This week in Israeli history: Israeli commandos raid Beirut, suicide bombing in Haifa

U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, shown outside the headquarters in the 1950s, failed to persuade Egypt to allow Israeli cargo through the Suez Canal. 

Center for Israel Education (

April 8, 1960 — U.N. Head Protests Egyptian Seizure of Cargo

U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold for the first time publicly criticizes Egypt for confiscating Israeli cargo on ships passing through the Suez Canal. Israel fought Egypt in 1956 in large part because of the closure of the canal and the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. Israel conditioned its withdrawal from the Sinai on the freedom of navigation, but Egypt began seizing cargo in 1959. Hammarskjold’s criticism fails to restore Israel’s canal rights.

April 9, 1973 — Israeli Commandos Raid Beirut

Ehud Barak leads Sayeret Matkal commandos in a seaborne raid on Beirut to kill three PLO officials connected to the Munich Olympics massacre of September 1972: Mohammed Yousef al-Najjar (Abu Yousef), Kamal Adwan and Kamal Nasser. At the same time, a paratrooper team attacks the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine headquarters, killing dozens of PFLP militants, and other teams hit smaller PLO sites.

April 10, 2002 — Suicide Bomber Kills 8 on Haifa Bus

Eight passengers on a commuter bus in Haifa, including the 18-year-old niece of Israel’s U.N. ambassador, are killed in a suicide bombing claimed by both Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The attack comes on the eve of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and is part of a surge in Second Intifada violence after an Israeli offensive in the West Bank, which itself is a response to deadly attacks around Passover.

April 11, 2002 — Powell Visits to Negotiate Cease-Fire

Before leaving a Madrid summit for the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians and emphasizes that only a negotiated settlement will bring enduring peace. Powell then flies to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II before sessions with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 12 and with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat on April 13.

April 12, 1971 — Soccer-Playing Singer Eyal Golan Is Born

Eyal Golan, a soccer player who becomes one of Israel’s most successful Mizrahi singers, is born in Rehovot. He plays professional soccer from age 18 to age 35, most of it for Hapoel Marmorek, which he buys in 2014. While still playing, he releases his first album, “Whisper in the Night,” in 1995. All of his next 21 studio albums and eight concert albums are platinum sellers. He also is a coach on a TV music competition series.

April 13, 2004 — Hapoel Jerusalem Wins Basketball EuroCup

Hapoel Jerusalem defeats Real Madrid, 83-72, to win Europe’s second-best club basketball championship, the EuroCup. Hapoel, which doesn’t win its first Israeli championship until 2015, finishes second in the group stage of the 36-team competition, then beats teams from Poland, Lithuania and Serbia to reach the final. Maccabi Tel Aviv, meanwhile, wins the top-tier EuroLeague, giving Israel both of Europe’s major basketball titles.

April 14, 1961 — All-Time Miss Israel Is Born

Illana Shoshan, who wins the 1980 Miss Israel title and in 2010 is voted the Miss Israel of All Time, is born in Kfar Saba. After winning the 1980 pageant, she becomes an international fashion model and actress, then moves off-screen as a producer and casting director. She uses her high profile for activism, especially women’s empowerment in Israel and Los Angeles. She is a frequent speaker at conferences, including TEDxHolyLand.

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