Chairman of the Jewish Agency: Simcha Dinitz.
January 25: The head of the Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency, Uri Gordon, foresees the immigration of hundreds of thousands from the Soviet Union.
October 30: The Israeli government and the Jewish Agency sign an Agreement on the Absorption of Soviet Jews.
November: More than 11,000 Jews leave the Soviet Union, the first time the figure exceeds 10,000 a month.
November 11: Avraham Harman, head of the Israel Public Council for Soviet Jewry, urges that the Soviet Jews must be made aware that Israel not only wants them, but is prepared to take them all in, not 100,000 over three years (as suggested by the Israeli government), but as many millions as presented themselves. In a letter to the head of the Jewish Agency and the Minister of Absorption he writes that to plan for 100,000 over three years is "narrow and myopic."
In 1989, 71,000 Soviet Jews are given exit visas. 12,117 decide to go to Israel; 58,888 go elsewhere.
December: A record of 4,000 immigrants arrive during the month of December.
Zionist leader Moshe Kol (1911 - 1989) dies. He was a member of the Jewish Agency Executive, head of the Youth Aliya Department (1948-64), and, in 1948, a founder and leader of the Progressive Party, which joined the Liberal Party. Later he became leader of the Liberal Party. He was a Knesset member (1951-55, 59-73), Minister of Tourism and Development (1966-69) and Minister of Tourism (1969-77).
Immigrants 1989: 24,050, a 50% increase over the preceding year and the highest figure of the 1980s.
B'tselem - The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories is established by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members. It endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.
January 5 : Finance Minister Shimon Peres presents an austerity program to revive a troubled economy is adopted. The plan includes budget reductions of 550 million dollar and government subsidy cuts on food and gasoline of 220 million. The shekel is devalued by 8%.
January: Israel deports 13 Palestinians accused of aiding in the organization of the Intifada.
January: PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat holds his first official talks with the European Community. The committee of the foreign ministers of Spain, France, and Greece does not recommend recognition of the state proclaimed by the PLO.
January: Israel releases Faisal al-Husseini, most prominent West Bank PLO leader. He has spent 18 of the last 21 months in administration detention on charges of fomenting unrest. In February, Labor and Shinui party leaders will met with Husseini for the first time.
January: While testifying before the Senate, US Secretary of State designate James A. Baker refers to the US dialogue with the PLO and states: "the existence of the dialogue should not lead anyone to misunderstand our overall policy of to question our enduring support for the State of Israel. Nor have we altered our belief that an independent Palestinian state will not be a source of stability or contribute to a just and enduring peace.
February 15: The cost of living index for January is a high, 4.7%, attributable to the rise in the cost of subsidized goods and services.
February 16: Sgt. Avi Sasportas is kidnapped and shot to death while hitchhiking at the Hodaya junction. His body, which had been buried at the Givati junction in southern Israel, will be discovered on 7 May 1989.
February: A US State Department 1988 report on human rights conditions in 169 countries accuses Israel of a "substantial increase in human rights violations" in the West Bank and Gaza. It states that Israel's army was "untrained and inexperienced in riot control." The report notes the ability to assemble information about conditions in Israel because it is an open society with a free press.
February: Israeli forces kill five PLO terrorists in southern Lebanon and thwart an attempt to infiltrate Israel. The PLO admits responsibility. Israel requests the US to break off dialogue with the PLO. Secretary of State Baker decides to continue.
February: Foreign Minister Moshe Arens meets Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze in Cairo. Arens advises that Israel will not negotiate with the PLO. Shevardnadze later states that the Soviet Union may resume ties with Israel if Israel takes part in an international peace conference that includes the PLO.
February 26 : Israel and Egypt sign agreements returning the Taba strip to Egypt, settling a seven-year-old border dispute.
February: The Soviet freighter "Vita Novitsky" docks at Ashdod to load 80 tons of food and clothing donated by Israeli citizens for the victims of the November earthquake in Soviet Armenia. It is the first Soviet vessel in 22 years to call at an Israeli port.
In June, a group of 63 injured victims of the earthquake will arrive in Israel on El Al's first flight from the Soviet Union in order to be treated in Israeli hospitals.
February 28 : Likud candidates for mayor in municipal elections win seven cities that Labor had controlled. They include Tiberias, Beersheva, Petah Tikvah, Ashdod, Ramat Gan, and Holon. Jerusalem's mayor Teddy Kollek wins reelection but loses his majority on the city council.
March 5: The Israel Opera opens in the Noga theater in Jaffa.
