Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24th 2000 - Withdrawl

On May 24th 2000, the Israeli Army pulled out of its occupation of southern Lebanon.Israel had had a military presence in Lebanon for the 22 previous years and pulled out in accordance with UN resolution 425. For the occasion Ehud Barak announced:
"From now on, the government of Lebanon is accountable for what takes place within its territory, and the Lebanese and Syrian governments are responsible for preventing acts of terror or aggression against Israel, which is from today deployed within its borders." 

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23rd 1960: Evil Disposed - Adolf Eichmann's Capture

On May 23 1960, David Ben Gurion, Israel's first and third Prime Minister, announced in a speech to the Knesset that Adolf Eichmann, one of the most top ranked Nazi officials of WW2, responsible for the transporting of the European Jews to their deaths, had been captured in Argentina and brought to Israel. The one time high-in-command Nazi official, had been living in Argentina for some time. There Eichmann had changed his name, however not his children's. In a joint operation between the Shin Bet and the Mossad, which at that time was primarily hunting Nazis, involved scouting out his house until they new it was really him who was living in the determined location, though it was not known for certain until interrogation. One night when Eichmann got off the bus from work he was abducted by Israeli operatives and transported to Israel. He was dressed as an El Al crew member and heavily sedated for the flight. During his trial, which he supposedly agreed to take part in after his capture, he claimed he was just following orders. Eichmann was found guilty of crimes against humanity about two years later. He was then killed, and his ashes were scattered throughout the Mediterranean sea. Eichmann was the only person to date to receive the death penalty in The State of Israel.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22nd, 1967: Crisis Erupting

On May 22-23, 1967 Gamal Abdel Nasser the then President of Egypt ordered the straights of Tiran closed. The Straits of Tiran were and still are an important waterway for Israel, allowing Israel to trade with Asian countries. After doing so Nasser declared his infamous words: "Ahlan Wa-sahlan". If Israel wants war: "You are welcome[to come fight]". In fact Israel did see this as an act of war, as they did in 1956 when the closing of the straights lead to "The Sinai Campaign", in Israeli invasion of Sinai in an effort to regain access to the straits. The closing of the straits was the beggining of a major international crisis which would change the Middle East, until today possibly forever in an event deemed the "The Six Day War", which would start in early June of that year. (Source: Six Days of War, Michael B. Oren)

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20th 1940: Hell on Earth

On May 20th 1940 the first and main part of the Auschwitz concentration camp became operational as the first concentration camp; many more were soon to follow. Although primarily serving as a camp Auschwitz was also home to a gas chamber an crematorium. At camps like Auschwitz within a period of five years more than six million Jewish men, women, and children were exterminated and tortured. Also at the camp, Germen doctor, Joseph Mengele, the infamous, Angel of Death, performed cruel experiments on the Jews who were there.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19th 1948: Jerusalem Divided

On May 19th, 1948,  Jerusalem began to fall to the Jordanians in Israel's war of Independence. King Abdulla of Jordan ordered Glubb Pasha, commander of the Arab Legion, to enter Jerusalem two days earlier on May 17th. Perhaps the heaviest fighting of the war of independence took place during the battle for Jerusalem and surrounding areas from May 19th to the 28th when it was conquered by the Jordanians. All of the Jews living in the eastern section of Jerusalem -the whole of the old city- including the Jewish quarter were expelled. However Jerusalem would later be reconquered by The Israeli Army in June of 1967, and be declared the united capital of Israel in a Basic Law in 1980 by Prime Minister Menachem Begin. (Source - in part: Jewish Virtual Library)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18th 1965: A Great Loss

On May 18th 1965 Eli Cohen, an Israeli spy in Syria was assassinated. Eli Cohen's contributions to Israeli intelligence is probably unparalleled in history for any nation. Captured just days before being considered for Syrian Deputy Minister of Defense, Cohen provided Israel with detailed security maps of Syrian importance. This and other things that Cohen achieved contributed tremendously to Israel's sweeping victory over Syria in the Six Day War just two years later. Eli was caught after he sent a cable out at a time when apparently none were to be transmitted for testing of some sort. Cohen Be'ezrat Hashem achieved unthinkable ranks in the Syrian government -as an Israeli- and sacrificed his life for the people of Israel. Yehi Zichro Baruch. (Source: Life Magazine - July 9th, 1971)