Highlights of the Year 5740

During the year 5740 Israel found itself more isolated in the international community than ever before, deserted by almost all its allies, except the United States. Israel was under severe and unremitting fire in the United Nations by the Arab-Third World-Communist bloc for its West Bank settlement policies, the Jerusalem law, and the Palestinian question. Even the U.S. abstained on resolutions condemning Israel rather than casting a veto.

Adding to Israel’s isolation was the recognition given to the Palestine Liberation Organization by many countries, including the nine member European Economic Community, as "legitimate," "moderate" and "peace-seeking." The world conference of the UN Decade for Women in Copenhagen, originally conceived as an international forum to discuss the status of women, was politicized by pro-PLO, Arab and Third World factions and disintegrated into a barrage of anti-Israel rhetoric.

Throughout all this, however, Israel and Egypt continued to try to work out a plan for autonomy on the West Bank and the Gazo Strip within the framework of the Camp David agreements. Formal diplomatic ties were established and the two countries exchanged ambassadors. Nevertheless, Egypt suspended the autonomy talks demanding "clarifications" from Israel regarding Jerusalem and the settlements.

By year’s end, the autonomy talks were on the verge of resuming again and a tripartite summit meeting was on the agenda after the Presidential election in November.

THE MIDDLE EAST: SEPTEMBER 1979

The U.S., Egypt and Israel agree to a peacekeeping force in Sinai to monitor the withdrawal of Israeli military forces.

Israel lifts 12-year ban on purchases of land by Jews in the occupied territories, drawing criticism from the U.S.

OCTOBER–

Israel charges that the United Nations has understated the number of Palestinian terrorists active in the UN-controlled area in south Lebanon.

NOVEMBER–

The Alma oilfields on the Gulf of Suez, the last of the Sinai oilfields in Israeli hands, are formally returned to Egypt.

DECEMBER–

The Carter Administration unveils massive arms sale proposals for Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Pope John Paul II and Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat are reported to "have exchanged several letters during the past year."

JANUARY 1980–

Israel expresses disappointment with the $200 million in military sales credits that President Carter agrees to add to the $3 billion aid package for Israel over the next three years.

Three-day summit meeting in Aswan between Premier Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat ends on a note of personal friendship and Israeli-Egyptian unity, but no breakthroughs are made.

FEBRUARY–

U.S. speeds up sale of 75 F-16 fighter planes to Israel, to be in Israel’s possession by October 1981 instead of 1984.

Israel establishes its first diplomatic relations with an Arab neighbor, as Israel and Egypt exchange ambassadors.

MARCH–

The U.S. supports a UN Security Council resolution which sharply condemns Israeli settlements. More than 48 hours later president Carter repudiates U.S. support, citing a communications foul-up.

U.S. and Israel indicate their agreement that the self-imposed May 25 targe date for conclusion of autonomy talks is a "goal," not a "deadline."

APRIL–

Israel lakes a serious view of an Egyptian resolution declaring East Jerusalem as part of the West Bank.

Iraqi-sponsored Arab-Liberation Front terrorists invade Kibbutz Misgav Am in the upper Galilee, killing three and wounding 16 others in a nine-hour gun battle with Israeli soldiers. Terrorists shot to death in-fight.

MAY–

Maj. Sood Haddad, commander of the Christian militia in south Lebanon, accuses UN peace-keeping forces there of aiding Palestinian terrorists.

PLO terrorist attack in Hebron kills six Israelis–all yeshiva students–and wounds 16 others. Tensions increase on West Bank as reinforced Israeli troops and police contend with increasingly hostile Arab population and Orthodox Jewish militants.

Sadat supspends autonomy talks, citing "lack of progress."

JUNE–

Unidentified terrorists plant bombs in four West Bank towns, maiming two Arab mayors–Bassam Shaka of Nablus, who last both legs, and Karin Khallaf of Ramallah, who last his left foot. A Druze police sapper, Suleiman Herbawi, is blinded when a bomb he was attempting to dismantle blew up in his face.

UN Security Council approves 14-0, with the U.S. abstaining, a resolution declaring illegal all actions taken by Israel to alter the "character and status" of Jerusalem.

Begin suffers a mild heart attack during a Knesset meeting. He is taken to Hadassah Hospital to recover for several weeks.

JULY–

UN General Assembly, by a 112-7 vote, adopts a resolution demanding Israel withdraw from all occupied territories, including Jerusalem and that it begin to do so no later than Nov. 18, 1980.

