Ethiopian Jews arrive in Israel during Operation Moses

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ethiopian Jews arrive in Israel during Operation Moses.

Nov. 20, 1977 — Sadat Addresses Knesset

“I come to you today on solid ground, to shape a new life, to establish peace,” Egyptian President Anwar Sadat begins his speech to the Knesset, where he appears after praying at Al-Aqsa Mosque, visiting Yad Vashem and laying a wreath at a memorial for Israeli soldiers the day after arriving in Israel on his historic peace-making visit. Sadat urges the Knesset to join him in forging “peace with justice.”


Nov. 21, 1984 — Operation Moses Begins


Photo by Amos Ben Gershom, Israeli Government Press Office

Rafi Eitan is sworn in as a member of the Knesset on May 4, 2006.

Working with the CIA and Sudanese State Security, the Mossad launches Operation Moses to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Almost 8,000 Ethiopians are flown from refugee camps in Sudan via Brussels to Israel in less than seven weeks. The operation ends Jan. 5, 1985, after it is publicized. A CIA mission, Operation Joshua, brings up to 800 people to Israel in 1985. An additional 14,000 Ethiopians reach Israel in Operation Solomon in 1991.


Nov. 22, 1923 — Actress Hanna Maron Is Born

Hannele Meierzak, who as Hanna Maron is recognized by Guinness as the actor with the world’s longest stage career, is born in Berlin. She starts acting as a child, including an uncredited role in the Fritz Lang film “M,” before her family makes aliyah in 1933. She builds her acting reputation with Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theater beginning in 1945. She has a leg amputated after a terrorist attack at the Munich airport in 1970 but is acting again within a year.

Nov. 23, 1926 — Spymaster Rafi Eitan Is Born


Photo by Amos Ben Gershom, Israeli Government Press Office

Rafi Eitan is sworn in as a member of the Knesset on May 4, 2006.

Rafi Eitan, whose intelligence career ranges from the high of leading the capture of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina to the low of handling U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard as a spy, is born on a kibbutz at Ein Harod. A veteran of the Palmach, he works for Israel’s secret service, the Mossad, then becomes the chief of operations of Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency. He serves in the Knesset from 2006 to 2009 and dies in March 2019.


Nov. 24, 1938 — British Debate Palestine


Photo by Eric Matson, Israeli National Photo Collection

British forces operate from the Allenby Camp in Jerusalem during the Arab Revolt.

During the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt, the House of Commons holds a debate on the future of Palestine. Colonial Secretary Malcolm MacDonald says that British troops are restoring the crown’s authority, that the British Mandate is fulfilling its promise to pave the way for a Jewish national home and that Palestine cannot accommodate more than a fraction of the European Jews who might try to escape Nazism.

Nov. 25, 1940 — Transport Ship Patria Is Sunk

The French-built SS Patria is seen in 1918 during its service as a troop transport.

The French-built SS Patria is seen in 1918 during its service as a troop transport.

The Haganah sets off a bomb aboard the SS Patria in Haifa’s harbor to prevent British officials from shipping more than 1,700 Jews seeking refuge in Mandatory Palestine to the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. The intent is to disable the ship, but it sinks within 16 minutes and kills 267 people, including members of the British crew. The survivors are allowed to stay in Palestine, but 1,560 other refugees who arrived Nov. 24 are still sent to Mauritius.


Nov. 26, 2013 — Singer Arik Einstein Dies

An aortic aneurysm kills singer/songwriter Arik Einstein at age 74 in Tel Aviv, leading thousands of fans to gather the next day in Rabin Square. A Tel Aviv native and star high school athlete, Einstein took up music during his military service. He blended folk and rock music across about 50 albums and was a driving force in the development of Israeli rock. The newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth called him Israel’s all-time best singer in 2012.


Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education.

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