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February 12: Ehud Barak

Ehud Barak, Israel’s 10th prime minister (1999-2001) and most highly decorated combat soldier in Israeli history, was born on Kibbutz Mishmar HaSharon on this date in 1942. He was trained in physics, mathematics, and engineering at Hebrew University and Stanford. Barak joined Israel’s armed forces in 1959 and served for thirty-five years, rising to the […]

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October 16: Moshe Dayan

Moshe Dayan, Israel’s military chief during the 1967 Six-Day War, who became the symbol of Israeli courage, nerve, and endurance, died at 66 on this date in 1981. Born on the Degania Kibbutz, Israel’s first, he was a fighter from the age of 15, and in 1941 lost his eye (and gained his signature eye […]

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May 18: The Liberal Republican

Jacob Javits, the last staunchly liberal Republican senator — he became a Republican in reaction to the corrupt Democratic politics of Tammany Hall — was born to pushcart peddlers on the Lower East Side on this date in 1904. Javits earned a degree in Columbia University night school, and a law degree from NYU in […]

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October 6: Sadat’s Assassination

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated on this date in 1981, the eighth anniversary of the 1973 war that was known in Israel as the Yom Kippur War. His assassins were members of Islamic Jihad, and their motivation was Sadat’s signing of a peace agreement with Israel in 1978, for which both he and Israeli […]

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May 18: Begin Comes to Power

Menachem Begin of the Likud Party became the sixth prime minister of Israel on this date in 1977, ending three decades of dominance by the Labor Party and by the original generation of Ashkenazi settlers and immigrants. (Though Begin was a Polish Jew, he was favored by the Mizrachi, who accurately saw the Labor Party […]

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