Compiled by the Center for Israel Education, April 2023
While the Zionist-Arab/Israeli-Palestinian conflict is never absent from the calendar, April is a month that has brought advances toward Israel being a normal part of the global community through educational institutions, cultural achievements, sports victories, diplomatic gains and technological contributions.
April 1, 1925 — A Jewish University in Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem opens on Mount Scopus, fulfilling a dream first expressed in a letter from Heidelberg University professor Herman Schapira to the Hebrew newspaper HaMelitz in 1882.
April 1, 1948 — Blockade of Jerusalem Holds
Nine Jews are killed and 17 others are wounded in a second failed attempt to move a 60-truck convoy of food and other supplies to blockaded Jerusalem six weeks before Israel declares independence.
April 2, 1947 — Britain Passes Palestine Problem to U.N.
The British government announces that it plans to bring Palestine’s future before the next U.N. General Assembly session and that it wants a special commission to make recommendations.
• Document: U.N. partition resolution
• Document: Peel Commission report
• Document: British report on the end of the mandate
• Videos: The Partition Plan
April 2, 1979 — Begin Goes to Egypt
Menachem Begin becomes the first Israeli prime minister to visit Egypt when he arrives in Cairo a week after signing the treaty with Egypt. All the hoopla of a state visit welcomes him.
• Video: Carter’s Search for Middle East Peace
• Video: 13 Days at Camp David
• Videos: From Camp David to Peace
April 3, 1949 — Jordan Signs 3rd Armistice
Jordan follows Egypt (Feb. 24) and Lebanon (March 23) and precedes Syria (July 20) in signing a bilateral armistice in 1949 to end the Israeli War of Independence. Jordan maintains control of eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank and annexes those captured lands three weeks later.
• Document: Excerpts of the Israeli-Egyptian agreement
April 4, 1920 — Riots in the Old City
The Nebi Musa festival, a pilgrimage to the site Muslims believe to be Moses’ grave near Jericho, breaks into rioting in Jerusalem’s Old City, killing five Jews and four Arabs over three days. It’s the first of many outbreaks of intercommunal violence under British rule and leads to the founding of the Haganah.
April 4, 1968 — Settlement in Hebron
Rabbi Moshe Levinger and several other Israeli Jews pretending to be Swiss tourists check into a Hebron hotel to establish the first permanent Jewish presence in the city since the 1929 massacre of 67 Jews.
April 4, 2002 — Bush: ‘The Future Itself Is Dying’
Speaking a week after the unveiling of the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative, President George W. Bush decries the killing of the Second Intifada and urges Israelis and Palestinians to turn tragedy into opportunity to pursue a two-state solution. “You’re either with the civilized world, or you’re with the terrorists.”
• Document: Transcript of Bush’s speech
• Document: 2002 Arab Peace Initiative
April 5, 1999 — Flash! Tiny Portable Computer Memory
Kfar Saba-based M-Systems applies for a patent for the USB flash drive, which can store 8 megabytes, five times the memory of most floppy disks. IBM begins selling the drives after the patent is granted.
April 7, 1973 — Israel Fourth in First Eurovision
Ilanit, Israel’s first entrant in the annual Eurovision Song Contest, finishes fourth out of 17 with “Ey-sham,” a dramatic ballad featuring “the garden of love.” Ilanit again represents Israel in 1977. Israel wins in 1978, 1979, 1998 and 2018.
• Video: Israel in Eurovision
April 7, 1977 — Maccabi Tel Aviv Wins European Title
Maccabi Tel Aviv wins its first European basketball championship by defeating the two-time defending champions, Mobilgirgi Varese of Italy, after upsetting the Soviet team CSKA Moscow in the semifinals.
April 8, 2006 — Israel Hosts European Dance Competition
Ashdod plays host to teams from 25 countries for the Ten Dance European Cup, the first international dance sports competition held in Israel. The arrival of 1 million ex-Soviet Jews in the 1990s has driven a surge in the popularity of competitive ballroom dancing.
April 9, 1973 — Israeli Commandos Raid Beirut
Ehud Barak leads a successful seaborne commando raid on Beirut to kill three PLO officials connected to the Munich Olympics massacre.
April 10, 1974 — Meir Resigns as Prime Minister
Prime Minister Golda Meir resigns a month after forming Israel’s 16th government. Israel’s only female prime minister is reacting to the release of the Agranat Commission’s critical report on why Israel was surprised in the Yom Kippur War.
• Document: Agranat Commission interim report
April 10, 2005 — NATO Gathers in Israel
Nearly 50 participants from 11 countries meet in Haifa for a five-day NATO-convened conference on medical preparedness for mass casualty situations. It is the first program held by NATO in Israel, which has close ties to alliance members going back to the Cold War.
April 11, 1909 — Tel Aviv Is Founded
Sixty-six families gather on the dunes outside Jaffa to claim lots in the new neighborhood of Ahuzat Bayit (“Homestead”), marking the founding of Tel Aviv. A lottery uses seashells to assign lots.
April 12, 1951 — Knesset Creates Yom HaShoah
The Knesset establishes the 27th of Nisan as Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. The date is close to the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising without intruding on Passover.
April 13, 1971 — Black Panthers Meet With Meir
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir meets with leaders of the Black Panthers, a Mizrahi activist group protesting social injustice and discrimination. The meeting does not go well.
