A Glossary of Terms on modern Israel in Essential Israel

S. Ilan Troen and Rachel Fish (eds.) have provided a very useful and authoritative compilation of 15 essays, covering almost all topics and disciplines that pertain to modern Israel.  Key disciplines and core issues surrounding Israel are presented by some of the best authors and proven scholars world-wide. Most of the essays cover the period from the founding of Zionism to the present, with two essays that review Christian and Moslem attitudes toward Jews, Zionism, and Israel reaching back into earlier time frames. If you require a primer on modern Israel or are seeking to delve into a particular discipline or issue arranged by topic, this is the book to own and read. It has excellent use for high school, college, and adult audiences.  And at the end of each chapter there is a short list of additional recommended readings. 

A Glossary of Terms on modern Israel found in Essential Israel

The glossary of terms of terms, names, concepts, events, and important documents appeared in S. Ilan Troen and Rachel Fish, (eds.) Essential Israel; Essays for the 21st Century (Indiana University Press, 2017) The glossary was composed by Carol Troen. Permission to publish the glossary was provided by the authors.

Items in the glossary are listed alphabetically but are explained under category headings where it was thought that readers would find such groupings useful. For example, rather than being listed separately, such items as Arab Leaders, Israeli Political Leaders, American Jewish Organizations and U.N. Resolutions can be viewed together.  

Some items are referred to by different names. For example, the 1967 War is referred to also as the Six-Day War, the 1967 War, and occasionally just 1967. In such cases we list the item with its various names and occasionally variant spellings separated by commas. We have also organized the items from two categories, Wars and Armed Conflicts and Peace Process and Peace Agreements, in a time-line table to make the one-hundred-year span of the conflict and efforts to resolve it visible at a glance.  [Please note that individual UN Resolutions and other documents  and sources pertinent to modern Zionism and Israeli history that are  noted in the glossary may be found on the CIE website under documents and sources.] a short time line, and a valuable glossary

Abu Ala (Ahmed Querie) See under Arab Leaders

Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) See under Arab Leaders

Adenauer, Konrad (1876-1967)Konrad Adenauer served from 1949-1963 as the first Chancellor of Germany (West Germany) after World War II. He negotiated the Jewish material claims for reparations from Germany, agreed to in 1952, and held a historic meeting in the U.S. in 1960 with David Ben-Gurion, then Prime Minister of Israel. Diplomatic ties between Israel and Germany were only established in 1965.  (See also under Reparations)

Agudat Yisrael (the Union of Israel) Established in Poland in 1912 as an organization of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews who opposed Political Zionism, since the establishment of the State Agudat Yisrael has participated in Israel’s governments despite being avowedly Non-Zionist.

Ahad Ha’am (1856-1927) (One of the People) Born Asher Ginsburg near Kiev in the Ukraine, Ahad Ha’am opposed Herzl’s Political Zionism with a vision of Jewish cultural and linguistic renewal. He called for recasting Jewish identity through a renewed secular Hebrew language, and envisioned a national homeland that would be a cultural, ethical and spiritual center of Jewish life. (See the essays of Harris, Omer-Sherman, Bayme, and Brenner’s extended treatment in this volume.)

AIPAC See under American Jewish Organizations

Al-Aqsa Mosque; Temple Mount, Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary; andthe Dome of the Rock

  • The Al-Aqsa Mosque of Omar (“the Farthest Mosque”), which has a silver dome, is located in the area called by Muslims Haram al -Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary) and Har Habayit (the Temple Mount) by Jews. The mosque is under the protection of the Hashemite King of Jordan, and together with the surrounding area is administered as a Jordanian and Palestinian led Islamic Waqf (religious benevolence), held in trust in perpetuity. 
  • Haram al Sharif (Arabic: The Noble Sanctuary), also Har Habayit (Hebrew: The Temple Mount) This area, surrounded by a wall, is located in the Southeast corner of the Old City of Jerusalem and includes more than five and a half acres. According to the Jewish tradition, this was the site of Solomon’s Temple (The First Temple) some 3000 years ago and the remains of the Second Temple, including the Holy of Holies. Both Jews and Muslims identify this site with Mount Moriah, the place where Abraham came to sacrifice his son (Isaac or Ishmael, depending on the tradition).
  • The Dome of the Rock with its golden dome is a Muslim shrine built over the stone from which the Prophet Muhammad is believed to have ascended to heaven. 

Aliya: Literally “going up” or “ascent”, this Hebrew term refers to immigration to Israel.

  • First Aliya (1882-1903) Mainly from Eastern Europe and fleeing pogroms but also from Yemen, in all around 35,000 immigrants made up the First Aliya. About half remained in Ottoman Palestine, establishing small rural settlements of independent farmers called moshavot. (See Troen)
  • Second Aliya (1904-1914) Of some 40,000young idealists from Eastern Europe who made up the Second Aliya, about half remained. They set the tone for the nascent state, reviving Hebrew, initiating collective settlement experiments that became the kibbutz and moshav, and setting up organizational structures that underlay the Yishuv. (See Troen) 
  • Third Aliya (1919-1923) Like their predecessors, most of the 40,000 young halutzim or pioneers of the Third Aliya were fleeing antisemitism. The majority remained in then Mandatory Palestine, encouraged by the Balfour Declaration (1917) to plan for and begin creating the infrastructure for the Jewish National homeland.
  • Fourth Aliya (1924-1929) Antisemitic policies, economic hardship and legislation that blocked immigration to the U.S. brought the 82,000 mostly middle class Jews of the Fourth Aliya to Palestine’s cities, chiefly to the new Tel Aviv.  Around 70 per cent of them remained.
  • Fifth Aliya (1929-1939) Over this 10-year period some 250,000 Jews came, 174,000 arriving between 1933-1936. Many of these immigrants were professionals who were fleeing antisemitism in Nazi Germany after 1933 and in Eastern Europe. 
  • the Great Aliya, Mass Aliya (1948-1951). In the three and a half years following the Declaration of Independence in May 1948, Israel absorbed nearly 690,000 immigrants, most of them Holocaust survivors from Europe and Jewish refugees from Arab countries. The Great Aliya more than doubled Israel’s population.
  • Operation Magic Carpet Between June 1949 and September 1950, close to 50,000 Yemenite and other Jews were airlifted to the new State of Israel after making the arduous trek to Aden, then held by the British. The secret operation was coordinated by the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Agency. 
  • Operation Moses (November 1984-January 1985) During a six-week periodaround 7000 Ethiopian Jews were flown to Israel in a covert operation before news of the mission leaked and Arab states pressured Sudan to close the borders. Almost 15,000 remained behind, separated from family members.
  • Operation Solomon Over a 36-hour period beginning May 24, 1991, 14,324 Ethiopian Jews were flown to Israel in an overt rescue mission after rebel forces took control of Addis Ababa.

al-Qāʿida, al-Qaeda See under Palestinian and Arab Movements and Organizations

American Council for Judaism See under American Jewish Organizations

American Jewish Committee See under American Jewish Organizations

American Jewish Conference See under American Jewish Organizations

Americans for Peace Now See under American Jewish Organizations

American Jewish Organizations (See Bayme’s essay for an extended discussion of the developing relationship between American Jews and Palestine/ Israel.)

  • AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Established in 1954, AIPAC is a bi-partisan pro-Israel lobby, whose self-defined purpose “is to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of Israel and the United States.” 
  • American Council for Judaism   Foundedin 1942 by a group of Reform rabbis, this anti-Zionist organization held that Jews were members of a religion, not a nation, and opposed the establishment of the State.
  • American Jewish Committee (AJC) Established by Louis Marshall in 1906, this is a Jewish ethnic advocacy organization that acts in support of the Jewish people and Israel. 
  • American Jewish Conference Convened in 1943 and dissolved in 1949, the conference included representatives of 32 American Jewish organization in an unsuccessful effort to unify responses to Nazi annihilation of European Jewry and Zionist calls for establishing a Jewish state. 
  • Americans for Peace Now (APN), established in 1978,identifies itself as the sister organization of the Israeli peace movement’s Shalom Achshav. Its mission is “to educate and persuade the American public and its leadership to support and adopt policies” leading to comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution. 
  • B’nai B’rith International declares it has “advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843.” It is actively engaged in supporting Jewish continuity and the state of Israel, and in fighting antisemitism. 
  • Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (Presidents Conference) was organized in 1955 to create a unified voice and action on behalf of American support for Israel. It seeks to develop consensus for collective action on relevant issues.
  • Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America Founded as “Daughters of Zion, Hadassah Chapter” in 1912 by Henrietta Szold to provide for health and social-welfare for the Yishuv, the organization adopted its present name in 1914 with a mandate “to promote Jewish institutions and enterprises in Palestine and to foster Zionist ideals in America.” Today Hadassah’s two major medical centers and teaching hospitals at Mount Scopus and Ein Karem in Jerusalem provide care for Jews and Arabs from Israel and neighboring states in the Middle East.  
  • HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) was organized in the late nineteenth century to assist Jewish refugees fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe.  Its work in resettlement of Jewish refugees has been extended in the twenty-first century to helping non-Jewish refugees whose lives are at risk as a result of violent conflicts, most recently in Syria.
  • J Street is a nonprofit liberal advocacy group incorporated in 2007 that supports American diplomatic efforts leading to a peaceful resolution of conflict between Israel, Palestinians and Arab states.
  • National Council of Young Israel Established in New York in 1912 to bridge Jewish tradition and Americanism for young first-generation American Jews, today called Young Israel, it includes 146 Orthodox congregations in the U.S. and more than 50 in Israel. Its stated mission is to make the traditional community synagogue more central to Jewish communal life.  
  • New Jewish Agenda Founded in 1980 and disbanded in 1992, the organization gave voice to progressive values in an inclusive Jewish context, and their Jewish activism extended from supporting a wide ranging agenda from feminism and gay and lesbian equality and the Labor movement to peaceful coexistences between Israel and the Palestinians and demilitarization and an end to the nuclear arms race. 
  • UJA (United Jewish Appeal) Formed in 1939 to coordinate fundraising in support of European Jews, UJA became the largest voluntary philanthropy in Jewish history. In 1999 it merged with the Council of Jewish Federations (CJF) and United Israel Appeal (UIA) when the three incorporated as United Jewish Communities. 
  • Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) Initially a Federation of American Zionists convened in 1898 by Richard Gottheil who had attended the Zionist Congress in Europe, groups like Young Judea (1907) and Hadassah (1912) merged in 1918 into the ZOA and elected Louis Brandeis honorary president and Julian Mack president. Its influence diminished after the establishment of Israel, and increased among Jews on the right as it voiced criticism of the peace processandcampaigned unsuccessfully against Israel’s disengagement from Gaza. 

