Timeline of Israeli history

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This is a timeline of Israeli history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Israel from 1948–present. For the timeline of Israel before 1948 see Timeline of the history of the region of Palestine. To read about the background to these events, see History of Israel. See also the list of years in Israel and list of Prime Ministers of Israel.

20th century[edit]

Year Date Event
1948 May 14 Israeli Declaration of Independence: the Jewish leadership in Tel-Aviv declared the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel to be known as the State of Israel.[1]
The 1948 Arab-Israeli War: a large-scale war between Israel and five Arab countries and the Palestinian-Arabs. The war resulted in an Israeli victory, with Israel annexing territory beyond the borders of the proposed Jewish state and into the borders of the proposed Arab state and West Jerusalem.[2] Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt signed the 1949 Armistice Agreements with Israel. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank, were occupied by Egypt and Transjordan, respectively until 1967. In 1951, the UN Conciliation Commission for Palestine estimated that some 711,000 Palestinian refugees were displaced by the war.[3]
The Israeli flag became the official flag of the State of Israel.
1949 The first Israeli legislative election was held in which David Ben-Gurion became Prime Minister.
Israel was admitted to membership in the United Nations as its 59th member.[4]
Prime Minister Ben-Gurion proclaimed Jerusalem as Israel's capital.[5]
1950 The Knesset passed the Law of Return, which gave Jews, those of Jewish ancestry, and their spouses the right to migrate to and settle in Israel and obtain citizenship.
1956 The Sinai Campaign was held. This war, followed Egypt's decision of 26 July 1956 to nationalize the Suez Canal. The war was initiated by United Kingdom and France, and conducted in cooperation with Israel, aimed at occupying the Sinai Peninsula, with the Europeans regaining control over the Suez Canal. Although the Israeli occupation of the Sinai was successful, the US and USSR forced it to abandon this conquest. However, Israel managed to re-open the Straits of Tiran and secured its southern border.
1957 Moshe Dwek, a 26-year-old Aleppo Jewish mental patient threw a hand grenade in the Knesset. The grenade blast caused severe injuries to the Minister of Religious Affairs Haim-Moshe Shapira, and lightly wounded the prime minister David Ben-Gurion, Foreign Minister Golda Meir and the Minister of Transport Moshe Carmel.
1960 Four Mossad agents abducted the fugitive Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires and brought him back to Israel to be tried for his part in The Holocaust.
1962 Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, one of the main people responsible for the actual implementation of the Final Solution Plan, was executed by hanging in Israel. Eichmann was the only person to have been executed in Israel on conviction by a civilian court.
1966 The Knesset building was inaugurated.
The martial law imposed on the Israeli Arabs, since the founding of the State of Israel, was lifted completely and Arab citizens are granted the same rights as Jewish citizens under law.
1967 The Six-Day War took place and was fought between Israel and all of its neighboring countries: Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, which were aided by other Arab countries. The war lasted six days and concluded with Israel expanding its territory significantly – Gaza Strip and Sinai from Egypt, the West Bank and Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.
Israel declared the annexation of East Jerusalem. Arab residents of East Jerusalem were given a permanent resident status in Israel.
Jerusalem was reunified as Israel removed all barriers separating the Old City from the Israeli sector.[6]
1968 The Israeli submarine INS Dakar sunk in the Mediterranean Sea, killing 69.
1973 Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 (Boeing 727) was shot down by Israeli fighter aircraft over the Sinai Desert, after the passenger plane was suspected of being an enemy military plane. Only five (one crew member and four passengers) of the 113 on board survive.
Lillehammer affair: Israeli Mossad agents assassinated a Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway. He had been mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the leaders of Black September, the Palestinian group responsible for the 1972's Munich Olympics Massacre, who had been given shelter in Norway. The six Mossad agents were arrested by the Norwegian authorities and the incident became known as the "Lillehammer affair".
The Yom Kippur War was fought. The war, which began with a surprise joint attack on two fronts by the armies of Syria (in the Golan Heights) and Egypt (in the Suez Canal), was deliberately initiated during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Egypt was winning until Operation Nickel Grass was carried out by the USA to save Israel. Ceasefire was later established.
1974 Mahanayim disaster: Eight Israeli soldiers were killed as a result of a collision between two helicopters over the Mahanayim Airfield.
1976 Operation Entebbe: Israeli airborne commandos freed 103 hostages being held by Palestinian Arab and German hijackers of an Air France plane at Uganda's Entebbe Airport; one Israeli soldier and several Ugandan soldiers were killed in the raid.
