Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency and the WZO: Sallai Meridor.
Director General of the Jewish Agency: Giora Romm.
Treasurer of the Jewish Agency: Shai Hermesh.
July 14: More than 400 new immigrants to Israel from North America are greeted at Ben-Gurion Airport by a cheering crowd of Israelis composed of hundreds of friends, family, and well-wishers, a four-piece Israeli Defense Force Band playing “Mashiach, Mashiach,” and senior Israeli officials, including Prime Minster Ariel Sharon and Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu.
The group is part of an ongoing project led by Nefesh B’Nefesh - an organization that provides financial aid and social support to Americans and Canadians interested in permanently moving to Israel.
July 28: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon welcomes 200 French immigrants.
August 5: 250 North American Jews arrive in Israel following a similar number of French Jews last week. Israel hopes that immigration from the Western world will pick up again, after it had dropped sharply in the wake of the Intifada and of Israel's economic crisis. The group is brought to Israel by Nefesh B’Nefesh. Three weeks ago, the same organization has brought 500 immigrants from North America.
The newcomers are greeted by Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a decorated hangar at Ben-Gurion Airport Tel Aviv. Israel seeks to bring 1,500 US and Canadian Jews to Israel before the end of the summer. Government statistics reveal that the number of new immigrants dropped by almost two thirds between 2000 and 2003, from 61,000 to less than 25,000. Some citizens, namely from Russia, have even decided to return to their country of origin.
August 11: Some 230 North American Jews immigrate to Israel in one of three planeloads of North American immigrants to arrive in Israel over the last few weeks. The operation is sponsored by the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B'Nefesh. More than 1,500 North American Jews are scheduled to arrive in Israel this summer under the plan.
A total of 8,500 people have moved to Israel in the first half of the year.
September 8: The ground breaking ceremony for the "Jordan River Village Israel" takes place in the presence of President Moshe Katsav. Jordan River Village - Israel", will be the 8th camp in the "Hole In The Wall Camps" Association for sick children, founded by Paul Newman, and the first of its kind in Israel. The village will be open year round and will host Israeli and Arab children from Israel and and its neighboring countries.
September 28: The Jewish Agency launches a major campaign to attract newcomers to live in the Galilee.
October 21: The Jewish Agency announces that it will expand its activities in North America.
October 31: The "Pups for Peace" project is unveiled with a live demonstration in Jerusalem.
November 10: The Jewish Agency marks a decade of
Central Galilee-Michigan "Partnership 2000".
November 11: The Jewish Agency holds a festive bar mitzvah ceremony for the oldest Jewish day-school in Russia, the Lipman School in Moscow.
November 28: The Adiel Student Village is dedicated.
November 28: Jewish Agency Chairman, Sallai Meridor, welcomes the decision by the UN Human Rights Commission to condemn anti-Semitism.
December 9: David Goldberg, who has served many years as the director of the UJIA-Jewish Agency Israel Experience Department in the UK, is being awarded the President's Prize in recognition of his role as an educator.
December 12: 700 French youth arrive in Israel.
December 19: The Israeli cabinet has approved the MASA program which aims to bring 20,000 young Jews from around the world each year for a semester to year-long studying and volunteering in Israel. MASA is a joint project of the Jewish Agency and the Government. The project will be financed from three resources: the Jewish Agency and Keren Hayesod; the Government of Israel; and the families of program participants. MASA is an initiative of the Jewish Agency in response to the negative demographic trends in Jewish communities - a weakening connection with Israel and a rise in intermarriage - and an understanding on the part of Jewish communities that connecting the young generation to Israel will seriously contribute to strengthening Jewish identity.
December 27: Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency announce that with a fourth chartered plane to bring new Olim, scheduled to arrive December 28, the numbers of people who made Aliyah in 2004 will be highest in twenty years.
Nefesh B’Nefesh reports that they have brought nearly 3,000 North American Jews in 2004 alone, coming from 33 US states and 5 Canadian provinces.
The organization also reports that of the 1,600 newcomers that arrived in 2002-2003, 99% stayed in Israel, 93% have one of both spouses employed, 95 "Sabras" were born to the families, and 18 weddings took place.
December: Members of the Chicago Anshei Emet Synagogue visit the Beit Canada Absorption Center.
December: The year 2004 sees another low point in immigration to Israel, with 22,134 people coming to live here, the lowest number since 1988. Less than 4% of the American immigrants settle in the territories.