March 27: El Al inaugurates two new routes, to Poland and to Hungary.
March: The US permits three PLO members to attend a private conference on the Middle East in New York. The State Department obtains a waiver of the 1974 law prohibiting entry into the US of members of groups advocating violence. The action is believed to be part of the US effort to encourage Israeli-PLO contacts as several left-wing members of the Knesset attend the conference.
March: Foreign Minister Moshe Arens meets US Secretary of State James A. Baker. After the meeting, Baker tells reporters: "We can and must find a way to move ahead which ... addresses Israel's legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people."
March: Ultra-Orthodox Israelis attack Jewish women holding a prayer service at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The women intended to read from the Torah scroll and are wearing prayer shawls.
March: An intelligence agency report to the Israeli cabinet concludes that Israel has no choice but to talk to the PLO in an effort to end the Intifada. There are no serious leaders other than the PLO, and the PLO has moved toward moderation.
March: In its first contact with the Bush administration, PLO officials in Tunis reject a request to reduce violence in the West Bank and in Gaza.
March: PLO leader Yasser Arafat is elected president of the self-proclaimed Palestinian state by the PLO Central Committee in Tunis. The PLO claims 114 nations have recognized the state.
April: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak confers with President Bush in Washington, D.C. President Bush says, "Egypt and the US share the goal of security for Israel, the end of the occupation, and the achievement of Palestinian political rights."
April: Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir confers with President Bush in Washington, D.C. Shamir proposes "free, democratic elections" to select representatives to negotiate with Israel to establish a "self-governing administration" in the West Bank and Gaza. Following an interim period, "a vital test of coexistence and cooperation", negotiations would begin. Bush expresses support for the peace plan.
April: PLO leader Yasser Arafat rejects Yitzhak Shamir's proposal for elections among the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
April: Rabbi Moshe Levinger, leader of the Gush Emunim West Bank settlers organization, is indicted for manslaughter by an Israeli court for the killing of a Palestinian.
April: PLO leader Yasser Arafat rejects Yitzhak Shamir's peace plan. He insists on UN supervised elections after the Israelis have withdrawn from the West Bank and Gaza, leading to the selection of representatives for negotiations on an independent Palestinian state.
May 3: A Palestinian terrorist stabs and kills two civilians and wounds three others near Zion Square in Jerusalem.
May 3: Hamas terrorists kidnap and kill Ilan Sa'adon, an Israeli soldier.
May 6: Intense rioting in the occupied territories results in four Arabs killed and some 150 wounded in confrontation with the security forces.
May 14: The Knesset approves Israel's peace plan. Shamir's proposal is part of a package of four proposals. (1) Strengthening of the peace between Israel and Egypt, on the basis of the Camp David Accords; (2) Seeking peace agreements with the other Arab states; (3) Trying to resolve the problem of the Arab refugees in the camps outside Israel; (4) Elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This initiative marks the begin of the peace process.
May 20: "Leaflet 40", issued by the underground leadership of the uprising, urges Palestinians to kill a soldier or settler for every "martyr" killed in a clash with troops. During May 1989, 35 Palestinians are killed and one Israeli soldier. This is the highest monthly death toll for more than a year.
May 28: Metula is barraged with Katyusha missiles.
May 31: Israeli planes attack terrorist headquarters in Lebanon.
May: While on an official visit to France, PLO leader Yasser Arafat responds to a question about the PLO charter provision that calls for the destruction of Israel. "I was elected on a political program founded on the basis of two states. As for the Charter, I believe there's an expression in French, c'est caduc - or null and void."
May: In a speech at an American-Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, Secretary of State James A. Baker calls on Israel "to lay aside once and for all the unrealistic vision of a greater Israel" and calls on Palestinians to "reach out to Israelis and convince them of your peaceful intentions."
May: Amnesty International reports that 1,000 Palestinians are being held by Israel in administrative detention. Israel argues that administrative detention is not illegal and is sanctioned under international law under special emergency conditions.
May: Inside Israel there is a growing protest with regard to the nature of the military service in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Moshe Negbi, a lawyer, accuses the army of military, legal, and moral betrayal of its soldiers. He says, that the army has given soldiers with moral compunctions the choice of either being passive accomplices or refusing to serve, an alternative which he rejects as likely to undermine the entire basis of Israel as a democratic state.
May: Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin is arrested. He had ordered the abduction of Israeli soldiers inside Israel. Yassin confirms during his interrogation that he ordered the establishment of a military element within Hamas and approved the drafting of terrorists, as well as the carrying out of terrorist attacks. He is tried in Israel and receives two life sentences for his involvement in these attacks.
