Jan. 27, 2001 — Taba Summit Ends
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Taba, Egypt, conclude after a week of progress toward an agreement based on the Clinton Parameters. “We leave Taba in a spirit of hope and mutual achievement,” a joint statement says. But Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak loses a landslide election ten days later to Ariel Sharon, who says he is not bound by anything discussed at Taba or at Camp David in 2000, and the peace initiative dies amid the Second Intifada.
Jan. 28, 1996 — Dumping of Donated Ethiopian Blood Sparks Riots
About ten-thousand Ethiopian Jews demonstrate outside Prime Minister Shimon Peres’ office to protest the government’s decision to accept blood donations from thousands of Ethiopian Israelis, only to throw away the blood for fear of spreading the AIDS virus. The disposal builds on feelings of humiliation and discrimination. When police deploy water cannons and tear gas, the protest turns into a riot, injuring several officers and damaging cars
Jan. 29, 2004 — Israel Swaps Prisoners for Man, 3 Bodies
Israel frees more than four-hundred thirty Arab prisoners to win the release of an Israeli businessman abducted in Dubai in October 2000 and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers captured the same month along the Lebanese border by Hezbollah and killed in captivity. The Palestinian Authority and Hezbollah celebrate the exchange. Israelis are divided, in part because the swap happens the same day as a bus bombing in Jerusalem.
Jan. 30, 1958 — U.S. Commits to Baghdad Pact
During a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles says the United States is committed to the defense of the Baghdad Pact nations: the Muslim-majority states of Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey, plus the United Kingdom. Dulles’ statement is seen as an extension of the Eisenhower Doctrine, under which any Middle Eastern country threatened by a Communist regime can seek U.S. economic aid.
Jan. 31, 1961 — Ben-Gurion Resigns Over Lavon Affair
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion resigns, triggering elections in August, to protest a Cabinet decision a month earlier to exonerate Pinchas Lavon in a botched Israeli spy operation in Egypt in 1954. Lavon had been blamed and resigned as defense minister at the time, although an investigative committee was inconclusive about what went wrong. The Lavon Affair resurfaced in 1960 over revelations that two senior officers had falsely testified against Lavon.
Feb. 1, 1885 — Novelist Peretz Smolenskin Dies
Novelist and Hebrew editor Peretz Smolenskin dies of tuberculosis at age 43. Born in Russia in 1842, he began his writing career while teaching Hebrew in Odessa at 22, then moved to Vienna to lead the Hebrew department of a large press and founded the journal HaShachar (The Dawn). He rejected assimilation and became a strong advocate for Jewish immigration to Palestine after the wave of Russian pogroms in the early 1880s.
Feb. 2, 1965 — Sale of Waqf Property Is Approved
The Knesset revises the Absentees’ Property Law to allow a government office to maintain, rent or sell property held in a waqf, an endowment created under Islamic law. Any proceeds are meant to benefit absentee owners whenever Israel achieves peace with its neighbors, but in the meantime, the law enables Israel to use as much land as possible to accommodate its rapid population growth since independence.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education.
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