1300 BCE - 1996 CE

Israelite

Kingdom of Israel

First Temple

Second Temple

Bar Kochba Revolt

Spanish Expulsion

Early Zionism

The State of Israel


B.C.E.

C1300-1200: EXODUS TRADITION AND ENTRY INTO THE LAND OF CANAAN (ISRAEL)

If the exodus tradition in the Torah and the conquest tradition in the Bible are accurate, the events appear to have taken place in the late thirteenth century b.c.e. and perhaps the beginning of the twelfth century. There are those historians who believe that the story of the entrance into the land of Canaan as it appears in the Bible is a compression of a whole series of events which reflect a number of waves of entry into the Land. According to this idea all of these waves took place in the thirteenth century.

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C1200: THE PHILISTINES SETTLE ON THE CANAANITE COAST

The Philistines who came from the area of the Agaean sea and the Greek islands, were part of a group of Sea Peoples that left that area and sought new lands in the eastern Mediterranean. The particular group that we call the Philistines took over the southern area of the coast of Canaan at around this time and created a state based on towns like Ashdod, Ashkelon and Gaza, that would in the future prove to be a major threat to the Israelite tribe

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C1200-1050: THE PERIOD OF THE JUDGES

This refers to a new group of charismatic leaders who rose to the leadership of the Israelite tribes in this period principally because of their military ability. The tribes were embroiled in local military problems and needed a new leadership group to enable them to survive.

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C1050: THE PHILISTINES DEFEAT THE ISRAELITE TRIBES IN BATTLE AND PUT THEM UNDER OCCUPATION

The clash between the two growing and dynamic forces in Canaan, the Philistines and the Israelites, occured when the Philistines started to move eastwards in the mid-11th century. The Philistines won a decisive battle and the Ark of the Covenant, the holiest object of th Israelites, was taken captive. There followed a period of occupation in which the dominant figure from the Israelite point of view was Samuel whose untiring work appears to have kept the Israelite confederation from going under and disappearing.

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C1020: SAUL BECOMES FIRST ISRAELITE KING

After a period of approximately thirty years of occupation, it was felt necessary to change the system of government into a monarchy. The tribal elders supported the move while Samuel resisted it, but in the end it was accepted and Saul of Benjamin was chosen as the first king.

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C1000: DAVID BECOMES KING

At around the turn of the millenium, the kingship changed hands. Saul died in battle and David, the young Judean warrior who was first nominated as king by his own tribe, was accepted as the national leader by all of the tribes who then saw him crowned in Hebron.

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C990: DAVID CONQUERS JERUSALEM

David, realising the need for a new capital that would not be in his own tribal area, something which could open him up to the charge of favouring his own tribe of Judah, decided to conquer a city that belonged to no tribe and to turn it into his new capital. He chose Jerusalem, then under the control of a group called the Jebusites and took the city with his own soldiers, thus rendering it the personal property of the king. He then transformed it into his capital and the Ark of the Covenant into the town, bringing to the new capital the aura of the great and holy traditions associated for generations with the Ark.

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C960: SOLOMON BECOMES KING

After David's death his son Solomon took over the reigns of government after an intense leadership struggle with one of his own brothers.

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C950: SOLOMON BUILDS THE TEMPLE After some ten years of office, Solomon built the Temple as part of the great building operations that he carried out in Jerusalem, to glorify his capital and his reign. In the new Temple was housed the Ark of the Covenant which his father had brought to Jerusalem a generation previously.

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928: NORTHERN TRIBES SECEDE. THE NORTHERN KINGDOM OF ISRAEL IS FORMED

At Solomon's death, his son Reheboam took over as king and proved unable to still the unrest that had grown up in the north of the country over Solomon's harsh taxation and social policies. As a result all the northern and central tribes seceded. Now there were two Jewish kingdoms, Judah in the south and Israel in the north.

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722: THE NORTHERN KINGDOM FALLS TO ASSYRIA

After two centuries of precarous existence partly due to to inter tribal rivalry within the kingdom, the northern kingdom finally fell to the powerful Assyrian empire based in northern Iraq of today.

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715: JUDAH EXPERIENCES REFORM UNDER HEZEKIAH

As part of an attempt to strengthen his small kingdom against Assyrian aggression, King Hezekiah of Judah introduces major religious reforms, cleansing the kingdom of pagan influences and increasing the centralisation of the religious ritual of Judah.

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704: HEZEKIAH REVOLTS AGAINST ASSYRIA

Despite the advice of the Prophet Isaiah, Hezekiah joined a revolt against Assyria.

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701: ASSYRIAN INVASION. PART OF JUDAH LAID WASTE

The Assyrians under their emperor, Sennacherib, devastated the northern area of Judah, destroying many of the towns such as Lachish. Finally having extracted a huge ransom, Sennacherib withdraws during a seige of the capital, Jerusalem.

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C630-620: JUDAH EXPERIENCES FURTHER RELIGIOUS REFORM UNDER JOSIAH

Almost a century after Hezekiah's reform program, Judah experienced a more extensive and far reaching reform under King Josiah. Once again pagan aspects of religion which had become popular were outlawed and a strong program of religous centralisation and reform took place.

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604: JUDAH SUBMITS TO BABYLONIAN CONTROL

The new eastern power Babylon (centred in today's central Iraq), having defeated Assyria for control of the east, campaigns in the region and among other things gains effective control over Judah, who now becomes a tribute paying vassal of Babylon.

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601: JUDAH REVOLTS AGAINST BABYLON

After the Babylonians are held to a tie in battle with Egypt and return to Babylon, the king of Judah, Jehoiakim, decides to withhold tribute and in effect, to rebel against Babylon.

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597: REBELLION PUT DOWN. FIRST BABYLONIAN EXILE.

An army having been sent from Babylon to put down the rebellion succeeds in its task. Several thousand people from the Judean leadership classes are taken prisoner and are exiled to Babylon. They include the king and parts of the royal family. The king's uncle is appointed by the Babylonians as the new king and he is warned of future reprisals should Judah once again prove itself disloyal.

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589: ANOTHER REBELLION AGAINST BABYLON.

Despite the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, King Zedekiah decides to revolt once again against Babylon, on the advice of his own aristocracy.

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588: BABYLONIAN ARMY ARRIVES TO PUT DOWN REBELLION.

It succeeds in destroying many Judean towns and laying seige to Jerusalem.

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587/6: JERUSALEM FALLS. FIRST TEMPLE DESTROYED. MORE EXILES.

In the summer of this year, the Babylonians succeed in breaking through the walls of Jerusalem, and setting fire to the Temple of Solomon. Many are killed, thousands more are taken to Babylon as exiles, and more or less the entire land is laid waste.

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586: GOVERNOR GEDALIAH ASSASINATED.

The next act of the revolt occurred when Gedaliah, the governor set up by the Babylonians to govern the remnant, is himself assassinated by Judean nationalist elements, opposed to Babylon. The prophet Jeremiah is taken to Egypt, where he witnesses pagan cults well rooted among the Israelite population living there.

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582: THE THIRD BABYLONIAN EXILE.

After Gedaliah's death, the Babylonian army now returns and exiles a third wave of several thousand Judeans to join their brothers in Babylon.

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539: DEFEAT OF BABYLONIANS BY PERSIANS.

After some fifty years of the Babylonian exile, a change occurred in the fortunes of the Jewish community there when totally unexpectedly, the Babylonian army was defeated by the Persians under their king Cyrus. The defeat seemingly threw the small exile community into consternation since both of the great armies had gone out to seek victory in the name of their gods and this appears to have caused much confusion and questioning among the Jews.

