March 10, 1970 — Law of Return’s Jewish Definition Is Amended


March 10: The Jerusalem Post of March 11, 1970, reports on the revised definition of “who is a Jew” under the amended Law of Return.

The Knesset changes the definition of a Jew in the Law of Return, enacted in 1950. The amendment responds to cases involving a Jewish convert to Catholicism and an interfaith marriage. The revised law reads, “Jew means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or who has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion.” The right of return applies to children, grandchildren and spouses of those who meet that definition.


March 11, 1978 — 38 Are Killed in Coastal Road Massacre


March 11: Israeli paratroopers search for terrorists March 11, 1978.

Eleven Palestinians traveling by boat from Lebanon land north of Tel Aviv and carry out one of the worst terrorist attacks in Israel’s history, the Coastal Road Massacre. They hijack a taxi and later two buses and kill 38 civilians, including 17 children, before Israeli police stop them in a shootout. The attack is meant to derail Israeli-Egyptian peace negotiations. Prime Minister Menachem Begin delays his departure for talks in the United States.


March 12, 1947 — Truman Delivers Doctrine


March 12: President Harry Truman urges Congress to provide aid to Greece and Turkey to block the spread of communism into the eastern Mediterranean on March 12, 1947.

In a speech to a joint session of Congress, President Harry Truman lays out what becomes known as the Truman Doctrine: that the United States will provide assistance to any democratic nation under threat from totalitarian forces. While the speech aims to win passage of $400 million in aid to Greece and Turkey, the policy helps provide Truman with a justification for U.S. recognition of Israel’s independence 14 months later.


March 13, 1881 — Czar Alexander II Is Assassinated


March 13: Czar Alexander II’s reforms included allowing Jews who graduated from secondary school to live outside the Pale of Settlement and take government jobs.

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 allowing Jews to live outside the Pale of Settlement. The response to the killing includes a series of anti-Jewish pogroms. His son and successor, Alexander III, enacts new restrictions on Jews 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


March 14: Black Panthers march along Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv on May Day in 1973. Moshe Milner, Israeli Government Press Office.

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. Operation Milk enrages Prime Minister Golda Meir, who sees the Robin Hood-style effort as a provocation and says Israel has no shortage of milk. Eventually, the Black Panthers pay for the stolen milk.


March 15, 1972 — Hussein Proposes Federal Plan


 March 15: King Hussein meets with President Richard Nixon at the White House on March 28, 1972, but fails to win any official U.S. statement on his proposed federation with the Palestinians.

Jordan’s King Hussein proposes in a radio address to create a Jordanian-Palestinian federation encompassing the West Bank and Jordan under his monarchy. 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, and Arab nations and the PLO also reject it.


March 16, 2017 — MK Impeachment Law Is First Used


March 16: Knesset member Basel Ghattas, shown in 2013, said he was the victim of discrimination. Orrling via Wikimedia Commons.

Basel Ghattas, an Arab member of the Knesset for the Joint List, signs a plea deal to resolve charges that he used his position to smuggle cellphones and documents to prisoners in jail. Under the deal, he must resign his position, serve two years in prison and pay a fine of 120,000 shekels (about $30,000). The plea deal marks the first use of the MK Impeachment Law of 2016, which requires the votes of 90 Knesset members to remove another member.


Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education.

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