June 5: President Chaim Herzog reduces the sentences of three Jewish underground prisoners. They will be released in 14 months, after having served a reduced prison term of 10 years, instead of the original sentence of life imprisonment. It is the third reduction in sentence that the president has granted to the three prisoners.
June 6: State Comptroller Miriam Ben-Porat publishes a list of contributors to the main political parties, causing a furor.
June 18: A resident of Ariel in the West Bank is stabbed to death by an Arab. Three days later, Jewish settlers in the occupied territories will attack Arabs at Geha Junction near Tel Aviv in retaliation for the stabbing in Ariel.
June 22: Prof. Menahem Stern, an Israeli historian and recipient of the Israel Prize, is stabbed to death by two teenage Arabs while walking through the Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem.
June 22: The shekel is devalued by 4.4%.
June: In a meeting in Tunis, the US formally asks the PLO not allow Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to take part in Israeli-sponsored elections.
June: The US vetoes a Security Council resolution deploring Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza.
June 29: Israel deports eight Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza to Lebanon, bringing to 55 the number of Palestinians forced into exile since the begin of the Intifada. The US and UN criticize the action.
July: Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir amends the peace plan in response to pressure from his own Likud party. He adds four conditions: (1) There will be no participation in the elections by East Jerusalem residents. (2) There will be no elections until the Intifada ends. (3) Israel will not give up any territory and no Palestinian state will be created. (4) Jewish settlements will continue to be established in the West Bank and Gaza. The move risks the government coalition with Labor.
July 6 : 16 people are killed at Telshe Stone when a bus 405 from Tel Aviv plunges into a ravine on the outskirts of Jerusalem as an Arab passenger wrenches the steering wheel from the driver.
July 7 - 8: Jewish settlers in the occupied territories riot in reaction to the bus attack.
July 23 : The Labor party votes to leave the government coalition. Later, the cabinet reaffirms Yitzhak Shamir's peace plan for Palestinian elections on the West Bank and Gaza as originally proposed. The cabinet action defuses a crisis that threatens the coalition government.
July: The Supreme Court rules the government must recognize conversions performed abroad by Reform and Conservative rabbis. In a separate ruling, the Court decides that Reform rabbis cannot perform marriages in Israel.
July: It is reported that the PLO would accept Yitzhak Shamir's peace plan if the US and Egypt send observers to oversee the elections, the residents of East Jerusalem vote, and Israel agrees to exchange land for peace.
July 28: Israeli commandos abduct Sheik Abdul Karem Obeid, a senor Hisbollah cleric and the regional Islamic Jihad commander, from his home in southern Lebanon. He is accused of supporting terrorist attacks into Israel. The kidnapping is criticized by the US and UN.
July 30: Ultra-Orthodox students at a Yeshiva near Nablus go on the rampage. A 13-year-old Palestinian girl is shot dead. During the trial, the head of the Yeshiva rises consternation as he tells the court: "The people of Israel must rise and declare in public that a Jew and a goy are not, God forbid, the same. Any trial that assumes that Jews and goyim are equal is a travesty of justice."
August: The US urges the PLO to accept Yitzhak Shamir's peace plan for Arab elections in the West Bank and Gaza. The PLO insists on a direct role in the negotiations and that a Palestinian state would be a result.
August: A steep rise in unemployment is reported midway in the month. The unemployment figure reaches 150,000.
August: Following the deportation of leading Intifada activists, clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli troops intensify. Shootings and stabbings of Israelis continue in the occupied territories, in southern Lebanon, and inside Israeli territory. Katyushas continue to land in the Galilee. The Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza begins a "tax rebellion".
August: Palestinians who wish to open a dialogue with Israel find themselves subjected to growing pressure. A meeting between the Mayor of Bethlehem, Elias Freij, and the Israeli Minister of Health, Yaakov Tsur has to be kept secret for fear that it might endanger Freij's life.
August: Yitzhak Rabin tells the officers at the IDF Staff College that the Intifada represented "the will of small groups to discover their national identity and demand its realization."
September: Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss an Egyptian 10-point peace plan. It includes a free election held under international supervision in West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem; setting a date for the beginning of negotiations for the final status of occupied lands; Israel is to agree to negotiate land for peace, while also protecting Israel's security; the halt of construction and expansion of settlements. Israel would not be required to talk to the PLO or accept the idea of a Palestinian state.
