extreme casualties fighting Arabs between the U.N. partition resolution Nov. 29, 1947, and independence May 14, 1948.

May 16, 1916 — Sykes-Picot Pact Splits Ottoman Lands

British diplomat Mark Sykes and French diplomat Charles Georges Picot, a former consul in Beirut, complete a secret pact known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement, in which France and the United Kingdom agree to divide the former Ottoman Empire territories in the Middle East after World War I. The League of Nations endorses the agreement, under which Britain establishes its mandate in Palestine and takes control of Transjordan and Iraq.

Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education.

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