The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute releases “The Jewish People 2004: Between Thriving and Decline”, the first annual assessment.
July 1: Responding to a continuing series of Qassam rocket attacks on and near Sderot, Israel Defense Forces troops start a major operation codenamed "Operation Front Shield" in the northern Gaza Strip area of Beit Hanun and the Jabalya refugee camp.
July 3: This day marks the 100th anniversary of Theodor Herzl's death.
July 5: Ghaleb Majadele (Labor) is sworn in as a Member of Knesset and pledges to put the social problems of Israeli Arabs on the agenda. Majadele is the only Israeli Arab in the Knesset who is a representative of a non-Arab party. He replaces Avraham Burg who resigned last month.
July 5: The government approved the following appointments of new cabinet ministers: Minister without Portfolio Meir Sheetrit as acting Minister of Transportation; Gideon Ezra as acting Minister of Tourism, and Tzipi Livni as acting Minister of Housing and Construction.
July 6: Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom meets with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington and discusses the issue of unauthorized outposts in the West Bank. Powell explains Washington was disappointed with "the rate at which outposts had been removed."
July 7: Palestinians launch two Qassam rockets toward Sderot, injuring no one and causing no damage.
July 8: Five Israeli soldiers - among them two officers with the rank of colonel - are injured in the Gaza Strip when Palestinians fire an anti-tank missile and detonate a roadside bomb near their jeep.
July 8 : The Israeli government quietly seizes thousands of acres of Palestinian-owned land in and around east Jerusalem after a secret cabinet decision to use the 55-year-old Absentee Property Law against Arabs separated from farms and orchards by the vast security fence.
July 9: The International Court of Justice rules on July 9 that the West Bank separation fence violates international law, must be torn down, and that Palestinians harmed by the barrier must be compensated.
July 11: A 19-year-old Israel Defense Forces Sergeant of Bat Yam, is killed and 33 people are wounded when a bomb explodes at a bus stop on Sderot Har Zion Street in Tel Aviv. Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade claimed responsibility for the bombing.
July 11: The government decides to transfer responsibility for conversions from the Justice Ministry to the Prime Minister's Office. The move comes as part of an effort to increase the number of converts among immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
July 11: Some 700 Jewish and Arab children get together in Nazareth for a weeklong soccer camp called “Football for Peace” sponsored by the British Council, the University of Brighton (England) and the Education, Culture, and Sports Ministry.
July 12: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets with Labor party leader Shimon Peres to discuss the possibility of forming a national unity government.
July 13: The European Union and Israel sign an agreement on the Galileo European satellite radio navigation program.
July 15: Israel rises by one spot to reach the 22nd position on the United Nations' 2004 Human Development index - measuring the well being of 177 nations - issued by the UN Development Program.
July 20: The UN General Assembly passes Resolution ES-10 adopting the court's ruling.
July 20: Hezbollah snipers fire at an IDF post in the western sector of the Israeli- Lebanese border. Two IDF soldiers are killed. The attack brings the total number of fatalities along the northern border since the IDF withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000 to 19, a dramatic drop from the number of fatalities before the pullout.
July 20 : Israeli security officials, warning of possible violence by Jewish extremists aimed at derailing the plan for a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and scattered settlements in the West Bank, are bracing for a number of nightmare scenarios, including a bid to crash an aircraft into the Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount, or an attempt on the life of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Shin Bet head Avi Dichter cautions that there may be as many as 200 Jews who want to see Sharon dead, and would support dozens who could potentially take action. The dangers of incitement are cited as well, as rabbis and settlers debate whether violence is justified in battling an evacuation, less than 10 years after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Settlement supporters say the warnings could be used to delegitimize opponents of disengagement.
July 25: In a show of solidarity with the residents of the Gaza Strip settlements, between 130,000 and 200,000 people form a human chain from Jerusalem to Gush Katif to protest the disengagement plan.
July 29: Israel's new anti-ballistic missile, developed after the existing systems failed to take out all the Iraqi Scuds during the first Gulf War, succeeds in a trial run in the United States.
July 30: Suicide bombers target the embassies of Israel and the United States in the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent, killing three people.
July: "Clicka", a new 24 hour-a-day TV dating show, begins broadcasting.
