Jewish Agency for Israel
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Chairman of the Executive of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency: Joseph Almogi.

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

Treasurer of the Jewish Agency: Akiva Lewinsky.

Chairman Settlement Department: Raanan Weitz.

Chairman Youth Aliyah Department:Yosef Klarman.

Chairman Immigration and Absorption: Joseph Almogi.

A new source of immigration is opened. Up to 1977, no more than 150 Jews have made their way from Ethiopia to Israel. Ethiopia is invaded by the pro-Soviet government of the Sudan which occupies the Ogaden desert. A arrangement is made, in the utmost secrecy, whereby Israel will airlift military supplies to Ethiopia and, in return, the Ethiopian government will allow the planes to return to Israel with immigrants. 121 Ethiopian Jews are flown in.

June 26: 66 Vietnamese refugees receive asylum in Israel.

The Pincus Fund for Jewish Education in the Diaspora is established. Max Fisher agrees to serve as Chairman. Representatives of the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and the Government of Israel, constitute the Fund's Board. From the outset, the Fund has served as the round table around which these entities discuss issues of Jewish education in the Diaspora. In its work, the Fund connects the outstanding educational resources within the State of Israel's Department of Education, to Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

New immigrants in 1977: 21,429.


January 5: The new settlement of Elkana in the West Bank is founded.

January: Abu Daoud, a leader of the Fatah organization who organized the murder of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, is released and flown to Algiers after his arrest by French counterespionage agents. Israel protests the French action.

February: The Carter administration vetoes the impending sale of Israeli Kfir jet fighters to Ecuador. US approval was required because the planes had American-made engines. The Israelis regard the veto of the 200 million dollar sale as a serious blow to the aircraft industry. The US says the veto is part of the US policy to restrain Latin American arms race.

February 10: The new religious settlement Netzer-Hazany is set up in the Gaza Strip independently of the government. The establishment of these settlements is accepted by the Labor government, though criticized by the US.

February 17: Maccabi Tel Aviv scores an impressive basketball victory against Moscow C.S.K.A., 91:79.

February 23 : Yitzhak Rabin is chosen as the Labor nominee for the premiership, narrowly defeating Shimon Peres (1455 to 1404).

March 7: Yitzhak Rabin makes his first visit to Washington as prime minister for talks with President Carter. Rabin states that "the bulk of Sinai" could be returned to Egypt, in return for peace. Rabin is adamant that a "Jordanian-Palestinian State" is acceptable to Israel, but not a third state in the area.

March 8: The talks between Carter and Rabin continue. Carter describes the settlements on the West Bank as illegal: "Your control over the territory in the occupied regions will have to be modified substantially in my view. The amount of territory to be kept ultimately by you would only, in my judgment, involve minor modifications of the 1967 borders."

March 16 : In a town meeting in Clinton, Massachusetts, President Jimmy Carter declares that the creation of Israel was "one of the finest acts of the world nations that has ever occurred." He notes that the Palestinians have never given up on their desire to destroy Israel, but declares "there has to be a homeland for the Palestinian refugees who have suffered for many, many years."

March: President Jimmy Carter addresses the UN General Assembly and shakes hands with the PLO's UN observer at a reception following the address. This deliberate and symbolic act, made while the Palestine National Council was meeting in Cairo, fails to bring about any modification of the PLO policy of refusing to accept Israel's right to exist.

April: PLO leader Yasser Arafat is officially received by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in Moscow. They issue a joint statement, calling for a comprehensive Middle East settlement that includes the right of Palestinians to create an independent state and for the participation of the PLO at the Geneva Conference.

April 7 : Yitzhak Rabin withdraws as Labor's candidate for the premiership in the upcoming elections as a result of the revelation that his wife, violating Israeli law, opened a bank account in the US while he was Israeli ambassador. Defense Minister Shimon Peres is unanimously elected to succeed him and will serve until the May elections.

April 7: Maccabi Tel Aviv beats Italy's Mobilgirgi Varese 78:77 to become Europe's champion basketball team. (Video clips on the Maccabi Tel Aviv website.)

April: In the two years since its eruption, the civil war in Lebanon has taken about 60,000 lives and about three times as many have been wounded.

May 15: The first American-style TV election debate takes place between candidates Shimon Peres and Menachem Begin.

May 17 : Israel holds national elections for the Ninth Knesset, with 1,771,726 votes cast. Likud wins 43 seats; the Alignment (Labor, Mapam), 32 seats; the Democratic Movement for Change, 15 seats; and the National Religious Party 12 seats.