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538: JUDEAN EXILES PERMITTED TO RETURN TO JUDAH.

As part of a more liberal imperial policy introduced by Cyrus of Persia he announced that he would allow the Judean exiles to return to their own land and rebuild their temple as long as they swore loyalty to Persia. Some decide to take the offer and to return.

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C515. SECOND TEMPLE BUILT.

After years of hardship provoked in large part by the jealousy and suspicion of their neighbours who do whatever they can to hinder the efforts of the returnees, the new temple, the Second Temple, is finally built.

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C445. NEHEMIAH COMES TO JERUSALEM TO SET THE COMMUNITY ON ITS FEET.

In the mid fifth century, Nehemiah, a high Jewish official at the court of Persia, hears that the Jewish community in Judea is in a very difficult situation and requests leave of absence in order to help the community organise itself. He is given permission and also authority over the community and upon arriving in Jerusalem, he initially proceeds to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Having done that, he proceeds to initiate reforms in the community in order to strengthen and unify the Jews.

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C420? EZRA COMES TO JERUSALEM TO INTRODUCE RELIGIOUS REFORMS.

Ezra is a Jewish religious leader who works together with Nehemiah to strengthen the community. In this case the strengthening is effected by the introduction of a number of innovations including the regular reading of portions of the Torah which appears to have been forgotten or not to have been known at all among the Jewish community in and around Jerusalem. There is a major problem in dating Ezra as there is a tradition that he precedes Nehemiah, although the story itself reads a lot more logically in his direction, leading many historians to suggest a dating in the 420's for Ezra.

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330-332. ALEXANDER THE GREAT OF MACEDONIA TAKES OVER THE PERSIAN EMPIRE INCLUDING JUDEA AND SAMARIA.

The defeat of the Persian empire by Alexander ranks as one of the more important events in human history. By defeating Persia and taking over the empire, Alexander inaugurated an era of Greek influence over the lands of the east. This brings in the period of Hellenism which affected especially most of the cosmopolitan centres of the ex-Persian lands. The influence would be felt among many of the upper class of the Jews including the Priests.

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323-322. AFTER DEATH OF ALEXANDER, JUDEA PASSES UNDER CONTROL OF LOCAL SUCCESSOR, PTOLEMY.

Alexander died in Babylon. His empire was torn apart by his generals who each sought to succeed him. Judea passed under the control of Ptolemy, the general who set up an empire based in Egypt.

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C200. ANTIOCHUS THE THIRD OF SYRIA TAKES CONTROL OF JUDEA.

War was waged over the future of the coastal strip which included Judea, between Ptolemy's Egyptian based empire and between the Emperors of another ex-Alexandrian empire, the Seleucid kings of Syria. Finally after a century of intermittent war, the land passed to the Seleucid king, Antiochus. He confirmed all the rights that the Jews had enjoyed under their previous masters, the Persians, Alexander and the Ptolemy kings.

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C175. ANTIOCHUS THE FOURTH STRONGLY ENCOURAGES HELLENISATION AMONG HIS SUBJECTS. MANY JEWS RESPOND.

Through a series of incentives, Antiochus the fourth tries to encourage more and more of his subjects to take on a Greek lifestyle in order to help unify his troubled kingdom. Many Jews respond to his offers initiating a period of strong Hellenisation among large parts of the population, especially the upper classes of Jerusalem.

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C170-165. PERIOD OF FORCED HELLENISATION LEADS TO MACCABEE REBELLION.

Finally the campaign for Hellenisation loses its voluntary character. The Jews of Judea find that the practice of Judaism has been outlawed. In response to this a rebellion breaks out led by the priestly family of the Hasmoneans under Mattathias and his sons. The rebellion is both against the occupying force of Seleucid Greeks and among the radical Hellenisers among the Jewish People.

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152. JONATHAN, BROTHER OF JUDAH MACCABEE, PROCLAIMS HIMSELF HIGH PRIEST.

At first the Maccabee (Hasmonean) leaders give themselves a title akin to governor. But soon they take the title of high priest. This is a very controversial decision because although they come from a priestly family it is not the family that traditionally provides the high priests. Despite the fact that the high priestly office has undergone considerable abuse, primarily at the hands of the Seleucids in previous years, it hoped by many that the office would revert permanently to the traditional high priestly family. Many historians see in this event the beginning of a number of splits within the Jewish community that would ultimately lead to the development of many rival groups among the Jews.

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104. MACCABEES PROCLAIM THEMSELVES AS KINGS OF JUDEA.

As the Maccabees became more and more powerful they behaved increasingly like any other line of small oriental leaders. One of the classic external signs of this process was the arrogation of the title of king to add to their previous title of high priest. By this time the Maccabees have conquered considerable areas and are on the way to creating a local territorial empire. Among other things, they forcibly convert some of the newly subject populations to Judaism.

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67-63. CIVIL WAR BETWEEN TWO MACCABEE BROTHERS. THEY TURN FOR HELP TO ROME. ROME ENTERS.

The degeneration of the Maccabee line into a quarrelling group of oriental princes was brought to a climax by the civil war that breaks out between two princes for the throne of Judea. They both turned to the local power broker, Rome, to settle the dispute and Rome under its local general Pompey, exploits the opportunity to bring its own troops into Judea and effectively to seize control.

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40. HEROD APPOINTED KING OF JUDEA BY THE ROMANS.

Herod, a brilliant opportunist who had gained access to power through his father's role as a central politician in the early Roman period in Judea, is appointed king of Judea by the Senate of Rome. He will soon prove himself to be a brilliant, if totally ruthless and unpopular leader and will remain king till his death some thirty five years later. He will also become famous for his building programmes which will include the complete rebuilding of Second Temple, the fortification of the desert fortress, Massada, and the building of the new port of Caesarea.

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C.E.

4. DEATH OF HEROD.

Herod dies after transferring the kingdom with Roman permision to his sons among whom his kingdom is divided up. On his death a rebellion breaks out which will ultimately be put down with Roman support.

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6. JUDEA BECOMES ROMAN PROVINCE. ROMANS START PERIOD OF DIRECT RULE. BEGIINING OF ZEALOT REVOLTS.

Herod's principal heir, Archelaus, was found by the Romans to be unsatisfactory and a decision is made to send him into exile and to put the area over which he has ruled, Judea, under the direct control of Roman governors. One of the first steps of the new administration is a new census and this provokes a rebellion which is seen as the beginning of the Zealot movement, the extreme nationalist-religious movement which will ultimately provoke the great revolt against the Romans some sixty years later.

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C20-40. SMALL JEWISH STATE FOUNDED IN PART OF BABYLON.

It was founded by two outlaw brothers, Jews from the Babylonian community of Nehardea, Anilai and Asinai. Starting off as not much more than a "protection racket" run by a Jewish gang over the local population, it would gain official status when the Persian king would see in the two brothers an effective tool for keeping his own subjects in the area in check. He granted them official rule over the area that they controlled de facto and for some fifteen years they maintained an ordered rule. Ultimately, after the brothers fell out with each other, the state was annihilated. The policies of the brothers caused considerable anti Jewish feeling which led to great reprisals after the brothers' death.

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C30. DEATH OF JESUS OF NAZARETH.

The Jewish preacher, Jesus, was put to death by the Romans, seemingly because of the threat of the messianic movement that had developed around his person. From the time of his death we get the development of the group of Jewish-Christians, Jews who practiced Judaism and identified Jesus as the messianic figure who would return again.

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C40. PAUL OF TARSUS BEGINS HIS MISSION TO THE GENTILES.