1977 Disaster of the 54: An IAF "Yasur" helicopter crashed in the Jordan Valley. 54 IDF soldiers on board were killed in the disaster.
1978 Israel and Egypt signed a comprehensive peace agreement at Camp David. Egypt agreed to peace with Israel as a quid pro quo for Israel's withdrawal from Sinai.
1979 The peace treaty with Egypt was signed by the Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
1980 The Shekel replaced the Israeli lira.
Israel's Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law.
1981 Operation Opera: Eight Israeli F-16s, escorted by F-15s, severely damaged Osirak, an Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction near Baghdad, which Israeli military intelligence maintained was built by the regime of Saddam Hussein for the purpose of plutonium production to further an Iraqi nuclear weapons program.[7] Israeli intelligence also believed that the summer of 1981 would be the last chance to destroy the reactor before it would be loaded with nuclear fuel.
1982 The evacuation of the Israeli settlement Yamit in the Sinai Peninsula began in accordance with the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty.
Israel completes its withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula in accordance with the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty.
Shlomo Argov, Israel's ambassador in London, was severely injured when shot at by Palestinian Arab militant belonging to the Abu Nidal Organization. Argov's assassination attempt led to the Operation Peace for Galilee. Argov eventually died of his injuries in 2003.
The First Lebanon War took place during which Israel invaded southern Lebanon due to the constant terror attacks on northern Israel by the Palestinian guerrilla organizations resident there. The war resulted in the expulsion of the PLO from Lebanon, and created an Israeli Security Zone in southern Lebanon.
1984 The Kav 300 affair
Operation Moses: IDF forces conducted a secret operation in which approximately 8,000 Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel from Sudan. (to 1985)
1987 The First Intifada: The first Palestinian uprising took place in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. (to 1991)
Israel's government canceled the IAI Lavi programme.
1989 Mount Carmel forest fire: One of the largest forest fire in Israel's history. The fire extended over 6,000 dunam (1,500 acres), devastated 3,200 dunam (790 acres) of natural forest areas of Aleppo pine on Mount Carmel in northern Israel, close to the city of Haifa.[8]
1991 Gulf War: Three Scuds and one Patriot missile hit Ramat Gan in Israel, wounding 96 people; three elderly people die of heart attacks.
Operation Solomon: IDF forces conduct a secret operation in which approximately 14,400 Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel within 34 hours in 30 IAF and El Al aircraft.
1992 The Bijlmerramp disaster: El Al Flight 1862, a Boeing 747 freighter, crashed into high-rise apartment buildings in Amsterdam after two of its engines detach from the wing. A total of 43 people were killed, consisting of the plane's crew of three and a non-revenue passenger in a jump seat, plus 39 persons on the ground. Many more were injured.[9][10][11]
Israel deported 415 Hamas activists to Lebanon.
1993 The first Oslo Accords were signed at an official ceremony in Washington in the presence of Yitzhak Rabin for Israel, Yasser Arafat for PLO and Bill Clinton for the United States.
1994 The Peace agreement between Israel and Jordan was signed.
1995 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by right-wing Israeli radical Yigal Amir.
1997 1997 Israeli helicopter disaster: Two IAF troop-transport CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters collided in darkness near the remote She'ar Yashuv kibbutz, in northern Israel, killing 77 IDF soldiers.
Maccabiah bridge collapse - A pedestrian bridge collapsed over the Yarkon River killing four and injuring 60 Australian athletes who are visiting Israel to participate in the Maccabiah Games.
1999 A joint U.S.–Israeli search team found the wreck of the long-lost Israeli submarine INS Dakar in the Mediterranean sea.
2000 Israel withdrew IDF forces from the "security zone" in southern Lebanon, in compliance with U.N. Resolution 425, to the international border after 22 years in which the area was occupied by Israeli forces. Several thousand members of the South Lebanon Army (and their families) withdrew to Israel as well with the Israeli forces. Syria and Lebanon insisted that the withdrawal is incomplete, claiming the Shebaa Farms as Lebanese and still under occupation. Nevertheless, the UN certified full Israeli withdrawal.
October 2000 events: Solidarity demonstrations are held by Arab citizens of Israel escalated into clashes with Israeli police and Israeli Jewish citizens. Twelve Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian Arab from the Gaza Strip were shot and killed by the Israeli police.[12] One Israeli Jewish civilian was killed by a rock thought to have been thrown by an Arab citizen.
2000 Hezbollah cross-border raid: Three Israeli soldiers are abducted by Hezbollah while patrolling the Israeli administered side of the Israeli-Lebanese border[13] and Northern Israel is shelled in an attempt to ignite the Israeli-Lebanese border too, but Israelis decide on limited response.