Arab Leaders

  • Abu Ala (Ahmed Querie ) (Born 1937) Born in Abu Dis near Jerusalem in Mandatory Palestine, Querie was Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority from 2003 through January 2006 when the Fatah party was defeated by Hamas in Parliamentary elections. He played a key role in negotiating the Oslo Accords and in 2000 was part of the team that negotiated with Ehud Barak at Camp David. 
  • Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) (Born 1935) Born in Safed, Abbas left Palestine for Syria during the 1948 War. He was recruited to Fatah by Yasser Arafat in 1961, and only returned to the Territories in 1995. Regarded as a proponent of peace with Israel, Abbas signed the 1993 peace accord and the 1995 Interim Agreement for the PLO. Named the First Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 2003, Arafat undermined his authority, and he resigned after four months as PM. Abbas has been Chairman of the PLO since 2004 and following Arafat’s death (2004) was elected President of the Palestinian National Authority (PA) in 2005. He continues to serve in both roles as of March 2016. 
  • Arafat, Yasser (1929-2004) Born in Cairo, Egypt, Arafat was a founder and later chairman of Fatah (1968-2004), which after the 1967 War emerged as the most powerful faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Arafat advocated and directed armed struggle against Israel. He was PLO chairman from 1969 and elected President of the Palestine Authority (PA) in 1996 elections that followed the Oslo Accords in which he participated along with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize. Arafat held both positions until his death. 
  • Ashrawi, Hanan (Born 1946)Born in Nablus, in Mandatory Palestine, Dr. Ashrawi is an activist and professor of English and Comparative Literature. She established the English Department at Birzeit University and was a participant and Official PLO spokesperson at the 1991-2 Madrid Conference and through the 1993 Oslo Accords. In 1998 she founded MIFTAH, The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, and still heads the organization based in Jerusalem.  The Third Way, an alternative party to Fatah and Hamas she helped form, garnered little support in the 2006 Palestinian elections. 
  • Assad, Hafez al (1930-2000) Alawite President of Syria from the Ba’th party from 1971-2000, Assad was Syria’s Minister of Defense during the 1967 War when Israel conquered the Golan Heights. His attempt to win it back in a joint surprise attack with Egypt during the Yom Kippur 1973 War was unsuccessful. Assad was supported by the Soviets and was known for his ruthless suppression of dissent, as when some 20,000 individuals were killed to end the rebellion of the Muslim Brotherhood in Hamah in 1982. 
  • Husseini, Haj Amin al, Mufti Ḥājj Amīn al-Ḥusaynī, Husseini Muhammad Amin al (1893-1974) Born in Jerusalem, Al-Husseini was a Palestinian nationalist appointed by Herbert Samuel in 1921 as Mufti and later Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, a title given Islamic scholars whose learning gives them authority to issue a fatwa i.e. religious ruling. Samuel, high commissioner of Palestine during the British Mandate, forgave al Husseini’s 10-year prison sentence for instigating the 1920 riot in Jerusalem against Zionist settlement.  Despite his promise to maintain order, however, the Mufti was instrumental in the bloody 1929 and 1936 attacks on Jewish settlements, and his position was revoked in 1936.  His efforts to mobilize Muslim support for Nazi Germany during World War II called for extending the policy of annihilating Jews to the Arab world, and when he met with Nazi leadership in 1941, Hitler assured him of German intentions to destroy the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere. This explains why al Husseini’s name links Palestinian nationalism, anti Zionism and antisemitism. 
  • Husseini, Faisal (Faisal Abdel Qader al-Husseini) (1940-2001) Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Faisal al Husseini was a relative of the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Mohammed Amin al Husseini. After working for the PLO in 1964-5 he joined the Palestine Liberation Army in 1967, was active in the First Intifada, and headed the Palestinian delegation to the 1991 Madrid Peace Conference. 
  • King Hussein, Hussein, King of Jordan, Hussein bin Talal (1935-1999) Born in Amman, Jordan, a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (40th generation) Hussein became King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in 1952 following the assassination of his grandfather, King Abdullah in 1951. He called for resolving conflicts between Israel and Arabs and among Arab states, helped draft UNSC Resolution 242 following the 1967 War supporting land for peace, and participated in the Madrid Peace Conference (1991), eventually signing a Peace Treaty with Israel in 1994. 
  • Nasrallah, Hassan (born 1960) Born in Lebanon and a commander in the First Lebanon War (1982), Nasrallah has been Secretary General of Hezbollahsince 1992 when the IDF assassinated his predecessor, Abbas-al-Musawi. Under Nasrallah Hezbollah has acquired long range missiles and fired at Israeli targets in the North of Israel including Haifa. Nasrallah was credited with Israel’s unilateral pullback from Southern Lebanon but blamed for the 2006 Lebanon War, ignited when Hezbollah crossed into Israel, killing three soldiers and kidnapping two, followed by Israeli bombardment of Beirut.
  • Nasser, Gamal Abdel (1918-1970) Born in Egypt,Nasser was instrumental in the 1952 coup that deposed King Farouk I. He secretly ran Egypt until he named himself Prime Minister following a 1954 assassination attempt instigated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Nasser refused to recognize Israel, advocated pan-Arabism, and in 1958, joined by Syria, changed the name of Egypt to the United Arab Republic.  With Soviet support he built the Aswan High Dam (1968). 
  • Sadat, Anwar (1918-1981) Born in Egypt, Sadat is remembered in Israel and the West forhis courageous and path-breakingvisit to Jerusalem in 1977 and speech before the Knesset calling for peace between Egypt and Israel. Vice President Anwar Sadat became President of Egypt after the death of President Gamal Abdel Nasser. He repealed some of the repressive measures put in place by Nasser, abandoned pan-Arabism, and focused instead on Egypt’s needs, changing its name to The Arab Republic of Egypt. Sadat led Egypt in the surprise attack on Israel of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, hoping to win back the Sinai Peninsula conquered by Israel in the 1967 War. Later, he initiated moves to resolve the conflict including rapprochement with the U.S. and a break with the Soviets, and disengagement agreements with Israel that ultimately led to an Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty/ Camp David Accords in 1978. Sadat served as President from 1970 until his assassination at the hands of an Islamist group in 1981.

Arafat, Yasser See under Arab Leaders

Ashrawi, Hanan See under Arab Leaders

Assad, Hafez al See under Arab Leaders

Balfour Declaration (1917) See under Pre-State Palestine

Bandung Conference (1955) This meeting of 29 newly independent Asian and African countries excluded Israel when the Arab states threatened a boycott. An effort to unify and ensure cooperation and peaceful coexistence, the conference condemned colonialism in all of its manifestations thus implicitly including the Soviet Union along with the West, and adopted a 10-point declaration. However, the unity was short-lived. In 2015, organizers of the conference on the 60th anniversary announced that all U.N. recognized Asian and African countries had been invited to attend except Israel, and on the last day of the conference issued a declaration that linked anti-colonialism and justice for Palestine.

Barak, Ehud See under Israeli Political Leaders

Basic Laws Rather than an American-style constitution, Israel has drafted Basic Laws. This legislation constitutes the values and norms of the State and defines the role and authority of government institutions and their relationships to Israel’s people. (see Divine)

  • Human Dignity and Liberty (1992) Enacted by the 12th Knesset to ensure Israel’s values as a Jewish and democratic state, this Basic Law aims to preserve and protect the life, body and dignity, property, liberty, privacy, rights of all persons and is binding on all governmental authorities. 

Begin, Menachem See under Israeli Political Leaders

Ben-Gurion, David See under Israeli Political Leaders

Betar See under Zionist (Youth) Organizations (Pre-State/ Yishuv)

Bilu See under Zionist (Youth) Organizations (Pre-State/ Yishuv)

Biltmore Program (1942) Issued jointly by Zionist and non-Zionist organizations attending the Extraordinary Zionist Conference held in New York due to World War II, the Biltmore Program demanded an end to restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine, which would serve as “a Jewish Commonwealth.” In article 6 “The Conference calls for the fulfillment of the original purpose of the Balfour declaration and the Mandate which recognizing ‘the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine’ was to afford them the opportunity, as stated by President Wilson, to found there a Jewish Commonwealth. The Conference affirms its unalterable rejection of the White Paper of May 1939 and denies its moral or legal validity.”  This was the first time non-Zionist organizations joined with Zionist groups in urging action on behalf of the Zionist cause. 

Birthright Israel (in Hebrew Taglit meaning Discovery) was initially a philanthropic project aimed at creating experiential links between young Jews in the Diaspora and Israel. Owing to its success, the originators formed the Birthright Israel Foundation that partners with the Israeli government, the Jewish Federation of North America, the Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Hayesod, and that from its founding in 1999 through 2016 has brought over 500,000 young Jewish adults from Jewish communities all over the world to Israel where they spend 10 days exploring Israel and their own Jewish identity along with Israeli counterparts.  

