Jewish Agency for Israel
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Chairman of the Executive of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency: Arie Dulzin.

Alternate Chairman of the Executive of the WZO - Jewish Agency, American Section: Charlotte Jacobson.

Treasurer of the Jewish Agency: Akiva Lewinsky.

Chairman Settlement Department: Matitiyahu Droblas.

Chairman Youth Aliyah Department:Yosef Shapira.

Chairman Immigration and Absorption: Raphael Kotlowitz.

February 20: The 29th Zionist Congress opens in Jerusalem.

February 22: Arie Dulzin is elected chairman of the Zionist Executive.

September: The drop-out rate in Vienna among Soviet Jewish immigrants ostensibly bound for Israel climbs over 60%.

New immigrants in 1978: 26,394. With 6,305 immigrants from America, this immigration is on its height. There are more than 25 absorption centers, housing almost 4,000 new immigrants.




January 8: Prime Minister Menachem Begin warns that the Egyptian non-agreement to the retention by Israel of its settlements in Sinai could lead Israel to withdraw its offer to return the peninsula to Egypt. The government decides to expand these settlements.

January 11: The Israel-Egyptian military committee convenes in Cairo.

January 17: The Israel-Egypt-US commission confers in Jerusalem. The next day, dissent mounts in the course of the conference. Anwar al-Sadat calls his delegation back to Cairo. On 19 January they return to Jerusalem.

January: Meeting at Aswan, Egypt, President Jimmy Carter and Anwar al-Sadat issue a joint statement, the Aswan principles: peace must be based on normal relations, not just an end to belligerency; Israel must withdraw from territories occupied in 1967; there must be agreement on secure and recognized borders in accordance with UN Resolution 242 and 338; the Palestinian problem in all its aspects must be resolved, including the recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

February 11: Sadat meets with Labor Party Chairman Shimon Peres in Salzburg, Austria.

February: Anwar al-Sadat arrives in Washington, DC, for talks with President Carter and urges the US to act as "the arbiter" in talks with Israel. Carter stresses the US intention to be "mediator", not arbiter.

March: President Jimmy Carter states that the abandonment or rejection by the Israeli government of the applicability of UN Resolution 242 to the West Bank would be a complete reversal of Israeli policy and a serious blow to peace prospects. Later, former UN Ambassador Arthur J. Goldberg, the main architect of Resolution 242 envisaged withdrawal on all three fronts.

March 7: The main Israeli peace movement Peace Now emerges as the expression of the mood of suspicion and disenchantment that prevails mainly among the middle-class, Ashkenazic Israelis. It is born after the publication of a letter to Menachem Begin signed by 348 IDF reserve officers and soldiers, among themmore than a dozen lieutenant colonels and majors and a handful of decorated war heroes. The so-called "Officers' Letter" declares: "We see it as our duty to call upon you to avoid taking steps that might be a cause of lamentation for generations of our people and the country ... A government that prefers the existence of the State of Israel within the boundaries of Greater Israel to its existence in peace with friendly neighborly relations will awaken in us grave doubts ... regarding the justice of our cause."

March 11: PLO gunmen operating out of Lebanon land on the beach south of Haifa and kill 35 Israelis and wound 76 on buses and cars on the Tel Aviv coastal road. They also kill an American, Gail Rubin, a nature photographer and niece of US Senator Abraham Ribicoff, near Kibbutz Maagan Michael. Nine terrorists are killed and two are captured.

March 15 : The IDF mounts "Operation Litani" into southern Lebanon to root out PLO positions. Israel's intelligence estimates there are some 4,000 "terrorists" in Lebanon, around refugee camps, villages, caves, and hilltop positions south of the Litani River. The aim of the operation is to kill as many guerillas as possible and to destroy the military infrastructure. A secondary aim is to expand and create continuity between the existing Christian-held enclaves on the Lebanese side of the border.

March 17: The PLO responds with Katyusha attacks on the Western Galilee.

March 19 : The UN Security Council adopts the US resolution calling upon Israel to withdraw its troops from Lebanon and the establishment of a UN interim force (UNIFIL) to ensure the peaceful character of southern Lebanon and to take measures to restore Lebanese control. The Israelis accuse the US of yielding to Saudi pressure and deleting a resolution phrase that would have authorized UNIFIL to prevent entry of unauthorized armed persons into the zone.

March 21: The IDF has taken all of the area south of the Litani. The Syrians refrain from interfering, and American and Western European protests are mild. The IDF loses 18 soldiers, 113 are wounded. About 300 Palestinian fighters are killed, several hundred wounded, and several dozens captured. The IDF fires 22,000 shells and bombs. Hundreds of Lebanese homes are destroyed and tens of thousands of villagers flee. A continuous Christian-dominated "Security Zone" is established inside Lebanon, to a depth of some six miles from the border.

March: Menachem Begin begins a visit to Washington, DC, for talks with Jimmy Carter. When the difficult talks end, Carter advises the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the "diplomatic process has come to a halt."