September 18 : Hungary establishes full diplomatic relations with Israel, ending a breach dating from the 1967 Six-Day War.
September 19: A major fire destroys large forested areas of the Carmel Park.
September 27: Peace activist Abi Natan is convicted to contact with the PLO and sentenced to six months in prison.
September 28: The Hamas organization is declared illegal.
October 11: A Syrian pilot flies a Mig 23 over Israeli airspace for seven minutes, lands at the Megido airstrip, and seeks asylum. The circumstances of the incident elicit criticism of the Israeli Air Force.
October 16: Extensive rioting by Arabs takes place in East Jerusalem.
October 22: The Taif Agreement, brokered by the Arab League, ends the Lebanese civil war. It provides for some constitutional reform and endorses the Syrian military presence in Lebanon. (More.)
October 30: A Lebanese fishing boat, apparently booby-trapped, explodes near an Israeli navy vessel off Rosh Hanikra.
October: The Soviet Union abstains from a UN General Assembly vote to reject Israel's credentials. It is the first time in seven years that the Soviet Union has not joined efforts, led by Muslim nations, to expel Israel from the UN. Israel is seated by a vote of 95 - 37, with 15 abstentions.
October: The US accuses Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of hampering peace efforts with "unhelpful" statements. Secretary of State Baker says: "Our goal all along has been to assist in the implementation of the Shamir initiative."
November: Israel agrees to accept the US plan to choose negotiators for limited self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza but seeks assurance that the PLO will not be involved in the negotiations.
November 3: Israel and Ethiopia resume public relations.
November 9: Katyusha barrages from Lebanon target northern Israeli settlements.
November 13 - 15: Prime Minister Shamir meets with US President George Bush in Washington, D.C. They fail to clear the way for peace talks. Israel blames the PLO for the delay. Bush expresses concern about Israeli methods used to suppress the Intifada and about Israel's military cooperation with South Africa.
November 19: The number of Yeshiva students not serving in the IDF is reported to have been 18,300 in 1988, four times the figure 20 years previously.
November 19: France resumes the sale of military equipment to Israeli after a hiatus of 21 years.
November: The US threatens to suspend all financial support for the UN if General Assembly recognizes the PLO as the "Provisional Government of Palestine." The US also condemns as "objectionable" a proposal to channel UN food aid in the West Bank and Gaza through the PLO. In December, Arab governments will withdraw these proposals.
December 6: US Secretary of State James A. Baker issues a five-point document which contains: "Israel will attend the dialogue only after a satisfactory list of Palestinians has been worked out."
December 30: Falafel poisoned by an Arab worker causes the hospitalization of two Jerusalem residents.
December 30: A large Peace Now rally in Jerusalem ends with dozens of participants injured when police break it up. 50 demonstrators are arrested.
December 31: Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir dismisses Minister of Science Ezer Weizman in light of his links with PLO personalities.
December: US Vice President Dan Quayle formally commits the Bush administration to repealing UN General Assembly Resolution 3379, which defines Zionism as "a form of racism and racial discrimination." It is the first time any US administration has formally committed itself to securing a repeal. Later in the month, the Soviet Union announces it would oppose repeal of the resolution.
December: 15 years after the rupture of diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Israel, the Israeli Embassy in Addis Abbeba is reopened. With the renewal of diplomatic relations, contact is made between people who had left Ethiopia for Israel and those who had remained behind. Families are instructed to make their way to Addis Abbeba and apply to the Embassy to bring them to Israel
December: B'tselem reports that about 607 Arabs have been killed by Israeli security forces since the Intifada began in December 1987. Another 28 apparently have been killed by Israeli civilians, and 166 alleged collaborators with Israel have been killed by Arabs.
December: The torching of cars in Jerusalem - an Intifada tactic - increases, as does the stoning of cars in various places in the country.
Amos Oz writes "To Know a Woman", a story about Yoel Ravid, a retired Israeli spy and his efforts to escape the past. A literary metaphor for Israel's permanent state of siege, the novel sells 45,000 copies within two weeks of its publication, a record for book sales in Israel.
"The Summer of Aviya", an Israeli film, wins the Silver Bear Award, the second highest, at the Berlin International Film Festival. It is the first Israeli film to take an award at the festival. It is the story of a 10-year-old Aviya, and her mother, Henya, a Holocaust survivor.
Israeli archaeologists who searched caves near the Dead Sea announce the discovery of a 2,000-year-old jug containing once fragrant oil, believed to be of the kind used to anoint the kings of Judah. The jug was found in the summer of 1988, but the announcement was delayed until early 1989, until tests verified that the oil was truly ancient..
