Oct. 15, 1894 — Prime Minister Moshe Sharett Is Born
Moshe Sharett, a signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence who is the state’s original foreign minister and becomes its second prime minister in January 1954, is born Moshe Shertok in Kherson, Ukraine. His family settles in Jaffa in 1906 in his parents’ second try at making aliyah. Sharett rises to political director of the Jewish Agency by 1933 and forms the Jewish Brigade to fight alongside the British in World War II.
Oct. 16, 1986 — Terrorists Capture Flyer Ron Arad
Ron Arad, 28, an F-4 Phantom II navigator, is captured the Shia terrorist group Amal after bailing out over Lebanon,. He is never seen in Israel again. Amal demands three million USD and the release of two hundred Lebanese and four hundred and fifty Palestinians for Arad, but he instead is sold to the Iranians for three hundred thousand USD in December 1987. He is rumored to be executed in 1992. Other reports indicate instead that he is tortured to death in 1988.
Oct. 17, 1880 — Ze’ev Jabotinsky Is Born
Ze’ev Vladimir Jabotinsky, the father of Revisionist Zionism, is born in Odessa, Russia. Pogroms in 1903 inspire his activism for Jewish self-defense and Zionism. He is central to the formation of the British army’s Jewish Legion during World War I, helps create the Betar youth movement in 1923, is a leader in the defense of Jewish settlements in pre-state Palestine, and provides the intellectual foundation for the Likud party.
Oct. 18, 1988 — Court Upholds Ban on Kach
Israel’s Supreme Court upholds the Central Election Committee’s ban on the Kach party from the election for the 12th Knesset. Kach violates Section 7A of Basic Law: The Knesset, which bars parties whose object is inciting or engaging in racism. The court had reversed a ban on Kach in 1984 before Section 7A existed. Kach, which advocates stripping the citizenship of non-Jews, was founded by Meir Kahane in 1971.
Oct. 19, 1948 — Navy Fights First Major Battle
The Haganah, the Wedgewood and the Noga attack an Egyptian ship unloading troops near Ashkelon in the first major battle for the Israeli navy. The Israeli ships shoot down two fighter planes and damage the Egyptian vessel, which must be towed to Port Said. The engagement is part of Operation Yoav, a southern offensive that began Oct. 15 to open a route to the Negev. The Israeli ships previously smuggled immigrants into Palestine.
Oct. 20, 2013 — Buses Promoting Women of the Wall Are Attacked
Haredi men hurl rocks at and slash the tires of buses bearing ads promoting female worship at the Western Wall. The ads, depicting women with prayer shawls and Torahs, are posted by Women of the Wall, a group of mostly religiously observant Jews who believe that women should be allowed to pray at the Western Wall with the same access and rights as men. WOW holds the first bat mitzvah at the Wall in 2014.
Oct. 21, 1949 — Benjamin Netanyahu Is Born
Benjamin Netanyahu, the ninth and longest-serving prime minister of Israel, is born in Tel Aviv. He spends much of his childhood in Philadelphia but returns to Israel for military service in 1967 and is part of the elite Sayeret Matkal until 1972. He serves as ambassador to the United Nations from 1984 to 1988, when he is first elected to the Knesset with Likud. He is prime minister from 1996 to 1999 and from 2009 to 2021.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education.