September 15, 2009 — Goldstone Presents Gaza War Report
Judge Richard Goldstone, a South African Jew who prosecuted 1990s war crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, presents his U.N.-sponsored report on the 2008-09 Gaza conflict. The report criticizes Israel and Hamas for their actions in the fighting. In April 2011 he recants parts of the report that suggest Israel intentionally killed civilians, and he acknowledges flawed investigative methods.
September 16, 1977 — Dayan Meets with Egyptian Official
Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan holds secret talks in Morocco with Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Hassan Tuhami to assess each side’s willingness to negotiate peace. Morocco’s King Hassan brokers the talks at Dayan’s request. Dayan meets with U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance soon after but does not mention the talks, which help set the stage for Anwar Sadat’s visit to Israel in November 1977.
September 17, 1948 — Lehi Assassinates U.N. Envoy
Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat sent by the United Nations in May to mediate between Israel and the Arabs during the War of Independence, is assassinated by members of Lehi (the Stern Gang). Bernadotte had arranged a monthlong cease-fire that went into effect June 11 and is working on a peace plan with international status for Jerusalem when he is killed. No one ever is charged.
September 18, 1949 — Compulsory Education Law is Implemented
The Compulsory Education Law goes into effect. It requires all children ages 5 to 15 to attend recognized educational institutions and provides for free elementary education; a 2009 law extends compulsory education through 12th grade. A provision allowing parents to send children to schools that are part of a recognized trend leads to separate public school systems for Arabs, religious Zionists and Haredi Jews.
September 19, 1988 — Satellite Ofek 1 is Launched
Israel launches its first space satellite, the 340-pound Ofek 1, from an undisclosed location. Named for the Hebrew word for horizon, Ofek 1 completes an orbit every 90 minutes at heights of 400 to 1,600 miles. The mission marks Israel as the ninth country able to launch a satellite and reveals its ballistic missile capability. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres declares the civilian project to be about technology, not an arms race.
September 20, 1890 — Poet Rahel Bluwstein is Born
Rahel Bluwstein, considered the founding mother of modern Hebrew poetry, is born in Russia. She begins writing poetry at age 15 and makes aliyah in 1909. After living in Rehovot and at a training farm along the Sea of Galilee, she studies agriculture in France, then settles at Kibbutz Degania in 1919. She is one of the first modern poets to write in Hebrew in a conversational style.
September 21, 2008 — Olmert Resigns as Prime Minister
Facing corruption charges on which he is later convicted, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigns. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, elected Sept. 17 as his replacement as the Kadima party leader, tries to form a new government but concedes her inability to do so Oct. 26. In an election in February 2009, Kadima wins the most seats, but it is Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu who forms a governing coalition.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.