Bnai Brith International See under American Jewish Organizations

British Mandate for Palestine See underPre-State Palestine

Camp David Negotiations See underPeace Process and Peace Agreements

Canaanite movement “Canaanism” was a literary, political and philosophical movement, made up primarily of Jews who had been associated with Revisionist Zionism in 1940’s Mandatory Palestine and later among influential intellectuals in 1950’s Israel such as Uri Avnery, Amost Kenan and Benjamin Tammuz. Deeply critical of mainstream Zionism and its particularistic view of Jewish nationalism, the kinship they imagined among the ancient Hebrews (and themselves) and other indigenous inhabitants of Canaan led to a vision of a pan-Hebrew Middle East based on linguistic and geographic, not biological, religious or racial identity, that included the Arabs. 

Chabad Known also as Lubavitch, Chabad is the acronym for Hebrew “Chochmah, Binah, Da’at” (Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge), and is an Orthodox Hasidic movement known for outreach programs established all over the world.

Chief Rabbinate The Chief Rabbinate of Israel consists of an Ashkenazi and a Sephardi Chief Rabbi, each elected for a ten-year term. The Chief Rabbinate is the head religious and spiritual authority for the Jewish people in Israel and the legal authority regarding such matters as marriage, divorce, burial, conversion, and kosher certification. 

Clinton Parameters See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Columbus Platform (1937) In significant measure a response to the alarming spread of virulent antisemitism in Europe, the Reform movement adopted the revolutionary Columbus Platform and its new ideological guidelines that “embraced Jewish peoplehood and leaned toward support of political Zionism.” 

Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations See under American Jewish Organizations

Cultural ZionismSee under Zionism

Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel (May 14, 1948) Only 650 words long and written calligraphically on parchment, the scroll begins with a detailed historical overview of Jewish history from Biblical times that includes mention of the Zionist Congress, the Balfour Declaration, and Mandate which “gave international force to the historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel and the right of the Jewish people to establish anew its national home” and concludes with the Holocaust and “the renewal of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel…[as] the homeland to every Jew” and the Jewish record in building up Eretz Yisrael. The Declaration itself, in the eleventh paragraph, comes in the middle of the scroll. In larger, darker letters it proclaims the new State as “the State of Israel.” This is followed by a delineation of how the State is to be governed, its policy of open Jewish immigration, and its commitment to “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”  Moreover, it promises to “guarantee freedom of religion conscience, language, education and culture…and to safeguard the Holy Places of all religions.” In its last paragraphs, it calls for cooperation with the new State by the United Nations and the Jewish Diaspora, and appeals “in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months—to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all the provisional and permanent institutions.” It was still in draft form, edited and voted on shortly before, when David Ben-Gurion, then Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and of the Provisional Council of the new state, read out the text declaring a Jewish State in Palestine would come into effect with the end of the British Mandate for Palestine at midnight that day, May 18, 1948.  In the little notebook where he recorded his diary he wrote: “One P.M. at the Council.We approved the text of the Declaration of Independence. At four o’clock in the afternoon, we declared independence. The nation was jubilant—and again I mourn in the midst of the rejoicing as I did on the 29th of November [the U.N. vote on partition that was followed by the outbreak of Arab attacks on Jews.]” He ended this volume of his diary, and began a new volume as if to signal a new page in Jewish history had been inaugurated. (see Divine)

Declaration of Principles, Oslo I Accords See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Deicide charge refers to the Catholic religious belief that all Jews were, and continue to be, responsible for the killing of Jesus. In 1964 a Vatican declaration absolved Jews of the charge of deicide and acknowledged it as a source of anti-Semitism, and the charge is now abandoned by almost all Christian denominations. 

Eban, Abba See under Israeli Political Leaders

Eichmann, Adolph (1906-1962) A top Nazi officer and commander of the Gestapo’s section for Jewish affairs, Eichmann planned in detail how to deport millions of Jews to extermination camps and how to confiscate their property. He was captured in Argentina by Israeli agents in 1960, and brought to Israel where survivors and resistance fighters testified at his public trial in Jerusalem. This public confrontation not only brought the extent of Nazi atrocities to international attention but also marked a change in the way the experiences of the survivors and trauma of the the Holocaust were apprehended, struggled with and written about in Israel.  (See Omer-Sherman)

Emancipation Jewish emancipation was a call to put an end to limitations and disabilities applied specifically to Jews, to recognize them as equal citizens, and to formally include them in the rights and obligations of citizenship. It originated with 18th century utopian political and social ideas, and the pace and manner of implementation varied with locality. 

Etzel See under Militias (pre-State)

Exodus 1947 The story of the Exodusis emblematic of British severity in restricting the immigration of European refugees to Palestine and of the plight of the illegal Jewish immigrants during the Holocaust who were barred from other ports of refuge such as the United States. Defying the British refusal to allow immigration to Palestine, Exodus 1947 sailed for Palestine on July 11, 1947, with 4,515 Jewish refugees on board. The British rammed the ship near the coast of Palestine and deported the immigrants to Southern France and then Germany where they refused to disembark. World opinion was so outraged that the British revised their policy, sending these and future illegal immigrants to Cyprus where they remained in detention camps until Israel was established. 

Fatah See under Palestinian and Arab Movements and Organizations

Fedayeen See under Palestinian and Arab Movements and Organizations

Gaza Disengagement See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

General ZionismSee under Zionism

Geneva Conference See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Golan Heights, the Golan, the Heights Captured by the IDF from Syria during the 1967 War, the Heights are a basalt plateau that overlooks the Hula Valley and the Sea of Galilee. The Golan has strategic importance, serving the Syrians as a convenient point from which to fire at Israeli settlements below. The Syrians tried but failed to recapture the Heights in the 1973 War, and in 1981 the Golan Heights Law imposed Israeli law and administration on the territory. Three Israeli governments under Rabin, Barak and Olmert were willing to explore exchanging “land for peace” with Syria’s President Assad, but these efforts were rebuffed and abandoned.

Green Line refers to the borders of Israel as they were between 1949 and the 1967 War. Since no peace agreement was reached following the 1948 War of Independence, an Armistice Agreement set “lines” to separate the armies of the warring parties: Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. References to “this side” or “that side” of the Green Line are used to designate the post 1967 territories or West Bank as opposed to the area of the State up to 1967.

Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) A movement of religious Zionists founded in 1974 that, following the teachings of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, believed that according to the Torah, the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 and 1973 Wars had been granted by God to the Jewish people. This ideology is the basis for the insistence of many in the movement that Jews should be allowed to settle anywhere in the whole of the land of Israel. 

Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America See under American Jewish Organizations

HaganahSee under Militias (pre-State)

Hamas See under Palestinian and Arab Movements and Organizations

Ha’poel Hatza’ir See under Zionist (Youth) Organizations (Pre-State/ Yishuv)

Haredim This is the name given to communities of religious Jews who, in opposition to the secularization invited by emancipation and the Enlightenment, reject modern culture and live separately, strictly adhering to Jewish religious law, or Halakha. Often referred to as ultra-Orthodox in English, a term some object to as derogatory, the Hebrew term denotes those who serve the Divine with fervor and anxiety. Initially opposed to the Zionist project, Haredim participate in the State’s political life, and in recent years are slowly taking advantage of carefully crafted educational options that will allow them some degree of integration and opportunities for work in fields such as law and computers. 

Hashomer See under Militias (pre-State)

Hashomer Hatza’ir See under Zionist (Youth) Organizations (Pre-State/ Yishuv)

Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment) In the context of the more general European Enlightenment, for approximately a century from the 1770’s to the 1880’s, the Haskalah movement induced Jews to partake of secular culture and learn European languages rather than limiting themselves to Yiddish. The movement that began in Galicia and later spread to Eastern Europe, stimulated the revival of Hebrew language and gave rise to a rich literature in both Hebrew and Yiddish. Whereas especially Western European Jews frequently assimilated in response to their encounter with secular culture and the emancipation, the resurgence of European antisemitism eventually led many to see Zionism as the solution to the “Jewish problem.”

Herzl, Theodor (1860-1904) The originator of Political Zionism, Herzl was an assimilated Austro-Hungarian journalist and playwright. His encounters with antisemitism in Vienna and later in Paris where he reported on the Dreyfus trial, caused him to reject the idea that enlightenment secular education and assimilation or even conversion would solve the “Jewish problem” and allow Jews to be accepted as equal citizens in Europe. He convened the First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland in 1897, and began a movement demanding a Jewish national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. His novel, Altneuland (1902) describes the near utopian state he imagined founded on modern technology and science. His statement “If you will it, it isn’t a fable” became a watchword of the Zionist movement. 

Herzog, Chaim See under Israeli Political Leaders

Hezbollah See under Palestinian and Arab Movements and Organizations

HIASSee under American Jewish Organizations

Hibbat Zion, Hovevei Zion See under Zionist (Youth) Organizations (Pre-State/ Yishuv)

Histadrut Founded in1920, with David Ben-Gurion elected as Secretary in 1921, the Histadrut is a still powerful organization of labor unions established to ensure social and economic justice.