AUGUST–

Sadat postpones resuming autonomy talks in response to the Jerusalem law adopted by the Knesset in July which proclaimed united Jerusalem Israel’s capital.

UN Security Council votes 14-0 with the U.S. abstaining to censure Israel for its Jerusalem law and urges all countries with embassies in Jerusalem to move them. U.S. under fire by Israel and U.S. Jewish leaders for abstaining and thus making possible the adoption of the resolution.

SEPTEMBER–

President Carter announces that autonomy talks will resume in a few weeks and that there "will be a summit later this year."

AROUND THE WORLD:

Anti-Semitic activity was widespread in many countries around the world. The most dangerous situation was in Iran where Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini’s government imprisoned some 100 Jews, executed a number of Jewish communal leaders and businessmen and confiscated Jewish property worth millions of dollars.

There was also an upsurge of neo-Nazi activity in a host of countries, including France, West Germany, Switzerland, Brazil and the United States, and a number of terrorist atrocities against Jews in Europe and South America.

The nine member states of the European Economic Community meeting in Venice adopted a declaration acknowledging the right of Palestinian self-determination and calling for the participation of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Mideast peace talks.

Following the adoption of a resolution by the UN Security Council demanding that Israel withdraw from all the occupied territories, including Jerusalem, and calling on all countries that have embassies in Jerusalem to remove them, II Latin American countries, Holland and Haiti began moving their embassies to Tel Aviv.

The Soviet Union continued its harassment of Jewish activists and prospective Jewish emigrants. During the Olympic Games, Soviet authorities cleared the cities of Jewish dissidents. By year’s end. Soviet authorities had reduced to a trickle the number of Jews allowed to emigrate. Prisoners of Conscience continued to languish in jails and labor camps.

SEPTEMBER 1979–

Banco Israelita, a Jewish-owned bank in Argentina, is damaged by a terrorist bomb.

Argentine Jewish journalist, Jacobo Timerman, imprisoned without charges, is released and allowed to go to Israel.

OCTOBER–Two Jewish physicists, Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg, and a Jewish chmist, Prof. Herbert Brown, win Nobel Prizes for work in their fields.

Fania Fenelon, author of "Playing for Time," raps CBS-TV for casting Vanessa Redgrave a PLO supporter, to portray her.

Anti-Semitic books are sold in Brazil despite a 1950 law which prohibits their sale.

NOVEMBER–

Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark scraps his campaign pledge to move Canada’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

President Carter selects diplomatic troubleshooter Sol Linowitz, who was instrumental in negotiating the Panama Canal treaty, to replace Robert Strauss as his special envoy to the Mideast.

Israel’s Ambassador to Portugal, Ephraim Eldar, wounded in terrorist attack in Lisbon. One of his bodyguards is killed.

DECEMBER–

"Israel Week" in Rio de Janeiro draws nearly 40,000 Jews and non-Jews.

Philip Klutznick prominent Jewish leader, is named by Carter as Secretary of Commerce.

Book by strongman. Ayatallah Ruhalla Khomeini of Iron, "Islamic Government," attacks Jews.

JANUARY 1980–

Abraham Elazar, manager of El Al in Istanbul, is shot to death by unidentified assassins.

The French Liberation Front, an anti-Jewish group, claims responsibility for bombing the Pompidou Modern Art Center in Paris, to protest what it calls Jewish dictatorship.

Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini, an Italian Jewish scientist, receives the Saint Vincent Prize for Medicine, generally considered second in worldwide prestige after the Nobel Prize.

The government of Iron confiscates property of wealthy Iranian Jews worth some $54 million.

MARCH–

France officially recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, thus implicitly accepting the creation of a Palestinian state.

Soviet Jewish Prisoner of Conscience Ida Nudel charges Local newspapers in Siberia where she is exiled with purposely inciting hatred against her.

APRIL–

Iranian Jews hit by travel restrictions, forcing them to either become homeless if they remain abroad or to return home.

President Carter appoints Alfred Moses, a Washington Jawyer, as new liaison with the Jewish community.

Israel celebrates its 32nd anniversary.

MAY–

West German Parliament agrees to financial reparations to Nazi victims.

An international tribunal urges the Soviet Union to release Anatoly Shcharansky.

Israel Olympic Committee votes to boycott 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

JUNE–

The European Economic Community at its summit meeting in Venice acknowledges the right of self-determination for Palestinians and calls for the PLO to participate in the Mideast peace talks.

