The State of Israel is part of the family of nations and an active participant in international organizations.
Israel joined the United Nations (UN) as its 59th member on 11 May 1949. Since then, it has participated in a wide range of UN activities and has endeavored to make its full contribution to UN organs and international agencies devoted to health, development, labor, food and agriculture, education and science. Israel plays an active role in the work of non-governmental organizations conducted under UN auspices, which deal with issues ranging from aviation to immigration, from communications to meteorology, from trade to the status of women.
Some UN resolutions have been of crucial significance for Israel, among them Security Council Resolutions 242 (22 November 1967) and 338 (22 October 1973), providing an agreed framework for settling the Arab-Israel conflict.
Over the years, the UN has been active in bringing about a cessation of hostilities between Israel and its Arab neighbors by appointing mediators, extending UN auspices to cease-fire and armistice agreements, and stationing UN forces between the adversaries.
At the same time, however, the UN has been turned into a partisan battleground in the ongoing political campaign carried out against Israel by its adversaries in the region. The 21 Arab states, with the aid of Islamic countries and the non-aligned camp, constitute a sympathetic â€˜automatic majority' for these hostile initiatives, assuring the adoption of anti-Israel resolutions in the General Assembly and other UN forums.
Since the end of the Cold War and with the momentum gained in the Middle East peace process, a somewhat more balanced approach began to be felt in General Assembly resolutions regarding the Middle East. The General Assembly's 1991 repudiation of the infamous â€˜Zionism is Racism' resolution is one such example. Israel has also been allowed to increase its involvement in United Nations activities, due to its recent limited, though long-denied, acceptance into a regional group. The current outbreak of Palestinian violence has, however, threatened to reverse this trend, as the Palestinian leadership seeks to exploit the politically motivated unrest for its own advantage in the international arena.