Selig Brodetsky Passes Away

May 18

Shortly after assuming the Presidency of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Selig Brodetsky suffered a major heart attack.

British White Paper Restricts Jewish Immigration and Land Purchase

May 17

The 1939 White Paper signaled Britain’s readiness to relegate the Jews in Palestine to minority status in a future majority-Arab state.

“Jerusalem of Gold” Debuts at the Annual Israel Song Festival

May 15

The Voice of Israel Song Festival was created in 1960 as part of Israel’s Independence Day celebration and as an opportunity to showcase Israel’s emerging culture.

Israel Declares Independence

May 14

On Friday afternoon in the Tel Aviv Museum, David Ben-Gurion, chairman of the Provisional State Council, declares Israel’s independence. The United States is the first country to recognize the new and already besieged state of Israel.

Israelis Participate in Conference with Moroccan Jews

May 13

In 1984, there were approximately 20,000 Jews in Morocco. Both Israelis and Arabs were suspicious of the May 13-14 Conference on the Jewish Communities of Morocco which was held in Rabat.

Mitzpe Gevulot Established in Negev

May 12

The agricultural outpost of Mitzpe Gevulot was established.

Israel Museum Opens in Jerusalem

May 11

The concept of a national museum originated in the early years of Zionist settlement in the Yishuv. Boris Schatz, the founder of the Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts, opened the Bezalel Museum in 1912.

PLO Leader Yasser Arafat Calls For a Jihad to Recapture Jerusalem

May 10

In a closed-door address at a Johannesburg mosque, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat delivers a brief speech in which he calls for a jihad to liberate Jerusalem.

Iranian Jewish Leader Habib Elghanian is Executed

May 9

Following a show trial lasting only twenty minutes, Habib Elghanian was executed by firing squad.

Rabbi Abba Silver Addresses the UN General Assembly

May 8

In his address, Abba Hillel Silver called upon UNSCOP to honor the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

Histadrut Labor Federation Accepts Arab Workers

May 7

Created in 1920 to serve as a neutral, independent trade union representing all Jewish workers in Palestine, the Histadrut had grown to 503,000 members by 1953, representing approximately 75% of the country’s workers.

U.S. and Israel Cooperate on the Strategic Defense Initiative

May 6

Israel and the United States sign a secret agreement for Israeli participation in Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) research.