August: The Disengagement Administration (Sela) is set up. Yonatan Bassi, a member of a religious kibbutz is appointed to head it, sparking an uproar in the national religious camp.
August 5: Goods produced in Jewish towns in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will no longer be allowed to enter the European Union tariff-free. Israel and the European Commission ink a deal designed to end a long running and politically charged dispute over the "rules of origin" for products from the settlements which were labeled "made in Israel".
August 6: A delegation of senior military officials from Egypt, including several generals, visit Israel and discuss ways to prevent arms smuggling from Egypt to Gaza and facilitate the implementation of the disengagement plan.
August 11: Seven Israelis and six Palestinians are wounded, and two Palestinians are killed in an attack by a suicide bomber south of the Israeli checkpoint at Qalandiyah, between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah.
August 12: Bnei Sakhnin, the first Israeli Arab soccer team to play in any European soccer competition, scores an easy 3-0 victory over Partizani Tirani of Albania on the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.
August 13: A total of 36 Israeli athletes competing in 15 disciplines will be participating in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Judoka Arik Ze'evi will carry the Israeli flag at the opening ceremony.
August 15: 2,700 Palestinian prisoners launch a hunger strike to protest against the conditions in Israeli prisons. They demand their families' right to visit, public phone boxes, the removal of separating glass panes in the visitor rooms, and the abolishment of humiliating personal searches. More than 3,000 people in Gaza demonstrate in support of the prisoners. Minister of the Interior Tzachi Hanegbi says, as far as he is concerned, the prisoners could starve to death. Prison warders make barbecues in the prison yards, fresh bread and cakes are baked to break the will of the prisoners.
August 16: Archaeologists announce that they had found a cave in the Judean Hills leading to the oldest baptismal site discovered to date - a huge water cistern decorated with evocative wall carvings where they believe John the Baptist anointed many disciples.
August 18: The Likud convention votes against allowing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to bring Labor into the ruling coalition. Sharon makes it known before the ballots are cast, that he will not consider the results binding.
August 19: Judoka Arik Ze'evi wins the Olympic Bronze medal in Athens after beating Dutch judoka Elco van Der Geest.
August 20: Author and member of the Knesset Moshe Shamir dies aged 83.
August 23: Noam Tibon, commander of the Nahal Brigade, criticizes the treatment of Palestinians at the roadblocks and checkpoints of the Israeli Army.
August 24: A European Union Commission is scheduled to hold negotiations with Foreign Ministry officials on Israel’s participation in the Wider European Initiative. The Wider Europe/New Neighborhood Policy is an initiative to upgrade the EU's relations with a circle of some 14 countries bordering the enlarged EU. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to give free access to goods, services, capital, and people for the countries involved.
August 24: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan criticizes the scheduled expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Recent tendering procedures for new buildings contradict the principles of the Roadmap.
August 24: The number of Israeli fatalities in the current conflict with the Palestinians exceeded 1,000 according to the Israel Security Agency. Only two of the country's wars - the War of Independence and the Yom Kippur War - have claimed more Israeli lives than the current wave of Palestinian terror, which began on September 29, 2000. In the Six-Day War, 803 Israelis lost their lives, while the War of Attrition claimed 738 Israeli lives along the borders with Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.
According to Israeli numbers, the current conflict has killed 2,124 Palestinians. The figures show that of the various Palestinian groups and organizations, Hamas has suffered the highest number of fatalities: 466. Fatah's Tanzim organization has lost 408 members and Islamic Jihad, 205. The Palestinian security forces - Force 17, the Palestinian police, General Intelligence, and the counter security apparatus - have lost 334 members.
August 25: Israel celebrates its first gold at the Athens Olympics, as Gal Fridman takes the top prize in the windsurfing competition.
August 26 : In a visit to the West Bank, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson tries to persuade Palestinians that an unarmed, popular struggle can succeed.
August 27: The UN is concerned about the hunger strike of thousands of Palestinian prisoners. UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larson calls for talks about the prisoners' demands. 800 prisoners discontinue the hunger strike after concessions in the Ashkelon prison. 3,200 Palestinian prisoners are not affected and continue their strike.
August 27: Israeli archeologists have uncovered a 5,000-year-old Canaanite city and a 2,000-year-old Jewish village from the Second Temple period alongside each other in the Modi'in area.
August 28: The FBI investigates a mid-level Pentagon official, Pentagon desk officer Larry Franklin, who specializes in Iranian affairs for allegedly passing classified information to Israel.