Some ten years after Jesus' death, a new follower of the sect, Saul, apparently despairing of the ability to make much headway for the group's beliefs among the Jews, starts to preach the idea of Jesus' messianism to a non-Jewish audience. From now on there will be two groupings of believers in Jesus' messianic mission, Jews and non-Jews.

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66. OUTBREAK OF JEWISH REVOLT AGAINST THE ROMANS.

A local anti-Jewish incident in Ceasarea, coming against a background of increasingly explosive tension between the Jews and the non-Jewish inhabitants of the Province on the one hand, and between the Jews and the Romans on the other, causes an outbreak of revolution. A Roman garrison of troops is massacred in Jerusalem by Zealot forces and the situation explodes.

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67. ROME POURS IN TROOPS TO SUPPRESS REBELLION.

Under General Vespasian, tens of thousands of troops are brought in and start to put down the rebellion in the Galilee. Many Jews join the rebellion but large numbers choose to stay with Rome. For example, Sepphoris (Tsippori) the large Galilean town does not join the rebellion. With the fall of the Galilee, the struggle started to focus around Jerusalem.

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C68-69. ESCAPE OF YOCHANAN BEN ZAKKAI FROM JERUSALEM TO YAVNEH.

At some point prior to the final destruction of Jerusalem, we have the story of Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai, a great teacher in Jerusalem who according to tradition, had himself smuggled out of Jerusalem the besieged city (see next note) and set up an academy in the coastal town of Yavneh, preparing for the possibility of Jerusalem's and the Temple's destruction.

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70. FALL OF JERUSALEM AFTER A SIEGE.

Titus, Vespasian's son, lays siege to Jerusalem during the spring of this year and a few months later, manages to take the city. The Temple is burnt and destroyed on the ninth of Av and a month later the upper city of Jerusalem is destroyed. Many tens and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Jews will die or be killed in the events surrounding the siege of Jerusalem and the Temple's destruction. Jerusalem will be totally destroyed apart from a few towers, left for use of Roman troops. Jews will not live in Jerusalem for centuries.

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70. SETTING UP OF SANHEDRIN AT YAVNEH.

With the news of the destruction of the Temple, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai appears to have set up an alternative centre of authority so that the Jews would not be without a centre of guidance and authority in the wake of the Temple's destruction. This institution at Yavneh, in time came to be called the Sanhedrin (Greek for council) echoing the institution of the same name that had existed in Jerusalem - in the grounds of the Temple - and that had served as institution of autonomy and a focal point of authority in the last generations of the Second Temple period. Yochanan would be succeeded by Rabban Gamaliel who would bring the new Sanhedrin to a position of considerable power.

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73. SIEGE OF MASSADA.

The last episode of the revolt, Massada, the desert fortress built up by Herod, becomes the scene of the famous mass suicide of the Zealots as reported by the Jewish historian Josephus. Not all authorities accept Josephus'suicide story but it is clear that Massada was the home of a large group of Zealots and their families during the years of the great revolt, and that now this desert stronghold was finally taken by the Romans.

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C100. JEWISH CHRISTIANS FORCED TO LEAVE THE JEWISH FOLD.

At around the turn of the first century, steps appear to have been taken by the Jewish leadership at Yavneh to make prayer for Jewish Christians impossible within Jewish communities. This seems to have been done by certain additions in the prayer service that would have been impossible for Jews to say if they had belief in the messianic character of Jesus. Jewish Christians continued to exist as separate groups within the wider Christian wo for several centuries; they appear to have continued to have seen themselves as Jews although from this time on, no normative Jews would continue to see them in this way.

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115-117. THE GREAT DIASPORA REVOLT AGAINST THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

In these years a number of revolts broke out against Rome in different diaspora communities. All in all, revolts will break out in Mesopotamia, North Africa, Alexandria in Egypt, and Cyprus. In addition there will be an attempt at revolt in Eretz Israel. All these revolts will ultimately be put down very firmly by the generals of Rome.

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C130-2. EMPEROR HADRIAN TAKES STEPS THAT WILL CAUSE JEWISH REBELLION.

Hadrian, initially quite favoured by the Jews, made a number of decisions that caused a spirit of rebellion to surface among the Jews of Judea. Circumcision was outlawed as a bodily mutilation and a decision was taken to rebuild Jerusalem as a pagan city, despite rumours of promises that he had previously made to allow the rebuilding of the Temple by the Jews. This treachery, as it was seen, caused intense anger among the Jews.

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132-135. BAR KOCHBA REBELLION.

In the year 132, the revolt breaks out under the Jewish commander Bar Kochba. The revolt is seen by at leat some, including the great sage Rabbi Akiva, as a messianic revolt. The revolt wins some important victories in its initial stages and causes the Romans to bring in troops from as far away as Britain. Finally the backbone of the revolt is broken, the Galilee is subdued and the rebels are forced back to their main fortress of Beitar where they make their final There are Roman estimates that hundreds of thousands of Jews are killed in the rebellion.

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135. SUPRESSION OF THE BAR KOCHBA REBELLION.

In the last stages of the struggle, a number of Jewish sages including Rabbi Akiva are put to death by the Romans. Jerusalem will indeed be made into a pagan city by the name of Aelia Capitolina, and Jews will be strictly excluded. Jewish life will be partly wiped out in the southern areas of the country and the focus of Jewish life will now move up to the north of the country, less touched by the rebellion. The Sanhedrin will no longer meet in Yavneh will emerge a few years later in the Galilee.

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C140. BEGINNING OF OFFICE OF EXILARCH IN BABYLON.

The Exilarch or Resh Galuta was the title of the highest Jewish official in Babylon. By tradition the office belonged to a descendant of King David. The title-holder was the head of the Jewish community in Babylon, a community that for considerable periods enjoyed subtantial autonomy.

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C195. JUDAH HANASI EXTENDS POWER OF THE SANHEDRIN IN PALESTINE.

At the end of the second century, the head of the Sanhedrin in Eretz Israel was Rabbi Judah HaNasi, one of the greatest of all rabbinic authorities. He is often called simply "Rabbi". It was Rabbi Judah who brought the Sanhedrin and its head, the Nasi, to an unprecedented authority within the Jewish community in Eretz Israel. He developed good relations with the Romans, and used those relations to develop the power and prestige of t institution.

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 C200-215. JUDAH HANASI PRESIDES OVER THE EDITING OF THE MISHNAH.

One of the great achievements of Judah HaNasi was the final editing of the first great published rabbinic work, the Mishnah, a compilation of law, outlining the obligations of the Jew in all aspects and spheres of life as they were understood and defined within the rabbinic world view. The discussions and debates that defined the ideas set forth in the Mishnah had started at Yavneh generations before, even though the work actually in views that precede Yavneh by many years.

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212. JEWS SHARE NEWLY GRANTED CITIZENSHIP WITHIN THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

There is an estimate that the Jews might have formed at their hight some 10% of the Roman Empire. In this instance, rights offered to others were extended also to Jews.

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C219 FOUNDING OF THE SURA ACADEMY IN BABYLON.

This academy or yeshiva was founded by Rav, a great scholar from a distinguished Babylonian family who had spent considerable time in Eretz Israel and had studied under Judah Hanasi. On returning to Babylon he founded the Sura Academy and placed at the centre of its teaching schedule the study of the Mishnah. At this period there was another great academy at Nehardea which had been existing for some time. At this time it was under the direction of the scholar Samuel. Here too, the Mishnah would ultimately be brought in as the major focus of study.

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259. SACKING OF NEHARDEA; RISE OF PUMBEDITHA ACADEMY.

