This week in Israeli history: Aug. 18-24

AUG. 23: Israeli soldiers are stationed at the Suez Canal during the War of Attrition in 1969. Egypt’s president threatened to shift from the continual skirmishing along the canal to all-out war after the Al-Aqsa arson Aug. 21, 1969. Photo: Moshe Milner, Israeli Government Press Office

Center for Israel Education

Aug. 18, 2000 — Archaeologist Claire Epstein Dies

Archaeologist Claire Epstein, a London native who participated in many surveys and excavations in Israel, including discovering the culture of the Chalcolithic Period (4500 to 3300 B.C.E.) in the Golan, dies at 88 at Kibbutz Ginossar. She began her archaeological work at Susita, an ancient Roman city near Kibbutz Ein Gev, where she lived, as an assistant to Michael Avi-Yona during the War of Independence.

Aug. 19, 2003 — 23 Killed in Jerusalem Suicide Blast

A suicide bomber kills 23 people and injures more than 130 others by detonating an 11-pound explosive packed with ball bearings on a bus in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Shmuel Hanavi in central Jerusalem. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad claim credit. The bombing breaks a 50-day-old Second Intifada cease-fire. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas denounces the attack.

Aug. 20, 1920 — Yishuv Publishes First Medical Journal

The first Hebrew medical journal in Palestine, Harefuah (Medicine), begins publishing on a quarterly schedule under the auspices of the Jewish Medical Association of Palestine. The editor is ophthalmologist Aryeh Feigenbaum, who as a teenager in Poland told a friend that he would become a doctor, move to Palestine and found the first medical journal there in Hebrew. The Israel Medical Association still publishes the journal.

Aug. 21, 1969 — Al-Aqsa Is Burned

A new immigrant from Australia, Denis Michael Rohan, sets fire to Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem by pouring kerosene through a keyhole and throwing in a lighted match. A centuries-old pulpit is damaged. Working at Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon in the Sharon Valley, the 28-year-old non-Jew reportedly began hearing voices. Under an insanity plea, Rohan is deported back to Australia.

Aug. 22, 1952 — First Israel Bonds Mission Begins

The Development Corporation for Israel, now commonly known as Israel Bonds, brings 22 American Jewish leaders to Israel on a 15-day American Champions of Israel Bonds mission, the first of its kind. They report to the Economic Conference for Israel in mid-September in Atlantic City, N.J., where the 600 delegates pledge to raise $130 million in bonds. American-purchased Israel Bonds help stabilize the economy of the young state.

Aug. 23, 1969 — Nasser Calls for All-Out War

Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who has adopted devout Muslim practice since the June 1967 war, calls for all-out war against Israel in response to the arson attack on Al-Aqsa mosque two days earlier. On Sept. 25, 1969, 24 nations meeting in Morocco form the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to address the Al-Aqsa attack and to reduce threats to Islamic sites around the world.

Aug. 24, 1954 — Bank of Israel Is Established

The Knesset passes the Bank of Israel Law on a 55-0 vote with 14 abstentions. The law, which goes into effect Dec. 1, 1954, sets up the Bank of Israel as the central financial authority for the country. The bank is allocated 10 million pounds as its initial capital. The bank, whose first governor is David Horowitz, has the authority to “administer, regulate and direct the currency system and to regulate and direct the credit and banking system in Israel.”

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