Israel at 60

An eyewitness account of the Iraqi aliyah in 1950-1

By Shlomo Hillel, April 17, 2008

1950-1: The Iraqi aliyah


A veteran journalist recalls when Israel’s PM lived in a hut, families got two eggs per week and Stalin was a good guy The absorption of a mass immigration wave and the cost of the War of Independence brought the fledgling Jewish state to the verge of economic collapse. There were times when vital reserves of oil and of flour could barely last several days, so Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion proclaimed a regime of austerity — tzena — in April 1949.


A personal account of the mass immigration from Ethiopia in the 1980s

By Tom Segev, April 17, 2008
The Israeli historian and writer offers a personal account of the mass immigration from Ethiopia and its wider context They came from some 100 countries and spoke 100 tongues. More than three million Jews and 60 years later, most are part of the Israeli identity. Soon, most of the Jews of the world will live here, for the first time in 1,000 years. This is part of what makes Israel one of the biggest success stories of the twentieth century. But the price was heavy.


The future of Israel: Where do we go now?

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 17, 2008

For all the political, security and demographic challenges, the experts are optimistic



Women are still fighting to be equal

By Shulamit Aloni, April 17, 2008

60 years of women's rights

When Israel was just established, in spite of a commitment to total equality of rights declared both in the proclamation of Independence and in the first government’s basic principles, the state of women’s rights was grim.

In those first years, women in Israel had no rights of custodianship, no rights over their own property. They were deprived from bank guarantees and their salaries were much lower than those of men in the same jobs — a state not totally fixed even today.


An eyewitness account of the first Lebanon war in 1982

By Yuval Sharlo, April 17, 2008

1982: The First Lebanon War

It was like we went to war with such arrogance, as if we were just going in our tanks for a drive. Our objective was to reach the Damascus-Beirut highway by Friday night, and we were surprised it might take us that long.

I was a 26-year-old reservist and was supposed to lead a battalion force after studying the map for about half-an-hour. The first couple of days we shot, we hit, we carried on. I was so tired. We had such a sleep deficit that some of us were falling asleep in the turret.


The future of Israel: The Negev and Galil

By Daniella Peled, April 17, 2008

The Negev and Galil make up 80 per cent of Israel, but house only 20 per cent of its people. Pioneers want this to change



An eyewitness account of 1956 Sinai campaign

By Dubi Hellman, April 17, 2008

1956: The Sinai campaign

In 1956, I was still a very young soldier, on the sergeants’ course of the Nahal Brigade, when they took our entire company and began preparing us for some unknown operation. We were sent to parachutist school and quickly went through the course, though in the end this was not enough and we went into battle in a convoy. In those days, they could keep secrets, and we did not even know to what front we were being sent.


An eyewitness account of when Uri Avnery met Yassir Arafat in 1982

By Uri Avnery, April 17, 2008
1982: Meeting Arafat I started my secret contacts with the PLO in 1974, in London and in Paris. I informed Yitzchak Rabin, then Prime Minister, of the meetings, and brought him messages. Rabin approved my meetings, but rejected Palestinian offers. “If I make the first step,” he told me, “it will inevitably lead to a Palestinian state, and I don’t want that.” In June 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon.


What I, as an Israeli Arab, am hoping for

By Ghaida Rinawi Zoabi, April 17, 2008

Ten years ago, I finished my masters degree at Haifa University and went to the ceremony with my husband and parents. The stadium was full of graduates and their families, and the event began with the Hatikva. Everyone got up to sing, and we remained sitting, a small group. There were very few other Arab graduates then, and people began looking at us, nudging and whispering. It was as if we were creatures from another planet. The experience marked me for life.


An eyewitness account by Moshe Dayan's daughter

By Yael Dayan, April 17, 2008

Moshe Dayan 1915-1981