Husseini, Haj Amin al See under Arab Leaders

Husseini, Faisal See under Arab Leaders

International Conference at Annapolis See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Intifada, First Intifada, Second Intifada or al-Aqsa Intifada See under Wars and Armed Conflicts

Irgun See under Militias (pre-State)

Israel –Egypt disengagement agreement See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Israeli Political Leaders

  • Barak, Ehud (Born 1942) Born at Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon, Barak served as Chief of the General Staff of the IDF from 1991-1995, and in this capacity implemented the first Oslo Accords (1993) and participated in negotiating the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan. He served as Minister of Internal Affairs under Yitzchak Rabin and as Minister of Foreign Affairs under Shimon Peres following Rabin’s assassination. Elected to the Knesset (Labor) in 1996, Barak was Prime Minister from 1999-2001. He kept a campaign promise and unilaterally withdrew IDF forces from Southern Lebanon in 2000. In that same year he and Yasser Arafat met at Camp David with U.S. President Clinton in an unsuccessful effort to negotiate terms for peace. Barak later served as Defense and Deputy Prime Minster from 2009-2013 under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 
  • Begin, Menachem (1913-1992) Born in Brest-Litovsk, Poland, Begin became head of Betar Poland in 1938, and after fleeing Poland at the start of World War II, joined the Free Polish Army and eventually made his way to Palestine. A Revisionist Zionist who led the Irgun, one of several military groups of the pre-State period, Begin was founder and leader of Herut and later the Likud. He was elected Prime Minister in 1977. Characterized as a hawk, it was nevertheless Begin who entered into agreements with Egypt on Israeli withdrawal from Sinai and ultimately, on the basis of a return of territory, signed the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt. He resigned in 1983 in the wake of serious inflation and the negative outcomes of the 1982 Lebanon War. 
  • Beilin, Yossi (born 1948) Born in Petach Tikva, Beilin is a statesman who began his engagement with politics as spokesman for Labor following its defeat in the 1977 election. He held a variety of positions in Labor governments, contributing to the peace process as Shimon Peres’ Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs when he secretly initiated the Oslo Process that led to the 1993 Accords and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza. At the 1994 General Assembly of Jewish Federations, Beilin proposed that the Jewish people should support a free trip to Israel as a gift granted every Jewish youth, an idea that some years later was launched as Birthright. (See extended discussion on Beilin’s—and Israel’s–relations with American Jewry in Bayme)
  • Ben-Gurion, David (1886-1973) Born David Green (Grun) in Plonsk, Poland, Ben-Gurion came to Palestine in 1906 and spearheaded Labor Zionism’s efforts to lay both the moral foundations and infrastructure for the Jewish State. A leader of Ahdut Ha’avoda , he helped establish the Histadrut (1920) and served as General Secretary from 1921-1935, and was chairman of the Jewish Agency’s executive committee from 1935-1948. In this role Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence in May, 1948. Widely appreciated as a pragmatic, determined and decisive leader, he was elected Prime Minister in Israel’s first national election in 1949 as the head of Mapai (Labor), and with the exception of 1954-5, he was Prime Minister until 1963.
  • Dayan, Moshe (1915-1981) Born at Degania Aleph, Israel’s first kibbutz, Moshe Dayan was IDF Chief of Staff from 1953-58, as a member of Mapai served as Ben-Gurion’s Minister of Agriculture until 1964, and served as Defense Minister during the 1967 War. He was Foreign Minister in Menachem Begin’s Likud government, and instrumental in negotiating the Camp David Accords with Egypt.
  • Eban, Abba (1915-2002) Born in South Africa and educated in England, Eban advocated for the Zionist cause before the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine in 1947. As Israel’s permanent representative to the U.N. and Ambassador to the United States, he was an eloquent spokesman on behalf of the State during its first decade, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1966—1974, was influential in the debates that ultimately led to the U.N. Security Council passing Resolutions 242 and 338 following the June 1967 War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War respectively.
  • Herzog, Chaim (1918-1997) The son of Ireland’s Chief Rabbi, Chaim Herzog was born in Belfast, UK, and emigrated to Mandatory Palestine in 1935. He was Israel’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. from 1975-78, and when the General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, equating Zionism with racism, Herzog firmly rejected the resolution, publically tearing it up.  He served two terms as Israel’s sixth President, from 1983 to 1993.
  • Meir, Golda (Golda Meyerson) (1898-1978) Born in Kiev, Ukraine,“Golda” as she was known, grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, became a member of Poalei Zion, and as a Labor Zionist made Aliya in 1921. She was elected Israel’s fourth Prime Minister in 1969, and resigned in 1974 following serious criticism and a general loss of faith in the government for failure to foresee and prepare for the 1973 Yom Kippur War. 
  • Netanyahu, Binyamin, Benjamin, “Bibi” (born 1949) The current Prime Minister of Israel and the first Prime Minister who was born in Israel after the establishment of the State, Netanyahu was born in Tel Aviv in 1949. He spent part of his childhood in the U.S., returning to Israel to enlist in the IDF, and served as Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. from 1984-88.  As leader of the Likud he has emphasized security and a free market economic policy.  Netanyahu won the 1996 elections, serving as Prime Minister until 1999. He was reelected in 2009 and again in 2015 to his fourth term as Prime Minister. 
  • Olmert , Ehud (born 1945) Born near Binyamina-Giv’at Olga, Olmert was elected Mayor of Jerusalem from the Likud and served from 1993-2003. Asserting he had been mistaken when he voted against the Camp David Accords and the return of the Sinai to Egypt, he joined Ariel Sharon when he left Likud to create the new party Kadima, pledging to withdraw IDF forces and settlements from Gaza. Olmert became caretaker Prime Minister after Sharon was incapacitated by a stroke, and Prime Minister following elections in 2006.  Olmert favored the creation of a Palestinian State and participated in the 2007 Annapolis Conference, but resigned in the wake of criticism of his handling of the Second Lebanon War, and charges of corruption on which he was later convicted. He was replaced as Prime Minister by Benjamin Netanyahu in 2009.
  • Peres, Shimon (born 1923) Born in Vishniyeva, Belarus, Peres emigrated to Palestine with his family in 1934. During Israel’s first decade, as Director-General of the Ministry of Defense he helped forge Israel’s relationship with France, negotiated its acquisition of arms, notably French Mirage III jet fighters, and establish the nuclear reactor in Dimona.  Nonetheless, he played a crucial role in negotiating the Oslo Accords, for which he was awarded the Noble Peace Prize (1994) along with Yitzchak Rabin and Yasser Arafat. He twice served as Prime Minister and served as Israel’s 9th President from 2007-2014. 
  • Rabin, Yitzhak (1922-1995) Born in Jerusalem, Rabin served in the Palmach before and during the 1948 War, and in 1962 was appointed Chief of the General Staff. Following a highly successful military career, he was Israel’s Ambassador to the United States from 1968 to 1973, and was Israel’s first native son to be elected Prime Minister in 1974. Leader of the Labor party, Rabin was defeated by Menachem Begin at the the head of the Likud in the 1977 elections, in what is known as “Hamahapach” (the upheaval), when, for the first time since the establishment of the State, the Labor party was deposed. In his second term as Prime Minister (1992-1995) Rabin negotiated the 1993 Oslo Agreements with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, was instrumental in the Declaration of Principles that, in an historic move, he signed together with PLO leader Yasser Arafat, and in 1994, reached a peace treaty with Jordan. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize together with Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat for these achievements in 1994. Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist at a peace rally in Tel Aviv in November 1995.
  • Shamir, Yitzhak (1915-2012) Born in Ruzhany, Belarus, Shamir became a member of Betar at 14, and at 20 left Poland for Palestine. A Revisionist Zionist, he initially was a member of Etzel and later joined the more militant Lehi in opposition to the British Mandatory powers. Elected a member of the Knesset for the Likud in 1973, he became Israel’s seventh Prime Minister after the resignation of Menachem Begin in 1983, served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in a Unity Government with Shimon Peres from 1984-86, and from 1986-1992 once again as Prime Minister.
  • Sharon, Ariel (1928-2014) Born in Kfar Malal, Sharon was known as a brilliant military strategist and field commander and fought in all of Israel’s wars from 1948 through the 1973 Yom Kippur War. As Minister of Defense under Menachem Begin, he directed the 1982 Lebanon War. He was criticized for Israel’s engagement in Lebanon, and was held responsible for failing to prevent the massacre of Palestinians by Lebanese Phalangist militias at Sabra and Shatila, two refugee camps. After joining the Likud, he served in a variety of positions and led the party from 2001. Although Sharon strongly advocated Jewish settlement of the West Bank and Gaza following the 1967 War, as Prime Minister from 2002 to 2006 he left Likud to form Kadima (Forward) and in the face of fierce opposition, carried out Israeli military and civilian disengagement from Gaza in 2005. Following a massive stroke in January 2006, Sharon remained in a coma for eight years until his death.
  • Weizmann, Chaim (1874-1952) Born in Motal, a village near Pinsk in Russia, Weizmann was awarded a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, and became a British citizen in1910.  An ardent Zionist, he was instrumental in persuading Lord Balfour to issue the famous 1917 declaration that bears his name. Weizmann was an effective advocate of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine, and became President of the World Zionist Organization in 1920. He laid the foundation stone for the establishment of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Institute of Science, later the Weizmann Institutein Rehovot, Palestine. Chaim Weizmann was Israel’s first President for 4 years, from 1948 until his death. 
  • Yosef, Ovadia (1920-2013) Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Ovadia Yosef emigrated to Mandatory Palestine with his parents when he was four. An acknowledged religious authority who also showed flexibility, he served during a particularly difficult time as Chief Rabbi of Cairo, from 1947 to 1950. Ovadia Yosef was appointed Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv in 1968, and Chief Sephardi Rabbi from 1973-1983. He was the greatly admired leader of the Shas party from its founding in 1983 until his death. 