March 30 : The peace activists hold their first demonstration outside Begin's residence in Jerusalem, the demand "Peace Now" appears on placards for the first time. A few days later it is adopted as the movement's name.

April 1: In Tel Aviv, 40,000 Israelis hold a rally calling on Menachem Begin go give preference to ending the Israeli-Arab conflict over retaining lands in the West Bank. The favor territorial compromise: "Better a land of peace than a piece of land."

April, 10: The Wolf Prize for achievement worldwide in the sciences and the arts, awarded in Israel, is established.

April 19 : Lieutenant General Rafael Eitan is appointed chief of staff of the IDF, succeeding Lieutenant General Mordechai Gur.

April 19 : Yitzhak Navon becomes Israel's fifth president, succeeding Ephraim Katzir. He is the first Sephardi and first Sabra to hold the post.

April 22: Izhar Cohen wins the first prize in the Eurovision Song Contest held in Paris with the song "Abanibbi". In 1979, the contest will be held in Jerusalem.

April: The Israel Knesset passes a law providing for free but not compulsory secondary education.

May 15 : The Museum of the Diaspora (Beit Hatfutsot) opens on the campus of Tel Aviv University. The overseas guest list is headed by Jacqueline Kennedy.
During the year, it exhibits "Beyond the Golden Door", on the history of the Jewish Community in New York, and "The Last Jews of Radauti", a photographic record of a dying Jewish community in Romania.

May: At a White House ceremony attended by more than a 1,000 Jewish leaders marking the 30th anniversary of the State of Israel, US President Jimmy Carter declares: "For 30 years we have stood at the side of the proud and independent nation of Israel. I can say without reservation ... the United States will never support any action that places Israel's security in jeopardy."

May: The US Senate approves an arms deal that ties the sale of previously promised 15 F-15 and 75 F-16 aircraft to Israel to congressional approval of the sale of 50 F-5Es to Egypt and 60 F-15s to Saudi Arabia. A senior Carter official is reported to have boasted in private about having "broken the back of the Jewish lobby."

June 2: A terrorist bomb blows up in a bus in Jerusalem, causing 6 fatalities and 19 wounded.

June 13 : Israel ends its phased withdrawal from Lebanon and turns over the last occupied area to Major Daad Haddad's Lebanese Christian troops rather than to the UN interim force, thus honoring Israel's commitment to Lebanese Christians who cooperated with it.

June 26: The US makes efforts to renew talks between Israel and Egypt.

June 28: After 45 days, Abie Nathan ends his hunger-strike protesting the building of settlements in the occupied territories.

June: Israel's ambassador to South Africa, Yitzhak Unna, refuses an invitation to be guest of honor at the opening of the play "Golda", because it is to be performed in a Pretoria theater closed to blacks.

June/July: Syrian troops bombard Maronite villages and Christian East Beirut. This happens again in September/October. Hundreds of civilians die.

July: Vice President Walter Mondale, accompanied by 28 American Jewish leaders, makes an official three-day goodwill visit to Israel. When it is announced that he will not make an official visit to East Jerusalem, Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek threatens to boycott the visit. As a compromise, Mondale and his family, accompanied by Kollek, make a personal visit to the Western Wall.

July 13: Minister of Defense Ezer Weizmann meets with Sadat in Austria in order to prod the peace process.

July 17 - 20: The Israeli and Egyptian foreign ministers meet in Leeds, England to advance the peace process.

August 3: A terrorist bomb explodes at the Carmel market in Tel Aviv, causing one fatality and approximately fifty wounded.

August: After meeting with Menachem Begin in Jerusalem and Anwar al-Sadat in Cairo, US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance announces that the two leaders have agreed to a tripartite summit conference at Camp David.

September 5 - 17: Menachem Begin and Anwar al-Sadat confer at Camp David outside Washington and conduct direct talks for 13 days under the auspices of US President Jimmy Carter.

September 27: The Camp David Accords are approved by the Israeli Knesset by 84 in favor, 19 against and 17 abstentions. Among those opposed are Knesset Speaker Yitzhak Shamir, Moshe Arens and Yigal Allon. Shlomo Hillel, a leading Labor politician also votes against the accords. Trade and Commerce Minister Yigael Hurvitz resigns in protest.

October 12 : Negotiations for the conclusion of the Israeli-Egypt Peace Treaty begin in Washington. The Israeli government approves the draft agreement on 25 October, deciding at the same time to enlarge the settlements in the West Bank. The Americans are outraged.

November 2-5: The Arab League summit in Baghdad denounces the Camp David Accords.

November 7: Municipal elections in which the vote for the mayor is separate from the vote for the local council are conducted for the first time. Mayors Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem, Shlomo Lahat of Tel Aviv, and Aryeh Gurel of Haifa are reelected by expanded majorities.

November 15: Three M.K.s opposed to the government peace policy - Moshe Shamir, Rabbi Chaim Druckman, and Geula Cohen - stage an unprecedented demonstration in the Knesset plenum, displaying a sign that reads: "The government of Israel is on the brink of an abyss - stop!"

