Supreme Court Justice Dorit Beinisch Born

February 28

February 28, 1942 Dorit Beinisch, the ninth president of Israel’s Supreme Court, is born Dorit Werba in Tel Aviv to a father who works as a civil servant after arriving from Poland in the 1930s and a mother who teaches kindergarten. She marries Jerusalem lawyer Yeheskell Beinisch in 1964. She graduates from the Hebrew University […]

Kissinger Delivers List of Syria’s Israeli POWs

February 27

February 27, 1974 U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger arrives in Tel Aviv from Damascus with a list of 65 Israeli prisoners held by Syria since the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, along with a promise from Syrian President Hafez al-Assad that the Red Cross will be allowed to visit the POWs.  The list […]

Labor Politician Aharon Zisling Born

February 26

February 26, 1901 Aharon Zisling, one of Israel’s founding fathers, is born in the Russian Empire in Minsk, now the capital of Belarus. He immigrates to Palestine in 1914 during the Second Aliyah and emerges in the 1920s as one of the leading labor advocates in the Yishuv. He participates in the convention that founds […]

First Tel Aviv Soccer Derby

February 25

February 25, 1928 Soccer clubs Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv hold their first derby, or rivalry game, which is won by the home team, Maccabi, 3-0. Maccabi also wins the rematch on Hapoel’s home field a week later, 2-1. Organized Israeli soccer dates back to 1906 with the founding of Maccabi Tel Aviv, […]

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 […]