Israeli Political Parties 

  • Kadima (Forward) Formed in 2005 by Ariel Sharon who resigned following major disagreement in the Likud over Israeli policy toward Gaza and the peace process more generally. Headed by Sharon and Tzipi Livni, Kadima favored unilateral Israeli disengagement from Gaza, including uprooting Israeli settlements, and a return to the Roadmap as a way of ending the conflict with the Palestinians.  The party won the 2006 election headed by Ehud Olmert after Sharon suffered a major stroke, and carried out the disengagement but was unable to finalize arrangements for peace before Olmert was forced to resign in 2008. 
  • Labor Since it was establishedin 1968 by a union of Mapai, Ahdut Ha’avoda and Rafi, Labor has been Israel’s major left of center party emphasizing social and economic needs and democratic values. Under different names and with evolving ideologies, its pragmatic approach to domestic issues and the conflict with the Arabs was voted a majority from Ben-Gurion in 1948 to 1977 when Menachem Begin was elected and the right of center Likud party came to power.
  • Likud (Consolidation) Like Labor,Likudwas initially a consolidation. It was founded by Menachem Begin who united the right wing Herut which he led with the Liberal party and others in 1973 around a platform that emphasized social equality and Jewish culture and promised a free market economy in opposition to Labor’s traditionally socialist leanings and greater government control. Likud heads Israel’s present government under Benjamin Netanyahu and has formed the government 6 times beginning in 1977.
  • Yesh ‘Atid (There is a Future) is a new centrist political party founded in 2012 by Yair Lapid.
  • Mapai (acronym for Workers’ Party of Eretz Yisrael) Founded in 1930 with a social democratic ideology, Mapai was the dominant party of Labor Zionism. It was instrumental in laying the social foundations of the Yishuv and later of social welfare in the State, and in assembling its first defense forces, Hashomer and the Hagana. Ben-Gurion was General Secretary of Mapai from 1930 to 1953, and again from 1955-1963. In 1968 Mapai was subsumed by the Labor Party. 
  • Mizrachi  A movement founded in 1902 in Vilnius, the name Mizrachi is an acronym for the Hebrew Merkaz Ruchani, or Spiritual Center. It became a Religious Zionist political party in Mandatory Palestine, and in 1956 joined with Hapoel Hamizrachi, a religious labor party, to form the National Religious Party.(See also Religious Zionism under Zionism)
  • Poalei Zion (Laborers of Zion)Groups of Jewish Marxist-Zionist workers organized in the Diaspora around the start of the twentieth century. In Palestine, as a political party, Poalei Zion split into left and right factions. The right joined in with Ahdut Ha’avoda, the party led by Ben-Gurion which became Mapai, while the left joined Hashomer Hatza’ir and became Mapam.
  • Shas (Shomrei Sfarad, Sephardi Guardians) is a Haredi political party founded in 1984 by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef to represent Mizrachi and Sephardi Jews, many of whom are modern orthodox or traditional, not necessarily Haredi. It appeals to voters on the basis of ethnicity and by providing community-based institutions and services.

J Street See under American Jewish Organizations

Jewish Agency See underWorld Zionist Organizations

Jewish National Fund (JNF) See underWorld Zionist Organizations

Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) See underWorld Zionist Organizations

Kadima See under Israeli Political Parties 

Kastner , Rezso (1906-1957) Following the Nazi invasion of Hungary, Kastner negotiated with Adolph Eichmann and paid a substantial ransom to send 1,684 Jews from Budapest to Switzerland instead of Auschwitz. After coming to Israel, he became a spokesman for the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and when a pamphlet by Malchiel Gruenwald accused him of collaborating with the Nazis and faulted him for choosing to save a few while so many other Jews were sent to their deaths, the Israeli government supported Kastner and sued Gruenwald for libel. The judge in the trial that lasted 18 months until 1955 found that Kastner had “sold his soul to the devil,” but Israel’s Supreme Court overturned most of the rulings against him a year later. Kastner was assassinated in 1957. The trial reflected the divisiveness of the Holocaust experience in Israeli politics.

Keren Hayesod Dedicated to raising funds for the Jewish State outside the United States, Keren Hayesod was founded in 1920. It saw to the transport of thousands of Jewish refugees to Palestine and then Eretz Yisrael and contributed to the social and economic infrastructure necessary for their absorption. In addition to recent projects such as building mobile shelters for Israeli settlements under fire from Gaza, Keren Hayesod supports Zionist and Jewish education in the Diaspora. 

King Hussein See under Arab Leaders

Labor See under Israeli Political Parties

Labor Zionism See under Zionism

Land Day (Yom al Ard in Arabic) Commemorating one of the first mass demonstrations by Palestinians opposed to Israeli policy, Land Day has been observed annually on March 30 since 1976, when Israeli Palestinian Arabs from north to south joined in a coordinated mass protest against the government’s plan to expropriate close to 5000 acres of land in the vicinity of two Palestinian villages.

Law of Return (1950) (amended in 1954 and 1970) declares the right of any Jew who so wishes to become a citizen of the State so long as the Minister of Aliya does not have evidence that s/he has acted against the Jewish people or that s/he is a danger to the health or security of the State. 

Lebanon Wars (First and Second) See under Wars and Armed Conflicts 

Lehi See under Militias (pre-State)

Liberal Judaism This is the British name for what in the U.S. is called Reform Judaism. 

(See under Reform Judaism)

Liberation Theology A movement originating in Latin American Roman Catholicism in the second half of the twentieth century, and dedicated to actively addressing the immediate needs of poor parishioners. Its ideological repudiation of the “sinful” socioeconomic arrangements leading to inequalities and call for political engagement have been used by Palestinian Christians to delegitimize the Zionist project. (See Ariel)

Likud See under Israeli Political Parties

London understanding (aborted) See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

ma’abarotIntended to provide temporary dwellings for the refugees, many from Arab lands who were arriving in the new State in great numbers, these absorption camps typically consisted of hastily built tin shacks and sometimes tents, lacked adequate sanitation facilities, and by the end of 1951 housed over 220,000 new citizens in about 125 communities. (See Great or Mass Aliya under Aliya)

Madrid Peace Conference See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

mamlachtiyut(statism) A governing principle in Ben-Gurion’s vision that insisted on the centrality of the state, its responsibility to its citizenry as a whole, and its obligation to forge a moral community by unifying the people around dedication to a shared sense of purpose and shared values. 

Mapai See under Israeli Political Parties

Meir, Golda See under Israeli Political Leaders

Militias (pre-State)

  • Etzel (see Irgun)
  • Haganah (Defense)Organized in 1920,this initially loose association of local self defense groups came to include most youth and adults from the rural settlements and significant numbers of city dwellers as well, when the British failed to protect the Jews of the Yishuv during the Arab riots of 1929. In secret defiance of the British, the Haganah trained members and officers, solicited and collected arms from abroad, and undertook underground production of arms to be used in defense of the Yishuv. Although during the Arab Revolt (1936-39) members operated as a civilian militia under the British, the organization worked against British policy in supporting the immigration of Jewish refugees made illegal by the 1939 White Paper. On May 26, 1948, the Haganah was incorporated into the regular army of the new State, Zeva Haganah LeYisrael, the Israel Defense Force (IDF).
  • Hashomer (The Watchman) was founded in 1909 by members of the Second Aliya who had come to Palestine following pogroms in Russia, and were determined to be able to defend themselves and new Jewish settlements in the Lower Galilee. With never more than one hundred members, they settled in Tel Adashim (1913), Kfar Giladi (1916) and Tel Hai (1918). In 1920, the Haganah was established and Hashomer disbanded.
  • Irgun, Irgun Zva’i Leumi or the acronym Etzel (National Military Organization)Ideologically aligned with Revisionist Zionism, the organization was founded in 1937 following a split from the Haganah by those who objected to the Jewish Agency’s policy of restraint in the face of Arab attacks which had intensified during the 1936-39 riots. After the outbreak of World War II, some members fought alongside the British and eventually formed the Jewish Brigade, while others, who saw the British as a major obstacle to Jewish settlement, broke off to form the more militant Lehi, the acronym for Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Yisrael Freedom Fighters). Both Etzel and Lehi attacked British military and government targets in Palestine, tactics opposed by the Labor Zionist leadership of the Yishuv. From 1943 Etzel was led by Menachem Begin, and the group disbanded after the State was declared. 
  • Lehi (see Irgun)
  • Palmach (acronym for Plugot Mahatz, or Strike Forces) Established in 1941 and closely aligned with Labor Zionism, the Palmach was the elite unit of the Haganah, with over 2000 young men and women members (many from kibbutzim) by the time of the 1948 War. Disbanded by David Ben-Gurion along with other militias in 1948 to create a unified State army, the IDF, the lore of the Palmach remains deeply embedded in the collective memory of the State, and the organization is remembered not only for the courage, commitment and dedication of its youthful members but for their camaraderie and mutual support.

Mizrachi partySee under Israeli Political Parties

Muslim Brotherhood See under Palestinian and Arab Movements and Organizations

Nakba al See under War of Independence, 1948 War, Arab-Israeli War, al Nakba

Nasrallah, Hassan See under Arab Leaders

Nasser, Gamal Abdel See under Arab Leaders

National Council of Young Israel See under American Jewish Organizations

New Jewish AgendaSee under American Jewish Organizations

Operation Magic Carpet See under Aliya

Operation Moses See under Aliya

Operation Solomon See under Aliya

Oslo Peace Accords (1993) See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Oslo II, Taba 1995 See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Ottoman Empire Originating with Turkish tribes in Anatolia in 1299, the empire reigned for over 600 years, and at one time controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa, including the Middle East. Its alignment with Germany during World War I created hardships for the Yishuv, then under Ottoman rule.  Partition of the empire according to terms set in the Treaty of Sevres set out the new boundaries of territories in the Middle East including Palestine which was placed under British Mandate in 1922 when the Ottoman empire officially came to an end. 

