Jewish Agency for Israel
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Chairman of the Jewish Agency: Arie Dulzin.

16,906 new immigrants arrive in 1983.


January 8: Palestinian terrorists throw hand grenades at a bus en route from Tel Aviv to Rehovot, resulting in 11 passengers wounded.

January 12: El Al renews flights after a shutdown of four months.

January 24: The Tel Aviv Stock Market plummets. Investors lose a total of billions of dollars as 300 stocks drop by as much as 60%.

January: Defense Minister Ariel Sharon visits Zaire, the first African nation to resume formal ties with Israel after the Yom Kippur War. He concludes military agreements that would involve Israel in reorganizing the Zaire army.

February 8 : The Kahan Commission investigating the Sabra and Shatilla massacres absolves the political and military authorities of any direct responsibility. However, it finds indirect responsibility, through intelligence lack of forethought, to rest with Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, Chief of Staff Raphael Eitan, Chief of Military Intelligence Yehoshua Saguy, and divisional commander Amos Yaron. The cabinet accepts the findings, and Sharon resigns as minister of defense. He is replaced by Moshe Arens.

February 10 : A grenade is hurled at a group of Peace Now activists demonstrating in front of the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, killing Emil Gruenzweig, a Peace Now activist and reserve paratroop officer. He is the first Jew killed at a political demonstration in Israel's history.

March 1: A physicians' labor dispute with the health funds and the government erupts.

March 2: The physicians declare a general strike.

March 15: An international conference for Soviet Jewry opens in Jerusalem.

Two new chief rabbis are named: Avraham Shapira (Ashkenazi) and Mordechai Eliyahu (Sephardi).

March 22 : The Knesset elects Chaim Herzog to the sixth president of Israel.

April 19: Chief of Staff Raphael Eitan completes his term of office and is replaced by Moshe Levy.

April: Issam Sartawi, a PLO aide to Yasser Arafat and a moderate is assassinated while representing the PLO at a conference of the Socialist International in Portugal. The Syrian-backed PLO faction headed by Abu Nidal claims responsibility.

April: After months of consultation with Yasser Arafat, Jordan announces it will not participate in the negotiations on the basis of President Ronald Regan's September 1982 peace plan. King Hussein is reported to be annoyed with the PLO's lack of realism.

April: President Reagan announces that Secretary of State George Shultz will visit the Middle East to try to achieve secure borders for Israel and withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon.

May: Israel approves the US-sponsored plan for the simultaneous withdrawal of Israeli and Syrian troops from Lebanon. Syria rejects the agreement when Secretary of State George Shultz meets with Syrian President Assad.

May 17 : Lebanon and Israel sign an agreement for the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. The agreement is, in effect, a treaty between Israel and Lebanon in which Israel is recognized by Lebanon and that ends the state of war between them. Syria refuses to accept this and Israeli troops remain in place throughout the summer.

May 26: Violence in Lebanon continues. A remote control explosive charge targets a busload of IDF soldiers, killing one and wounding 14.

May: Syrian forces begin actively aiding anti-Arafat forces led by Abu Musa in the Lebanese battle to control the PLO.

June: The Syrians declare Yasser Arafat persona non grata and order him out of the country.

June 4 : An antiwar rally sponsored by Peace Now is attended by 150,000 in Tel Aviv.

June 7: The Satmer Rebbe arrives from the US for a visit. Thousands of Hasidim welcome him.

June 10: Three IDF soldiers are killed in an ambush at Tyre. The number of Israeli fatalities since the start of the Lebanon War a year previously reaches 500.

June 19: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture Simha Ehrlich, formerly minister of finance, dies aged 68.

June 27: The physicians' strike ends after nearly 4 months.

A group or reserve officers demonstrate opposite Prime Minister Menachem Begin's residence for several weeks, calling for withdrawal from Lebanon.

June: Ariel Sharon files a libel suit in New York against Time magazine, which reported that he had met with members of the Gemayel family after the assassination of Bashir Gemayel to discuss revenge.

July 7 : Aharon Gross, a yeshiva student, is stabbed to death in the Hebron market.