In this year, the community and academy of Nehardea was destroyed by the Babylonians and the academy moved to a different location, reopening in the town of Pumbeditha. Here the yeshiva would flourish under a series of great scholars and would close its doors only in the eleventh century.

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C300. ANTI JEWISH DECISIONS AT THE CHURCH COUNCIL OF ELVIRA IN SPAIN.

This was the first council of the church to concern itself with the status of the Jews and it took a number of restrictive anti-Jewish decisions, including the forbidding of intermarriage between Jews and Christians and the ability of Jews and Christians to eat together.

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C313-315. ROMAN CHURCH INCREASES AGGRESSION TOWARDS JEWS.

Constantine, the Roman emperor who turned towards Christianity and ultimately ushered in Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire, started in these years to initiate anti-Jewish legislation which would set the tone for Christian discrimination against Jews in the medieval period.

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C326-335. INTENSIVE CHRISTIAN INVESTMENT IN CHURCHES IN HOLY LAND.

Constantine and his mother Helena, started in this period a tradition of building churches in Palestine to mark the places considered holy to Christianity. Two famous chuches built initially in this period are the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This was the first phase of considerable Christian investment in their Holy Land over the next centuries.

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337. CONSTANTINE'S SON CONTINUES ANTI-JEWISH LEGISLATION.

Constantine's son, Constantius, the head of the Eastern Roman Empire, brings in additional anti-Jewish legislation forbidding, for example, female converts to Judaism, intermarriage with Christians and Jewish ownership of slaves. Jews were called a "pernicious sect" and this now became the basis of Roman policy towards the Jews.

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351. ANOTHER JEWISH REVOLT AGAINST THE ROMANS IN ERETZ ISRAEL.

This revolt which was started in the large Jewish community of Sepphoris (Tzippori) is known as the war against Gallus, it being directed against Gallus, the Roman emperor of the east, whose harsh policies and corrupt rule brought about the rebellion. Hoping for assistance from the Persians, the revolt against Roman rule spread to the centre of the country before it was suppressed and a number of Jewish towns and communities destroyed.

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359. CALENDAR CALCULATED RATHER THAN BASED ON EYE WITNESS SIGHTINGS OF NEW MOON.

Under the leader of the Sanhedrin, the Nasi Hillel the second, the whole system of reckoning the calendar according to eye witness reports of the sighting of the new moon, which had been the basis of the calendrical system for centuries, was changed. From now on the calendar was fixed according to a standardised system of complex calculations without need for actual sightings. This is still the system that we use tod

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360-363. PROMISE TO JEWS TO REBUILD THE TEMPLE.

In the year 360 a new emperor came to power in the Roman empire. This was Julian a devout hellenist and anti-Christian, the last of the non Christian emperors. He showed great favour to the Jews and among other things, promised them permission to rebuild their temple. Preparatory work was actually done. Jews started to come in large numbers to Eretz Israel and settled in Jerusalem, collecting money for the great work at hand. When Julian died in in 363, the project stopped and Christian dominance resumed.

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C385. RENEWED CAMPAIGN OF ANTI JEWISH ACTIONS AND LEGISLATION THROUGHOUT THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

This is the beginning of a new period of anti Jewish persecution in the Roman empire. The persecution takes a number of different forms. There is virulent anti-Jewish preaching starting from this time, the extreme tone being set by the Jew hating Church father, John Chrysostom in Antioch, Syria. There are also cases of synagogue burnings (Callinicum, Mesopotamia, 388) and expulsions of Jews (Alexandria, 41 forced conversions on pain of death (Minorca, Spain 418), and new legal restrictions (the prohibition on building new synagogues in the Roman Empire 415).

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C400. THE CLOSING OF THE PALESTINIAN TALMUD.

Some time towards the end of the fourth century, the Palestinian Talmud, the great commentary of the sages of Eretz Israel to the Mishnah, was closed. The last events mentioned are the mid-century revolt against the Romans, (the war against Gallus) and the reign of the Emperor Julian. The comments and discussions based on the Mishnah, are called the Gemara; the whole work together with the Mishnah is called the Talmud. The usual name for this version Talmud is the Jerusalem Talmud, despite the fact that it was essentially compiled in Tiberias, and reflects a period when no Jews were allowed to live in Jerusalem.

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419-422. ANTI JEWISH RIOTS AND SYNAGOGUE DESTRUCTION IN PALESTINE.

Jewish communities were attacked and a series of synagogues destroyed in Palestine by a mob led by a monk, Bar Sauma. These activities were reflections of many similar attacks on Jews throughout the Roman world in this period.

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C429. CANCELLATION OF THE POSITION OF NASI (PATRIARCH), THE LEADER OF WORLD JEWRY.

After decades of weakening the position of the Nasi (the Patriarch), the head of the Jewish community in Palestine and by extension, the accepted Jewish authority over the majority of the Jewish world, the position was finally cancelled by the Emperor. The Sanhedrin continued to exist in attenuated form and in fact seems to have been divided into two smaller Sanhedria with reduced power. This development was a deci back, not only for the diminishing Jewish community of Eretz Isrel but also for many diaspora communities who had looked to the Patriarch, for generations now based in Tiberias, as their authority.

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450-470. PERSECUTIONS OF JEWS IN BABYLON. The Sassanids, a group that had risen to power in Babylon some two centuries previously and who espoused the Zoroastrian religion, had earlier this century begun a concerted effort to oppress other religious groups. At this period the Jews become a major target for them. Judaism is outlawed, and Jews are compelled to give their children a Zoroastrian education. The persecution lasts for decades and many Jews flee to other places such as Arabia and India. is time the position of Exilarch was abolished for a short period.

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513-520. AUTONOMOUS JEWISH STATE FORMED IN BABYLON.

The Babylonian Exilarch, Mar Zutra the second, whose father had been killed in the anti-Jewish persecutions of 470, led a revolt against the oppressive regime and declared a Jewish state in a part of Babylon. He was enabled to do so with the help of non-Jewish elements hostile to the regime. The state lasted for seven years at the end of which the Jews were defeated and Mar Zutra was crucified to death. With his death, once again the position was abolished.

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520-530. RESUMPTION OF JEWISH COMMUNAL INSTITUTIONS AND TRADITIONS IN BABYLON.

In this decade, Jewish traditional institutions that had been outlawed in the preceding period were reinstated. The Exilarchate was resumed as was the tradition of intensive study months (kallah) that had previously taken place at the major Yeshivot, twice a year, before Rosh HaShana and Pesach.

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576. FORCED CONVERSION OF JEWS IN FRANCE.

Following a Jewish insult to an ex-Jew who had converted to Christianity, a synagogue was destroyed and a whole French community was given the option of conversion or exile. Five hundred ultimately converted.

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580. RESUMPTION OF PERSECUTIONS IN BABYLON.

As a result of these the great yeshiva of Pumbeditha was forced to relocate.

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581-2. FRANKISH PERSECUTION OF JEWS.

The Franks were a Germanic people who had overrun northern France and Belgium in the early fifth century and had proceeded to take control of the rest of France and much of Germany. In 581, their king Chilperic, forced the Jew Priscus to debate with him the truth of Christianity, in a forerunner of the great medieval disputations of later centuries. The next year Chilperic attempted to convert all the Jews in his lands.

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C600. POPE GREGORY SETS CHURCH POLICY ON THE JEWS.

Pope Gregory the first was one of the most important of the medieval popes. In the years of his office he standardised official church policy towards the Jews. On the one hand he stressed the importance of conversion of Jews to Christianity, enforcing Church restrictions of Jewish activity and at the same time offering political and economic inducements to potential converts. Together with this, he insisted on fair treatment for the Jews, condem destruction of synagogues and forced conversion. Both of these trends became part of subsequent official Church policy towards the Jews.

