April 26, 1881 — Pogrom hits Kiev

Anti-Jewish violence in the Russian Empire since the assassination of Czar Alexander II in March sweeps into Kiev at noon on a Sunday after a fight breaks out and spreads into the marketplace. Rioters soon loot and destroy Jewish shops and homes. The first post-assassination pogrom occurred April 15 in Elisavetgrad (now Kirovohrad, Ukraine), and Kiev officials were warned to prepare for trouble. The police chief told Kiev’s Jews to protect themselves, and they were warned April 25 to stay inside. 

April 27, 1984 — Jewish Underground members arrested

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Fifteen members of the Jewish Underground, an anti-Arab terrorist group formed by participants in the fundamentalist organization Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful), are arrested after a two-year Shin Bet investigation before they can sabotage five Arab buses in eastern Jerusalem. Twelve more members are arrested in the following days in connection with a series of plots and acts of violence.

April 28, 1918 — AJC endorses Balfour Declaration

Six months after the British government expresses support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine, the American Jewish Committee issues a bland response in support of the Balfour Declaration. AJC’s weak endorsement of the document reflects the views during and after World War I of most American Jews, who either oppose or only vaguely support Zionism. AJC backs Jewish immigration to Palestine for those who want to go but does foresee an independent Jewish state.

April 29, 1979 — Prisoners of Zion arrive in Israel

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Five recently release Soviet Jewish prisoners arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport, where they are welcomed by Prime Minister Menachem Begin and cheering crowds. The five were convicted in 1970 of trying to hijack an airplane to escape the Soviet Union. Their story catalyzes the movement to free Soviet Jewry. 

April 30, 2003 — Peace roadmap issued

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The Quartet of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations issues its Roadmap for Peace, a framework for talks to achieve a permanent two-state solution between Israel and Palestinians. The plan comes amid the violence of the Second Intifada. Israel lists 14 main concerns with the Roadmap but, like the Palestinian Authority, commits to trying to make it work. Hamas rejects it. Talks under the plan make no progress.

May 1, 1987 — Tennis player Pe’er born

Shahar Peer

Shahar Pe’er, Israel’s highest-ranking tennis player, male or female, of all time, is born in Jerusalem. After taking up tennis at age 6, she rises through the junior ranks and wins the Israeli championship in 2001 and the Junior Australian Open in 2004. A winner of five WTA tournaments and a two-time quarterfinalist in Grand Slam singles tournaments, she peaks at No. 11 in the world rankings in 2011.

May 2, 1921 — Writer Brenner slain

Writer Yosef Haim Brenner, a pioneer of modern Hebrew literature and a founder of the Histadrut labor federation, is among six people killed on the second day of violence between Arabs and Jews in and around Jaffa. Born in a shtetl in Ukraine in 1881, Brenner becomes a Hebrew teacher and publishes his first book in 1900, a year before being drafted into the Russian army. He deserts and moves to England in 1904 and moves to Palestine in 1909. In contrast to another pioneer of modern Hebrew, Ahad Ha’am, Brenner advocates Jewish salvation through labor and the abandonment of traditional ways. 

Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education.

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