October in Jewish History


1187: Sultan Saladin captured Jerusalem from the Crusaders. While the Crusaders had held Jerusalem, they had barred Jews from living in the city – Saladin allowed them to return.


1830: Creation of the state of Belgium – Jews are first reported to have lived in what is now Belgium in the first century when they settled their as part of the Roman Empire.  The first phase of the Jewish community ended in the 14th century when the Jews were killed or forced to leave because of their alleged role in the bringing of the Black Plague, they returned in the 16th century – when the modern state of Belgium was created.


1789: George Washington transmits the proposed Constitutional amendments to the States for ratification. The First Amendment had particular for the small America Jewish community and has loomed large for the growth of the modern Jewish community – the Amendment opens with the following declaration “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” In other words, the government would not establish a state religion and at the same time, the citizens were free to practice whatever religion they individually chose.

Credit: Wikipedia



1933: In a bid to control the media and drive the Jews from German cultural life, the newly empowered Nazi government promulgated the Newspaper Editors’ Law. It made Aryan origin a prerequisite for anyone editing a German newspaper.


1940: The Warsaw Ghetto was “opened” on this date, which was Rosh Hashanah on the secular calendar.  The Nazis ordered 150,000 Jews to move into the ghetto.


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1940: The French government at Vichy adopted the definition of a Jew established in the Nuremberg Laws.  The Vichy government was eager to be part of Hitler’s New Europe and willingly sacrificed Jews living in France to show their loyalty. Vichy’s anti-Jewish laws, the first “Statut des Juifs”, are modeled on the German Nuremberg Laws, and, like them, are widely accepted.


1941: The Bulgarians enforced an extraordinary measure that prohibited the Jews of Macedonia from engaging in any type of industry or commerce. All existing Jewish businesses had three months to transfer ownership to non-Jews or sell their assets and close down
1943: The first Jewish paratroopers from Palestine landed in the Balkans. Many of them had been chosen because they were born in the region and spoke the languages of the land like natives. These Jews agreed to help organize non-Jewish underground units on behalf of the British war effort. The British agreed to let them aid other Jews once they had completed their primary mission. The British also made it clear that they would not offer support for this secondary part of the mission.


1943: The Danish people rescue about 7000 Jews, only 500 of whom are captured by the Germans. The 500 seized by the Germans are sent to the Theresienstadt, Czechoslovakia, camp – all but 77 will survive the war. The Danish government will persistently check on the health and welfare of the Jews who were sent to Theresienstadt, enabling almost all of them to survive to war’s end.


1945: The Jewish Resistance Movement was an alliance of the Zionist paramilitary organizations Haganah, Irgun and Lehi in the British Mandate of Palestine. It was established in October, 1945, by the Jewish Agency and activated for some ten months, until August, 1946. The alliance coordinated attacks against the British authorities. The Zionist Movement had high hopes for the new Labour administration in Britain, newly elected after the war. However, it continued to apply the policies laid down in the White Paper of 1939 which included restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine.


1952: The Jerusalem Post reported that the overwhelming majority of the 34,000 immigrants who arrived in Israel from October 1951 to the end of September 1952 were members of Oriental communities. There were 9,800 immigrants from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, 3,800 from Libya, 1,350 from Egypt, 5,800 from Iran, 1,000 from Iraq, 650 from Turkey, 6,800 from Romania, 650 from Bulgaria, 160 from Poland, 170 from the US and the rest from other countries. This rapidly growing Sephardic population would eventually change the demographics of the new state.


1956: The Suez Crisis, also named the Tripartite Aggression, and the Kadesh Operation was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956 by Israel, followed by Britain and France. The aims were to regain Western control of the Suez Canal and to remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser from power. After the fighting had started, the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations forced the three invaders to withdraw. The episode humiliated Great Britain and France and strengthened Nasser.

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1973: The Yom Kippur War, was a war fought by the coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel from October 6 to 25, 1973. With the exception of isolated attacks on Israeli territory on 6 and 9 October, the military combat actions during the war took place on Arab territory, mostly in the Sinai and the Golan Heights. The war began when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli positions in the Israeli-occupied territories on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism.

The war had far-reaching implications. The Arab World, felt psychologically vindicated by early successes in the conflict. In Israel, despite impressive operational and tactical achievements on the battlefield, the war led to recognition that there was no guarantee it would always dominate the Arab states militarily – These changes paved the way for the subsequent peace process.


1980: A bomb hidden in a motorcycle saddlebag detonated outside the Synagogue on the Rue Copernic in France exploded killing four people and wounding twenty others. Among the dead was Aliza Shagrir, 42, the wife of Micha Shagrir, a well-known television, film and documentary producer who lives in Jerusalem. The bombing was part of a string of attacks by Arab terrorists aimed at the Jews of Europe.


1986: Lieutenant Colonel Ron Arad, born 5 May 1958, presumed dead, was an Israeli Air Force weapon systems officer who is officially classified as missing in action since October 1986, but is widely presumed dead. Arad was lost on a mission over Lebanon, captured by Shiite group Amal and was later handed over to the Hezbollah.

On 16 October 1986, Arad and pilot Yishai Aviram were on a mission to attack PLO targets near Sidon, Lebanon. A bomb dropped by their F-4 Phantom II apparently exploded prematurely, causing damage to the aircraft and forcing both crewmen to eject. Aviram was located by an Israeli Bell AH-1 Cobra a few hours later, and escaped by clinging to one of its landing skids as it flew away while under heavy enemy fire, but Arad was captured by the Lebanese Amal.


1991: The Madrid Conference of 1991 was a peace conference, held from 30 October to 1 November 1991 in Madrid, hosted by Spain and co-sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union. It was an attempt by the international community to revive the Israeli–Palestinian peace process through negotiations, involving Israel and the Palestinians as well as Arab countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.


1994: The Israel–Jordan peace treaty was signed in 1994 – Jordan was the second Arab country, after Egypt, to sign a peace accord with Israel. The treaty settled relations between the two countries, adjusted land and water disputes, and provided for broad cooperation in tourism and trade. It included a pledge that neither Jordan nor Israel would allow its territory to become a staging ground for military strikes by a third country.

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2001: Rehavam Ze’evi, Israel’s tourism minister, was assassinated at shortly before 7:00 am on Wednesday, 17 October 2001, at the Hyatt Hotel in Jerusalem by a squad of Palestinians assassins acting on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant organization. Ze’evi was the first Israeli minister to be assassinated since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, and the most senior Israeli person to be killed by militants during the entire Arab–Israeli conflict.


2002: Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli-American psychologist notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, as well as behavioral economics, for which he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (shared with Vernon L. Smith). His empirical findings challenge the assumption of human rationality prevailing in modern economic theory.

Credit: Taub Center


2003: The Maxim restaurant suicide bombing was a suicide bombing which occurred on October 4, 2003 in the beachfront “Maxim” restaurant in Haifa, Israel. 21 people were killed in the attack and 51 were injured. Among the victims were two families and four children, including a two-month-old baby. The restaurant, which is located at the seafront near the southern boundary of the city of Haifa, was frequently attended by both Arab and Jewish local populations, and was widely seen as a symbol of peaceful coexistence in Haifa.



Author: gurarieh.noga