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613. JEWS OF SPAIN GIVEN CHOICE; CONVERT OR LEAVE.

Spain was at this time under the control of a group called the Visigoths, one of the barbarian tribes from the Germanic lands that had overrun the Western Roman Empire. Now the Visigoth king, Sisebut, took various anti-Jewish measures, culminating in the ultimatum to the Jews of his lands to convert or to leave. Some left; others converted and remained.

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614-630. PERSIANS GAIN TEMPORARY CONTROL OF PALESTINE. JEWS TEMPORARILY RETURN TO JERUSALEM.

For some years now, the Persians had been mounting a campaign from the east to take land from the Eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire). In 614 they take control of Palestine with the active help of the Jewish population who are rewarded with the chance of returning to Jerusalem and governing it themselves which they proceed to do. But the Persians then turn against the Jews demanding that they give up the rights that they had enjoyed in Jerusalem. When the Jews refuse to comply, the Persians fight them into submission. Finally the Persians are forced back by the Byzantines and leave the country leaving the Jews vulnerable to the charge of helping the enemies of Christianity. The Jews try and come to an agreement with the returning Christian forces but finally they are massacred and Jerusalem reverts to the Christians.

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622-28. MOHAMMED DRIVES THE JEWISH TRIBES FROM ARABIA.

Mohammed, founder of the new faith of Islam in Arabia, initially hoped that the Jews would recognise him as their prophet and would accept his new religious ideas. However, as he saw that the Jews despite some support for him had not left their own faith, he started to become more aggressive towards them. After he moved the centre of his new movement from Mecca to Medina, he took a more active line against the Jews and pushed some of the tribe Jews out of the Arabian peninsula.

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628. DEMAND THAT ALL JEWS IN BYZANTINE EMPIRE CONVERT.

This demand by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius was one of many such demands that were made periodically by Emperors and other rulers in Europe and the East. The very fact that demands such as these appear time and again in the statute books means that they were more ineffective than effective. Nevertheless, any such demand would mean difficult times for many of the Jews that lived in the lands in question.

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638. MOSLEM CONQUEST OF JERUSALEM. JEWS ALLOWED TO RETURN.

The Moslem conquest of the Christian Holy Land was an event of great significance, not least for the Jews who benefitted greatly from the fact that their social and legal position under Islam was much better on the whole than under Christianity. Under Moslem rule in Palestine, Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem.

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660-691. AL AQSA MOSQUE AND DOME OF THE ROCK BUILT IN JERUSALEM.

The Moslem Caliph, Abd el Malik builds the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in 660 and the Dome of the Rock in 691 over the area where the Temples had stood. The tradition is that Mohammed arrived there on his famous night journey.

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711. MOSLEM CONQUEST OF SPAIN.

When the Moslems conquer Spain from the Visigoth Christians, there are many Jews who come into Spain with or in the footsteps of the Moslem armies. As the Moslems pushed the Christian troops way into the far north of the peninsula, Jews settled in the areas newly conquered, especially in the urban areas. They soon found themselves well involved in the trade and the administration of the new Moslem kingdom.

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717. JEWS OPPRESSED IN MOSLEM BABYLON.

Just to show that Moslem attitudes towards the Jews were not unitary, at this same time when Jews were doing well both in Eretz Israel and in Spain under the regimes there, they were amomg the minorities in Babylon who suffered considerable discrimination from the Moslem rulers there.

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C780-800. BIRTH OF THE JEWISH KHAZAR KINGDOM.

The Khazar kingdom between the Black Sea and the Caspian was a powerful early medieval kingdom. The Khazars themselves were a people who originated somewhere in Asia. Many Jews had penetrated the area, largely as traders, and in the late eighth century, the Khazr king, Bulan, converted to Judaism together with some four thousand of his noblemen. Judaism became the official religion of the kingdom for a couple of centuries, even though it seems that t majority of the population was not Jewish. The kingdom was finally subdued by the Russians in the early eleventh century.

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C765. FOUNDING OF THE KARAITE SECT BY ANAN BEN DAVID IN BABYLON.

Anan ben David, the son of the Exilarch in Babylon, broke away from the rabbinic traditions of Jewry and started a sect based on the repudiation of rabbinic tradition and the sole acceptance of the Bible as the basis for Jewish behaviour. The causes of the break are not clear but appear to have been a mixture of personal grievance towards the heads of the community and ideological conviction. The group was originally known as Ananites but with time came to be called Karaites from the word Œ—˜…€ (to read) emphasising their reliance on the written law. The Karaites would in time become extremely numerous and in some places they would seriously challenge the hegemony of Rabbinic Judaism. There are still some Karaite communities existing today, especially in Israel.

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C800. JEWS MOVE INTO THE RHINE AREA, RETURNING TO NORTHERN EUROPE.

About the turn of the ninth century we start to see Jews reappearing in Northern Europe. There had been Jews there under the Roman Empire but with the defeat of the Empire they disappear from view and only now do we start to find Jews in the area again. The focal points of the new activity were the trading towns along the Rhine river. In this area trade and economic life was developing fast, especially because of the initiatve ta Charlemagne, King of the Franks, who tried hard to develop his kingdom economically. There were clearly opportunities for enterprising traders and the Jews were among the first to seize the opportunities. There are even traditions that tell of Charlemagne making overtures to the Jews of Southern Europe to attract them to his new areas.

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808. JEWS ADMITTED TO FEZ, MOROCCO.

Idris the second of Egypt allows Jews to settle in the Moroccan town of Fez, recently founded by his father They are given a separate quarter of the town in which to live and will soon become a respected sector of the population. In time Fez will become a major north African scholarly centre, and produce some very important Jewish scholars.

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820-830. AGOBARD, BISHOP OF LYONS, ATTACKS WESTERN EUROPEAN JEWRY.

In the 820's, there is a new attack on Western European Jewry, from the pen of Agobard, the Bishop of Lyons, who writes a series of letters to Emperor Louis, the son of Charlemagne, accusing him of favouring the Jews. Agobard alleges that the Jews are doing far too well in France and that this goes against the spirit of Church teachings. His letters prove ineffective but are an excellent indication that the situation of the Jews i period in Western Europe was on the whole, good.

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839. CONVERSION TO JUDAISM. THE BODO AFFAIR.

Bodo, a high churchman at the court of Emperor Louis, creates a tremendous storm by converting to Judaism. He changed his name to Eleazar, grew his hair and beard, circumcised himself and married a Jewish woman. This caused tremendous consternation in the church, especially because this sort of thing had been warned against by Bishop Agobard in his letters to the Emperor in the previous decade.

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C940. HIGH COURTIERS AT THE COURT OF THE MOSLEM CALIPH OF SPAIN.

In Spain, there has developed a very strong Moslem Caliphate. It rises to immense strength in this period of the mid-tenth century in the reign of Abd al Rachman the second. He provides a tolerant and very stable regime where a cultured atmosphere is very much encouraged. At his court his main adviser is the Jewish physician Hasdai Ibn Shaprut, who becomes his chief diplomat and aide. Hasdai himself becomes a patron of scholarship the arts in the Jewish community, encouraging young scholars and developing a court of Jewish courtiers within the wider framework of Abd al Rachman's court.

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C970. THE FIRST GREAT SPANISH YESHIVA DEVELOPS AT CORDOVA.

