This week in Israeli history: July 29-Aug. 4

JULY 30: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin meets with silver medalist Yael Arad and bronze medalist Oren Smadja on Aug. 31, 1992, to celebrate their Olympic success. Photo by Ya’acov Sa’ar, Israeli Government Press Office


July 29, 1891 — Pregnancy test developer Zondek is born

Bernhard Zondek, the obstetrician-gynecologist behind one of the first reliable pregnancy tests, is born in Wronke, Germany, now in Poland. He and Jewish colleague Selmar Aschheim in 1928 develop the A-Z pregnancy test, which leads to the phrase “the rabbit died” for a positive result. After losing his job in Berlin in 1933 because of the Nazis, he moves to Mandatory Palestine in 1934 and works in hormone research at Hebrew University.

July 30, 1992 — Yael Arad wins Israel’s first Olympic medal

Tel Aviv native Yael Arad, 25, becomes the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal, taking the silver in judo in the half-middleweight (61-kilogram) class at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. She dedicates her medal to the 11 Israelis killed at the Munich Olympics 20 years earlier. In 1993 she wins the European championship and takes silver at the world championships. She competes in the 1996 Olympics and coaches at the 2000 Games.

July 31, 1962 — Politician Moshe Feiglin is born

Right-wing politician Moshe Feiglin is born in Haifa. A high-tech entrepreneur, he founds an organization to protest the Oslo Accords, then launches a political movement, Jewish Leadership, which joins with Likud in 2000. He runs for Likud chairman three times and wins a Knesset seat in 2013. His independent Zehut party creates a stir in the April 2019 Knesset election with a plan to legalize marijuana but misses the electoral threshold.

August 1, 2016 — Composer Andre Hajdu dies

Andre Hajdu, a prolific composer and ethnomusicologist, dies at 84 in Jerusalem. Hajdu was born in Hungary and studied under composer Ferenc Szabó, pianist Erno Szégedi and ethnomusicologist Zoltan Kodaly. With Kodaly’s guidance, Hajdu published research on Roma music and culture. He visited Israel for the first time in 1966, moved to Jerusalem that year, and taught at the Tel Aviv Music Academy and Bar-Ilan University.

August 2, 1968 — Oil flows from Eilat to Haifa

Oil reaches Haifa on the Mediterranean Sea from Eilat on the Red Sea through a land pipeline for the first time. The overland connection between Israel’s largest ports is crucial as an alternative to the Suez Canal, which remains closed to Israeli ships and other ships that stop in Israel. The pipeline turns Israel into a bridge to Europe for Iranian oil, but that effort ends with the fall of the shah in 1979.

August 3, 1981 — Archaeologists, Haredim battle in City of David

An excavation in Jerusalem’s Area G, on the eastern side of the City of David, is suspended amid attacks on archaeologists by Haredi Jews, most of them part of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta. The protests are based on claims that the site includes a Jewish cemetery. Later in August, both of Israel’s chief rabbis condemn the excavation. The dig eventually reveals the 60-foot-high ruin known as the Stepped Stone Structure.

August 4, 1888 — Writer Yitzhaq Shami is born

Yitzhaq Shami, one of the earliest writers of modern Hebrew literature, is born to an Arabic-speaking father and a Ladino-speaking mother in Hebron. His best known work is a 1928 novella, “Vengeance of the Fathers.” Shami fills his stories and poems with Arabs and Mizrahi Jews, a rarity for the period. He survives the 1929 Hebron massacre by hiding in a friend’s home. He dies in Haifa in March 1949.

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