Palestinian and Arab Movements and Organizations

  • al-Qāʿida, al-Qaeda is a militant Sunni Islamist terrorist network founded in 1988 by Osama bin-Laden that came to world public attention when it carried out the notorious attacks on the Twin Towers in Manhattan and other locations in the U.S., now remembered as “9/11”.
  • Fatah Founded in 1964 by Yasser Arafat as the Palestinian National Liberation Movement in opposition to the PLO, Fatah is headed today by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), and is the PLO’s major political faction.
  • Fedayeen (self-sacrificers) Palestinian militants who from the early 1950’s carried out raids across Israel’s borders from Syria, Jordan and Egypt, hitting both military and civilian targets.
  • Hamas Founded in 1987 in conjunction with the First Intifada, Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni Islamic organization associated with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. According to the Hamas Charter (1988), it is the Islamic Resistance Movement, one of the wings of the Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine. Opposed to Fatah and the PLO, which are secular, Hamas defeated Fatah in parliamentary elections in 2006, winning a decisive majority. Their rivalry culminated in violence in 2007, when Hamas took over control of Gaza and forced the PLO leadership to retreat to the West Bank which is now under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). 
  • Hezbollah, Hezballah, Ḥizbollāh (the Party of Allah)Hezbollah isa militant Islamist Shia political party and well armed military organization that operates out of Lebanon and is supported by and allied with Iran.
  • Muslim Brotherhood Founded in Egypt in 1928 to encourage an Islamic revival in response to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the ban imposed on the Caliphate, this movement espouses terrorist methods in the name of jihad, a holy war, typically to bring territories under Muslim control by military means.
  • Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Founded in 1964 under the leadership of Yasser Arafat to liberate Palestine through armed struggle, the PLO was endorsed by the 1974 Arab Summit and recognized by some 100 U.N. member nations as the “sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”. Because of its terrorist activities it was labeled a terrorist organization, and both the U.S. and Israel denied its authority until the U.S. brokered negotiations between Israel and the PLO at the 1991 Madrid Conference. In 1993 the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist and in accordance with U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338 rejected violence, while Israel accepted the PLO as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
  • Palestine Authority (PA) Following the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinian (National) Authority became the interim governing body of the West Bank and Gaza Strip of a future autonomous Palestinian state (1994). The PA lost control of Gaza when Hamas defeated Fatah, the major PLO party, in the 2006 elections, and its leadership was forced to retreat to the West Bank where it has authority over Areas A and B and shares responsibility for maintaining security with the Israel-governed Area C.  See also under West Bank.
  • pan-Arabism This ideological movement originated around World War I and was influenced by socialist and Marxist ideology. Associated with early Arab nationalism, it imagined an extra-territorial union of all Arab countries making up the “Arab World”. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser became a strong proponent in the 1950’s and this lead to renaming Egypt when he joined with Syria in 1958 to establish the “United Arab Republic”.

Partition Plan See under Pre-State Palestine

Peace Process and Peace Agreements: The items that belong in this set are listed alphabetically.  A chronological view is provided by a time line that appears at the back of the published version, but is not included here. CIE’s time-line on Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict may be found on the website, with links to important documents and their analyses. 

  • Camp David Negotiations and Accords (1978) These accords between President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel were facilitated by U.S. President Jimmy Carter. After twelve days of negotiations at Camp David, they agreed on conditions for returning the Sinai territory Israel had conquered during the 1967 War in exchange for peace with Egypt.
  • Camp David summit (July 2000) This summit took place July 11-24, 2000 when President Clinton convened Ehud Barak (the PM of Israel) and Yasser Arafat, PA Chairman, to follow up on Oslo Accords (1993) and proceed from an interim peace to a final peace settlement.  No agreement was reached.
  • Clinton Parameters (December 2000) Representatives of the PA, Israel and the U.S. convened. President Clinton read aloud the remarks, outlining his understandings regarding the terms for a possible and fair peace agreement, at the White House; no printed copy was given to the parties.
  • Declaration of Principles, Oslo I Accords (1993) A follow-up to the Madrid Conference (1991), the Accords were negotiated in Oslo, Norway, and the declaration signed in 1993 in Washington, D.C. by Mahmoud Abbas (PLO) and Shimon Peres (Israel) in the presence of President Clinton, Yasser Arafat, PLO Chairman, and Prime Minister of Israel Yitzchak Rabin. The Principles follow from an agreement to end the Israel Palestinian conflict, and include specifications regarding the establishment of an interim Palestinian Self-Governing Authority, a Council to be elected in a free political election by the Palestinian citizens of the West Bank and Gaza and such details as arrangements for the elections, jurisdiction of the interim body, provision for a transition to negotiations on a permanent settlement and security.
  • Gaza Disengagement (August 2005) Israel implemented Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan by unilaterally withdrawing IDF forces from the entire Gaza Strip and dismantling all settlements, in addition to uprooting four settlements in North Samaria in the West Bank. 
  • Geneva Conference (1973) and an attempted Geneva Conference (1977) The 1973 conference in Geneva held under joint U.S. and Soviet Union auspices, was intended to produce direct negotiations for a comprehensive Middle East peace. In fact, it served as decoy for Egypt and Israel that had been negotiating their post 1973 War disengagement, and the conference was adjourned a week after it began. Despite stated intentions, it never reconvened, and President Carter’s efforts to resurrect it in 1977 were unsuccessful.
  • International Conference at Annapolis (2007) U.S. President George W. Bush in the presence of representatives of 40 other countries including the Quartet urged PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to implement the Roadmap (2003). 
  • Israel-Egypt disengagement agreement (1974) Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger helped broker an agreement between Israel and Egypt. It committed them to observe a cease fire and specified the details for the initial disengagement of forces. While in the agreement both asserted this was not a peace treaty, they also stated it was seen as a first step toward peace as provided in U.N. Security Council Resolution 338 and the framework of the Geneva Conference.
  • Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty, Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty (1979) A historic treaty following President Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem and negotiations leading to the 1978 Camp David Accords that included mutual recognition, an end to the state of war that had existed since 1948, and access to the Suez Canal in exchange for Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai territory it had captured from Egypt. 
  • London understanding-(aborted) (1987) The secret plan signed in London by Prime Minister Shimon Peres and King Hussein of Jordan that intended Israel to negotiate with a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation that did not include the PLO. The plan never materialized. 
  • Madrid Peace Conference (1991) Attended by delegations from Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation, the conference was an effort by President George W. H. Bush to engage the parties in direct negotiations of a comprehensive peace for the region. The comprehensive approach did not result in regional peace. However, secret talks between the Palestinians and Israelis in Oslo led to the 1993 Oslo Accords, and Israel and Jordan signed a Peace Treaty the following year, in 1994.
  • Oslo Peace Accords (1993) (See Declaration of Principles)
  • Oslo II, Taba 1995, Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip signed in Taba, Egypt, by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Oslo II was intended to facilitate further negotiations leading to a comprehensive peace agreement. 
  • Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan (1994) “The Treaty of Peace between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and Jordanian Prime Minister Abdelsalam al Majail in October, 1994, near the Arava border crossing to Jordan. 
  • Quartet (2002) An initiative to support negotiations and bring an end to Arab-Israeli conflict, the Quartet was established in Madrid after the outbreak of the Second Intifada, and includes United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia.
  • Roadmap (2003) “A Performance-Based Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”: “The U.S. State Department April 30 released the text of the ‘roadmap’ to a permanent solution….[that] specifies the steps for the two parties to take to reach a settlement, and a timeline for doing so, under the auspices of the Quartet—The United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia.” 
  • Rogers’ Plan (1969) Under the Nixon Administration, American Secretary of State William Rogers sought to resolve the impasse between Israel and the Arabs during the War of Attrition but his plan was rejected by the parties, as were subsequent proposals in 1970 and 1971.
  • Sadat’s historic trip to Jerusalem (1977) The first Arab leader to visit Israel,President Anwar Sadat of Egypt came to Jerusalem on November 19, 1977, and there made a rousing speech before the Knesset calling for an end to war between Israel and Egypt. The hope felt in Israel in response to his visit can hardly be exaggerated. 
  • Second Sinai disengagement (1975) Like the first, this second agreement was also arranged through the shuttle diplomacy of U.S. Secretary of State Kissinger. It called for further Israeli troop withdrawal from Sinai, with a U.N. buffer zone to take their place.
  • Wye River Memorandum (1998) Palestinians and Israelis agreed to an immediate return to negotiations and a serious effort to reach a permanent agreement.

Peace Treaty between Israel and Jordan See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Peel Commission report of 1937 See under Pre-State Palestine

Poalei Zion See under Israeli Political Parties 

Political ZionismSee under Zionism

Pre-State Palestine: 

  • Balfour Declaration (1917) The first recognition of the Zionist aim of reestablishing the Jewish national homeland in Eretz Yisrael/Palestine by a world power (United Kingdom), the declaration was in a letter by Foreign Secretary Arthur James Lord Balfour to Lord Walter Rothschild. It states “His Majesty’s Government 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, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”  
  • British Mandate for Palestine The British were made trustees and administrators of the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea by the Mandate for Palestine. The Mandate is a legally binding document unanimously approved by the 51 member countries of the League of Nations in 1922, that recognized “the historic connection of the Jewish People with Palestine and …the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” 
  • Peel Commission report of 1937 This report was issued by a royal commission of inquiry into Arab-Jewish violence (1936-39) headed by Lord Robert Peel. In light of its findings in Palestine, the commission recommended ending the Mandate and partitioning Palestine. The proposal was endorsed by the British Parliament, hotly debated but accepted by Zionists, and rejected by the Arabs.
  • Partition plan (1947) Resolution 181 was put forward by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) convened after the British declared their intention to end the Mandate. It recommended partition into two independent states, a Jewish and an Arab state “joined by economic union,” with Jerusalem and Bethlehem as an international zone. The vote on November 29, 1947 in the United Nations General Assembly approved partition 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions. The plan was accepted by the Jews and roundly rejected by the Arabs. It was never implemented.
  • Two-state solution The two-state solution has been the widely accepted paradigm calling for partition, with an independent Palestinian state coexisting with the Jewish state of Israel. U.N. Resolutions from 1947 have proposed two states with recognized borders, but so far, diplomatic efforts beginning with the Madrid Conference in 1991 have not led to agreement. 

Prisoners of Zion This epithet refers to Jewish Zionists trapped behind the Iron Curtain after the establishment of Israel. Beginning in the 1950’s, Romanian Zionists were persecuted, and often tried and imprisoned for their activities. Significant pressure led to the eventual release of those who survived the persecution and immigration to Israel. Requests from Jewish Zionists to emigrate from the Soviet Union in the 1960’s and 70’s, similarly met with rejection, and resulted in persecution and hardship. Their determined activism along with pressure on the Soviets from across the world, not least from Jewish organizations, effected a change in Soviet policy and the “Refuseniks” were allowed to leave.

