Year in Review Feature (1): a Chronology of Jewish News in 5755

NEW YORK – The Council of Jewish Federations issues a report advocating federations to engage the intermarried in communal life and community services.

JERUSALEM – Israeli and Palestinian negotiators sign an accord transferring jurisdiction in several key areas to the Palestinian Authority.

JERUSALEM – Israel creates a diplomatic storm when a Pakistani ambassador is denied entry to Gaza.

TEL AVIV – Yasser Arafat cracks down on 50 members of Islamic Jihad after the group claims responsibility for the fatal shooting of an Israeli soldier.

PARIS – French President Francois Mitterrand comes under harsh criticism after a book is published revealing his ties to the collaborationist Vichy regime during World War II.

NEW YORK – Jewish groups back President Clinton’s decision to certify Russia in compliance, for the first time, with the terms of the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment. October 1994

TEL AVIV – A powerful bomb rips apart a bus traveling on Dizengoff Street in the heart of Tel Aviv, killing 23 people and leaving more than 40 wounded. Hamas claims responsibility.

ARAVA CROSSING, Israel – Israel and Jordan sign a peace treaty, marking only the second time in Israel’s history that it has signed a peace accord with an Arab country.

JERUSALEM – The kidnapping of 19-year-old soldier Nachshon Waxman by Islamic fundamentalists grips the nation and ends in tragedy when a rescue attempt fails.

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court rejects an appeal from Jewish organizations to hear the case of accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk, leaving a Cleveland district court to consider deportation proceedings.

NEW YORK – The Hungarian government apologizes to the Jewish people for its role in deporting Jews to their death in the Holocaust.

JERUSALEM – The leader of the Syrian Jewish community arrives in Israel, marking the end of the exodus of Syria’s embattled Jewish community. November 1994

WASHINGTON – Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky visits America and angers Jews when he blames them for the Bolshevik Revolution and the breakup of the former Soviet Union.

JERUSALEM – Palestinian police begin manning border crossings between the West Bank and Jordan, and between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

JERUSALEM – An historic regional economic conference of Arab and Israeli government officials and businessmen in Casablanca ends with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres declaring a de facto end to the Arab boycott.

WASHINGTON – Liberal Jewish groups are stunned by the Republican landslide in Congress and are left to contemplate the extent to which it will negatively impact on their agendas.

NEW YORK – The Czech Parliament agrees to compensate victims of the Nazis who now live in the Czech Republic, but refuses to compensate those now living in Slovakia.

GENEVA – Switzerland, a country traditionally regarded as neutral, shocks Jewish communities worldwide when it releases documents revealing a 1938 pact with the Nazis that prevented thousands of Jews from fleeing Germany. December 1994

WASHINGTON – The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat, incensing several Jewish groups and causing one committee member to resign in protest.

BRUSSELS – The European Union upsets Israeli officials when it announces a decision to lift an eight-year arms embargo against Syria.

JERUSALEM – After a 10-month hiatus, Israel and Syria resume peace talks.

UNITED NATIONS – In separate actions, the General Assembly renounces terrorism, saying it is “in any circumstance unjustifiable,” and overwhelmingly endorses the Mideast peace process.

WASHINGTON – Jewish activists predict devastating effects on America’s aging population if the Clinton administration goes ahead with plans to slash housing grants for low-income seniors.

WASHINGTON – Martin Indyk is named U.S. ambassador to Israel, making him the first Jew to serve in that post.

JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin becomes the first Israeli leader to visit Japan and South Korea, as well as the Gulf Arab nation of Oman. January 1995

JERUSALEM – After an emotional dispute between Palestinians and Israeli settlers, Israel’s Cabinet agrees to halt construction of 500 housing units at a site near the West Bank town of Efrat.

NEW YORK – The person who killed teen-age Chasid Aaron Halberstam on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is sentenced to more than 141 years in prison.

NEW YORK – The Jewish community is spared the effects of a devastating earthquake in Kobe, Japan.

BONN – The conference of German bishops admits the “shared responsibility” of the Catholic Church for anti-Semitism during World War II.

JERUSALEM – Jordan and the PLO reach an agreement on Jerusalem – the PLO concedes Jordanian custodianship over Muslim holy sites, while Jordan backs future Palestinian sovereignty in eastern Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM – Twenty-one Israelis are killed, most of them soldiers, and more than 60 wounded when two bombs exploded at a crowded bus stop at Beit Lid Junction, north of Netanya.

WASHINGTON – President Clinton signs an executive order freezing the U.S. assets and banning charitable contributions for 12 Middle East terrorist groups, including two extremist Jewish organizations.

OSWIECIM, Poland – Ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of the liberation Auschwitz are clouded in controversy as Jewish groups criticize the Polish government’s decision to memorialize Auschwitz as a universal symbol of man’s inhumanity to man, without paying tribute to the uniquely Jewish dimension of the suffering. February 1995

NEW YORK – The Council of Jewish Federations moves to substantially increase total federation allocations for Hillels from $11 million to $20 million during the next seven years.

JERUSALEM – The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial rejects a request by a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews to remove photographs of Holocaust victims going to their deaths naked.

WASHINGTON – Continuing his efforts to combat terrorism at home and abroad, President Clinton, together with congressional allies, introduces the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995.

JERUSALEM – Some 300,000 Orthodox Jews take to the streets to mourn the passing of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, one of the world’s leading authorities on Jewish law. March 1995

JERUSALEM – Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas, on a historic state visit to Israel, says he is ashamed of his country’s complicity in the murder of Jews during World War II.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department reports that Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations have stepped up their boycott of Israel.