August 30: The 800 Palestinian prisoners in Ashkelon continue the hunger strike after the prison management cancels the concessions.
August 31: Within minutes explosions take place in two Beer Sheva city buses. 16 people are killed, 100 wounded. Hamas Hebron claims responsibility for the bombings. See also: Beer Sheva bombing.
August: Qassam rockets hit the Negev town of Sderot throughout August.
September 2: The Palestinian prisoners discontinue the hunger strike.
September 5: Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decides to place Tali Fahima in administrative detention.
September 6: The launch of a new spy satellite is an expensive failure as the Ofek 6 crashes into the sea shortly after takeoff.
September 7: Fourteen Hamas members are killed following an Israel Air Force strike near the Jebalya refugee camp.
September 7: Israel releases 137 Palestinian prisoners.
September 7: Three lions born in Israel are transported through a separation barrier to the Palestinian zoo of Qalqiliya in the West Bank.
September 7 : In debates over whether to hold a national referendum on disengagement, some say such a poll is the only way to gauge the public's actual feelings towards the plan. Others, including the prime minister, dismiss it as a delaying tactic.
September 8: A booby-trapped car explodes next to Israeli security personnel at the Baka al-Sharkiyah checkpoint, near the Green Line. The Palestinian driver of the car is killed in the blast.
September 9: El Al airline publishes the "Handbook for Observant El Al passengers", an information brochure for its religious Jewish passengers who sometimes disturb other people by flooding the aisles to pray during flights, giving them information on how to pray seated.
September 9 - 10: The Israel Defense Forces continue their operation in the northern Gaza Strip. Seven Palestinians are killed and 50 are wounded.
September 10: 200 personalities from the far right publish a petition against the disengagement from Gaza. The evacuation of settlements is marked as a "crime against humanity." Among the signatories are Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's father and brother.
September 11-14: The International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism holds its 4th international conference, entitled "Terrorism's Global Impact."
September 12: Tens of thousands of Jewish settlers demonstrate in Jerusalem against the disengagement plan. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accuses the settlers to instigate a civil war.
September 14: A suicide bomber riding on a bicycle blows himself up near an armored IDF jeep at an agricultural gate, south of Qalqilyah, injuring two IDF soldiers.
September 14: The Israeli cabinet approved plans to compensate settlers who are due to leave the Gaza Strip in a 9-1 majority.
September 15 - 18: The IDF operates in Nablus and Jenin. Several Palestinians, among them an eight-year-old girl, are killed.
September 19: Hamas leader Chaled Abu Salmieh is killed when two missiles are fired from an Israeli helicopter.
September 20: A Qassam rocket is fired at Sderot.
September 21: The Histadrut launches an open-ended strike in order to force to government to pay owing salaries. Several municipalities are at the brink of bankruptcy and have not paid salaries for months.
September 22: Two border policemen are killed and 17 people wounded in a suicide bombing carried out by a female terrorist at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem.
September 22: The Middle East Quartet (UN, EU, USA and Russia) criticizes that no decisive progress is made in the implementation of the Roadmap.
September 24: Israeli writer Amos Oz is awarded the Welt Literature Prize.
September 28: In the four years of the Intifada 3.549 Palestinians and 1.017 Israelis have been killed. Among the killed Palestinians are 772 children and youth. 703 Israeli civilians and 314 soldiers have been killed. The Palestinians perpetrated 13,508 attacks, 138 of them suicide bomber attacks. Israel assassinated 159 Palestinians.
September 29: On the eve of the Sukkot holiday two children are killed by a Qassam rocket fired at their Sderot home in southern Israel by Hamas terrorists.
October: During the first half of the month, Israel launches a large-scale operation aimed at ending deadly rocket fire from the northern Gaza Strip. Some 138 Palestinians are killed in the operation, around 80 of them armed men.
October 5: Israeli soldiers kill Iman el Hams, a 13-year-old girl in the southern Gaza Strip. She is hit by 20 bullets, 5 of them in her head.
October 7: A total of 35 people are killed in terror attacks in two Sinai holiday resorts frequented by Israelis: 29 at the Taba Hilton and three at Ras-a-Satan. Twelve Israelis are killed and 120 wounded. See also: Sinai bombings.