Protocols of the Elders of Zion First published in Russia in 1903, this anitsemitic pamphlet purports to record minutes of a meeting by Jewish leaders in the late 19th century and their plans for dominating the world. The document was disseminated around the world and is still available despite having been exposed as a malicious and unmitigated fraud. It epitomizes both the persistence of antisemitic caricatures and opinions and their apparent immunity to factual rebuttal.

Quartet See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Reform Judaism Originating in 19th century Germany, the proposed reforms emphasized the ethical prophetic teachings of Judaism compatible with emancipation and full civic participation in the life of society at large, and deemphasized the ritual observance and personal practice that were necessarily more restrictive. Defining Jewishness as a religious choice, and Judaism as a religion like all others, Reform Jews did not identify themselves with Jewish peoplehood and rejected the Zionist call for a Jewish homeland until the revolutionary 1937 Columbus Platform. 

Religious ZionismSee under Zionism

Reparations In1952, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion argued that the German government was responsible for paying material claims to Israel on behalf of the 500,000 refugees it was in the process of absorbing, “so that the murderers do not become the heirs as well,” benefitting from both forced labor and goods and property confiscated from survivors and the six million Jews who did not survive. A fierce public debate ensued about accepting reparations. Opponents rejected relations with Germany and protested that money must never be imagined as compensation. These views spanned left and right, and the arguments were ideological, ideational and emotional, with mass riots against the government decision. Nevertheless, Israel and West Germany signed an agreement in September 1952 on reparations to be paid to the Jewish state.

Revisionist Zionism See under Zionism

Replacement Theology See under Supercessionism

Road Map See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements 

Rogers’ Plan See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Sadat, Anwar See under Arab Leaders

Sadat’s historic trip to Jerusalem See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Second Sinai disengagement See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Shas See under Israeli Political Parties

Six-Day WarSee under Wars and Armed Conflicts

Socialist Zionism See under Zionism

Status Quo Agreement (1947) Outlined in a letter sent by David Ben-Gurion, Jewish Agency Chairman, to the leadership of the World Agudat Yisrael organization, the Status Quo Agreement responds to their “request to guarantee marital affairs, the Sabbath, education and kashrut in the Jewish state to arise in our day” with the Jewish Agency’s position on these matters. Ben-Gurion points out that “The establishment of the state requires the approval of the United Nations, and this will not be possible unless the state guarantees freedom of conscience for all its citizens and makes it clear that we have no intention of establishing a theocratic state.” At the same time, he acknowledges the concerns not only of Agudat Yisrael but also of other Jews about the relationship between law and religion in the future Jewish state. Finally, he presents the position of the Jewish Agency on each of these matters. The document illustrates the contrast between the U.S. system separating church and state and the Israeli system which must maintain a difficult balance between their competing needs. (See Stern and an extended discussion in Ellenson).

Supercessionism, Replacement Theology A theological position that persists among Christians that the New Testament superceded the Old, and that the Christian religion supplanted Judaism, essentially bringing the history of the Jewish people to an end and making a Jewish state unnecessary. 

The Jewish Question Although it appears the “question” was first called by this name in Great Britain in the mid eighteenth century, debates on the Jewish Question took place in public discourse and publications across Western Europe in the context of the Enlightenment and emancipation, with proposals to deport the Jews, allow them to convert, encourage them to assimilate, or otherwise deal with their presence in society. By the 1880’s, and especially in Germany, the initially more neutral question became increasingly antisemitic until Hitler proposed the infamous “final solution.” Jews also debated the question of their identity and belonging, and considered such “solutions” as conversion, assimilation, auto-emancipation and Zionism. (see Brenner)

U.N. Resolutions (See extended discussion in Troy)

  • Resolution 181(November 29, 1947) Also known as the Partition Plan, Resolution 181 calls for Palestine, then under British Mandate, to be partitioned into a Jewish and Arab State. The date in 1947 when the General Assembly voted to pass the Resolution 33 to 13 is still memorialized in Israel. (See also Partition Plan)
  • Resolution 242, United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 242 (November 1967) This Resolution, adopted following the 1967 War, affirms that “a just and lasting peace” should include both Israeli withdrawal from the territories it occupied and “respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”   This Resolution is still referenced in diplomatic efforts to implement the conditions it sets forth.
  • Security Council Resolution 338, UNSC Resolution 338 In the later days of the 1973 War, after Israel had succeeded in pushing back the Syrian assault on the Golan Heights and occupied a bridgehead on the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal, Resolution 338 called for a cease fire and for negotiations to begin immediately based on Resolution 242.
  • Resolution 3376 (November 1975) This Resolution of the U.N. General Assembly expresses concern for the lack of progress by the Palestinian people to achieve its “inalienable rights in Palestine” including “their inalienable right to self-determination without external interference and the right to national independence and sovereignty…and their inalienable right to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced and uprooted.” The resolution ends with the decision “to include the item entitled ‘Question of Palestine’ in the provisional agenda of its thirty-first session.”
  • Resolution 3379 (November 1975) Sharply and unequivocally rejected and denied by American Ambassador to the United Nations Daniel Patrick Moynahan, Resolution 3379 defined Zionism as racism and a form of racial discrimination. 72 states voted in favor, 35 against, and 32 abstained. Despite sustained objection, the Resolution was not revoked until 1991.

UJA (United Jewish Appeal) See under American Jewish Organizations

Wars and Armed Conflicts The wars are organized chronologically, and their various names are separated by commas. The Time Line (p. ) shows the wars along with peace negotiations and agreements taking place at around the same time.  For an extended discussion of the Arab-Israeli conflict see Dowty; for the peace process see Makovsky.

  • War of Independence, 1948 War, Arab-Israeli War, al Nakba The different names for this war reflect its complicated historiography. Armed conflict, the War of Independence, began immediately after the U.N. vote on November 29, 1947 to partition Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state. On May 15, 1948, the day following Israel’s Declaration of Independence, the new State was attacked along all its borders by Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian forces, reinforced by Iraqi troops. For this reason, it is also known as the Arab-Israeli War. The fighting lasted for 10 months with occasional cease fires.  Palestinians refer to the war as al Nakba, the Disaster or Catastrophe. Initially a lament by Constantine Zurayq of the catastrophic failure of the combined Arab armies to eliminate the Jewish State (The Meaning of the Disaster, al-Nakba (Arabic, 1948)), al Nakba has come to refer to the flight and expulsion of Palestinians and the loss of Palestinian homes and villages within Israel. In 1998, when Israel celebrated its first 50 years of independence, Palestinians observed their first Nakba Day on May 15, on the 50th anniversary of the Nakba, a memorial day declared by Yasser Arafat. 
  • Six-Day War, 1967 War, 1967 June War, June 1967 War This war pitted Egypt, Syria and Jordan against Israel. Egypt’s President Nasser had proclaimed the Arab states’ intention to eradicate Israel. In May, 1967, he moved Egyptian forces into Sinai close to the Israeli border, ordered the United Nations emergency forces stationed in Sinai since 1956 to withdraw, and announced that he was closing the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping in and out of Eilat, in other words, imposing a blockade that would preclude the import of Iranian oil which was Israel’s main supply. Syria had been attacking Israeli kibbutzim from the Golan Heights and announced its readiness for a battle of annihilation. The Arab forces mobilized over 400,000 soldiers, with some 2800 tanks and 800 aircraft poised for battle. In response, On June 5, 1967, Israel sent almost its entire air force to bomb Egyptian airfields, and shortly thereafter airfields in Syria, Jordan and Iraq. This was followed by huge tank battles between Israeli and Egyptian forces in Sinai, a rebuff of Jordanian troops that attacked Jerusalem, including the re-capture of the Old City and Western Wall by Israeli paratroopers, and bloody battles where Israeli troops were finally able to wrest the Golan Heights from the Syrians. The fighting lasted six days, hence the name the Six-Day War. Israel more than tripled its territory, retook the Old City or East Jerusalem lost to Jordan during the 1948 War, and captured Sinai, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the territories of the West Bank.
  • Yom Kippur War, 1973 Yom Kippur War, 1973 War, October War, and referred to by Arabs as the Ramadan War Egyptian and Syrian forces surprised Israel by a coordinated attack across Israel’s southern and northern borders on Yom Kippur, which coincided with the Muslim month of Ramadan in 1973, hence the names. While Israel succeeded in repulsing the attacks, in the aftermath of the surprise, it contended with its unpreparedness and vulnerability. And although neither the Syrians nor the Egyptians were victorious, their success in inflicting losses restored their reputation and self image as forces to be reckoned with.
  • War of Attrition (1967-1970) The policy of the three “no’s” adopted by the Arabs in the Khartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967, was absolute rejection: no recognition of Israel, no negotiations and no peace. Given this policy and the absence of diplomatic pressure on Israel to return territory captured during the June 1967 Six-Day War, Egyptian President Nasser allied with Jordan and the PLO to initiate artillery attacks on Israeli positions. These escalated to include bombing and commando raids and continued for nearly three years. A ceasefire in August 1970 ended the War of Attrition, though without any exchange of territory or talks of peace.
  • Intifada, First Intifada, Second Intifada or al-Aqsa Intifada 
  • First Intifada (December 1987-1992) A Palestinian uprising during which Palestinians directed violence at both Israeli soldiers and civilians. Significant numbers of Arabs were also killed “for political and other reasons” by PLO death squads.  The uprising appears to have been orchestrated by the PLO.  
  • The Second Intifada or al-Aqsa Intifada (2000-20005) was initially claimed to be a response to Likud leader Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif), however there is substantial testimony, including from Palestinian sources (e.g. Imad Faluji, then PA Communications Minister) that the violence had been planned well in advance, following the failure of the Camp David summit, and was encouraged by the PLO leadership.  This period was marked by repeated terror attacks and suicide bombings. 
  • Lebanon War, 1982 War in Lebanon, First Lebanon War (also Peace for Galilee) The IDF crossed the border into southern Lebanon in June 1982 following repeated cross-border attacks and shelling by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)on settlements in northern Israel. The operation succeeded in forcing Arafat and the PLO leadership to evacuate and reestablish themselves in Tunis. However, the IDF became mired in southern Lebanon, and the government’s defense policy and its consequences for Lebanese civilians lead to open criticism and gave rise to the Peace Now movement. Israeli troops were unilaterally withdrawn from Southern Lebanon by Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000.
  • Second Lebanon War (2006) This war lasting from July 12 through August 14 was between Hezbollah, heavily supported and backed by Iran, and Israel. Preceded by repeated Hezbollah rocket attacks on cities along Israel’s northern border and an attack and abduction of Israeli soldiers on patrol on the Israeli side of the border, the IDF attacked Hezbollah positions in Lebanon and targeted strategic sites such as the Lebanese airport. Israel complied with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 by withdrawing troops from Lebanon however Hezbollah has not been disarmed as called for by the Resolution.
  • Wars with Hamas, Gaza Wars:  Operation Cast Lead (2008-9); Operation Pillar of Defense (2012); Operation Protective Edge (2014) These three military operations followed Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the victory of Hamas over Fatah (PLO) in the 2006 elections in Gaza.  Each was preceded by persistent mortar shelling and particularly firing of rockets often supplied by Iran from Gaza into Israeli settlements. Initially aimed at settlements near the border, the increasingly advanced rockets were aimed at Israeli cities and by 2014 even Tel Aviv was under fire. The Hamas policy of embedding rocket launchers and other ammunition in densely populated civilian areas has lead to debates about proportionality, human rights and Israel’s right to self-defense following IDF incursions into Gaza, as even carefully targeted bombing of rocket launchers results in destruction and human casualties. 