Hasdai ben Shaprut brings the distinguished Italian scholar Moses ben Hanoch to Cordova (the place of the royal court) and opens a Yeshiva. This is the beginning of the development of the great Spanish tradition of Jewish learning which will ultimately create one of the major schools of diaspora Jewish scholarship. Spain which till now has been dependent on Babylonian authority for its scholarship will now become increasingly independent will finally take over the mantle of Babylon.

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1013. THE SACK OF CORDOBA HASTENS THE END OF THE GREAT SPANISH MOSLEM STATE AND PROMOTES THE "GOLDEN AGE OF SPANISH JEWRY".

The dynasty of Abd al Rachman fell in the first part of the eleventh century and the great state fell apart into a score of smaller provincial states. The situation of the Jews, which had been good under these Ummayad Caliphs, now improved even more as the competition for talent between the different states, increased the demand for skilled and educated Jews. This in turn contributed to the development of what is often called the "Golden Age" of the Jews of Spain. The fact is that this period of Jewish life in the Moslem provincial states would be short lived. A divided Moslem Spain would open the door up to the beginning of the Christian reconquest of Spain. Within a few generations most of Spain (and most of her Jews) would be under Christian rule.

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C1020. PERSECUTION OF EGYPTIAN JEWS SCATTERS JEWS TO NEW LANDS.

The second part of the reign of the Egyptian Caliph Al Hakim was dreadful for all non-Moslems. Reversing the traditional tolerant attitudes of his Fatimid dynasty, he embarked on a policy of tremendous humiliation and persecution of all Christians and Jews. As a result of these many from both faiths converted to Islam but many others left the country altogether. Some of the departing Jews turned their faces to Yemen but large number settled in the lands of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) empire. It was felt that the relatively good conditions that prevailed there offered a viable option for Jews.

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C1050. THE BIRTH OF THE YIDDISH LANGUAGE.

Somewhere in the eleventh century we find the origins of the language, Yiddish, which would become the lingua franca of Ashkenazi Jewry over the next seven or eight hundred years. It was formed out of the meeting between old French and old Italian dialects spoken by the local Jewish communities and medieval German which became dominant in the communities spread out along the Rhine river. The new language with its admixture of Hebrew words especially in the spheres of learning and ritual would soon become dominant in the Jewish communities of west and central Europe.

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1066. THE NORMAN CONQUEST OF ENGLAND. THE FIRST JEWS ARRIVE IN ENGLAND.

There seem to have been no Jews in England until the conquest by William of Normandy in 1066. He brought with him a handful of Jewish financiers from France. In the next generation, the communities grew much stronger and we find proper communities in several English towns.

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C1070. THE GROWTH OF THE SCHOOL OF RASHI IN TROYES, FRANCE.

Rashi, Shlomo ben Yitzchak, was one of the truly great Jewish scholars. He studued in the Yeshivot of the Rhine communities but around the 1070's he returned from there to his hometown of Troyes and established a school which would fast become well known because of the ability of its head. However after the first Crusade in effect destroyed the communities of the Rhine, Rashi's French Yeshiva became all the more valuable since it maintai link with the now destroyed tradition of learning of the yeshivot of the Rhine communities.

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C1095 GILBERT CRISPIN - A FRIENDLY DISPUTATION.

In England in the mid-1090's there was published a very interesting booklet. It was written by Gilbert Crispin, the Abbot of Westminster, a high English churchman, and it was the record of a series of deep discussions between Crispin himself and a Jew from Mainz on the Rhine with whom Crispin had a business connection. The book is deemed interesting for its presentation of the opposing arguments of two thoughtful and knowledgeable men, Christian and in an amiable atmosphere where differences are explored openly and honestly.

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C1080. ALMORAVIDES INVASION OF SPAIN CAUSES JUDAISM TO BE OUTLAWED.

As the Christians seized the initiative in Spain and started to reconquer more and more of the Spanish peninsula, an extreme group of Moslem warriors from North Africa, the Almoravides, entered the country from the south and waged war on the border with the Christians. Unlike the previous Moslem rulers of Spain, these were fanatical in their understanding of Islamic war and they caused mass destruction of the Jewry still under Mos rule. Judaism was outlawed. An almost identical story would develop some sixty years later when another similar group of Moslem fundamentalists, the Almohades, would come in from the South with similar results.

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1095-1096; THE FIRST CRUSADE; MASSACRES OF JEWS THROUGHOUT EUROPE.

The Crusades were a series of campaigns by Christian princes initiated and backed by the Church, in order to win control of the Holy Land from the Moslem infidels. The first of these campaigns was announced in 1095 and the Christians started to turn eastwards towards Palestine in 1096. On the way, the Christians encountered the many Jewish communities and the demand to attack the Jews - the infidels close to home - proved irresis Communities in Northern France and the important Jewish communities along the Rhine were attacked and largely destroyed. Some 5,000 Jews are estimated to have been killed in the attacks and this first Crusade initiated a widespread campaign of terror against Jewish communities in Wwestern and Ccentral Europe that would last centuries and see the destruction of hundreds of communities.

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1099. CRUSADER MASSACRE OF MOSLEMS AND JEWS IN JERUSALEM.

In May of this year the organised Crusader armies reached the Holy Land and they soon made for Jerusalem, their major target. Arriving there in early June, they beseiged the city and finally broke through the walls in mid-July, at which point they massacred the assembled population of Moslems, Jews and Karaites, some twenty to thirty thousad in all. Many of the Jews were herded together with the Karaites into the synagogue and burnt to dea Those that escaped were sold into slavery.

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1144. FIRST BLOOD LIBEL ACCUSATION; IN NORWICH, ENGLAND.

The charge that Jews had killed a Christian child to use the blood for ritual uses was one of the commonest libels against the medieval Jew. The charge was first made against a group of Jews in Norwich, England where the Jews were accused of torturing and killing a local boy, William. This accusation that led to mob violence against the Jews would be repeated regularly both in England itself and throughout the lands of Europe and would be continued right down to the twentieth century. In almost every case it would cause riots or violence of some kind against the Jews and it became the most dangerous of the charges against the medieval Jew.

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1147-9. THE SECOND CHRISTIAN CRUSADE. MORE VIOLENCE AGAINST THE JEWS.

Another Crusade was called by the Pope to take additional areas around the Holy Land. Once again the journey to the East was accompanied by violence against the Jewish communities of the Rhineland, although less than on the previous occasion largely due to the positive influence of a prominent church leader, Bernard of Clairvaux. However, it should be mentioned that the Pope called for all debts by potential Crusaders to the J be cancelled and this was in fact done on this occasion and at the time of subsequent Crusades, causing great misery to the Jews.

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C1150. THE FIRST RABBINICAL SYNOD IN ASHKENAZ.

A rabbinical synod is a convention of Rabbis who come together to discuss and decide on issues of the day and/or issues of Jewish law. In the great Jewish centre of Ashkenaz (approximating France and Germany of our time), the first rabbinical synod appears to have been held at this time, called by two prominent grandsons of Rashi, Rabbenu Tam and the Rashbam. Significantly for a community that was in increasing danger of attack, the major subject tha appear to have talked about was the danger of informers or of people from the community who went to the non-Jewish courts to get justice. These categories of people were seen as particularly dangerous to the beleaguered Jewish community of Ashkenaz.

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1148. THE FAMILY OF MAIMONIDES LEAVES SPAIN BECAUSE OF PERSECUTION.

When Moslem Spain was invaded by the violent and fanatical Almohade sect from North Africa, who outlawed Judaism, many Jews decided to leave their homes and find better ones. Among them was the family of the scholar Maimon together with his family who included the brilliant young thirteen year old son, Moses. The family wandered in Spain for a number of years before finally settling down in Fez, Morocco, in about 1160. The young would there emerge as perhaps the greatest Jewish scholar since the Talmudic period. We know him as Maimonides.

