Moshe Smilansky Born

February 24

February 24, 1874 Early Zionist leader Moshe Smilansky, whose influence ranges from the military to agriculture and literature, is born near Kyiv, Ukraine. Smilansky first visits Palestine in 1890 and settles in Rehovot in 1893 to become a farmer during the First Aliyah. He grows grapes, almonds and citrus. He helps found the moshav movement, […]

Army Officers Seize Power in Syria

February 23

February 23, 1966 Saleh Jadid launches a coup of young army officers against a Syrian government of old-guard members of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party who themselves seized power in a coup in 1963. The conflict between Ba’athist factions puts in power a hard-line government focused on economic nationalization and internal control within Syria rather […]

Truck Bombs Explode on Ben Yehuda Street

February 22

February 22, 1948 Arab militants disguised as British troops, joined by a pair of British deserters, detonate bombs in three British military trucks and an armored car in the morning along the shopping district of Ben Yehuda Street in downtown Jerusalem, killing as many as 58 Jewish civilians and wounding 140 to 200 others. The […]

Ben-Gurion Returns to Government

February 21

February 21, 1955 Former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ends his 14-month semiretirement from politics to replace Pinhas Lavon as the defense minister in Prime Minister Moshe Sharett’s Cabinet. Ben-Gurion has remained a member of the Knesset for the dominant Mapai party but has not held a government post since resigning as prime minister in December […]

Netanyahu Invites Kadima, Labor to Join Coalition

February 20

February 20, 2009 Benjamin Netanyahu, whose Likud finished second in the Feb. 10 election, receives the mandate to form a government from President Shimon Peres and surprisingly offers to bring leading rivals Kadima and Labor into a centrist coalition instead of aligning with parties to Likud’s right. The right wing’s strength is the reason the […]

Yemeni Jews Secretly Flown to Israel

February 19

February 19, 2009 Ten of the fewer than 300 Jews living in Yemen arrive in Israel after being secretly airlifted through arrangements by the Jewish Agency amid threats from Al-Qaeda and other terrorists. The arrivals include Said Ben Yisrael, the leader of the Jewish community in Raydah, where most of Yemen’s remaining Jews live. The […]

Britain to Seek U.N. Help on Palestine

February 18

February 18, 1947 British Foreign Minister Ernest Bevin announces that after a quarter-century of holding the mandate for Palestine, the British government will ask the United Nations to address the question of what to do about the territory, in which 1.2 million Arabs and 600,000 Jews seem locked in an intractable conflict. In addition to battling each other, the Arab […]

Musician Shmulik Kraus Dies

February 17

February 17, 2013 Shmulik Kraus dies from swine flu in Tel Aviv at age 77 after a long career as one of Israel’s most influential musicians. Kraus was born in Jerusalem on July 1, 1935, and taught tap dance in Haifa when he was young. After serving in Israel’s navy, he worked as a merchant […]

Children’s Author Miriam Roth Born

February 16

February 16, 1910 Miriam Roth, whose Hebrew writing elevates children’s literature in Israel, is born in the Slovakian region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. She attends various Jewish schools, including one run by her father, and graduates from Brno University. She is active in the socialist-Zionist Hashomer Hatzair movement, and in 1931 she immigrates to Palestine […]

Netanyahu Visits Trump White House

February 15

February 15, 2017 During his first month in office, President Donald Trump welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House. It is Netanyahu’s first visit to Washington since his speech against the Iran nuclear deal before Congress in March 2015, when he was not invited to meet with President Barack Obama. Netanyahu met […]

Carter Proposes Aircraft Sale to Saudis

February 14

February 14, 1978 President Jimmy Carter announces a plan to sell advanced fighter jets to Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Coming three months after Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Israel, the proposal draws swift condemnation from the American Jewish community, particularly regarding the Saudi portion of the sale. Many American Jews already distrust Carter […]

Israel Announces It Owns 4 Dead Sea Scrolls

February 13

February 13, 1955 Prime Minister Moshe Sharett holds a news conference to announce that Israel has acquired four of the first seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in a cave at Qumran. Gen. Yigael Yadin and another Hebrew University faculty member have arranged the purchase for $250,000 the previous June in New York from representatives of […]