JERUSALEM – Police investigate allegations that senior members of the Labor Party siphoned funds from the Histadrut labor federation for use in their 1992 election campaigns.

JERUSALEM – Two Israelis are killed and five others wounded when terrorists open fire on an Egged bus traveling from Jerusalem to the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba near Hebron.

WASHINGTON – A record 93 senators join in urging the Clinton administration to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

WASHINGTON – The Senate’s only Orthodox Jew, Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), initiates a controversial drive to give low-income parents vouchers to send their children to private and parochial schools. April 1995

WASHINGTON – Ralph Reed, executive director of the Christian Coalition, extends an olive branch to the Jewish community in a speech before the Anti-Defamation League, apologizing for insensitivity on the part of evangelical Christians.

WASHINGTON – Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) announces he will run for the Republican presidential nomination, making him the first Jew to launch a serious bid for the White House.

WASHINGTON – Two weeks after the House of Representatives begins to consider anti-terrorism legislation, terrorists bomb a federal office building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

PARIS – French Jewish leaders are distressed by the strong showing of National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen in countrywide elections.

JERUSALEM – Jordan’s new ambassador to Israel says most Jordanians are opposed to normalized relations with Israel unit it also concludes peace agreements with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon.

JERUSALEM – Two suicide bombings near Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip kill seven Israeli soldiers and an American woman, Alisa Flatow, who was studying in an Israeli yeshiva. May 1995

NEW YORK – After months of negotiations with a Jewish Holocaust survivors group, the Mormon Church agrees to stop posthumously baptizing Jews.

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole (R-Kan.) announces at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference legislation to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

BEN-GURION AIRPORT, Israel – Fifty-two refugees from the war-torn Chechnya region in Russia arrive in Israel on a special flight provided by the Jewish Agency.

JERUSALEM – The Rabin government cancels plans to confiscate 140 acres of mostly Arab-owned land in eastern Jerusalem after two Arab-dominated parties in the Knesset introduce a no-confidence vote that also gains Likud support.

NEW YORK – Shulamit Aloni, Israel’s communications minister, is allegedly, punched in the stomach by an anti-peace activist as she delivers a speech to a breakfast audience of 500 Jewish ladders prior to the Salute to Israel Parade in New York.

WASHINGTON – Jewish groups vehemently reject the Christian Coalition’s “Contract with the American Family.”

NEW YORK – In the fervently Orthodox community, several cases of husbands secretly marrying off their 12-year-old daughters as weapons against their wives in divorce battles come to public attention.

NEW YORK – The 170 nations participating in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference agree to extend permanently the treaty, bringing to an end tensions between Egypt and Israel about regional nuclear weapons issues. June 1995

WASHINGTON – Jewish groups express concern about the impact proposals to slash America’s refugee program would have on immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

WASHINGTON – A Jewish high-school girl in Utah wins a legal battle to keep religious songs out of her school’s graduation ceremony, but defiant students go ahead with the songs anyway.

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court’s ruling that affirmative action programs must withstand strict standards that they do not discriminate against non-minorities evokes mixed responses from Jewish groups.

KRAKOW, Poland – a prominent Polish priest’s use of anti-Semitic language – and the refusal of President Lech Walesa to condemn it directly – trigger a controversy in Poland and around the world.

WASHINGTON – Israel and Syria’s chiefs of staff meet in Washington for the first series of substantive peace negotiations in six months. July 1995

JERUSALEM – Avraham Burg is elected chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization.

WASHINGTON – A study by Independent Sector concludes that a Republican plan to balance the federal budget would deprive many Americans of the social services provided by Jewish charities.

TEL AVIV – Leading rabbis in Israel a ruling instructing soldiers to resist any attempts by the Israel Defense Force to evacuate military bases in the West Bank.

PARIS – French President Jacques Chirac becomes the first French leader to publicly recognize the responsibility of France in the deportation of thousands of Jews to their death during World War II.

BUENOS AIRES – One year after the bombing of the Argentine Jewish community’s headquarters, more than 40,00 people gather to commemorate the dead and to demand increased efforts to find those responsible.

WASHINGTON – Jewish organizations hail President Clinton’s resounding defense of affirmative action and his directive to review all race- and sex-based preference programs.

TEL AVIV – A suicide bomb attack on a bus traveling from Ramat Gan to central Tel Aviv leaves seven dead, but fails to derail the Israeli-Palestinian talks on expanding self-rule in the West Bank.

JERUSALEM – The Knesset narrowly defeats a bill that would have required a national referendum or special parliamentary majority to endorse a possible agreement with Syria regarding the Golan Heights. August 1995

TEL AVIV – Settlers launch a civil disobedience campaign to protest the Israeli government’s plans to redeploy Israeli forces in the West Bank and allow an expansion of Palestinian self-rule.

NEW YORK – Musa Muhammad Abu Marzook, a senior official of the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas, is arrested in New York, and U.S. authorities consider an Israeli extradition request.

WASHINGTON – Congress votes to extend the Middle East Peace Facilitation Act, which allows U.S. financial assistance to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

JERUSALEM – The Jordanian Parliament passes legislation that effectively ends Jordan’s participation in the Arab boycott of Israel.

JERUSALEM – Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization reach agreement on issues surrounding security and Palestinian elections, bringing them closer to an agreement on broader self-rule in the West Bank.

JERUSALEM – A delegation from the 15-member European Union informs the Israeli Foreign Ministry that its member states will boycott the Jerusalem 3000 festivities.

JERUSALEM – Israel’s capital city is the target of a suicide bomber, who rips apart a bus headed for The Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus, killing five, including a visiting American teacher, and wounding more than 100.

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