July 20 : The Israeli cabinet approves a plan to withdraw troops from the suburbs of Beirut and the Shouf Mountains and to redeploy them south along the Awali River. Redeployment will begin early September and allow Israel to reduce its troops in Lebanon. Following the redeployment, rival Lebanese factions resume fighting.

July 26 : Several gunmen skill 3 Arab students and wound 30 in an attack at Hebron's Islamic College. Prime Minister Menachem Begin deplores the "loathsome crime."

August: Liberian President Samuel Doe visits Israel, the first black African leader to visit Israel in ten years. Liberia becomes the second African country to resume diplomatic relations with Israel following the Yom Kippur War.

August 28: Prime Minister Menachem Begin announces his decision to resign. It is widely believed that the resignation is a consequence of the findings of the Kahan Commission.

August: The US vetoes a UN Security Council draft resolution calling on Israel to dismantle its West Bank settlements. Several days later, Secretary of State George Shultz says "one could foresee them staying right where they are, but the residents of those settlements would live under the legal jurisdiction resulted from the negotiations" but reiterates the US position that new settlements are not constructive to peace. At the end of August, President Ronald Reagan calls the new settlements an "obstacle to peace."

August: El Salvador announces the return of its embassy to Jerusalem. Costa Rica had done so earlier in the year. All foreign embassies had moved from Jerusalem following the passage of the Jerusalem, the capital of Israel law in 1980.

September 3: Israel agrees to withdraw south of the Awali River, but insists on retaining control of Jebel Barouk, the strategic height, only 24 kilometers from Beirut. The massive task of the occupation of southern Lebanon involves the presence of more than 30,000 Israeli troops and administrators.

September 15: Begin's letter of resignation is conveyed to the president.

September 21: President Herzog assigns the task of forming a new government to Yitzhak Shamir.

September 24: American singers Simon & Garfunkel perform at the Ramat Gan Stadium before a crowd of 50,000.

October 3: The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange crashes, with 295 stocks dropping and 111 listed as sellers only.

October 9: The economic crises continues. The banks cease regulating their stocks. bank shareholders incur serious losses. Trading on the Tel Aviv stock exchange is suspended.

October 10: Yitzhak Shamir's government is ratified by the Knesset by a vote of 60 to 53.

October 11: The shekel is devalued by 23% and the government announces a 50% increase in the price of subsidized goods. The dollar is now worth 80 shekels.

October 12: The government promises bank shareholders that it will preserve the present value of the shares, redeemable in five years' time.

October 13: Finance Minister Yoram Aridor resigns following reports that he instigated the dollarization of the economy. He is replaced by Yigal Cohen-Orgad.

October 20: The bank-share arrangement is signed.

October 24: Trading resumes at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

October 25: Municipal elections are held. Mayors Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem, Shlomo Lahat of Tel Aviv, and Aryeh Gurel of Haifa are reelected.

October 30: Former chief of staff Raphael Eitan forms a new movement, Tzomet, which he defines as nonpolitical.

November: The Knesset passes a series of tax increases.

November 4 : A car bomb explodes at IDF headquarters at Tyre, killing 61, including 29 Israelis, with 40 injured, including 28 Israelis. Israeli warplanes retaliate with bombing raids of terrorist headquarters and objectives, the first such raids in Lebanon since October 1982.

November 14: Prices of basic commodities soar by 75% in one month.

November 15: The unprecedentely high inflation of 21,1% is announced for the month of October.

October 17: Inflation continues to climb, reflected by the introduction of a 1,000 shekel currency note.

November 23: Israel and PLO forces under Yasser Arafat control exchange 4,500 Arab prisoners for 6 Israelis held by the PLO for more than one year. Israel is compelled to make "painful concessions" for fear of safety of Israeli captives held in Tripoli, where rival PLO factions are engaged in fierce fighting.

November 27: The new chief justice of the Supreme Court is Meir Shamgar, who replaces outgoing Justice Yitzhak Kahan.

November: The US and Israel announce an agreement on expanded American-Israeli cooperation, including joint military exercises and prepositioning US military equipment in Israel.

November: Defense Minister Moshe Arens reports that Syria, with the financial aid of Saudi Arabia, has received during the year Soviet arms enabling it to establish an army of over 400,000.