West Bank, Judea and Samaria, Area C 

The West Bank is the area West of the Jordan River. After the 1948 War the West Bank including East Jerusalem fell to Transjordan, which occupied and administered the territory, annexing it in 1950. The 1947 U.N. Partition Plan designated “the hill country of Samaria and Judea” including the territory now known as “the West Bank” to be included in the new Arab-Palestinian state. The “East” Bank was then part of Jordan.   Since the 1967 War, when Israel captured the territory on the other side of the Jordan, including East Jerusalem, the West Bank has been used to refer to the area that is supposed to become an important part of a future Palestinian state, with rural villages, towns and cities such as Ramallah and the new planned Palestinian city of Rawabi, and Israeli settlements and cities, like Ariel. The territory was divided by Oslo II into Area A (18%) and Area B (22%) that include about 2.8 million Palestinians and are primarily administered by the Palestinian Authority. Area C (60%) which has some 300,000 Palestinian residents and and 350,000 Jewish settlers, is administered by the Judea and Samaria Area administration and is under full Israeli control.

World Zionist Organizations 

  • Jewish Agency The operational arm of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), the Jewish Agency was established in the British Mandate for Palestine granted by the League of Nations, and was responsible for governing the Yishuv during the Mandate, and for Aliya and absorption of immigrants. David Ben-Gurion was chairman of its executive committee (a post he had filled since 1935) when he proclaimed Israel’s independence on May 14, 1948. 
  • Jewish National Fund (JNF) (Hebrew Keren Kayemet) Founded in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress to collect funds for purchasing and developing land in Palestine for Jewish settlement, the JNF’s mission was quickly disseminated when the now iconic Blue Box was distributed in Jewish institutions and homes beginning in 1904, a “pushke” where individuals could collect funds to help buy land and make it fit for settlement in a future Jewish homeland by planting trees and draining swamps. 
  • Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Joint Founded in 1914 after the outbreak of WWI, the initial aim of the JDC was to collect and distribute funds to help the Jews of Palestine who were suffering under Ottoman rule, and it soon turned its efforts to Eastern European Jews caught in the upheaval of the Russian Revolution and antisemitic attacks in Russia and Poland. During the Holocaust the JDC was instrumental in getting many thousands of German and Austrian Jews out of Europe, and its rescue, relief and social service programs continue to impact the well-being and welfare of Jews in Israel and throughout the world.

Wye River Memorandum See under Peace Process and Peace Agreements

Yesh AtidSee under Israeli Political Parties

Yishuv  The Hebrew termwhich comes from the root that means to sit and to settle, refers to communities of Jewish immigrants who settled pre-State Palestine with the intention of building and being rebuilt in the land, reconstituting a Jewish homeland and reviving the Hebrew language and culture. The Old Yishuv refers to pre-Zionist, pre- 1881 Jewish communities in Palestine. 

Yom Kippur War See under Wars and Armed Conflicts

Yosef, Ovadia See under Israeli Political Leaders


  • Cultural Zionism Promulgated by Ahad Ha’am in contrast to Herzl’s Political Zionism, cultural Zionism assumed most Jews would remain in the Diaspora, but that Jewish cultural and linguistic renewal in Eretz Yisrael were fundamental and would strengthen Jewish spiritual and ethical identity everywhere. (See Harris and Brenner’s extended treatment in this volume.)
  • General Zionism Initiallythis designation referred to the general commitment to a Jewish homeland without affiliation to any particular faction or political party.  In 1922 it was institutionalized as the Organization of General Zionists, splitting into two factions in 1931 over issues relating to Palestine including social affairs and attitudes to the Histadrut, and reuniting in 1945. A majority of Israel’s Liberal movements and parties originated within General Zionism and resulted from mergers in and secessions from the movement. 
  • Labor Zionism, Socialist Zionism, founded by Nachum Syrkin, sought to fuse Zionism with Socialism, and held that “the Jewish problem” would not be solved by a Socialist revolution in the Diaspora, but by Jewish emigration to their own homeland. Only Zionism would allow for restructuring the class system to liberate the people and the Jewish Proletariat. David Ben-Gurion, Yitzchak Ben-Zvi and Berl Katznelson were all important leaders of Labor Zionism in the pre-Sate years, a movement that later gave rise to the Labor Party. 
  • Political Zionism, associated with Theodor Herzl, this faction emphasized the political means necessary for gaining international recognition for the Zionist program and support for Jewish sovereignty. 
  • Religious Zionism When the Fifth Zionist Congress (1902) included cultural activity in the Zionist Program, Merkaz Ruchani (Spiritual Center) with the acronym Mizrachi organized and focused its 1904 platform on the observance of commandments and Jewish religious life in Zion. While ultra-Orthodoxy considered Zionist activity blasphemous and a misguided human effort to undertake Divine prerogative, Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook endorsed the program, declaring Jewish “settlement in the Land of Israel as the beginning of Redemption.” 
  • Revisionist Zionism began as an effort, led by Vladimir Zeev Jabotinsky (1925) to revise Herzl’s Political Zionism, taking a more assertive stance toward Great Britain with demands for open immigration and a Jewish majority in Palestine, a state on both sides of the Jordan and military training. Leaving the ZO to form their own organization, Revisionist Zionism rejoined in 1946 since the Biltmore Program had declared Zionist commitment to a Jewish Commonwealth in Palestine. Members of the more militant Revisionist Zionism joined the pre-State military organizations Etzel and Lehi and the Revisionist movement merged with the Herut movement in the Herut party, later part of the Likud. 
  • Secular Zionism is the category name given to the various forms of Zionism that are not Religious Zionism. The term emphasizes the contrast between their various ideological and political positions and those of Religious Zionism for which adherence to commandments is primary.
  • Socialist Zionism See under Labor Zionism.

Zionist (Youth) Organizations (Pre-State/ Yishuv)

  • Betar Founded in Latvia in 1923, this activist Zionist youth movement takes its name from the acronym of B’rith Trumpeldor, the covenant of (Joseph) Trumpeldor, the legendary one-armed Jewish soldier who died in 1920 defending Tel Hai in the Galilee. Born in Russia, Trumpeldor saw significant action during World War I, and in 1918 on a visit to Russia, founded Hehalutz, a youth organization to prepare youth to settle on the land. 
  • Bilu began as an initiative of Russian Jews who declared a fast and gathered to discuss possibilities in January 1882 following pogroms of April to December 1881. The name is an acronym from the Hebrew “Beit Yaakov Lekhu Venelkha” (House of Jacob, come and let us go, Isaiah 2.5) and represents a shift from assuming assimilation would solve the Jewish problem to an adherence to Jewish nationalism.   The group aimed to regain political independence in Palestine and the first Biluim arrived in July 1882. Of the estimated 53 Bilu members who came to Palestine few remained, but they set an important early example, taking action and making Palestine a real option.
  • Hapoel Hatza’ir (The Young Laborer) (1905-1930) was a pacifist and antimilitarist socialist Zionist group during the Second Aliya that sought to conquer the land through labor. To avoid duplicating efforts, around 1920 its members joined with Ahdut Haavoda to form the Histadrut, but the groups remained rivals until 1930 when Ben-Gurion united them to form the Mapai party. 
  • Hashomer Hatza’ir (the Young Guard) originated in Galicia in 1913 and is the oldest Zionist youth movement still in existence. It was also a political party in the Yishuv that called for equality with the Arabs and a binational solution. Hence they voted against the 1942 Biltmore Program declaring Zionism’s goal as a Jewish Commonwealth. The first members settled in Palestine in 1919, and in 1927 its four kibbutzim formed the Kibbutz Artzi (National Kibbutz) federation.
  • Hibbat Zion, Hovevei Zion, Chibat Zion, Chovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion or Love of Zion) was a pre-Zionist movement organized in response to Russian pogroms in 1881, and became an official entity at an 1884 conference led by Leon Pinsker, author and advocate of Jewish “Auto-Emancipation”. Members founded Rishon Lezion, the first Zionist settlement, in 1882.