Waves U.N. Sharon

  • Issue: April 1999
  • Designer: A. Kalderon
  • Stamp Size: 40 mm x 25.7 mm
  • Plate nos.: 370
  • Sheet of 15 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Offset

Ever since the United Nations Organization was founded in 1945, the admission of a state to the U.N. has been considered to be the bestowal of international status upon the country concerned, as a full and legitimate member of the community of nations. This status was of special importance to the many states which emerged as a result of the decolonization process and other developments, such as the break-up of the Soviet Union.

For the State of Israel, which ever since its establishment had been faced with ruthless warfare in the military, political, economic and public relations fields, there was a particularly vital interest to join the U.N. Moreover, the Organization has been dealing with the Arab-Israel issue from 1947 to this very day. Therefore, Israel endeavoured to join the U.N. right from the beginning of its statehood. The Arab States had an evident interest in denying Israel this achievement, which would bestow on the Jewish State the final legitimization of its existence and strengthen its international position.

The admission of states to the U.N. is effected upon a recommendation of the
Security Council, which subsequently has to be endorsed by the General Assembly by a majority of two-thirds. An initial attempt by Israel to join the Organization, which was made in November 1948, on the first anniversary of the 1947 Resolution, failed because there was not enough support in the Council for a positive recommendation. But in April 1949, when a second
effort was made, the Council acted favourably on Israel's request. However, the Arab States launched an all-out campaign in the General Assembly,
maintaining that Israel was not fit to join the U.N. because of its policies regarding the conflict, stressing the issues of refugees and Jerusalem.
This was the only instance inthe history of the U.N. that a Security Council recommendation on membership was challenged in the Assembly, the
endorsement of which is usually regarded as a formality. Yet Israel succeeded in defeating the Arab efforts, and was admitted to the U.N. on 11
May 1949 by a majority of 37 against 12, with 9 abstentions. This was even a better score than that of 29 November 1947: there were 4 more positive votes and one less negative. The breakdown of the vote mainly resembled the earlier one, with some Latin American States and China switching to a positive vote, and Turkey and Greece changing their objection to abstention. Here also, as in November 1947, there was specialimportance in the support for Israel by the U.S., the Soviet bloc and the Latin American states.

In addition to being an important political achievement and a logical sequel to the 29 November decision, Israel's admission to the U.N. also had a deep Jewish significance. After thousands of years of discrimination and persecution, the most terrible of which occured in the decade which preceded the admission, the Jewish people was at long last granted equal status in the community of nations. Moshe Sharett, the first Foreign Minister of Israel, aptly expressed Israel's link to the Jewish heritage in the international field, by concluding his speech in the Assembly after Israel's admission had been proclaimed, by quoting (in Hebrew) Isaiah's vision of "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more".

Pinhas Eliav
Ambassador (retired)

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Israel's Admission to the U.N. - 50 Years