October 11: After the death of Iman el Hamsl, the IDF investigates a commander. A soldiers reports that the commander approached her and fired two bullets into her head. Then he emptied a whole magazine on her.
October 14: 100,000 Israelis march in cities throughout Israel to protest Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan under the slogan "100 cities support Gush Katif and Samaria".
October 17: Singer and composer Uzi Hitman dies.
October 20: Israeli President Moshe Katsav arrives in Austria in the first-ever visit by an Israeli president.
October 25: The IDF enter the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis. According to defense officials, over 200 mortar shells were fired at Gush Katif settlements from the area of Khan Yunis during October.
October 25: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon addresses the Knesset at the opening of its discussions on the disengagement plan. He emphasizes that Israel has no desire to rule over millions of Palestinians who double their numbers in every generation.
October 26 : The Knesset gives decisive backing to the disengagement plan with a vote of 67 in favor and 45 against it, but the plan continues to cause instability within the ruling coalition. Cabinet ministers Uzi Landau (Likud) and Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) and deputy minister Michael Ratzon (Likud) are among those who vote against the bill. In accordance with the warning he had given those within the Government who oppose his plan, Sharon fires Landau and Ratzon immediately after the vote.
October 26: The commander who shot 13-year-old Iman el Hams is arrested.
October 27: Following the Knesset vote in favor his disengagement plan, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon faces down rebels ministers from his Likud party, saying he would not give in to threats to hold a national referendum. Minister of Finance Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Education Limor Livnat, Minister of Health Dan Naveh and Minister of Agriculture Yisrael Katz threaten minutes after the vote that they will resign in two weeks if Sharon fails to heed a National Religious Party demand for a referendum.
October 28: Rania Iyad Aram, an 8-year-old Palestinian girl, is walking to school when Israeli soldiers at an army outpost near the Jewish settlement of Ganei Tal kill her with random machine gun fire. 617 Palestinian and 116 Israeli minors have been killed since the beginning of the Intifada on 29 September 2000.
October 28 : Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat's sharply deteriorating health and subsequent hospitalization in Paris begin to dominate the news in late October. So do Israeli and Palestinian efforts to prepare for the consequences of his absence.
October 28: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon inaugurates Ben-Gurion Airport's newest international terminal, Terminal 3. Conceived in 1994 under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Terminal 3, better known as Ben-Gurion 2000, was supposed to harness the economic boom of the mid-'90s and the region's peaceful avenue. Due to a series of delays and obstacles, Ben-Gurion 2000 quickly became synonymous with the slow and often-costly progress of modern infrastructure.
November 1: Three people are killed and over 30 wounded in a suicide bombing at the outdoor Carmel Market in Tel Aviv.
November 2: The new Unwire Jerusalem program, which provides free wireless Internet access in selected public places, is launched.
November 3: The Knesset moves to give generous compensation packages to 8,800 Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip and West Bank for leaving their homes.
November 4: Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak announces his return to political life in a bid to regain the leadership of the Labor Party.
November 4: Bank Leumi will pay Holocaust victims or their heirs an amount between US$ 8 million and 67 million, far less than originally thought.
November 7: A Hezbollah Drone flies over northern Israel.
November 9: Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lifts his resignation threat, saying "In this new situation [the death of Yasser Arafat], I decided to stay in the government".
November 11: With Yasser Arafat's death, the Palestinians find themselves the focus of a renewed international diplomatic drive, as they prepare for life without their veteran leader.
November 11: Minister of Social Welfare Zevulun Orlev of the National Religious Party leaves the government. The NRP's attempts to demand a referendum on the Gaza disengagement plan are to no avail.
November 18: An Israel Defense Forces tank crew mistakenly fires on and kills three members of the Egyptian security forces near the Israel-Egypt border in the Rafah area of Gaza. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon apologizes to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
November 18: Mahmoud Abbas, the new PLO leader, promises to ensure calm and to take steps to halt the use of illegal arms and stem the chaos prevailing in some Palestinian areas, ahead of the January 9th elections for president of the Palestinian Authority.
November 21: Yad Vashem inaugurates an Internet database listing the names of three million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
November 22: A swarm of locusts reaches Eilat.
November 23: Former chief of staff Rafael Eitan drowns in the harbor of Ashdod.
November 23: The National Insurance Institute publishes a report on poverty in Israel. In 2003, 1,426 people lived below the poverty line, among them 642,000 children. Jerusalem is the poorest city.