The Second Intifada: The second Palestinian uprising took place in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising which began as massive protests carried out by Palestinians in the Palestinian Territories, soon turned into a violent Palestinian guerrilla campaign which included numerous suicide attacks carried out against Israeli civilians within the state of Israel. (to 2005)

21st century[edit]

Year Date Event
2001 Assassination of Rehavam Ze'evi: Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi was assassinated in Jerusalem Hyatt hotel by four Palestinian Arab gunmen, members of the PFLP terrorist organization.
2002 As a result of the significant increase of suicide bombing attacks within Israeli population centers during the first years of the Second Intifada, Israel began the construction of the West Bank Fence along the Green Line border arguing that the barrier is necessary to protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorism. The significantly reduced number of incidents of suicide bombings from 2002 to 2005 has been partly attributed to the barrier.[14] The barrier's construction, which has been highly controversial, became a major issue of contention between the two sides.
2003 At the conclusion of the STS-107 mission, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry over Texas, killing all seven astronauts on board, including the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon.
2004 400 Palestinian Arab prisoners, 30 Lebanese and other Arab prisoners, and the remains of 59 Lebanese militants and civilians were transferred to Hezbollah, together with maps showing Israeli mines in South Lebanon, in exchange for the bodies of the three dead IDF soldiers, Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Suaad, as well as the abducted Israeli citizen Elchanan Tenenbaum, who had been captured by Hezbollah after being lured to Dubai for a drug deal.
2005 Israel's unilateral disengagement plan: The evacuation of 25 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and West Bank was completed.
2006 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke and fell into a coma. As a result, Sharon's deputy Ehud Olmert began exercising the powers of the office of Prime Minister.
The Second Lebanon War took place, which began as a military operation in response to the abduction of two Israeli reserve soldiers by the Hezbollah, and gradually grew to a wider conflict.
2007 Operation Orchard: Israeli Air Force destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria which was built with the assistance of North Korea.
2008 Operation Cast Lead: IDF forces conducted a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip during which dozens of targets there were attacked in response to ongoing rocket fire on the western Negev. (to 2009)
2010 Israeli naval forces raided and captured a flotilla of ships, organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), which were attempting to break the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza. During the takeover, a violent confrontation erupted on board the largest ship of the flotilla. As a result, nine activists are killed[15][16] and several dozen passengers and seven IDF soldiers are wounded.[17][18]
2010 Israeli helicopter disaster in Romania: Six Israeli Air Force (IAF) officers (four pilots and two mechanics) and one Romanian Air Force officer died when an IAF Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter (known in Israel as a "Yasur") crashed, during a joint Israeli-Romanian aviation exercise in the Carpathian Mountains in northern Romania.[19]
The largest forest fire in Israel's history[20] engulfed a bus carrying cadets from the Israel Prison Service's officer course en route to evacuate prisoners from the Damun Prison in the area of the fire, taking 44 lives, including 37 the cadets and their officers.[21][22] The fire devastated hundreds of acres of pine forest on Mount Carmel in northern Israel, close to the city of Haifa, and was eventually brought under control late on December 5, 2010.[23]
Israel's former President Moshe Katsav was convicted of two counts of rape, obstruction of justice and other sexual offences by a court in Tel Aviv.[24]
2011 The former President of Israel Moshe Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison, two years probation and payment of compensation to his victims on charges of rape, indecent assault, sexual harassment and obstruction of justice.[25]
the 2011 Israeli housing protests erupted.
2011 Israeli embassy attack: About 3,000 Egyptian protesters stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo.[26]
Israel and Hamas begin a major prisoner swap in which the Israeli Army soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held in captivity for five years, is released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian and Israeli-Arab prisoners held in Israel, including 280 prisoners serving life sentences for planning and perpetrating terror attacks.[27]
2012 Operation Pillar of Defense: IDF forces conducted an eight-day military operation in the Hamas governed Gaza Strip during which dozens of targets there were attacked in response to ongoing rocket fire on the western Negev.
