A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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This week in Israeli history: Jan. 31 to Feb. 7

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (left) and Jordan’s King Hussein shake hands in front of U.S. President Bill Clinton after signing their peace treaty Oct. 26, 1994, in the Arava. By Ya’acov Sa’ar, Israeli Government Press Office

Jan. 31, 1922 — Hebrew ‘Dybbuk’ Opens in Moscow

The Hebrew version of “The Dybbuk, or Between Two Worlds” begins its successful stage run at Moscow’s Habimah Theater. Written in Russian and then Yiddish by S. Ansky and translated into Hebrew by Hayim Nachman Bialik, the play tells the story of a young woman (played by Hanna Rovina) who is possessed by the malicious spirit of a man who loved her but died upon hearing of her engagement to another.

Feb. 1, 1979 — Khomeini Returns to Iran

Two weeks after a popular uprising forced the shah to flee, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran after 15 years in exile. Under his guidance, Iran votes in March to establish an Islamic republic and later enacts two constitutions that give ultimate power to Shia clerics. Iran’s Jews become second-class citizens, and a third of them emigrate within two years. The revolution ends decades of close military and economic ties between Iran and Israel.

Feb. 2, 1915 — Diplomat Abba Eban Is Born

Politician, diplomat and historian Abba Eban is born in South Africa. After moving to England as an infant, he makes aliyah in 1944 and, as part of the Jewish Agency’s delegation to the United Nations, plays a crucial role in the U.N. General Assembly’s passage of the partition plan for Palestine. He serves as Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations and United States, a member of the Knesset, and the foreign minister.

Feb. 3, 1919 — Zionists Present Case to Peace Conference

A World Zionist Organization delegation led by Chaim Weizmann makes the case for a Jewish homeland in Palestine to the post-World War I Paris Peace Conference. The delegation accepts the proposed British Mandate but, in accord with Britain’s Balfour Declaration, asks that it support Jewish immigration and the eventual establishment of an autonomous commonwealth that will serve as the Jewish national home.

Feb. 4, 1997 — Helicopter Collision Kills 73

Two CH-53 Yasur military helicopters collide in the middle of the night over northern Israel while ferrying troops and munitions to the Israeli-occupied zone in southern Lebanon, killing all 73 military personnel on board. Bedouin, Druze and Jews, secular and religious, are among the victims of the crash, for which a cause is never established. The disaster contributes to Israel’s decision to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000.

Feb. 5, 1890 — 1st Tu B’Shevat Planting in Land of Israel

Zichron Ya’akov educator Ze’ev Yavetz takes his students to plant trees on Tu B’Shevat, celebrated as the trees’ birthday, starting an annual tradition in the Land of Israel that the Jewish National Fund and teachers unions adopt in 1908. Yavetz tells the newspaper Haaretz in 1891: “For the love of the saplings … the school must make a festival of the day that was set aside from ancient times in Israel as the new year of the trees.”

Feb. 6, 2001 — Israelis Directly Elect Sharon

Israelis vote directly for their prime minister for the third and last time, and the only time without also electing the Knesset. Ariel Sharon of Likud wins with more than 62% of the vote against incumbent Ehud Barak of Labor to become Israel’s 11th prime minister. Barak forced the special election by resigning Dec. 10, in part to ensure his opponent would be Sharon and not Benjamin Netanyahu, who was not eligible to run.

Feb. 7, 1999 — King Hussein Dies

Jordan’s King Hussein, who in 1994 became the second Arab leader to sign a peace treaty with Israel, dies of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 63. Hussein became king at 18 in 1953 after the assassination of his paternal grandfather, Abdullah. Secret talks with Israel during his reign began in 1963, but he disastrously led his nation into the Six-Day War in 1967. He dropped claims to the West Bank in 1988.

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

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