November 25: Moshe Rivlin, the "national ranger" dies.
November: 50% of Israeli households are hooked up to Internet, more than twice as much as in U.S.
December 1: The centrist Shinui party leaves the government in protest over budgetary funding to the ultra-Orthodox.
December 4 : With Shinui gone from the government, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon turns his attention to Labor, but first has to win the approval of his own Likud party's central committee.
December 5 : In an initial sign of warming ties after a four-year freeze, Egypt frees an Israeli jailed for spying and Israel releases six Egyptian students who infiltrated across the border.
December 7: An Israel Defense Forces soldier is killed and four others are wounded in a pre-dawn attack today northwest of the Karni Crossing in the central Gaza Strip.
December 10 : Israel celebrates its first ever Nobel Prize for scientific achievement, as professors Avraham Hershko and Aharon Ciechanover are awarded the honor for their work in Stockholm.
December 12: Five Israel Defense Forces soldiers from the Bedouin Desert Reconnaissance Battalion are killed and six are wounded when a tunnel filled with explosives blows up underneath an IDF post near the Rafah terminal in the southern Gaza Strip. The Rafah crossing is closed.
December 13: Israel Air Force helicopters fire around six missiles at targets in Gaza City.
December 14 : PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah's candidate to replace Yasser Arafat as Palestinian Authority chairman, reiterates his opposition to an armed intifada, for the first time since Arafat's death.
December 14: Israel and Egypt sign an historic trade accord in Cairo. The deal states that goods jointly manufactured by Israeli and Egyptian companies, in three Qualified Industrial Zones in greater Cairo, Alexandria and the Suez Canal, could gain tariff-free entry to the United States, as long as 35 percent of the exports are jointly produced by Egypt and Israel, and that the Israeli component constitutes at least 12 percent.
December 16: Nearly 5,000 mortar shells have landed in Gush Katif since the start of Palestinian violence four years ago, killing four people and injuring over a hundred.
December 16: Speaking at the closing session of the Herzliya Conference on Thursday night , Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declares 2005 a year of "great opportunity," and calls on the Palestinians and neighboring Arab countries not to miss a historic chance to reach an agreement with Israel.
December 18: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Labor Party leader Shimon Peres agree on a new coalition government.
December 22: Yad Vashem openly criticizes Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip who protest against their re-settlement by wearing the so-called Jewish Star. Under the Nazi rule, Jews were forced to wear a Yellow Star when in public. Yad Vashem director Avner Shalev warns that the settlers' plan "perverts the historical facts and damages the remembrance of the Shoah." Some radical settlers have announced that they will fight their deportation from the occupied areas with every possible means and that they would take the risk of being jailed for unlawful actions. The settlers have chosen to wear orange stars to denote the color of the Gaza Settlements Council and the campaign against disengagement.
December 23 : Competing in Palestinian elections for the first time, Hamas candidates win election to about a quarter of local councils in the West Bank.
December 23: Israel and Jordan agree to ease trade barriers and phase in the first free trade agreement between Israel and an Arab state by the end of 2010
December 26 : The devastating tsunamis in Southeast Asia leave at least 150,000 people dead and millions homeless. Israel offers aid to stricken countries as it embarks on its own search for missing nationals in an area popular with young back-packing Israelis.
December 27: The residents of the Gaza settlement of Pe'at Sadeh become the first settlers to agree to be relocated.
December 29: B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, publishes the 2004 Summary Statistics.
December 29: Five people are charged in Jerusalem District Court with running a sophisticated antiquities forgery ring that created hundreds of fake biblical artifacts, including some that were hailed as among the most important archaeological objects ever uncovered in the region.
December: The Report of the Knesset Inquiry Committee on the Location and Restitution of the Assets (in Israel) of Holocaust Victims is presented to the Knesset.
December: 2004 is a year of successes for the Israeli film. Eighteen home-grown films are screened at theaters across Israel and bring out a record number of viewers - 1.3 million people, double the number of viewers in 2003. The most successful Israeli movies in 2004. Another successful movies are Eran Riklis' "The Syrian Bride" and Gid Dar's and Shuli Rand's "Ushpizin", the first movie from and about Haredim.
The End of December marks 70 years since the death of national poet Haim Nahman Bialik. His work enters the public domain.