April 13, 2004 — European Basketball Double
Hapoel Jerusalem defeats Real Madrid, 83-72, to win Europe’s No. 2 club basketball championship, the EuroCup. Combined with Maccabi Tel Aviv’s EuroLeague championship, Israel holds both of Europe’s major basketball titles.
April 15, 1936 — Arab Rebellion Breaks Out
An Arab uprising begins when 10 cars are attacked and three Jews are killed in what appears to be a robbery near Tulkarm. Violence lasts until 1939, and the British move toward pro-Arab policies, including banning most Jewish immigration on the eve of the Holocaust.
April 16, 2007 — First Jewish Writers Conference
Organized by Aharon Applefeld and Natan Sharansky, the first Kisufim conference for Jewish writers around the world opens in Jerusalem. Sessions are held in 10 languages.
April 17, 1948 — Respite for Jerusalem
Commanded by Yitzhak Rabin, the Harel Brigade delivers a convoy of supplies to Jewish residents of Jerusalem who have been blockaded since February. Arab forces again cut off the city April 20.
April 20, 1799 — Napoleon Backs Jewish Palestine
While laying siege to Turkish-held Acre, Napoleon offers to give Palestine to the Jewish nation if France captures it. The proclamation fails to win the support of Palestine’s Jews.
April 20, 1965 — Shrine of the Book Opens
The Shrine of the Book, built to house the Dead Sea Scrolls, opens as a wing of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Its white domed roof is inspired by the lids of the jars found in Qumran.
April 21, 1947 — Double Suicide Prevents Hanging
Moshe Barazani, 20, of Lehi and Meir Feinstein, 19, of the Irgun kill themselves with a grenade smuggled into prison to prevent the British from hanging them the next morning.
April 21, 1988 — U.S.-Israel Security Agreement
In light of Israel’s legal recognition as a major non-NATO U.S. ally, the two countries sign an agreement formalizing their consultation and cooperation on matters of security, diplomacy, economic development and aid to other nations.
• Document: 1988 Memorandum of Agreement
• Document: 1981 Memorandum of Understanding on strategic cooperation
• Document: 2014 U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act
April 22, 1948 — Haganah Seizes Haifa
The Haganah executes a three-prong attack to secure control of all of Haifa except for the port, which the British hold, amid the violence ahead of the Declaration of Independence three weeks later.
April 23, 1943 — Last Dispatch From Warsaw
Mordechai Anielewicz, the commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB), writes his final message about “the magnificent, heroic” but doomed Warsaw Ghetto uprising.
April 24, 1903 — Back to Africa?
Meeting with Theodor Herzl, British official Joseph Chamberlain proposes a Jewish homeland in East Africa. Herzl sees the Uganda Plan as an interim step toward the return to Israel.
April 24, 1924 — Labor Kicks Off Soccer Club
Hapoel Haifa, a charter member of the Israel Football Association in 1928, is founded as the first labor-led soccer club in Mandatory Palestine. Its branches include worker movements and other sports.
April 25, 1920 — British Pick High Commissioner
Herbert Samuel is asked to serve as Britain’s first high commissioner for Palestine the same day the San Remo Conference accepts the Balfour Declaration as part of the plan for the former Ottoman Empire.
• Document: Balfour Declaration
• Document: Mandate for Palestine
April 25, 1982 — Israel Leaves Sinai to Egypt
Two days after evacuating and razing its last Sinai settlement, Yamit, Israel completes the three-year process of evacuating the Sinai peninsula under the terms of its peace treaty with Egypt.
• Document: 1979 Israel-Egypt treaty
• Document: 1978 Camp David Accords
• Video: 40th anniversary of the treaty
April 26, 1881 — Pogroms Spread to Kyiv
The anti-Jewish violence that has swept the Russian Empire since the assassination of Czar Alexander II in March smashes into Kyiv, where Jewish shops and homes are looted and burned. Russia soon toughens its anti-Jewish laws, and Jews launch the First Aliyah the next year.
April 27, 1955 — Public Meets the Uzi
The Uzi submachine gun makes its public debut as an IDF weapon during a Yom HaAtzmaut parade. The Uzi was first used in the field two months earlier during a paratrooper raid on Egyptian forces in Gaza.
April 27, 1984 — Roundup of Jewish Underground
Fifteen members of the Jewish Underground, an anti-Arab terrorist group formed by members of the settler group Gush Emunim, are arrested before they can sabotage five Arab buses in Jerusalem.
April 28, 1918 — AJC Barely Backs Balfour
Almost six months after the release of the Balfour Declaration, the American Jewish Committee offers tepid support for the British endorsement of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
April 28, 2008 — Israel in Space
Israel Aerospace Industries launches into orbit the Amos-3, one of a series of communication satellites based on the Affordable Modular Optimized Satellite platform.
April 29, 1979 — Prisoners of Zion Arrive in Israel
Five recently released Soviet Jewish prisoners land at Ben Gurion Airport, almost a decade after they were caught trying to hijack a plane to escape the Soviet Union. Their story catalyzes the movement to free Soviet Jewry.
April 30, 2003 — Quartet Offers Framework for Peace
The Quartet of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations issues its Roadmap for Peace, a framework for talks to achieve a permanent two-state solution between Israel and Palestinians.
• Document: 2003 Roadmap for Peace