This week in Israeli history

Petah Tikvah is shown in 1936, two years short of its 60th anniversary. Photo: by Zoltan Kluger, Government Press Office

By the Center for Israel Education

Nov. 1, 1965: 6th Knesset Elected: In elections for the sixth Knesset, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol retains his office as the Alignment, a left-leaning merger of Eshkol’s Mapai and Ahdut Ha’Avoda, wins 45 of the 120 seats. Rafi, a Mapai breakaway founded by former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, gains 10 seats.

Nov. 2, 1917: Balfour Declaration Released: The British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, reveals his government’s endorsement of “the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home” in a letter to Lord Rothschild, the head of the British Zionist Organization. The contents of the Balfour Declaration are included in the Articles of the Palestine Mandate, ratified by the League of Nations in July 1922.

Nov. 3, 1878: Petah Tikvah Founded: Religious Jews determined to start an agricultural settlement leave Jerusalem and establish Petah Tikvah, whose name means “gateway of hope.” They purchase 3,400 dunams from a Greek owner near the Yarkon River and the Arab village of Mulabbis after failing to get Ottoman approval for a land sale near Jericho. The settlement is abandoned by 1883, when immigrants from Russia move in. Petah Tikvah is now Israel’s fifth-largest city. 

Nov. 4, 1995: Rabin Assassinated: Yigal Amir, a law student opposed to the Oslo peace process, fatally shoots Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin after a peace rally in Tel Aviv. Rabin, a native of pre-state Palestine, had played a prominent role in most of Israel’s history, including commanding the defense of Jerusalem in 1948 and serving as army chief of staff during the 1967 war, ambassador to the United States and Israel’s fifth prime minister.

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Nov. 5, 1933: Hebrew U. Expansion Outlined: Judah Magnes, the president of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, outlines a plan for the university’s expansion during a speech marking the start of the academic year. His plan includes the hiring of 14 professors who lost their jobs in Nazi Germany. 

Nov. 6, 1884: Hovevei Zion’s 1st Gathering: Delegates gather in Katowice — now in Poland, then part of Prussia — for the first conference of the Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion) movement. Leon Pinsker, who inspired Zionist aspirations with the publication of his “Autoemancipation” pamphlet in 1882, organizes the gathering, which pledges to support settlement in the Land of Israel.

Nov. 7, 1944: Hannah Senesh Killed: Hannah Senesh (formerly Szenes) is executed by a Hungarian firing squad in Budapest five months after being captured while trying to enter Hungary from Yugoslavia. Senesh, a poet and Haganah paratrooper who was born in Hungary in 1921 and made aliyah in 1939, had parachuted into Nazi-occupied territory on a mission to free prisoners of war and organize Jewish resistance.

Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (, where you can find more details.