May: Two days after his election to be Israel's prime minister, Menachem Begin visits the Gush Emunim settlement of Elon Moreh on the West Bank and declares that "there will be many Elon Morehs." Begin introduces the ancient biblical names for the West Bank: Judaea and Samaria.

May: 54 Israeli paratroopers and airmen are killed in a helicopter crash during a training exercise.

June 13: Yitzhak Shamir, Likud, is elected Knesset speaker.

June 21 : Prime Minister Menachem Begin's government is installed. The cabinet includes Moshe Dayan as foreign minister, Ezer Weizmann as defense minister, and Ariel Sharon as agriculture minister.

June: The European Economic Community (EEC) issues a statement calling on Israel to "recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people" but does not grant formal recognition to the PLO.

July 1: The Labor Party elects Shimon Peres as its chairman.

July: Prime Minister Menachem Begin meets with US President Jimmy Carter at the White House. Carter indicates his pleasure with Begin's statements that all issues are negotiable and that he looks forward to the Geneva Conference in October. At a press conference after Begin's departure, Carter says he advised Begin of the US's concern over the creation of West Bank Israeli settlements. Israeli settlements in the occupied territories had "always been characterized by our government ... as a illegal action."

August 16: The "creeping" devaluation of the Israeli Lira bring the rate of exchange to IL 10.14 to the dollar.

August 17: The Ministerial Committee on Settlement decides on the establishment of three new settlements in the West Bank.

August 22: Moshe Dayan meets secretly with King Hussein in London. Hussein makes it clear that he is not prepared to speak on behalf of the West Bank Palestinians or for any division of the West Bank between Israel and Jordan. It is essential for Israel, Hussein says, to withdraw fully from all occupied Arab territory, including East Jerusalem.

August 31: Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon drafts a broad settlement plan for the occupied territories envisioning 2 million inhabitants within 20 years. ("A Vision for Israel in the 21st Century".)

August: Prime Minister Menachem Begin visits Romania and holds talks with President Nicolae Ceausescu. It is later reported in the press that this visit lays the groundwork for Anwar al-Sadat's visit to Jerusalem.

September 16 : Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan holds a secret meeting with Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Hassan Tuhami in Morocco. Dayan is said to have offered to return the whole of the Sinai to Egyptian rule in return for a peace treaty.

September 21: Barrages of Katyusha missiles are launched at Safed and Kiryat Shmonah.

September 24: The Christian militia in southern Lebanon are engaged in a series of military confrontations with PLO units under Arafat's command. Israeli forces cross the border and take part in the fighting alongside the Christian soldiers. President Carter expresses his displeasure in a letter to Begin: "I must point out that current Israeli military actions in Lebanon are a violation of our agreement covering the provision of American military equipment and that, as a consequence, if these actions are not immediately halted, Congress will have to be informed of this fact, and that further deliveries will have to be terminated."

September 29: The Ministry of Housing plans to expand Yamit, in the northeastern Sinai, into a city of 100,000.

September: A dispute breaks out between Gush Emunim and the government over the establishment of new settlements in the West Bank. The settlers want to establish 12 new settlements. The government proposes that they use the facilities of six army camps temporarily. The American Administration censures Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

October 1 : The US and the Soviet Union issue a joint statement on the Middle East designed to facilitate the resumption of the Geneva Conference no later than December 1977.

October 24: Yigael Yadin's party Dash joins the government. The increase in settlement building had been an obstacle to Yadin to enter the Begin government. As a condition for joining, Yadin is assured that he can personally appeal in Cabinet against any decision to build a settlement in densely populated Arab areas. When Yadin protests at new settlements, Ariel Sharon replies that these are not new settlements at all, but "expansions" of existing ones. Yadin clashes with Sharon openly in the Cabinet but decides to stay in the government in the hope of improving the social structure of Israel's many poor neighborhoods.

October 23: The "New York Times" that Yitzhak Rabin gave details of the expulsion of 50,000 Arabs from Ramle and Lydda in 1948.

October 30: The secular settlement of Mevo Dotan is founded in order to strengthen Jewish presence in northern Samaria.

October 31: The government, introducing a major economic shift, abolishes control of foreign currency. In a separate move, value added tax is raised to 12%.