December 6 : A bomb explodes in a crowded Jerusalem bus, killing 5 and wounding 46. The PLO claims responsibility.

December: At the end of 1983, Israel had lost 563 soldiers and 3,200 wounded since the start of Operation Peace for Galilee in June 1982 and still occupied 7,251 square kilometer of Lebanese territory where more than 500,000 Lebanese live.

December: The inflation rate is 190,4%.

December: At the end of the year, the US Congress approves 2,6 billion Dollar in military and economic assistance for Israel for the fiscal year 1984. It inserts a provision in the State Department authorization act requiring the US to withhold payment or suspend participation in the UN if it expels Israel or denies its right to participate in the General Assembly or any other UN agency.

The US Congress earmarks 350 million Dollar of its military aid project to Israel for the development of the Lavi jet fighter plane.

Between 1977 and 1983 a total of 186 new settlements are established, 41 of them in 1983. This brings the number of settlers to 20,000, living near, and sometimes very close to an Arab population of more than a million: 721,700 on the West Bank and 464,300 in Gaza.

The Israel Museum exhibits "The Illustrated Haggadot of the Eighteenth Century" and "Bezalel. 1906-1929", depicting the history of the Bezalel Museum, its painters and artists and its objects.


February: Klaus Barbie, wartime chief of the Gestapo in the Lyon area of France, is extradited from Bolivia to France at the initiative of Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld and is charged with crimes against humanity. He is accused of organizing the roundup and deportation of several hundred Jews, including 44 children of Izieu, to Auschwitz, as well as the torture and deportation to death camps of non-Jewish French Resistance members.

April: At a gathering of 10,000 Holocaust survivors in Maryland, President Ronald Reagan announces the transfer of two large buildings in Washington D.C., for use as a Holocaust museum.

April: Jews from around the world participate in ceremonies commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Marek Edelman, the only surviving leader of the Jewish Fighting Organization in the Warsaw ghetto and a Polish Solidarity leader, does not participate and calls for a boycott of the ceremonies.

October: Soviet refusenik Josif Begun is sentenced to seven years' imprisonment and another fives years of internal exile for anti-Soviet propaganda. He had been teaching Hebrew.

Nozyk synagogue in Warsaw, blown up by the Nazis in 1943 and now restored, is reopened.

World Jewish and Lutheran leaders meet in Stockholm at a conference celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation. The Lutherans proclaim: "We cannot accept or condone the violent verbal attacks that the Reformer made against the Jews. Lutherans and Jews interpret the Hebrew Bible differently. But we believe that a Christological reading of the Scriptures does not lead to anti-Judaism, let alone antisemitism."

David Mamet, US playwright, writes "Glengarry Glen Ross", a play depicting with bitterness yet compassion the sleazy world of a Chicago real estate office. It wins him a Pulitzer Prize.

Neil Simon, US playwright, writes "Brighton Beach Memoirs", the first of three autobiographical plays. It will be followed by "Bilosi Blues" in 1985 and "Broadway Bound" in 1987. They are concerned with the maturation of Eugene Morris Jerome (Simon). In "Bilosi Blues", Jerome confronts antisemitism. The first two will be adapted to the screen, and "Broadway Bound" will be adapted for television.

Roman Vishniac, photographer of eastern and central European Jewry during the 1930s, publishes "A Vanished World", a collection of his work. Of the 16,000 photographs he took, he rescued on 2,000. Some negatives were sewn into his clothing when he came to the US in 1940, and most were hidden with his father in a village in France during the war. A selection was first published in 1947.

Barbra Streisand, popular singer and actress, directs, produces, and stars in "Yentl". The movie is based on a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Yentl is a young woman in a Polish shtetl who masquerades as a man so she can study to be a rabbi.

The Jewish Museum of New York exhibits "The Immigrant Generations: Jewish Artists in Britain 1900-1945"; "Kings and Citizens: The History of the Jews in Denmark: 1622-1983."

The Jewish Museum of New York permanently installs in its collections the sculpture "The Holocaust" by George Segal, US sculptor.





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12 Nov 2007 / 2 Kislev 5768 0