1959 in Israel

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Events in the year 1959 in Israel.



Carmelit first day of operation, 6 October 1959, Haifa, Israel
  • 8 January – Four Egyptian MiG-17 jets penetrated Israeli airspace near Beersheba before being driven off by Israeli fighters.[1]
  • 1 April – The "Night of the Ducks" scandal: A surprise Israeli military exercise to test the mobilization of the IDF's reserves causes panic throughout Israel and puts the armies of the neighboring Arab states on high alert.
  • 7 April – Israel created the first Holocaust Memorial Day by vote of the Knesset in Tel Aviv, to be observed on the 27th day of Nisan, which fell on 5 May in 1959. If the 27th falls on a Friday, the observation is held on the 26th.[2]
  • 5 July – David Ben-Gurion resigned as Prime Minister of Israel and new elections were called for the Knesset.[3]
  • 9 July – The Wadi Salib riots begin in Haifa.
  • 10 July – A memorial for Frank Foley (1884–1958) was dedicated in Harel, Israel, in the form of a forest planted in the desert. As a passport control officer at Britain's embassy in Nazi Germany, Foley flouted strict rules in order to help as many as 10,000 German Jews to leave the country.[4]
  • 6 October – The Carmelit, Haifa's underground funicular railway, is opened.
  • 3 November – Mapai leader David Ben-Gurion wins the fourth Israeli legislative elections, capturing 47 of the 120 seats, but still 13 short of a majority.[5]
  • 4 November – Six Israeli jets and four Egyptian MiG-17s clashed in a dogfight near the border between the two nations. All planes reportedly returned safely and the battle did not lead to further action.[6]
  • 17 December – David Ben-Gurion presents his cabinet for a Knesset "Vote of Confidence". The 9th Government is approved that day and the members were sworn in.

Israeli–Palestinian conflict[edit]

The most prominent events related to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict which occurred during 1959 include:

Notable Palestinian militant operations against Israeli targets

The most prominent Palestinian fedayeen terror attacks committed against Israeli targets during 1959 include:

  • 1 February - Three Israeli civilians are killed by a terrorist landmine near moshav Zavdiel.
  • 15 April - An Israeli guard is killed at kibbutz Ramat Rachel.
  • 27 April - Two Israeli hikers are shot at close range and killed near Massada.
  • 3 October - A shepherd from kibbutz Heftziba is killed near kibbutz Yad Hana.

Notable Israeli military operations against Palestinian militancy targets

The most prominent Israeli military counter-terrorism operations (military campaigns and military operations) carried out against Palestinian militants during 1959 include:

Notable births[edit]

Notable deaths[edit]

  • 28 January – Yosef Sprinzak (born 1885), Russian-born leading Zionist activist, an Israeli politician and the first Speaker of the Knesset.
  • 20 February – Zalman Shneur (born 1887), Russian (Belarus)-born Israeli poet and writer
  • 25 February – Yehudah Arazi (born 1907), Russian (Poland)-born leading Haganah commander.
  • 25 February – Eliyahu Berligne (born 1866), Russian-born early Zionist leader and a founder of Tel Aviv.
  • 26 February – Selig Suskin (born 1873), Russian-born Israeli agronomist and early Zionist.
  • 6 April – Leo Aryeh Mayer (born 1895), Austro-Hungarian (Galicia)-born Israeli scholar of Islamic art and rector of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  • 25 July – Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog (born 1888), Russian (Poland)-born Chief Rabbi of Ireland, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of the British Mandate of Palestine and of Israel.
  • 13 September – Israel Rokach (born 1896), Israeli politician, Knesset member, and mayor of Tel Aviv.
  • Full date unknownShimon Fritz Bodenheimer - (born 1897) German-born Israeli biologist and zoologist.

Major public holidays[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Israel Planes Clash With Egypt MIGs", Oakland Tribune, 8 January 1959, p1
  2. ^ James E. Young, "Mandating the National Memory of Catastrophe", in Law and Catastrophe (Stanford University Press, 2007), p139
  3. ^ Avraham Avi-haï, Ben-Gurion: State-Builder (Transaction Publishers, 1974), p207
  4. ^ Mordecai Paldiel, Diplomat Heroes of the Holocaust (KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 2007), pp16
  5. ^ Neill Lochery, The Israeli Labour Party: In the Shadow of the Likud (Ithaca Press, 1997), p271
  6. ^ "Egypt, Israel Jet Planes In Dogfight", Oakland Tribune, 4 November 1959, p1

External links[edit]