Jan. 27, 2001 — Taba Summit Ends


January 27: Israeli Foreign Minister Ben Ami (left) and Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qurei shake hands Jan. 21, 2001, during peace talks in Taba, Egypt.

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


January 28: By Amos Ben Gershom, Israeli Government Press Office

President Shimon Peres, who in 1996 was the target of protests over the dumping of Ethiopian-Israeli blood, visits the Reshit school in Jerusalem in January 2012 in response to more episodes of discrimination toward Ethiopian Jews.

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


January 29: By Moshe Milner, Israeli Government Press Office

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets with the father of abducted soldier Benny Avraham during a military memorial service in September 2001. In January 2004, Sharon approved an exchange that brought Avraham’s body, along with those of two other soldiers captured and killed by Hezbollah, back to Israel.

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


January 30: U.S. F-4E Phantom II aircraft sit on the tarmac at Shiraz Air Base in Iran in 1977, demonstrating the American commitment to the defense of Baghdad Pact nations before Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979.

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


January 31: Pinchas Lavon, who resigned as defense minister after a botched spy operation in Egypt in 1954, was exonerated at the end of 1960.

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


February 1: Peretz Smolenskin wrote six novels, all focused on Jewish life.

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


February 2: Arab refugees leave Ramle in July 1948. Under Israeli law, the property they left behind falls under the control of the state Custodian for Absentees’ Property.

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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