October: President Jimmy Carter addresses the UN General Assembly and tries to soften congressional and Israeli criticism of the joint US-Soviet Union statement. He says that the US does not intend to impose a Middle East settlement, and that the basis for peace is provided in Resolution 242 and 338, which was not mentioned in the statement. He reaffirms as "unquestionable" the US commitment to Israel's security, but again states that "the legitimate rights of the Palestinians must be recognized."

November 1: The settlement of Beit El is founded north of Ramallah.

November 3: Demonstrations protesting the new economic policy are mounted in Tel Aviv.

November 6 : In response to a plea by Pope Paul VI for clemency, Israeli authorities free Archbishop Hilarion Capucci.

November 6: A Katyusha attack is launched at Nahariya. One woman is killed and five residents are wounded. The next morning the IDF responds with artillery and air attacks.

November 9: In an address to the People's Assembly in Cairo Anwar al-Sadat declares: I am ready to go to the ends of the earth if this will prevent a soldier or an officer of my sons from being wounded - not being killed, but wounded. Israel will be astonished when it hears me saying now before you that I am ready to go to their house, to the Knesset itself and to talk to them." (More on Sadat's visit.)

December 5: Libya, Syria, Iraq, South Yemen, and the PLO meet in Tripoli, Libya. They condemn Sadat's peace initiative as "high treason" and form and anti-Egyptian front. Sadat breaks off relations with these countries.

December 13: The first El Al plane to land in Cairo brings an Israeli delegation to the Cairo Conference in which Israel, Egypt, and US, and the UN participate.

December 16: Prime Minister Menachem Begin visits President Jimmy Carter in Washington, DC., to present his peace plan before conveying it to Sadat at Ismailia. Carter calls the Israeli proposal "constructive" and a "fair basis for negotiation."

December 22: Prime Minister Menachem Begin presents the autonomy plan for the West Bank.

December 25 and 26: Menachem Begin and Anwar al-Sadat discuss peace proposals at Ismailia. They announce continuation of negotiations through two committees: one on political affairs, headed by Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, and the other on military affairs, headed by Egyptian Defense Minister Abdul Ghani Gamasy.
The Knesset approves the government's peace plan by 64 to 8 votes, with 40 abstentions. Two of the opposing votes are cast by Likud MKs Geula Cohen and Moshe Shamir.

December 28: President Jimmy carter discusses what he means by a Palestinian homeland. "We do favor a homeland on an entity wherein the Palestinians can live in peace. ... My own preference is that they not be an independent nation but be tied in some way with the surrounding countries, making a choice, for instance, between Israel and Jordan."

December: Great Britain officially welcomes Prime Minister Menachem Begin, ending Britain's ostracism of the Etzel leader.

Inflation for 1977 is 34.6%.

Archaeologist Yigael Yadin, whose father Eliezer Sukenik had helped Israel acquire some of the first Dead Sea Scrolls and who himself had won the Israel Prize in 1956 for his study of the Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness, publishes a three-volume edition of and commentary on the large Dead Sea Temple Scroll, which Yadin had helped Israel acquire after the Six Day War. The Temple Scroll presents an interpretation of the Torah's ritual laws in which God speaks in the first person.


March: Seven members of the Hanafi Muslim sect occupy several floors of the national headquarters of B'nai B'rith in Washington, DC. They threaten to kill their Jewish hostages and accuse the Jews of control of the courts and the media. They surrender two days later and are convicted and sentenced to prison for armed kidnapping and other crimes.

March 15 : Soviet Jewish dissident leader Anatoly Sharansky is arrested on charges of treason. He is accused of being a CIA agent.

June: President Jimmy Carter declares that Soviet dissident Anatoly Sharansky was not a CIA agent. His arrest is perceived by the US as a direct challenge to the Helsinki Accord and seriously detrimental to détente.

November: Helmut Schmidt is the first West German chancellor to visit Auschwitz. "The crimes of Nazi fascism, the guilt of the German reich under Hitler's leadership, lie at the bottom of our responsibility. We Germans of today are not guilty as individuals, but we must take upon us the political heritage of those who were guilty. In this lies our responsibility."

Rosalyn Sussman Yalow is awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for her role in developing a radio immunoassay, a technique widely used for measuring the concentration of biologically active substances in the body undetectable by any other method.

Andrew Schally is awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his research in pituitary hormone deficiencies.

Ilya Prigogine is awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

R. B. Kitaj, US artist, paints "The Jew Etc.", a portrait of a man traveling on a train into presumed exile.





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12 Nov 2007 / 2 Kislev 5768 0