A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

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A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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This week in Israeli History: May 14-20

Joined by his wife, Aliza, Menachem Begin casts his ballot in the 1977 Knesset election, won by his Likud party. Photo: Ya’acov Sa’ar, Israeli Government Press Office, CC BY-SA 3.0

May 14, 1947 — Soviet Envoy 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 says the Soviet Union could support partition if a special U.N. commission determines that enmity between the groups prevents a unitary state.

May 15, 1941 — Palmach Is Founded

The Yishuv’s Haganah military organization forms the Palmach as an elite division to protect Jews against any attack by the Axis powers or Arabs during World War II. The name is an abbreviation of Plugot Mahatz (Strike Force). Led by Yitzhak Sadeh, the Palmach has six units: three ground, one naval, one aerial and one intelligence. After the war, the Palmach smuggles in tens of thousands of Jewish refugees.

May 16, 1967 — Egypt Tells Sinai Peacekeepers to Leave

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser requests that the United Nations withdraw its peacekeeping force from the Sinai, effectively ordering the troops to leave because they need Egypt’s permission to stay on Egyptian land. The removal of the U.N. Emergency Force, which has been in place since the 1956 Suez crisis, eliminates a crucial obstacle to fighting between Egypt and Israel, and the Six-Day War begins 20 days later.

May 17, 1977 — Likud Wins First Election

The right-leaning Likud coalition claims an upset victory in the Knesset election, putting Menachem Begin in a position to become prime minister and end three decades of leadership by Mapai (the predecessor of Labor) and its allies on the left. Created by Ariel Sharon in 1973 and descended from the Revisionist Zionist movement of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Likud rides support from Mizrahi Jews to win 43 Knesset seats.

May 18, 1954 — Ex-Hebrew U. President Selig Brodetsky Dies

Selig Brodetsky, Judah Magnes’ successor as the president of the Hebrew University, dies two years after resigning because of his declining health. He was born in Ukraine and raised in England. He became deeply involved in Zionism while studying mathematics at Cambridge. He was a University of Leeds professor and worked with England’s Zionist Organization before taking the Hebrew University presidency in 1949.

May 19, 1950 — Iraqi Airlift Begins

Two planes carrying 175 Jews leave Iraq for Israel via Cyprus, the start of Operation Ezra and Nehemiah, also known as Operation Ali Baba. Iraq became unlivable for most Jews after 1948. Despite difficulties in providing airplanes and other resources at the same time as heavy Israeli immigration from Eastern Europe, the operation brings nearly 120,000 of Iraq’s 135,000 Jews to Israel by its end in January 1952.

May 20, 1948 — Bernadotte Is Named Peace Mediator

The U.N. Security Council appoints Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat, to serve as the mediator for Middle East peace efforts five days into Israel’s War of Independence. Although he succeeds in negotiating a cease-fire in June, his proposed peace plan angers some Israelis with its call for a Jordan-Palestine union that includes Jerusalem. Lehi members assassinate Bernadotte in Jerusalem in September.

Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.

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