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1163. JEWS IN CHINA.

Jews are given permission to build a synagogue in the city of Kai-feng, capital of Honan Province. It would stand for more than a century before being destroyed by floods. After this it would be rebuilt and destroyed a number of times. The traveller Marco Polo who arrived in China in the mid-1280's reported meeting Jews in China. It seems that the Jews of Kai-Feng were essentially a community of traders.

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1165. FORCED CONVERSION AND MESSIANIC EXCITEMENT IN YEMEN.

A radical Shi'ite campaign incited by a recent Jewish convert to Islam caused a movement for forced conversion of the Jews to Islam and many indeed converted. At the same time the community there was shaken by the appearance of a messianic figure who caused considerable enthusiasm in the oppressed community. One of the leaders of of the Yemenite community sent to Maimonides asking for advice. The young scholar sent his famous "Letter to trying to encourage them in their time of trial and to warn them against false messianic expectation.

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C1175-1250. HASIDEI ASHKENAZ; A MOVEMENT FOR INNER PIETY.

In the late twelfth century, a movement develops in Ashkenaz which goes by the name of Hasidei Ashkenaz. This movement attempts to inculcate values of inner piety and morality more firmly in what was already an extremely pious community. One of its aims was to prepare the members of that generation for the possibility that they might be called on to pass the ultimate test, to embrace their Judaism through death rather than convert. In that place and climate many Jews would indeed be tested in this way.

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1187-1192. JERUSALEM RETAKEN BY MOSLEMS UNDER SALADIN.

When the Crusader state in Palestine was attacked by the Moslems under their new leader Saladin, among other towns they regained Jerusalem. Jews were allowed to resettle in Jerusalem for the first time since the Christians had gained it through massacre in 1099. Saladin appears to have followed up his conquest with an appeal to Jews to come and settle in his new territories.

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1190. THE MARTYRDOM OF YORK.

At the time of the third Crusade, in which the English joined in for the first time, religious enthusiasm and anti-Jewish feeling in England was aroused and much blood flowed. The principal incident took place in the town of York where the Jews, faced with an angry mob, fled to a castle, where they decided to take their own lives.

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1211. THE ALIYAH OF THE "THREE HUNDRED RABBIS".

Saladin's conquest of Jerusalem and the resettlement of the city with Jews caused a wave of messianic excitement to pass through many Jewish communities. One of the first results was the aliyah (immigration) of a group described as three hundred rabbis who came from Western Europe and settled in 1211.

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1213. FIRST JEWS NOTED IN SWITZERLAND.

Throughout this period we hear of Jews living in new areas. For example the area called Switzerland today, sees its first Jews at around this time. We have the first mention of Jews in the town of Basle in 1213. As the century progresses we hear of communities developing in Berne, Lucerne, Zurich and several other places.

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1215. THE FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL. HIGHPOINT OF ANTI JEWISH LEGISLATION IN THE CHURCH.

The Lateran Councils were a series of important church synods held in Rome in the middle ages. The most important from the Jewish point of view was unquestionably the fourth in 1215. Here, for example, the decision was taken that Jews should have to wear a special badge to mark them out within the general population. Additional decisions included a ban on Jews being in any position from which they could exerci authority over Christians, and a strengthening of the usury laws which had made it very difficult for Jews to lend money on interest, (in many places in Europe this had become the primary occupation of the Jews because they had been squeezed out of most areas of the economy). Lateran four, as it is popularly known, marks the highpoint of Church legislation against the Jews.

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C1220. THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE LEGEND OF THE WANDERING JEW.

The legend of the Jew who struck or insulted Jesus on his way to the Crucifixion and was condemned for this to wander the world without peace of mind until Jesus' second coming, is a common theme of western civilisation. It seems to have appeared for the first time in an Italian chronicle from this time which mentions that a Jew had been met in Armenia whose punishment of eternal wandering had finally been alleviated when he saw the l and converted to Christianity. In 1228, we meet substantially the same story in the writings of the English chronicler Roger of Wendover. Since these first appearances the story has been told in hundreds of different settings and has been put to use in many different ways.

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1232. BAN ON MAIMONIDES' "GUIDE TO THE PERPLEXED".

The great philosophical work of Maimonides had been finished in 1190. Immediately it aroused concern and opposition within the Jewish world for its idea that understanding of God could only be attained through the use of reason, and its opposition to many of the more popular ideas within Judaism that had taken root over the centuries. Whole campaigns were conducted against the book which was actually banned by a French Rabbi together with another of Maimonides in 1232. The struggle would continue for generations.

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1236. CHRISTIAN CONDEMNATION OF THE BLOOD LIBEL.

The blood libel had been claiming Jewish lives for close on a hundred years when it was now investigated by Frederick the Second, the Holy Roman Emperor (the secular champion of Christianity) who found it baseless. Various Popes also declared the charge unproved and baseless and tried to aid the Jews by outlawing use of the charge, but all proved ineffective against the enormous popularity of the charge among the general population and the lower lev the Church.

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1239. THE CHRISTIAN KING OF ARAGON GRANTS A CHARTER OF RIGHTS TO THE JEWS.

As the Christian kingdoms gained more and more ground in their reconquest of Spain, they saw the Jews as a valuable element of the population. The Jew was someone they could trust as loyal, as well as someone whose talents were likely to benefit the administation and whose money was likely to benefit the royal treasury. So we see that King James the First of Aragon now issued the Charter of Valencia in which he granted the of Aragon assorted rights and promises of protection. Whenever it was important to attract Jews to an area, the primary way of doing this was by granting them rights and privileges.

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1239-40. THE BURNING OF THE TALMUD IN PARIS.

Nicholas Donin, a French Jew who converted to Christianity, acted like many other converts and denounced his old faith to his new one. He charged that the Talmud included all sorts of heretical ideas and this led to a Papal investigation. In 1240 a disputation was held in Paris between Donin and a leading group of French Rabbis, as a result of which it was decided to burn the Talmud publicly. Twenty four cartloads of Hebrew books and manuscripts were b

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1243. A NEW ACCUSATION; THE DESECRATION OF THE HOST.

One of the decisions of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 was the official recognition of the doctrine of transubstantiation by which the bread and wine of the church service were seen as Christ's flesh and blood. This paved the way for a new libel; that the Jew desecrated the wafers representing Christ's flesh in order to persecute Jesus once again. The first recorded charge of this "desecration of the host" occured now in Germany. It would frequently be repeated and as with the Blood Libel, it would usually end with anti-Jewish violence.

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1250. THE FIRST BLOOD LIBEL IN SPAIN. SARAGOSSA.

The blood libel had appeared in many places in Europe over the past century. It had not yet appeared in Christian Spain and the reason is clear. Jews had been very useful to the Christian kings in the process of reconquering Spain from the Moslems. But most of Spain was now conquered and the Jew's use was becoming less pronounced. It is no coincidence that we find the Blood Libel charge appearing now in Spain. The tide was turning for the Jews.

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1263. THE BARCELONA DISPUTATION.

The disputation also came to Spain at this period. The Church challenged the great Jewish scholar Nachmanides to a debate on the truth of Christianity. The Rabbi's opponent was Pablo Christiani, a Jew who had converted to Christianity. Disputations always ended to the advantage of the Christians, but the Aragonian king James the First before whom the debate was being held, did something uncharacteristic of such contests and granted free speech to the Jew. Nachman argued brilliantly and called off the debate after a few days when it was clear that he had had the advantage in the debate. If losing a disputation was dangerous for the Jews, winning one could be even worse for the community.

