On this day

On this day: The Doctors’ Plot

By Jennifer Lipman, January 13, 2011

In the terrible and tragic history of the Jewish experience in the post-war communist dictatorships of Eastern Europe, one incident in particular stands out. It began with an editorial published in the Pravda newspaper.

The article accused a group of nine high-profile doctors, two-thirds of whom were Jewish, of conspiring to assassinate the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin by poisoning him.

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On this day: An anti-disengagement protest

By Jennifer Lipman, January 12, 2011

It would be the first major rally in opposition to Israeli Prime Minister’s proposal to unilaterally withdraw from parts of the West Bank and Gaza – but by no means the last.

At the rally, held in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, one settler proclaimed: "It will bring hundreds of casualties to the Israeli side because everyone will understand that terrorism will win in this war.”

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On this day: Miep Gies dies

By Jennifer Lipman, January 11, 2011

The two years during which Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic would not have been possible without the group of people who risked their lives to help.

Miep Gies, who was 100 when she died, was also the one who made the astounding discovery of Anne’s diary.

After the war, when she discovered Anne had died of typhus in Bergen Belsen concentration camp, she kept it safe until Anne’s father Otto could be tracked down.

Mrs Gies went on to help Otto publish Anne’s diary, of which millions of copies in an array on languages have been sold.

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On this day: the UN General Assembly

By Jennifer Lipman, January 10, 2011

Fifty-one nations were represented in the inaugural session of the UN General Assembly, held in London.

In the more than six decades since the UN has grown and developed to a membership of almost four times that, with countless funds, programmes and special agencies to its name.

In that time it has celebrated triumphs like approval of the partition plan in 1947, but also fallen short of its initial aspirations with resolutions such as “Zionism is racism”.

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On this day: Adolph Zukor is born

By Jennifer Lipman, January 7, 2011

Almost a century after it was founded, film production and distribution company Paramount Pictures remains a Hollywood giant – a level of success its Hungarian-born Jewish immigrant founder could scarcely have anticipated.

Adolph Zukor was described in his JC obituary as “a founding father of the American film industry”, an accolade that was no exaggeration. From a religious family with several rabbinic relatives, he left Riese at 15 to start a new life in New York as a furrier’s apprentice.

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On this day: Arrest in Mississippi Civil Rights murders

By Jennifer Lipman, January 6, 2011

In the “Freedom Summer” of 1964 three civil rights activists in America’s Deep South – two of whom were Jewish - were lynched in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

In 1988 the murders of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney became the subject of the Oscar-winning film Mississippi Burning. But it took more than four decades for their killer to be brought to justice, when a jury indicted Edgar Ray Killen on three counts of murder.

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On this day: Operation Moses suspended

By Jennifer Lipman, January 5, 2011

When Israel’s efforts to secure the future of the Ethiopian Jewish community came to light in the international media, the publicity put the mission in danger.

By the beginning of January 1985 Israel had airlifted some 8,000 people from the impoverished, famine-stricken African country.

For those who arrived in Israel, it was the culmination of a lengthy and dangerous and for many, fatal, trek by foot from the remote village of Gondar to Ethiopia’s neighbour, Sudan.

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On this day: Ariel Sharon suffers a stroke

By Jennifer Lipman, January 4, 2011

Just six months after he oversaw Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Ariel Sharon’s time in office was over. He had arguably staked his career on the move, breaking ranks with his party and risking a permanent divide in Israeli society with what many of the country’s right-wing saw as a betrayal.

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On this day: Kate Burton’s Gaza kidnap ordeal

By Jennifer Lipman, December 31, 2010

On December 28 former LSE student Kate Burton and her parents Hugh and Win were kidnapped in the Gaza Strip by members of the militant group Mujahadeen Brigades armed with automatic rifles. Three days later they were free.

The 24-year-old pro-Palestinian activist from Berkshire, employed by the Palestinian Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, was giving her parents a tour of Rafah, close to the Egyptian border, when they were taken. The kidnap took place just four months after Israel disengaged from Gaza.

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On this day: Israel and the Vatican establish diplomatic relations

By Jennifer Lipman, December 30, 2010

It took more than 45 years for the Holy See to grant Israel the status it gave to other nations. But given the complex history of the Jews and Christians, when it did – after some 18 months of negotiations - it was a significant turning point and a major diplomatic breakthrough.

Ratified at the Vatican by Israel’s deputy foreign minister Yossi Beilin and Monsignor Claudio Celli, the accord acknowledged the full freedom of worship for the thousands of Christians in Israel and ensured that they would have free access to the holy Christian sites of Jerusalem.

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