2014 Operation Protective Edge: An IDF military reaction following the escalation of major rocket attacks fired by Hamas from the Gaza strip targeting major Israeli cities including: Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Beer Sheva, Sderot, Ashkelon, Dimona, Zichron Yaakov and more.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Provisional Government of Israel: Official Gazette: Number 1; Tel Aviv, 5 Iyar 5708, 14.5.1948 Page 1: The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel: Retrieved 5 January 2015
  2. ^ Baylis Thomas (1999) How Israel was won: a concise history of the Arab-Israeli conflict Lexington Books, ISBN 0-7391-0064-5 p xiv
  3. ^ General Progress Report and Supplementary Report of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, Covering the Period from 11 December 1949 to 23 October 1950, published by the United Nations Conciliation Commission, 23 October 1950. (U.N. General Assembly Official Records, 5th Session, Supplement No. 18, Document A/1367/Rev. 1: Retrieved 5 January 2015)]
  4. ^ UNITED NATIONS: General Assembly: A/RES/273 (III): 11 May 1949: 273 (III). Admission of Israel to membership in the United Nations: Retrieved 5 January 2015
  5. ^ Ben-Gurion, David (1949-12-05). "Statements of the Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion Regarding Moving the Capital of Israel to Jerusalem". The Knesset. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Grant, Rebecca. "Osirak and Beyond." Air Force Magazine, August 2002. Retrieved: May 16, 2008.
  8. ^ Rudge, David (September 20, 1989). "Huge Blaze Raging Out Of Control In Mount Carmel National Park 5 Fires Set Deliberately; 8,000 Dunams Destroyed Near Haifa". Jerusalem Post. 
  9. ^ Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
  10. ^ "Two engines separate from the right wing and result in loss of control and crash of Boeing 747 freighter" (PDF). flightsafety.org. 
  11. ^ "El Al Flight 1862" (PDF). Nederlands Aviation Safety Board. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2008. 
  12. ^ Yair Ettinger. "Extremism isn't Growing, but Fear is". Ha'aretz. Retrieved February 20, 2006. 
  13. ^ "Israelis Held by the Hizbullah - October 2000-January 2004". mfa.gov.il. 
  14. ^ Nissenbaum, Dion (January 10, 2007). "Death toll of Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians hit a low in 2006". Washington Bureau. McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved April 16, 2007. Fewer Israeli civilians died in Palestinian attacks in 2006 than in any year since the Palestinian uprising began in 2000. Palestinian militants killed 23 Israelis and foreign visitors in 2006, down from a high of 289 in 2002 during the height of the uprising. Most significant, successful suicide bombings in Israel nearly came to a halt. Last year, only two Palestinian suicide bombers managed to sneak into Israel for attacks that killed 11 people and wounded 30 others. Israel has gone nearly nine months without a suicide bombing inside its borders, the longest period without such an attack since 2000[...] An Israeli military spokeswoman said one major factor in that success had been Israel's controversial separation barrier, a still-growing 250-mile (400 km) network of concrete walls, high-tech fencing and other obstacles that cuts through parts of the West Bank. ‘The security fence was put up to stop terror, and that's what it's doing,’ said Capt. Noa Meir, a spokeswoman for the Israel Defense Forces. [...] Opponents of the wall grudgingly acknowledge that it's been effective in stopping bombers, though they complain that its route should have followed the border between Israel and the Palestinian territories known as the Green Line. [...] IDF spokeswoman Meir said Israeli military operations that disrupted militants planning attacks from the West Bank also deserved credit for the drop in Israeli fatalities. 
  15. ^ "Israeli assault on Gaza-bound flotilla leaves at least 9 dead". CNN, May 31, 2010
  16. ^ Joshua Mitnick. "Flotilla Assault Spurs Crisis". Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2010
  17. ^ Amos Harel, Avi Issacharoff, Anshel Pfeffer and News Agencies "Navy commandos: Gaza flotilla activists tried to lynch us". Haaretz, May 31, 2010
  18. ^ Edmund Sanders "Israel criticized over raid on Gaza flotilla". Los Angeles Times, June 1, 2010 Archived May 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Service and News Agencies. "Netanyahu: Romania helicopter crash is an immense tragedy". Haaretz, July 26, 2010
  20. ^ "We'll evacuate you by force, residents told as Carmel wildfire sweeps towards homes". Haaretz. December 3, 2010. 
  21. ^ Ahiya Raved. "Israel's Deadliest Fire Leaves 40 Dead" Ynetnews December 2, 2010
  22. ^ Ahiya Raved. "Carmel fire claims 44th victim". Ynetnews, December 18, 2010
  23. ^ "Carmel fire fully extinguished". Ynetnews, December 6, 2010
  24. ^ "Israel ex-President Moshe Katsav found guilty of rape" BBC, December 30, 2010
  25. ^ Former President Moshe Katsav gets 7 years in jail for rape Haaretz, March 22, 2011
  26. ^ "Egypt declares state of alert in wake of attack on Israeli Embassy". CNN. August 24, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Gilad Shalit release: Palestinian prisoner exchange getting under way". The Guardian. London. October 18, 2011.