March 12, 2004 — Poet Natan Yonatan Dies
Natan Yonatan, one of Israel’s greatest poets, dies at age 80. A native of Kyiv who grew up in Palestine, Yonatan almost immediately gained recognition after he started writing poetry in 1940. He won the Bialik Prize and served as the president of the Hebrew Writers’ Union.
March 13, 1881 — Czar Alexander II Is Assassinated
Czar Alexander II of Russia is killed by a bomb thrown into his carriage in St. Petersburg. He had instituted a series of reforms, including letting Jews live outside the Pale of Settlement. The response to the killing includes a series of anti-Jewish pogroms. Successor Alexander III enacts new restrictions on Jews in his move toward autocracy and sparks the start of the emigration of 2.3 million Russian Jews over the next half-century.
March 14, 1972 — Black Panthers Steal Milk
Israel’s Black Panthers, who seek equality for Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews, steal crates of milk meant for wealthy Jerusalem neighborhoods and hand them out across poor neighborhoods to protest poverty. Eventually, the Black Panthers pay for the stolen milk.
March 15, 1972 — Hussein Proposes Federal Plan
Jordan’s King Hussein proposes a Jordanian-Palestinian federation encompassing the West Bank and Jordan under his monarchy as a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The proposed state would have a regional capital in East Jerusalem and a regional and national capital in Amman. Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir rejects the plan the next day as a unilateral measure that fails to recognize Israel’s rights. Arab nations and the PLO also reject it.
March 16, 1722 — Constitution Is Adopted for Jewish Berliners
Berlin’s Jewish community is reorganized under a new constitution after Prussian authorities issue statutes regulating the community. The Aeltesten Reglement reinforces Jewish communal autonomy within Prussia, which supports the document and insists on the collective responsibility of the Jewish population.
March 17, 1992 — Knesset Passes Basic Law on Human Dignity
The Knesset enacts the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, adding a statement of support for core human rights to the Basic Laws that substitute for a constitution in Israel. Concerns about conflicts with Jewish law had blocked such a statute, but political reforms sparked by scandals cleared the way. The Basic Law declares that basic human rights in Israel are based on a recognition of the value of individuals, the sanctity of life and freedom.
March 18, 1974 — OPEC Lifts Oil Embargo
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries lifts the oil embargo it had placed on the United States in the fall of 1973 for resupplying Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The embargo quadrupled gasoline prices and produced long lines at U.S. gas stations.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education.