August 4, 1888 — Writer Yitzhaq Shami is Born
Yitzhaq Shami, one of the earliest writers of modern Hebrew literature, is born to an Arabic-speaking father and a Ladino-speaking mother in Hebron. His best-known work is a 1928 novella, “Vengeance of the Fathers.” Shami fills his stories and poems with Arabs and Mizrahi Jews, a rarity for the period. He survives the 1929 Hebron massacre by hiding in a friend’s home. He dies in Haifa in March 1949.
August 5, 1953 — Special Forces Unit 101 is Formed
Unit 101, an independent special forces section of the Israel Defense Forces, is formed with about 20 soldiers under the command of Ariel Sharon to provide a rapid response to terrorist attacks and border infiltrations. Unit 101’s independence ends after an October 1953 raid on the West Bank village of Qibya destroys 42 buildings, kills nearly 70 civilians and draws U.N. Security Council condemnation.
August 6, 2015 — Actress Orna Porat Dies
Stage and screen actress Orna Porat dies at 91 in Tel Aviv. She was born Irene Klein, a German Christian, in 1924. After World War II, she met a Jewish intelligence officer with the British army named Yosef Proter and fell in love. She moved with him to Palestine and converted to Judaism. She became a star over more than four decades at Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theatre and founded a children’s theater.
August 7, 1904 — Peace Negotiator Ralph Bunche is Born
Ralph Bunche, the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize winner, is born in Detroit. He moves from the State Department to the United Nations in 1946 and works with the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine in 1947. He is the No. 2 U.N. peace mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict until his superior, Count Folke Bernadotte, is assassinated. He negotiates a series of armistice deals between Israel and its neighbors in 1949.
August 8, 1924 — Cinema Advocate Lia Van Leer is Born
Lia Van Leer, a pioneer in Israeli film appreciation and creation, is born in Beltsy, Romania (now Moldova). She is visiting her sister, a dentist in Tel Aviv, when the Germans invade Beltsy in summer 1941, and she stays in Palestine. She marries engineer Wim Van Leer in 1952, and the two develop and promote a love of cinema. They create the Israel Film Archive in 1960, and she launches the Jerusalem Film Festival in 1984.
August 9, 2006 — Wider Lebanon Offensive is Approved
Israel’s Security Cabinet approves an expansion of the offensive in southern Lebanon nearly a month into the Second Lebanon War, which started when Hezbollah killed eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two others. The resolution authorizes attacks anywhere in Lebanon to achieve five goals, including the return of the kidnapped soldiers. A U.N.-brokered cease-fire ends the war Aug. 14.
August 10, 1920 — Treaty Dissolves Ottoman Empire
World War I’s victors and the Ottoman Empire sign the Treaty of Sevres to break up the empire. The treaty incorporates the Balfour Declaration’s language calling for “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. The Ottoman sultan, Mehmed VI, endorses the treaty, but the Turkish National Assembly, set up by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, rejects the pact. It is replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.