Some 1.4 million tourists visit Israel in 2004, a 44% increase over last year. The Western Wall is still the site most frequented by foreign tourists, despite the relative increase in the percentage of Christian visitors compared to Jewish ones. Some 33 percent of tourists during the first half of 2004 were Christians, compared to 27 percent in the corresponding period of 2003, according to the Geocartography polling firm, which conducted the survey for the ministry. Jewish tourism's slice of the pie dropped to 52 percent in the first half of 2004, compared to 57 percent in the first six months of 2003. Some 53 percent of tourists visited the Western Wall. Other popular sites included Old Jaffa (28 percent), the Mount of Olives (26 percent) and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (25 percent).
Air pollution in Modi'in, many of whose residents moved there to escape big-city pollution, is among the worst in the country, according to 2004 Environment Ministry statistics.
1,000 political refugees seek asylum in Israel in 2004.
About 700 Palestinians and 109 Israelis die in attacks and shootings in 2004, while house demolitions in Gaza leave almost 4,000 Palestinian homeless.
July 9: The Catholic Church condemns anti-Zionism as a cover for anti-Semitism in a joint statement issued by a forum of Catholic-Jewish intellectuals. "We oppose anti-Semitism in any way and form, including anti-Zionism that has become of late a manifestation of anti-Semitism," the statement says.
This is the first time that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism have been equated by the Catholic Church. The statement also includes a stern condemnation of terrorism, particularly terror in the name of faith.
August: The Jewish community in Athens opens the first kosher restaurant since WW II.
August: Germany has paid $3,000 each to over 130,000 former slave laborers. This is the final payment under a settlement reached some 55 years after the end of World War II. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany says the payments totaled over $400 million, making it the largest sum ever paid out to Holocaust survivors in one day. People living in 62 countries, whose average age is 79 years, have received payments.
Germany's € 5 billion Holocaust fund was set up in 2000. Half of the money came from the government, with German business providing the rest. The fund has now paid out more than $ 1.3 billion to Jewish victims. A further $218 million has come from a separate fund set up by Swiss banks in 1998.
August: A Jewish community center on Popincourt street in the 11th district in Paris is destroyed by arsonists, as well as defiled by anti-Semitic graffiti including "Jews get out" and "Without the Jews, the world is happy".
September: A new movie features the final days of Adolf Hitler: "Der Untergang" - "The Downfall". The film tells the story of the last 12 days of Hitler's life in his "Führerbunker" in Berlin, while Soviet troops are closing in on the German capital. Hitler is played by award-winning Swiss actor Bruno Ganz.
September: The 620 members of the Jewish community in the city of Rostock, in northeastern Germany, will receive the keys for their new community center.
September: For the fifth time, the "European Day of Jewish Culture" is held in 23 European countries. Present and past sites of Jewish worship and activities can be visited, including formerly Jewish quarters in inner-cities. For example, 20 Spanish historic towns with formerly large Jewish populations, including Toledo, Segovia and Cáceres, take part in the celebrations. Seminars and conferences on Jewish culture and history are held, and guided tours offered. In Italy, synagogues open their doors to visitors, and in Milan, an inter-religious meeting is opened. The day's main organizer is the European Council of Jewish Communities.
September: President Jacques Chirac makes US film director Steven Spielberg a knight in the French Legion of Honor, hailing him as a great filmmaker committed to fighting hatred and intolerance.
September: A 86-year-old former commander of a Nazi special forces unit faces court in the German city of Munich. He is charged with murdering 164 people in Czechoslovakia at the end of World War II. With suspects and potential witnesses dying of old age, the trial of Ladislav Niznanksy, who led the so-called "Edelweiss" unit which hunted down and killed Slovak resistance fighters, may be one of the last of its kind.
September: Around 20,000 people who are financially compensated for being evicted from their apartments by the Nazis will receive additional restitution payments of € 1,000.
September: The US Library of Congress in Washington, DC, opens the exhibition "From Haven to Home" on 350 years of Jewish life in America. September 2004 marks the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the first Jewish immigrants in the United States. Whilst the exact date of their arrival is unclear, a document dated 07 September 1654, mentions 23 men, women and children who arrived on a French ship, the St. Catherine, which had rescued them from pirates in the Caribbean where they had been captured after fleeing persecution in Brazil.
September: The speaker of the Knesset, Reuven Rivlin, whilst on a visit to Slovakia, presents 12 "Righteous among the Nations" decorations to Slovakian citizens in Bratislava.
