Michael Jacobs, November Dates – an eventful month in the Zionist story
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat address reporters in Jerusalem on Nov. 21, 1977. (By Ya’acov Sa’ar, Israeli Government Press Office)

Michael Jacobs, November 4, 2022

From the founding of Petah Tikvah, through the Balfour Declaration and the U.N. partition resolution to Anwar Sadat’s address to the Knesset and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, November has held a crucial place in the history of Zionism and Israel.

What follows are some of the most important events in creating the State of Israel as it approaches its 75th anniversary, along with documents and other materials about those events.

November 1, 1991 — End of Madrid Peace Conference

The Madrid Middle East Peace Conference was the first time Israel and all of its immediate neighbors, including representatives of the PLO, met in one room, and the multilateral and bilateral negotiations that began in Spain led indirectly to the 1993 Oslo Accords. But the closing speeches featured acrimony, anger and accusations.


• “Evaluate the Aftermath of the Conference,” an analysis of hopes for peace at the conference’s conclusion, including President George H.W. Bush’s Nov. 1 fundraising speech concluding that convening the conference is a success, https://israeled.org/evaluate-the-aftermath-of-the-conference/

• “Madrid 1991: The Quest for Middle East Peace,” a 9-minute, 15-second video using archival footage to explore what led to the peace conference and what happened there, https://israeled.org/madrid-conference/

• “Israel in Context: 30 Years After the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference,” a 54-minute, 19-second webinar in which Israeli Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich, longtime State Department official Aaron David Miller, journalist Joel Greenberg and CIE President Ken Stein discuss the context and consequences of the conference, https://israeled.org/israel-in-context-30-years-after-the-madrid-middle-east-peace-conference/

November 2, 1917 — Balfour Declaration

In 67 words, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour defines the British government’s relationship to Zionism two days after the British and their allies capture Be’er Sheva during World War I and more than five weeks before the Ottomans surrender Jerusalem.


November 3, 1878 — Founding of Petah Tikvah

Four years before the start of the First Aliyah and almost 19 years before the First Zionist Congress, religious Jews found what becomes Israel’s fifth-largest city.

November 4, 1995 — Rabin’s Assassination

A Jewish settler opposed to the Oslo peace process kills Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin after a peace rally in Tel Aviv.

• Shamgar Commission report (November 1996) on the assassination, including the speech Rabin gave right before he was shot, https://israeled.org/resources/documents/shamgar-rabin-assassination/

• “The Leadership of Yitzhak Rabin,” former Knesset member and current Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai’s reflections on the life of his former boss in a 2-minute, 42-second video, https://israeled.org/the-leadership-of-yitzhak-rabin/

• “Yitzhak Rabin: Israel’s Leadership in a Lifetime,” analysis by Michael Jacobs and Ken Stein, https://israeled.org/yitzhak-rabin-israel-leadership-in-a-lifetime/

Nov. 10, 1975 — U.N. Equates Zionism With Racism

Pushed by the Soviet Union, which seeks to delegitimize Israel, the U.N. General Assembly passes Resolution 3379, which calls Zionism “a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is revoked in 1991.


• Part of the speech in response by the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, calling the resolution an “infamous act,” https://youtu.be/Z_8VqP7QKPA

Nov. 10, 2004 — “Hatikvah” Becomes the National Anthem

The Zionist song officially becomes Israel’s anthem after decades of concern about how non-Jewish Israelis saw the lyrics, taken from a poem by Naftali Herz Imber.


November 20, 1977 — Sadat’s Speech to the Knesset

A day after arriving for his historic visit to Israel, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat lays out his vision for “peace with justice,” leading to the Camp David Accords 10 months later and a peace treaty six months after that.


• “Carter’s Search for Middle East Peace,” a 4-minute, 15-second animated video putting Sadat’s visit in context, https://israeled.org/carters-search-for-middle-east-peace/

November 21, 1984 — Ethiopian Jews Rescued

Working with the CIA and Sudanese State Security, Israel launches Operation Moses to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel and flies in almost 8,000 in less than seven weeks.

November 22, 1967 — U.N. Security Council Resolution 242

Written by U.S. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg and the basis of all subsequent land-for-peace negotiations, Resolution 242 calls for Israel to return land captured in the June 1967 war but not “the land” captured, leaving room for peace agreements without a full return to the 1949 armistice lines.


Nov. 28, 1961 — Moroccan Jews Rescued

After a two-year ban on Jewish emigration from Morocco, Israel launches Operation Yachin to help Moroccan Jews make aliyah via France or Italy, enabling more than 97,000 to leave Morocco by the operation’s end in 1964.

November 29, 1947 — U.N. Partition Resolution

On a 33-13 vote, the U.N. General Assembly approves Resolution 181, which calls for the creation of neighboring Jewish and Arab states in the British Mandate of Palestine, with a special international status for the city of Jerusalem. Israel declares independence 5½ months later, but the Palestinian Arab population does not, hoping to control the entire land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.


• “Rallying World Jewry to Partition,” Chaim Weizmann’s notes for speeches in 1938 arguing for two states in Palestine, https://israeled.org/resources/documents/chaim-weizmanns-notes-for-speech-rallying-world-jewry-to-partition/

“U.N. Resolution 181 — The Partition Plan,” a set of three animated films running a combined 11 minutes that explain the path to and the approval of the U.N. partition plan, https://israeled.org/un-resolution-181-the-partition-plan/