January: The Dutch Parliament pardons two Nazi war criminals who were responsible for the deportation of over 100,000 Dutch Jews and who have been imprisoned since 1949. Ferdinand aus der Funten, 79, was SS commander of security police, based in Amsterdam, and Franz Fischer, 87, held a similar post in the Hague.
February: The first officially sanctioned Jewish cultural center is opened in Moscow. It is named after Solomon Mikhoels, Yiddish actor, cultural leader, and chairman of the Jewish Anti-Facist Committee who was killed in 1949 during a Stalinist purge.
February: The Vatican issues a document entitled "The Church and Racism", which contains the Vatican's first statement on anti-Zionism. It calls antisemitism "the most tragic form that racist ideology has assumed in our century." After distinguishing anti-Zionism, which "questions the State of Israel and its policies", from antisemitism, it comments that anti-Zionism "serves at times as a screen for antisemitism, feeding on it and leading to it."
February: A yeshiva for the training of rabbis, scholars, and teachers opens in Moscow. This first yeshiva in the Soviet Union is a joint project of the New York based Aleph Society and the Soviet Academy of Sciences. There will be 80 students. Three rabbis from Israel and two from the US will comprise the initial faculty.
May: French police capture Paul Touvier, France's most wanted war criminal. A colleague of Klaus Barbie, the Lyon Gestapo chief, he was in hiding in a Catholic priory in Nice operated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who in 1988 was excommunicated by the Vatican.
August: Cardinal Jozef Glemp, Poland's Roman Catholic primate, criticizes Jews who object to a convent at the site of the Auschwitz death camp and advises them not to talk "from the position of a people raised above all others ... Do you, esteemed Jews, not see that your pronouncements against the nuns offend the feelings of all Poles, and our sovereignty, which has been achieved with such difficulty? Your power lies in the mass media that are easily at your disposal in many countries." His remarks are criticized in a front-page editorial of Solidarity's daily newspaper.
August: YIVO enters into an agreement with the Lithuanian government, allowing it to photocopy 40,000 pages of documents, newspapers, and books left by YIVO in Vilna during World War II.
September: The Vatican urges the removal of the Carmelite convent from its site at Auschwitz. In its first public declaration on the controversy, it backs the 1987 accord signed by Catholic bishops and Jewish leaders and rejects the opposition of Poland's Cardinal Jozef Glemp.
October 3 : Joseph Wybran, a physician and head of the Coordinating Committee on Jewish Organizations in Belgium, is shot to death in a hospital parking lot in Brussels. His assailant is never apprehended. It is presumed, however, that his role as an activist leader in the Belgium Jewish community is the reason that he was targeted.
November: West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl ends a trip to Poland with a visit to Auschwitz. He writes in the visitors' book: "The warnings emanating from this place must never be forgotten. Unspeakable hurt was inflicted on various peoples here, but above all on European Jews, in the name of Germany."
December: More than 700 Soviet Jews, representing 175 Soviet Jewish organizations from 75 cities, and observers from around the world meet in Moscow in the first national conference of Soviet Jews in more than 70 years.
Stephen Sondheim, US composer and lyricist, has three hits on Broadway: first, a revival of "Sweeney Todd", produced in 1979; second, a revival of "Gypsy", a 1959 musical with lyrics by Sondheim and music by Jule Styne; third, Jerome Robbin's "Broadway", which contains scenes from two shows in which Sondheim was the lyricist, "West Side Story" and "Gypsy", and one, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1962), for which Sondheim did both music and lyrics.
American Jewish theater is booming with five plays on the New York stage in March. They are "Cafe Crown", a recollection of Second Avenue's Cafe Royale; "Songs of Paradise", a Yiddish revue that interprets events in the book of Genesis; "Chuchem", a tale drawn from the history of the Jews in Kaifeng; "Cantorial", a comedy about a couple moving into a chic apartment that was a Lower East Side synagogue; and "The Education of Hyman Kaplan", a musical based on Leo Rosten's hilarious stories.
Dr. Harold Varmus, US virologist, wins the Nobel Prize in medicine, shared with his colleague Dr. J. Michael Bishop, for their cancer research.
Sidney Altman is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
"Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie", a documentary film produced and directed by French filmmaker Marcel Ophuls wins an Academy Award.
The Jewish Museum in New York exhibits "Gardens and Ghettos: The Art of Jewish Life in Italy." It traces the evolution of Jewish life in Italy from Roman times to the modern era.