Albert Danielpour, a prominent Iranian Jew, executed by the government.

JULY–

Convicted Nazi war criminal Pieter Menten, living in Holland, gets 10-year prison setence and fined $50,000.

Pope John Poul II meets with members of Brazil’s Jewish community in Soo Paulo at the Pontiff’s request.

The World Conference of the UN Decade for Women in Copenhagen politicized by Arab, Third World delegations.

AUGUST–

Terrorist grenade attack in Antwerp on Jewish children, which kills one 15-year-old boy and in jures 20 other people, mostly teenagers, is discovered to be part of a plot by a terrorist "hit team" whose mission is to attack Jewish individuals and institutions.

Prominent Iranian Jew, Avraham Boruchim, executed for "spying for Israel."

Women’s conference in Copenhagen, by vote of 94-4, adapts resolution which lists Zionism as one of world’s worst evils.

Esagh Farahmandpour, the only Jewish deputy in Iran’s Parliament, is expelled and accused of spreading "Zionist propaganda."

Five years after being indicted on charges of concealing his ties to the fascist Rumanian Iran Guard when he applied to enter the U.S. in 1950 and again when he gained U.S. citizenship in 1957, Rumanian Orthodox Archbishop Valerian Trifa of Grass Lake, Mich, surrenders his-citizenship papers to U.S. officials.

SEPTEMBER–

France outlaws a neo-Nazi organization, the Federation for European and National Action.

Trifa stripped of U.S. citizenship by Federal District Judge Horace Gilmore in Detroit.

The Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration reports that only 770 Jews left the Soviet Union in August, the lowest number since 1971, and expresses pessimism that there will be no significant increase in the near future.

THE AMERICAN SCENE:

The United States was in the throes of the Presidential election campaign during most of the year. Democrats and Republicans sought to woo Jewish voters with pledges to continue support for Israel and not to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization until it renounces terrorism against Israel and accepts United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. President Carter came under increasing fire from Jewish leaders for U.S. abstentions in the United Notions on anti-Israel resolutions.

The Jewish community and its leadership was preoccupied, in addition to its traditional concern for the security and well-being of Israel, with such issues as Soviet Jewry, Jews in Arab lands, aiding Soviet Jews who emigrated to this country, and pressuring the Justice Department to ferret out and prosecute former Nazis living in this country. The climax of this pressure was the revocation of U.S. citizenship of Rumanian Archbishop Valerian Trifa.

American Jewry was also concerned over the electoral victories in the primaries of Gerald Carlson of Dearborn, a former member of the local Nazi Party who won the Republican nomination in Michigan’s 15th District; Ku Klux Klan leader Tom Metzger who won the Democratic nomination for Congress in California’s 43rd District; and American Nazi leader Harold Covington who received 43 percent of the vote in North Carolina for Attorney General.

The Jewish community was also engaged in trying to heal the rift in Black-Jewish relations following the resignation of Andrew Young as U.S. Ambassador to the UN. Black leaders charged that Young had resigned as a result of Jewish pressure on the Administration following his unauthorized meeting with the PLO representatives at the UN. Both Young and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance denied that Jewish pressure forced the envoy to resign.

SEPTEMBER 1979–

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance absolves the American Jewish community of any connection with the resignation of Andrew Young as Ambassador to the United Nations.

Black organizations call on the Carter Administration to "reexamine" the pledge given to Israel barring the U.S. from negotiating with the PLO until the PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist.

OCTOBER–

John Connally, the Republican Presidentia aspirant, came under heavy fire from Jewish leaders and GOP leaders for his nine-point plan that included a proposal for Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders and for linking a Mideast peace settlement to Arab oil supplies.

NOVEMBER–

The issue of expanding the reservoir of Jewish leadership in the U.S., meeting the needs of Jewish communities in this country and abroad, including the needs of Israeli, Soviet and Ethiopian Jews are discussed by 2600 communal leaders from the U.S. and Canada at the 48th General Assembly of the Council of Jewish Federations in Montreal.

DECEMBER–

Assaults against Jewish institutions, cemeteries, houses of worship and private property have more than doubled in 1979 compared to 1978, reports show.

President Carter meets with Hasidic rabbinical leaders in the White House, the first such meeting of its kind.

JANUARY 1980–

The Justice Department sets a one-year deadline for the disposal of cases pending against 250 alleged Nazi war criminals living in this country.