September: Sarajevo’s 700-member Jewish community has re-consecrated its Old Synagogue, which had been a Jewish museum since World War II. Services are held and the traditional melodies of the Sephardic Jewish liturgy are sung there for the first time in more than 60 years on Rosh Hashanah.
September: The Jewish newspaper "Tribune Juive" returns to French newsstands. The first edition of the re-designed newspaper is published under a new editor, the broadcaster and journalist Ivan Levai. The publication was temporarily halted in 2003.
September: Philip Roth publishes "The Plot Against America". Roth, one of America's most prominent writers, imagines in the new novel that flying ace Charles Lindbergh, who in real life had contacts with leading figures in Nazi Germany, is elected president of the United States. American Jews see their rights gradually curtailed until they are engulfed in a nightmarish wave of anti-Semitic pogroms.
September: The president of Austria, Heinz Fischer, unveils a plaque commemorating Oberst Robert Bernardis, an officer in the German Wehrmacht who was the highest-ranking Austrian solider to participate in the failed 20 July 1944 attempt to overthrow Hitler and his regime. Fischer and other Austrian government and party officials pay tribute to former Lieutenant Bernardis, who was executed together with other collaborators after the coup had failed and Hitler survived a bomb explosion in his "Wolfschanze" headquarters. The Austrian president, who unveils the plaque at a barracks in the provincial city of Enns, alludes to the length of time it took to recognize Bernardis, saying the honor came "late, but not too late." The granite plaque reads: "With Bernardis, we honor the resistance to criminal National Socialism."
September: A delegation of Libyan Jews living in Italy meets with Colonel Muammar Ghadhafi, the Libyan leader. The group is invited by the Libyan government to forge ties and determine compensation for abandoned Jewish communal property in Libya.
September: A bill to create a special office within the US State Department to monitor international anti-Semitism has passed its parliamentary hurdle. The "Global Anti-Semitism Awareness/Review Act" is approved by the House of Representatives. The bill, which now requires approval by the US president, requires the State Department to create an office to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, and to file a report on anti-Jewish incidents around the world.
September: With calls for tolerance and coexistence among cultures and religions, a rabbinical congress has opened in the Spanish city of Córdoba. 150 rabbis from around the world are honoring the Jewish Cordovan philosopher and scientist Maimonides (1134-1204), whose values and moral principals, according to participants, are still applicable in today's world.
October: For the first time, Romania officially commemorates the persecution and the murder of the Romanian Jewry. In his speech in the Parliament, President Ion Iliescu recalls that the military dictatorship of Antonescu killed 250,000 Jews in Romania and in territories occupied by Romania.
October 8: Jacques Derrida, Algerian-born French literary critic and philosopher, dies. He is considered the first to develop "deconstruction."
October 22 - November 4: The Sao Paulo Film Festival shows Amos Gitai's movie "Kedma".
December 28: Susan Sonntag, American essayist, novelist, Left-leaning intellectual and controversial activist, dies in New York.
December 29 : Jerry Orbach, who’s Broadway career moved him to staring in movies and later land the lead role as Detective Lennie Briscoe in the long-running series "Law and Order", dies at 69.
December 29: New evidence emerges that Pope Pius XII opposed the return of Jewish children to their parents after the Nazi’s defeat. The evidence is uncovered in diaries kept by Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII, from 1945 to 1948 when Pius XII was pope and Cardinal Roncalli was papal nuncio to Paris. The entries indicate that in 1946, Pius XII, who has frequently been accused of anti-Semitism, sent a message ordering that Jewish children who had been baptized as Christians after being separated from their parents, should not be returned unless they could be guaranteed a Christian upbringing. Roncalli is known to have found ways to defy the papal orders, but his methods were not detailed in the diaries. Amongst the first things Roncalli did as pope in 1960 was to include a repudiation of anti-Semitism in the agenda of the Second Vatican Council.
The Jewish Museum in New York exhibits: Innovator, Activist, Healer: The Art of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis; Arnold Newman; Collective Perspectives: New Acquisitions Celebrate the Centennial; Modigliani: Beyond the Myth; My America: Art from The Jewish Museum Collection, 1900-1955; and Focus on the Soul: The Photographs of Lotte Jacobi.
Richard Axel is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Irwin Rose is rewarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
David J. Gross and H. David Politzer are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.