Birth of Israel: On this day

On this day: Arthur James Balfour

By Daniel Walters, July 25, 2011

Arthur Balfour was best known for his 'Balfour Declaration' of 1917, a publication which supported the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This was published during his time as Foreign Secretary, during the First World War.

The publication made him hugely popular with Jews all around the world, with the JC at the time calling the declaration a "Jewish triumph".

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On this day: Departure of the Exodus

By Jennifer Lipman, July 11, 2011

Perhaps the most famous ship in Israel's history, the Exodus was by no means the only refugee ship that attempted to take European Jews to Palestine, but it was perhaps the most iconic.

The ship, part of the Aliyah Bet operation, departed from France, with more than 4,500 passengers. The majority of them were Holocaust survivors and among them were 655 children.

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On this day: Ezer Weizman is born

By Anna Slater, June 15, 2011

The legend who made his name as one of Israel's most celebrated fighting men and went on to become president of Israel was born in Tel Aviv. Unpredictable, quixotic and cantankerous were just some of the words the press used to describe him over the years. However, he was well-known for playing the roles of military hero and an architect of peace.

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On this day: Chaim Weizmann elected

By Jennifer Lipman, May 16, 2011

Two days after David Ben Gurion declared Israel's independence and the surrounding Arab armies attacked, the fledgling state voted in its first president. He would not be officially sworn in until the following February

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On this day: Israel joins the UN

By Jennifer Lipman, May 11, 2011

Almost a year after David Ben Gurion declared independence for the Jewish state; Israel was welcomed into the global club.

With something of a fraught relationship between the two since, it was nonetheless a positive step. Twelve countries voyted against welcoming the 59th members, including Afghanistan, India and Iraq, while nine, among them Britain, Denmark and Greece, abstained.

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On this day: Golda Meir is born

By Libby Galvin, May 3, 2011

The first female prime minister of Israel wasn't known as "the only man in the Cabinet" for nothing. Golda Meir, the woman who led Israel after the death of Levi Eshkol and during the 1973 war, personified the Israeli spirit with her rugged outlook and forthright honesty.

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On this day: The Hadassah medical convoy massacre

By Libby Galvin, April 13, 2011

Almost exactly a month before the establishment of the state of Israel, 80 people – 79 Jewish doctors and nurses and one British soldier – were killed when a medical convoy taking aid to Hadassah Hospital was attacked by Arab forces.

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On this day: the Kishinev pogrom

By Jennifer Lipman, April 6, 2011

In the aftermath of the terrible events on Easter Sunday in Kishinev, in modern-day Moldova – then the capital of Bessarabia - poet Chaim Bialik wrote his notorious verse "In the City of Slaughter".

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On this day: Golda Meir voted in

By Jennifer Lipman, March 7, 2011

After Levi Eshkol’s sudden death from a heart attack, the party chose the then 70-yearold to replace him. In doing so, the woman born Golda Mabovitch in Kiev became the first female leader in Israel and a pioneering figure for the world.

She said on being chosen: "I have faced difficult problems in the past but nothing like the one I'm faced with now in leading the country."

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On this day: Morocco declares independence

By Jennifer Lipman, March 2, 2011

The first of France’s Maghrebi protectorates to throw of its colonial master, Morocco did not share the radical upheaval or violence of neighbouring Algeria in its struggle for independence.

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On this day: The Soviet Union cuts ties with Israel

By Jennifer Lipman, February 11, 2011

In 1947, The Soviet Union was one of 33 countries to vote in favour of the United Nation’s partition plan for Palestine. Almost immediately after Israel declared its independence on May 14 1948, the Soviet Union offered recognition, along with the United States and other Western powers.

It was not to last. The Soviet Union, as would almost all of its satellites, cut ties with Israel less than five years later.

For the next 35 years, the Soviets pursued largely pro-Arab policies and Israel was a pawn in a much wider game between the US and USSR.

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On this day: Allenby captures Jerusalem

By Jennifer Lipman, December 9, 2010

Before the First World War, Jerusalem, as indeed the region, had been under the control of the Ottoman Empire for some four centuries. 1917 saw the fall of the Ottoman regime and, just weeks after the Balfour Declaration in Britain, saw Jerusalem be captured by the British army’s Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshall Sir Edmund Allenby.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd-George had already called on his army to secure Jerusalem by Christmas. Allenby improved on that wish.

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On this day: David Ben-Gurion dies

By Jennifer Lipman, December 1, 2010

Israel’s first prime minister was born in Russian Poland in 1886, and given the name David Green by his father Avigdor. A leader of the Hibbath Zion movement, Avigdor instilled in his son a love of Zion from an early age and the house was always buzzing with talk of Zionism and Hebrew ideas.

By his late teens he had joined the Socialist-Zionist Poale Zion and become a dedicated opponent to both Tsarist antisemitism and the exploitation of workers. His activism got him into trouble, and he was arrested and jailed for agitating.

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On this day: UN votes for Jewish state

By Katie Taylor, November 29, 2010

It is a day that is not remembered, celebrated or even marked down on any calendar, but today is the 63rd anniversary of one of the most momentous events in Jewish history. It is the day that the state of Israel was created.

The United Nations submitted its partition plan in August 1947 and three months later, on November 29, it was affirmed - although the British were still in command of Palestine until May 1948.

The plan was devised by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, (UNSCOP), which was created after World War ll amid emerging evidence of the Holocaust.

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On this day: the Balfour Declaration

By Jennifer Lipman, November 2, 2010

Hailed as a “Jewish triumph” in that week’s JC, the Balfour Declaration is one of the most significant texts in the history of the Zionist movement.

Following a War cabinet meeting on the subject, it was a formal statement by the British government saying that they “View with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.

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