April 12, 1951 — Knesset Creates Yom HaShoah
The Knesset passes a resolution establishing the 27th of Nisan as Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. The date, suggested by Holocaust survivor Rabbi Mordechai Nurock, was chosen because of its proximity to the start of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (whose actual beginning date, 14 Nisan, couldn’t be used because it’s the start of Passover).
April 13, 1971 — Black Panthers Meet With Meir
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir meets with leaders of the Black Panthers, a Mizrahi activist group unaffiliated with the U.S. group of the same name. Israel’s Black Panthers, whose name was inspired by their American counterparts as a way to scare the establishment, protest the social injustice and discrimination felt by non-Ashkenazi Jews.
April 14, 1871 — German Unification Leads to Emancipation
Germany is establishedå as an empire under Prussia’s Wilhelm I, making possible the expansion of the civil and political rights granted to Jews in 22 German states in 1869. Despite emancipation, Jews are still barred from some high-profile positions, so conversion to Christianity continues.
April 15, 1936 — Arab Rebellion Breaks Out
An Arab uprising begins when 10 cars are attacked and three Jews are killed in what appears to be a robbery near Tulkarm. The Irgun underground kills two Arabs connected to the attack the next day. Events escalate into Arab violence against Jews and the British across Palestine, and Arab workers strike for six months.
April 16, 2007 — Jewish Writers Conference Held
Organized by author Aharon Applefeld and politician Natan Sharansky, the first Kisufim conference for Jewish writers around the world opens in Jerusalem. The name Kisufim comes from the Hebrew acronym for Jewish Conference of Jewish Writers and Poets. The largest-ever gathering of Jewish writers in part celebrates the 40th anniversary of S.Y. Agnon receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature.
April 17, 1948 — Rabin Leads Relief Convoy Into Jerusalem
Commanded by 24-year-old Yitzhak Rabin, the Harel Brigade delivers a convoy of supplies to Jerusalem despite coming under fire from Arab guerrillas. The supplies bring relief to Jewish residents who have been blockaded since February. The convoy arrives four days after an Arab ambush of a medical convoy bound for Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus kills 80 Jews, most of them doctors and nurses.
April 18, 1955 — Einstein Dies
Physicist Albert Einstein, who had declined an offer in 1952 to serve as Israel’s second president, dies at age 76. Einstein opposed militant forms of nationalism, but after witnessing attacks on Jews, he was drawn to Zionism after World War I. He wrote in 1921 that “Jewish nationalism must be developed both in Palestine and everywhere else.” He joined a U.S. fundraising tour for Hebrew University that year and spoke at the university’s planned site in 1923 in his first visit to the Land of Israel.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Educations.