Sept. 16, 1949 — Israel Joins UNESCO

Israel becomes a member of the Paris-based U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known for recognizing cultural and historical sites. Israel withdraws from the agency in 2018 after UNESCO repeatedly accuses Israel of ignoring Muslim and Christian connections to important sites and Israel repeatedly accuses UNESCO of trying to erase the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel.


September 16: Courtesy of: Israeli Government Press Office. Photo by Mark Neyman

Israel’s UNESCO Heritage sites include the Bahai Gardens in Haifa



Sept. 17, 1978 — Camp David Accords Are Signed

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin sign the Camp David Accords, brokered by President Jimmy Carter. The accords have two parts: an agreement about the future of relations between the countries and a framework for implementing Palestinian self-rule. The former leads to a peace treaty in March 1979, but Palestinian autonomy awaits the 1993 Oslo Accords.


September 17: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski play chess at Camp David during a break in the September 1978 negotiations



Sept. 18, 1918 — Swimmer Judith Deutsch Is Born

Champion swimmer Judith Deutsch is born in Vienna, Austria. She overcomes antisemitism to set every Austrian freestyle record at middle and long distances between 1933 and 1935. She joins fellow Austrian swimmers Ruth Langer and Lucie Goldner in refusing to go to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. She makes aliyah after she is suspended from competing in Austria, which expunges her records but apologizes in 1995.


September 18: Judith Deutsch (left) and teammates Hedy Bienenfeld, Fritzi Loewy and Lucie Goldner pose with Zsigo Wertheimer, their coach at the Jewish swim club Hakoah Vienna, in the mid-1930s. Most Austrian clubs didn’t admit Jewish swimmers



Sept. 19, 1988 — Ofek 1 Is Launched

Israel launches its first space satellite, Ofek 1, from an undisclosed location near the Mediterranean Sea. Named for the Hebrew word for horizon, Ofek 1 completes an orbit every ninety minutes at heights of four hundred  to sixteen hundred miles. Israel becomes the ninth country able to launch a satellite and reveals its ballistic missile capability. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres declares the civilian project to be about technology, not an arms race.


September 19: The Ofek 1 mission made Israel the ninth country with satellite-launching capabilities



Sept. 20, 1931 — Actress Hya Harareet Is Born

Actress Haya Harareet, best known as Judah Ben-Hur’s love interest Esther in the 1959 remake of “Ben-Hur,” is born Haya Neuberg in Haifa. She begins her acting career in 1955’s “Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer,” the first feature film produced in Israel for international distribution. She appears in Italian, U.S. and British films over the next decade. She wins acclaim but no awards for “Ben-Hur,” which grabs eleven Oscars.


Actress Haya Harareet, shown in an MGM publicity photo, died Feb. 3, 2021, in England



Sept. 21, 2008 — Olmert Resigns as Prime Minister

Facing charges of corruption and financial improprieties on which he later is convicted, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigns. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, elected Sept. 17 as his replacement as the Kadima party leader, tries but fails to form a new government, so a national election is held in February 2009. Kadima wins the most seats with 28, but Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu forms a governing coalition.


 September 21: Courtesy of: Israeli Government Press Office. Photo by Ohayon Avi

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (right) submits his resignation letter to President Shimon Peres on Sept. 21, 2008



Sept. 22, 1943 — Musician Ariel Zibler Is Born

Singer-songwriter Ariel Zilber is born in Tel Aviv. His mother is a singer, and his father is a violinist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 1970s and 1980s he establishes an eclectic sound and leads multiple rock bands, then has a solo career. His music spans rock, pop and hip-hop. His political views draw attention away from his music as he moves toward the Orthodox right in the early 2000s.


September 22: Courtesy of: Israeli Government Press Office. Photo by Amos Ben Gershom

Ariel Zilber performs at the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem in 1998 before a shift to more Orthodox observance led him to grow out a beard


Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (, where you can find more details. 


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