November: Israeli and Egyptian negotiating teams agree on the text of a treaty. However, a further delay ensues when Egypt demands linking the peace agreement to the future status of the West Bank and Gaza.

December 8: Golda Meir dies at age 80.

December 10 : Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in bringing peace to Egypt and Israel.

December 21: A Katyusha attack is aimed at Kiryat Shmonah.

December: The Israeli-Egyptian peace talks remain on hold. President Jimmy Carter bluntly states that it is up to Israel to accept or reject the treaty with Egypt. American Jewish leaders write to Carter, objecting to his blaming Israel for the impasse and stating that Israel's objections to Egyptian revisions were reasonable.

The Israeli consumer price index has risen by 50% during the course of the year. Inflation in 1978 spirals to 48.1%.

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem exhibits "Architecture in the Hanukkah Lamp", showing architecture as a unifying motif in the design of the back wall of the Hanukkah lamp. It also exhibits "Script, Scroll and the Book" including the Aleppo Codex and the Temple Scroll, on the occasion of the nation's 30th anniversary.


April: NBC televises "Holocaust", a 91/2-hour, four-part fictionalized drama dealing with the fate of European Jewry under the Nazis during World War II. The series is seen by 120 million viewers and spurs a number of efforts to teach children about the Holocaust.

May: Three Palestinian terrorists attempt to attack El Al passengers gathered in a waiting room at Paris' Orly Airport. Their attack fails, and the three are killed along with a French security officer.

July: Soviet dissident leader Anatoly Sharansky is convicted of espionage.

July: President Jimmy Carter again states that the Soviet charge that Anatoly Sharansky had committed espionage on behalf of the US, is "patently false."

July: Avital Sharansky, Anatoly's wife, meets with Vice President Walter Mondale and congressional leaders. She tells them, "In your hands is the fate of the Jewish movement in the Soviet Union."

August 20: Palestinian terrorists attack El Al crew members in the airport at London, killing an El Al stewardess and wounding eight.

November: West Germany marks the 40th anniversary of the Kristallnacht. President Walter Scheel states: "After November 9, 1938, few Germans had the courage to face the consequences of the pogrom. But we today, being able to see the larger context, must not evade the truth, even where it is distressing and shameful. ... We must not forget the November days of 1938. This we owe the Jewish people; we owe it to the world and we owe it to ourselves."

November: Six years after he applied for an exit visa, Jewish refusnik Valentin Levich, a prominent scientist, is granted one and leaves for Israel.

November: An Arab League summit meeting is held at Baghdad. The Camp David Accords are denounced, and it is agreed that if Egypt signs a treaty with israel, it will be suspended from the Arab League, the Arab League headquarters will be moved from Cairo, and sanctions on Egypt will be imposed.

With the "Wiener Dokument" Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky tries to improve the dialogue between Israel and Egypt. The document is publised with the help of Abba Eban, and Willy Brandt; President Sadat, Shimon Peres, and PLO representatives agree upon it.

Sir Zelman Cowen is appointed governor-general of Australia. A leading legal scholar, he is the second Australian-born Jew to be named governor-general.

Herman Wouk, US novelist, writes "War and Remembrance", a continuation of his saga of World War II begun in 1971 with "The Winds of War".

Isaac Bashevis Singer, Polish-born author of Yiddish fiction, is awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his contributions to Yiddish literature. In accepting the award he says: "I never forget that I am only a storyteller."

Arno A. Penzias, US physicist, is awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of a faint electromagnetic radiation that appears to permeate the entire universe.

Herbert A. Simon, US economist, is awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for his publications on the structure and decision-making within economic organizations.

Daniel Nathans, US researcher, is awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for the discovery of enzymes that break the giant molecules of DNA into manageable pieces.

Pyotr Kapitsa, Soviet physicist, is awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his research on the liquefaction of helium.

Vladimir Horowitz, renowned pianist, gives a recital at the White House. Born in Berdichev, Russia, Horowitz left Russia in 1925 and later settled in the US in 1939. President Jimmy Carter introduces him as a "national treasure."

Saul Steinberg, US painter and graphic artist, has a one-man show at New York's Whitney Museum. Born in Romania, he studied architecture and was a cartoonist in Italy between 1933 and 1940, when he fled Nazi Europe by way of Portugal and the Dominican Republic, arriving in the US in 1942. A "New Yorker" magazine cartoonist, he is a rare artist whose work was known by mass audiences before being recognized by the critics as an important painter. Some of his work utilizes unintelligible rubber stamps and forged passports, an autobiographical reminder of his road to the US.

The Jewish Museum of New York mounts a retrospective exhibition of the paintings, drawings, and graphics of Jack Levine, social realist painter.

An exhibition on Judaism in the Middle Ages is held in Eisenstadt, Austria. In 1902, Sándor Wolf founded a private museum to illustrate the life of the Jews in the city. After World War II his collection was incorporated into the collections of the local museums. (See the web site of the Austrian Jewish Museum Eisenstadt.)






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12 Nov 2007 / 2 Kislev 5768 0