Israel’s First Application for UN Membership

On the afternoon of 14 May 1948, David Ben-Gurion publicly read Israel’s Declaration of Independence at the Tel Aviv Museum. One of the clauses in the Declaration, anticipating Israel’s seeking membership in the United Nations, stated (translation): “WE APPEAL to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State and to receive the State of Israel into the comity of nations.”The following day, 15 May 1948, Israel’s Foreign Secretary, Moshe Shertok, sent a cablegram to the UN Secretary-General informing of the establishment of the Provisional Government of the State of Israel. The last paragraph of the cablegram contained an application for UN membership. However, it was not accompanied by the formal declaration specified in the rules of the Security Council.An article on the Center for Israel Education website states that the Security Council denied the application, its admissions committee having cited “Israel’s inability to prove its viability as a state.” However, a search of UN records by this Project has not revealed that any action was taken on the application. Nor does Israel’s second application the following November make reference to the May 15 application.