Highlights of the Year 5742

The government of Premier Menachem Begin survived several no confidence motions by the Labor Alignment opposition and other opposition parties during the year 5742. The coalition government, while maintaining a narrow majority in the Knesset, nevertheless succeeded in defeating challenges to its authority.

The war in Lebanon also evoked both support and opposition to the government’s military operation in Lebanon. Settlement activities continued unabated despite a U.S. call for a freeze on the expansion of existing or new settlements on the West Bank. A dominant figure during Israel’s first 34 years, Moshe Dayan, died at the age of 66. Israel also celebrated its 34th anniversary.

SEPTEMBER 1981– The Supreme Court rules that the rabbinate has no legal right to determine state policy. The ruling, which could have far-reaching effects, stems from the controversy between religious groups and archaeologists over the City of David excavation.

Israel’s population at the beginning of 5741 was 3,968,000. Of this, 3,315,000 are Jews and 653,000 non-Jews.

The World Zionist Organization’s settlement department announces that some 24,000 Jews live in the West Bank.

More than half the Israeli public favors continued unlimited settlement in the West Bank, according to a poll conducted by the Modiin Ezrachi Applied Research Center on behalf of The Jerusalem Post.

OCTOBER–Moshe Dayan, one of Israel’s foremost political and military leaders, dies of a heart attack at the age of 66.

Controversy erupts over the performance of the works of Richard Wagner by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

NOVEMBER–Bir Zeit University on the West Bank is closed indefinitely by Israeli authorities after the college fails to stop continuing anti-Israel demonstrations.

Prof. Menachem Milson is appointed as director of the civilian administration on the West Bank. West Bank Arab residents stage demonstrations following Milson’s appointment.

Strikes and demonstrations throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem mark the 64th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, a day of mourning and protest among Palestinian Arabs.

DECEMBER–The Knesset Finance Committee approves 240 million Shekels in government funding for yeshivas and other religious institutions affiliated with Aguda Israel and the National Religious Party.

Angry settlers of Yamit, the northern Sinai town which is to be returned to Egypt when Israel evacuates the area in April, threaten “war” against anyone who tries to remove them for their homes.

JANUARY 1982–Moshe Arens is appointed Israel’s Ambassador to Washington, succeeding Ephraim Evron.

Gush Emunim squatters and their supporters begin to infiltrate the Sinai precipitating the final showdown before the peninsula is to be evacuated and returned to Egypt in accordance with the Camp David accords.

Begin narrowly survives a motion of no confidence in a Knesset angered by what it declares to be excessive compensation payments to the squatters of northern Sinai. The government later endorses a compensation agreement of a quarter billion dollars to the settlers.

FEBRUARY–In a demonstration of bi-partisan unity, the Knesset votes 88-3 with six abstentions for a resolution deploring a proposed sale by the U.S. of sophisticated weaponry to Jordan and expresses Israel’s grave misgivings over such a sale.

Armed troops seal off four Druze villages on the Golan Heights in an effort to end the continuing strike by the Druze protesting Israel’s annexation of the Heights.

Some 40 Jewish nationalist settlers in Sinai are arrested in the first confrontation between the army and the settlers who have been infiltrating the peninsula in an effort to prevent the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai.

MARCH–Continuing unrest on the West Bank brings the Begin government to the brink of resignation when an unexpected tie vote on a motion of no confidence causes the Cabinet to convene on its future status. The Cabinet, however, decides to remain in office even though Begin said he would resign if the Knesset vote was a tie.

At midnight, March 30, the Sinai peninsula is declared a restricted military zone.

APRIL–The Defense Ministry decides to establish 10 military “lookout posts” throughout the West Bank. Such army posts have frequently formed the basis for later civilian settlements in the occupied territories.

Alan Harry Goodman, a 38-year-old bachelor from Baltimore, Maryland, who recently immigrated to Israel, opens fire into a group of Moslem worshippers and tourists at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Two persons are killed and dozens wounded before Goodman is overpowered by police.

Aharon Abu-Hatzeira, the Minister of Labor Welfare and Absorption, is found guilty by a Tel Aviv district court of three counts at larceny, fraud and breach of trust.

Israel celebrates its 34th anniversary.

MAY– The Begin coalition government barely survives a Labor-sponsored motion of no-confidence in the Knesset which is introduced after figures show inflation to be at a record 130 percent.

The Cabinet, and then the full Knesset, approve the government’s ban on El Al Sabbath flights. The ban is one of the concessions which the Aguda Party extracted from Begin as a price for joining his coalition government.

Six army reservists assail the government’s behavior on the West Bank in quelling demonstrations, saying that the government has sent incompletely trained recruits into the area without riot control equipment except fire arms which are sometimes used indiscriminately with fatal results.

JUNE–Thousands of Israelis pack Tel Aviv Kikar Malchei Israel Square to protest the continuation of Israel’s “Peace for Galilee” operation.

The army announces that 214 soldiers have been killed during the first 10 days of fighting in Lebanon, with some 23 soldiers listed as missing and more than 1,000 wounded.

Shlomo Lorincz, chairman of the Finance Committee, estimates that the first three weeks of the war in Lebanon has cost Israel 65 billion shekels (about $2 billion) and that as a result inflation this year would exceed the projected 90 percent rate.

JULY–The Knesset, by a vote of 57-49, approves the entry of the ultra-nationalist Tehiya faction into Premier Begin’s coalition government, giving the government an eight seat parliamentary majority.

A five-month strike by Druze on the Golan Heights protesting Israel’s annexation at the area is ended by Druze leaders after a compromise is reached on the issue of Israel’s insistence that Druze carry Israeli identity cards.

Former MK Uri Avneri comes under fire for having interviewed PLO chief Arafat for two hours in Beirut while he and the PLO remains trapped in the Lebanese capital by Israeli forces.

Tens of thousands of Israelis rally in front of Herut Party headquarters in Tel Aviv in support of the war in Lebanon, the government and the army. They rally is organized by representatives of all coalition parties.

AUGUST–Shlomo Argov, Israel’s Ambassador to Britain, returns to Israel for treatment in the neurosurgical department of Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem after two months of treatment in a London hospital following the attempted assassination of him by Palestinian terrorists in June which sparked the war in Lebanon.

Israel Cabinet announces it will launch a new peace offensive in the Mideast immediately following the conclusion of the PLO evacuation from Beirut “in accordance with the Camp David accords.”

The last formal hurdle to the Cabinet’s decision to ban Sabbath flights of El Al is removed when the Knesset Finance Committee votes 11-10 to half the flights.

SEPTEMBER–The Cabinet, after rejecting unconditionally Reagan’s peace initiative in the Middle East, decides to allocate $18.5 million for the establishment of seven new settlements on the West Bank.

The Knesset, by a vote of 50-40, approves of the government’s conduct of the war in Lebanon.

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