This week in Israeli history: Aug. 5-11

AUG. 5: Members of Unit 101, including Ariel Sharon (standing, second from left), pose with Moshe Dayan after a successful operation in 1955, by which time the unit was part of the Paratroopers Brigade instead of an independent force. Dayan had opposed Unit 101’s creation in 1953. Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit


August 5, 1953 — Special Forces Unit 101 Is Formed

Unit 101, an independent special forces section of the Israel Defense Forces, is launched with about 20 soldiers under the command of Ariel Sharon to provide a rapid, nimble response to terrorist attacks and border infiltrations. Unit 101’s independence ends after an October 1953 raid on the West Bank village of Qibya destroys 42 buildings, kills nearly 70 civilians and draws U.N. Security Council condemnation.

August 6, 2015 — Actress Orna Porat Dies

Stage and screen actress Orna Porat dies at 91 in Tel Aviv. She was born Irene Klein, a German Christian, near Cologne in 1924. After World War II, she met a Jewish intelligence officer with the British army named Yosef Proter and fell in love. She moved with him to Palestine and converted to Judaism. She became a star over more than four decades at Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theatre and founded a children’s theater.

August 7, 2002 — Palestinian Cabinet OKs Israeli Troop Withdrawal Plan

The Palestinian Authority Cabinet agrees to a truce proposed by Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to withdraw the Israel Defense Forces from Palestinian-controlled parts of the Gaza Strip and from Bethlehem. Trying to suppress Second Intifada terrorism, Israeli troops advanced across the Gaza Strip and moved into seven West Bank cities and towns in June. The uprising continues until February 2005.

August 8, 1984 — Linguist Avraham Even-Shoshan Dies

Hebrew linguist and lexicographer Avraham Even-Shoshan dies at 77 in Tel Aviv. A native of Minsk, he settled in Palestine in 1925 and worked as a laborer. Between 1946 and 1958, he worked on the New Dictionary of the Hebrew Language, known since 2003 as the Even-Shoshan Dictionary. The dictionary contains almost 25,000 main entries and more than 70,000 words. He was awarded the Israel Prize in 1978.

August 9, 2006 — Wider Lebanon Offensive Approved

Israel’s Security Cabinet approves an expansion of the offensive in southern Lebanon nearly a month after the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War. The conflict against Hezbollah started when eight Israeli soldiers were killed and two were kidnapped. The resolution authorizes attacks anywhere in Lebanon to achieve five goals, including the return of the kidnapped soldiers. A U.N.-brokered cease-fire ends the war Aug. 14.

August 10, 1979 — Bank of Israel Founder Dies

Economist David Horowitz, the founder of the Bank of Israel, dies at 80. Horowitz was born in Galicia in what was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He immigrated to Palestine in 1920. He became a labor leader and was the first director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Finance. He lobbied for the creation of a central bank, and when it happened in 1954, he was named its first governor, a post he held until 1971.

August 11, 2017 — Holocaust Survivor Dies as World’s Oldest Man

Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal, recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest living man and one of the 10 longest-lived men ever, dies in Haifa one month before his 114th birthday. A candy maker, he was born in Maleniec, Poland, in 1903. He survived the Lodz ghetto, where his daughters died, and Auschwitz, where his wife died. He moved to Israel with his new family in 1950.

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