July 28, 1923 — Opera Arrives in Palestine
Mordechai Golinkin’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata” in a movie theater marks the beginning of opera in the British Mandate of Palestine. Golinkin wrote his thesis in Moscow on “The Vision of the Hebrew Art Temple of Opera Work in Palestine” before trying to make that vision a reality. His Palestine Opera stages 16 productions by 1945, including “Dan Hashomer,” the first opera written in Hebrew.
July 29, 1891 — Pregnancy Test Developer Zondek is Born
Bernhard Zondek, the obstetrician-gynecologist behind one of the first reliable pregnancy tests, is born in Wronke, Germany, now in Poland. In 1928 he and Jewish colleague Selmar Aschheim develop the A-Z pregnancy test, which leads to the phrase “the rabbit died” for a positive result. After losing his job in Berlin in 1933 because of the Nazis, he moves to Mandatory Palestine in 1934 and works in hormone research at Hebrew University.
July 30, 1980 — Jerusalem Basic Law is Enacted
The Knesset passes Basic Law: Jerusalem, enshrining among the laws holding constitutional authority the official Israeli position that a united Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The U.N. Security Council responds Aug. 20 with Resolution 476, which rejects the law and urges U.N. members to move their embassies out of Jerusalem. Thirteen nations, most of them in Latin America, move their embassies to Tel Aviv.
July 31, 1988 — Jordan Drops Claim to West Bank
Jordan’s King Hussein announces that he is giving up political claims to the West Bank, although he seeks to retain influence over Jerusalem. His announcement leaves the PLO to serve as the representative of the Arab residents of the area. King Abdullah I, Hussein’s grandfather, annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1950 and changed the country’s name from Transjordan, but Jordan lost the territory in the June 1967 war.
August 1, 1955 — First Residents Move into Dimona
The development town of Dimona in Israel’s south welcomes its first residents, recent arrivals from Morocco, as Israel tries to settle immigrants who have been housed in tent cities. All of Dimona’s early residents are Mizrahim (Jews from Arab countries). Some work in the nearby Dead Sea Works potash plant, but many must travel long distances to work. Dimona gains municipal status in 1969, when the population tops 24,000.
August 2, 1923 — Shimon Peres is Born
Shimon Peres, the only person to serve as Israeli prime minister and president, is born in Belarus. Peres and his family make aliyah in 1934, settling in Tel Aviv. He is elected secretary of the Labor Zionist youth movement in 1941. He is elected to the Knesset in 1959 and first serves as prime minister in 1977. He shares the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for the Oslo Accords. He serves as president from 2007 to 2014.
August 3, 1945 — Horrible Conditions are Found in DP Camps
Earl Harrison, sent by President Harry Truman to check on the conditions in displaced-persons camps, reports that rumors of poor treatment are true in many cases. After visiting 30 DP camps in Germany and Austria, he finds that “we appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them, except that we do not exterminate them.” The report leads Truman to call for Britain to admit 100,000 Jewish refugees into Palestine.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.