This week in Israeli history: Sept. 29-Oct. 5


September 29, 1947 — Arab Committee Rejects U.N. Partition Plan

The Arab Higher Committee for Palestine formally rejects the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine’s partition plan, which calls for separate Jewish and Arab states and an international zone around Jerusalem. The Jewish Agency accepts the plan days later. The United Nations created the committee at the request of Britain, which found its mandate challenged by violence between Jews and Arabs and against the British.

September 30, 1957 — Backdated Signature Facilitates Nuclear Program

French Prime Minister Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury backdates to today his signature on a letter granting Israel’s request for cooperation on a heavy-water nuclear reactor. He actually signs the letter Oct. 1, the day he is voted out of office, but he uses Sept. 30 to ensure the validity of his approval. The agreement emphasizes peaceful power-generating purposes, but the project is meant to facilitate weapons programs.

Oct. 1, 1981 — Aircraft to Be Sold to Saudi Arabia

President Ronald Reagan announces a plan to sell American F-15 fighter jets and Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes to Saudi Arabia. Israel opposes the sale, but Reagan says, “It is not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy.” He says the sale is not a threat to Israel. Despite the opposition of 59% of Americans in a Harris Poll, the AWACS sale moves ahead, and the first planes are delivered in 1985.

Oct. 2, 1947 — Jewish Agency Accepts Partition Plan

David Ben-Gurion, the chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, formally accepts the partition plan proposed by the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine, which a month earlier released its report recommending the division of the British Mandate of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Ben-Gurion says the three priorities of Palestine’s Jews are defense, a Jewish state and a resolution with the Arabs, in that order.


Oct. 3, 2005 — Choreographer Levy-Tanai Dies

Sarah Levy-Tanai, a choreographer who incorporated Mizrahi and Ashkenazi elements and won the Israel Prize in art, music and dance in 1973, dies at age 94 or 95 (the Jerusalem native was never sure whether she was born in 1910 or 1911). The daughter of Yemeni parents, she founded the Inbal Dance Theater in 1949 and directed it into the 1990s. As a teacher, she also wrote plays and composed songs and dances for kindergartners.

Oct. 4, 2003 — Suicide Bomber Strikes Haifa Restaurant

A suicide bombing kills 18 Jews and three Arabs and injures 60 others at Maxim restaurant in Haifa. The beachfront restaurant, co-owned by Jews and Christian Arabs, is known as a symbol of coexistence. Hanadi Jaradat, 28, detonates her explosive belt in the middle of Maxim, and metal fragments spray around the restaurant. Palestinian Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for the attack, the sixth female suicide bombing of the Second Intifada.

Oct. 5, 1941 — Louis Brandeis Dies

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish member of the high court, dies at age 84 in Washington. His embrace of Zionism made its support more acceptable among American Jews. Through his friendship with President Woodrow Wilson, he helped secure U.S. support for the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and the British Mandate in Palestine in 1922. Brandeis visited Palestine in 1919 and inspired the Palestine Economic Corp.

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