MAY–

The Rabbinical Assembly endorses for the first time the ordination of women as rabbis.

For the third consecutive year the American Red Cross rejects a resolution urging the International Committee of the Red Cross to immediately admit Israel’s Red Magen David to the League of Red Cross Societies.

JUNE–

Some 100 American Jews, including prominent rabbis, academicians, editors and writers, sign a newspaper advertiesment in support of the Peace Now movement in Israel.

JULY–

The Republican Party convention adopts platform which includes a pledge to "honor our nation’s commitment (to Israel) through political, diplomatic and military aid" and affirms that "Jerusalem should remain undivided with continued free, open and unimpeded access to all."

AUGUST–

The Democratic national convention adopts platform pledging to continue to achieve a comprehensive Mideast peace through the Camp David framework and reiterates its 1976 platform plank recognizing and supporting "the established status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with free access to all its holy places provided to all faiths. As a symbol of this stand, the U.S. Embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."

INSIDE ISRAEL:

The Begin government was buffered by severe internal conflicts over such issues as the West Bank settlement policies, the Jerusalem law, skyrocketing inflation, calls for early elections and the resignation of Foreign Minister Mashe Dayan and Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, both of whom accused the government of missing chances for peace. In addition, Israel was subjected to continuing terrorist atrocities.

Nevertheless, Israel’s relations with Egypt, despite setbacks caused by President Anwar Sadat’s suspension of the autonomy talks, continued to solidify. A 600-square-mile area of Sinai was returned to Egypt as the Camp David accords were implemented and the normalization process continued, albeit unevenly, with regular commercial and cargo service between Israel and Egypt.

SEPTEMBER 1979–

The Palestine Liberation Organization claims responsibility for a bomb explosion which kills one and injures 50 in downtown Jerusalem.

OCTOBER

Moshe Dayan resigns as Foreign Minister.

The supreme Court rules that the Elon March settlement must be dismantled.

Yigal Hurwitz becomes Finance Minister and Simcha Ehrlich becomes second Deputy Premier, a newly created past, alongside Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin.

Mount Sinai and the Santa Katorina Monastery are included in the 600-square-mile section of Sinai returned to Egypt.

DECEMBER–Begin averts government crisis by convincing Knesset members to vote for an amendment to the controversial-abortion bill which eliminated a clause permitting abortions for mothers of poverty level families with large numbers of children and convinces Elon March settlers to relocate peacefully.

JANUARY 1980–

Inflation is at III. 4 percent for the 1979 calendar year, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Begin praises Soviet dissident and Nobel Prize winner Andrei Sakharov in a special statement to the Knesset and urges worldwide support for him.

FEBRUARY–

Anti-Christian vandalism in Jerusalem denounced by Begin.

Two American-financed airfields are under construction in the Negev to replace those given to Egypt with the return of Sinai.

Shekel replaces Pound as new legal currency.

MARCH–

Yigal Allon dies at the age of 61 and is buried at Kibbutz Ginossar, his home in the Galilee for 46 years.

Commercial flights between Israel and Egypt are inaugurated.

Yitzhak Shamis sworn in as new Foreign Minister:

APRIL–

Terrorists invade Kibbutz Misgav Am near. Lebanon, killing three.

Leader of Ethiopian Orthodox Church visits Israel, first Ethiopian leader to visit Israel since relations were severed by Ethiopia in 1973.

MAY–

Knesset votes to boycott Olympics in Moscow.

Defense Minister Ezer Weizman resigns accusing Begin’s government as missing chance for peace.

JUNE–

Begin takes over as Defense Minister after Weizman’s resignation until a new minister is named.

Israel contributes $250,000 to Cambodian relief fund.

JULY–

Security forces foil attempt by four PLO members to assassinate Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon.

The Jerusalem bill, proclaiming united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, passes the Knesset by a vote of 69-15.

Bi-weekly cargo service between Israel and Egypt begins.

AUGUST–

A gang of terrorists trying to infiltrate Israel by a balloon from south Lebanon is foiled when the balloon crashes in Lebaron.

Israeli forces attack terrorist bases in south Lebanon in what is described as the largest Israeli operation into the area since Operation ### in March 1978. when Israel took over all of south Lebaron.

SEPTEMBER–

Begin says the resumption of the autonomy talks with Egypt is a precondition for a new summit meeting between himself, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and President Carter. He says such a summit will probably take place in September.

NEXT STORY