Author Archives: Elena Aronson

Elena Aronson

About Elena Aronson

Elena Aronson has a BA in Jewish Studies from Smith College. After participating in Project Otzma she went on to earn an MA in Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She currently serves as Bay Area Outreach Coordinator for the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation in San Francisco and owns a personal shopping and styling business.

Israel, 1967-1980

After the Six-Day War of June 1967, Israel was faced with the threatened safety of its people. Israel fought in two conflicts during this period, the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War. By the end of the period,Israel had signed its first peace agreement with one of its neighbors, Egypt.

Effects of the Six-Day War

The Israeli government intended to use the land they had annexed to ensure a peace agreement with their Arab neighbors. However, no part of Jerusalem was to be used in the bargaining, and laws were immediately passed by the Knesset linking Jerusalem to the State of Israel.

rabin and carterThe West Bank contains biblically significant areas of Israel, and in September 1967 the government began efforts to resettle the area. In addition, units of the army moved into the Golan Heights to begin construction of new kibbutzim.

Religious Zionists such as Gush Emunim (Block of the Faithful) believed that the only way to hasten the coming of the Messiah was to settle these areas. Their first settlement was erected in 1968 in Kiryat Arba, just outside Hebron–the location of the Makhpelah, the Tomb of the Patriarchs–in the West Bank.

While the Israeli government had initially hoped to minimize its involvement in the territories, Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan maintained that Israel could not stand still while waiting for the Arabs to make peace.

israel history quizFrom 1968 to 1970, Egypt sought to eject Israel from the Sinai through a constant but low-intensity war–supported in part by the Soviet Union–known as the War of Attrition. Nothing came from this war, and a truce was finally signed in 1970.

Yom Kippur War and Camp David

On October 6th, Egyptian and Syrian armies made a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews. Though Israel turned the war around and defeated its enemies, the shock of the losses suffered at the beginning of the war was a psychological blow to the population.

After the war, army hero Yitzhak Rabin, of the Labor Party, became Prime Minister. He led the country through Operation Entebbe, the successful rescue of passengers from a hijacked Air France flight in Uganda.However, he was forced to resign in 1977 after a violation of currency laws,which led to the election of Menachem Begin, leader of the Likud Party

Israel, 1948-1967

From its creation, Israel was dominated by two opposing forces: growth and war. Within five years of the birth of the state, the population more than doubled; at the same time, Israel’s sovereignty was constantly threatened by the Arab states that surround it. During this period Israel fought three wars against its neighbors, and lost and regained territories including the Old City of Jerusalem.

The Partition Plan

In February 1947, Great Britain, a declining empire, gave up control of Palestine to the United Nations. On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted to partition Palestine, providing both Arabs and Jews with their own land.

david ben gurionFighting broke out after the partition plan was announced and continued well into the following year. The Irgun, the underground Jewish military force, was buoyed by its military victories in the spring and finally declared independence. On May 14, 1948 David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, read the Israeli Declaration of Independence to the public. The following day war erupted when Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon sent their armies to invade the nascent state.

War of Independence

Syrian and Lebanese troops moved into the north of Israel,while Iraqi units and Transjordan’s Arab Legion focused their attack on Jerusalem. Other Arab units were deployed to Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley and later in the Galilee. Jerusalem was a highly contested territory,and the battles for it were costly for the Haganah, the new Israeli army. By the second United Nations truce on July 18, much of the Negev was still controlled by the Egyptian army.

The battles continued to rage until the United Nations Security Council called for a permanent armistice on December 29, 1948. The Arab states still refused to negotiate directly with Israel.

The population losses exceeded 6,000, and the War of Independence took on mythic proportions in Israeli culture. Its combatants were seen as new Hebrew warriors. The Canaanite movement, a small group of artists and thinkers in the post-independence era, was extremely effective in juxtaposing the tanned, tall, and strong sabra or native Israeli Jew, to the weak, downtrodden Diaspora Jew.