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1264. THE RISE OF THE POLISH COMMUNITY. THE FIRST CHARTER OF RIGHTS.

The Polish Jewish community started to all intents and purposes in the second half of the thirteenth century. Poland, largely ruined by hostile invasions in mid-century, tried to attract new settlers from the German lands. Many Jews were among the ones attracted and so the king of Poland, Boleslaw the Pious, did what rulers always did when they wanted to attract a population of Jews; they offered them rights. The first charter rights to the Jews of Poland was in this year. It would be followed by other charters recognising and extending those rights like the famous charter of 1333 offered by Casimir the Wise.

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1269. GOOD TIMES FOR MOROCCAN JEWRY.

In this year a new dynasty, the Merinids, conquered southern Morocco from the hostile, extreme Almohades. The new Sultan proved friendly to the Jews who found themselves taken into high positions as counsellors and courtiers. Yet even here the situation could be unpredictable. In 1276, in the Merinid capital of Fez, a massacre of Jews took place after a Jew was accused of improper behaviour towards a Moslem woman.

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1288-93. JEWS EXPELLED FROM KINGDOM OF NAPLES IN SOUTHERN ITALY.

By 1293 most of the Jews in this extremely old community had left or had converted, and the communities had been destroyed.

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1290. THE EXPULSION OF THE JEWS OF ENGLAND.

The Jews had lived in England for only two hundred years but had become an important element of the population because of the financial services they rendered to the monarchs and to the people. One major reason for the Jews' expulsion was the fact that they had become increasingly superfluous financially, because of the presence of a new, Italian, banker class and the rise of a new native middle class. The Jews had been resented for generations because their financial activities and when the opportunity arose, they were expelled. Of the few thousand Jews who left, most turned to the Germanic lands.

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C1295. MESSIANIC FERVOUR IN SPAIN.

As persecution of Jews continued in Spain, one of the results was a new interest in the messianic coming. In the mid-1290's there appeared in the town of Avila in Castile, an illiterate messianic claimant who caused great excitement in the community. On a specific date that he announced for the messianic coming, the community gathered in the synagogue and waited. There is a Christian tradition that crosses suddenly appeared on the garments of the Jews as they waiting and as a result many Jews converted to Christianity.

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1298. RINDFLEISCH MASSACRES IN GERMANY.

After a series of blood libel and host desecration accusations, a German knight called Rindfleisch incited the townspeople of Germany to massacre their Jews. Some 146 communities were ruined. The Holy Roman Emperor tried to intervene but his proclamations went unheeded. Many thousands were killed.

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1305. THE BAN ON PHILOSOPHY AND ON SCIENCE.

The cultural war between the proponents and the opponents of philosophy had been going on in Jewish Europe for over a hundred years when a very important Spanish Rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Ben Aderet (the Rashba) was persuaded to issue a ban on the studying of philosophy and science to anyone under the age of twenty five. Aderet himself was by no means anti-rationalist in his thought but he knew well the excesses that had led many rationalists away from the Jew traditions. His ban was actually issued only for his own community of Barcelona but his enormous influence led many others to accept his ban.

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1306. EXPULSION OF THE JEWS OF FRANCE.

The fourteenth century was disastrous for the Jews of France. They were expelled several times and then allowed to come back for limited periods of time. The motive for their expulsion was primarily financial, namely to allow the crown to seize their possessions. The motive for the rescinding of the expulsion order was primarily financial, namely to profit from the very high taxes and fines that were demanded of them. In between the expulsions, while they present in France, horrific massacres broke out from time to time. Towards the end of the century, the Jews of most of the areas of France would find themselves permanently removed from the country.

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1348-49. THE BLACK DEATH AND THE ATTACKS ON THE JEWS, BLAMED AS WELL POISONERS.

The Black Death a terrible plague which hit Europe at this time and decimated her population, caused large scale attacks on the Jews, especially in the German lands. The Jews were accused of poisoning the wells of Europe, a charge so absurd that the Pope had no hesitation in refuting it immediately. However there were too many groups with an interest in attacking the Jews, not least from motives of economic rivalry an financial indebtedness. Hundreds of communities were attacked. Some 60 large communities and 150 small communities in Germany were wiped out. Many towns also used the Black Death as a reason/excuse to get rid of their Jews. Jews elsewhere in Europe also suffered from violence following the well-poisoning accusation but nowhere was the damage as great as in Germany.

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1349-60. THE EXPULSION OF thE JEWS OF HUNGARY.

In the wake of the Black Death, many of the Jews of Hungary were expelled. A general expulsion order attempted to get rid of the rest in 1360. Four years later the order was rescinded. This pattern of expelling the Jews and sometimes allowing their re-entry was repeated in these years for many Jewish communities in Europe. To give just a partial list of the localities which expelled their Jews over the next century and a half, the list includes; Strasbourg (1381), Lucerne (1384), Berne (1408 and again in 1427), Vienna (1421), Linz (1421) Cologne (1424), Fribourg (1428), Zurich (1436), Augsburg (1439), Bavaria (1442 and 1450), Moravia (1421 and 1454), Breslau (1453), Trent (1475), Peruggia (1485), Gubbio (1486), Geneva (1490), Ravenna (1491) and Campo San Pietro (1492).

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1391. FORCED CONVERSIONS OF THE JEWS OF SPAIN.

After many years of threatened or small scale violence, the world of Spanish Jewry finally exploded. After particularly incendiary sermons by a high Churchman in Seville developed into a full-scale massacre, the riots spread very fast throughout the towns of Castile and then across the border to Aragon. The power of the riots was so great that there were very few places where they could be prevented. Tens of thousands of Jews died and tens of thousa others appear to have saved their lives by baptism. Thousands more fled. It was these riots that created the legacy of the Conversos or as they are often called, the Marranos, the converts to Christianity some of whom were secret Jews but many of whom now cut themselves off totally from Judaism.

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1413-14. THE DISPUTATION OF TORTOSA. LARGE-SCALE VOLUNTARY CONVERSIONS OF JEWS.

After their "success" in 1391, the Church stepped up the pressure on the remainder of Spanish Jewry over the next generation. As part of this process there now came a disputation in the town of Tortosa that lasted for twenty-one months. The proceedings were so dispiriting for the Jews that many decided in its wake to convert voluntarily, reasoning apparently that there was simply no more point in remaining a Jew.

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1438. THE CREATION OF THE "MELLAH" IN FEZ.

The situation of the Jews in Morocco under the Merinid dynasty which had ruled Morroco since the late thirteenth century had been good on the whole. However, as the Merinid line drew towards its end the situation rapidly deteriorated. It was now decided to give the Jews a special quarter of their own in Fez and they were given an area known as the mellah, a kind of ghetto for their own protection. However in 1465, when a monarch appointed a Jew as his m advisor, riots and massacres broke out both in Fez and across Morocco.

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C1475. FIRST HEBREW PRINTING PRESSES.

In Italy in the 1470's we find two Hebrew printing presses that appear to be the oldest in existence. A few years later the important Soncino family would start their press in Italy. In some countries such as Portugal, Jewish printing presses preceded general printing presses of the rest of the population.

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1478. THE START OF THE SPANISH INQUISITION.

The problem of the secret Jews among the Conversos had occupied the Crown and the Church in Spain for decades. Finally the Crown in the persons of the royal couple, Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile decided to initiate an inquisition to try and flush out the secret Jews from among the Christian population. After negotiations with the Pope, the first inquisitorial tribunal opened in Seville in 1481 and soon found itself so swamped with work that it was decided to set up a countrywide system of inquisitorial courts and these opened two years later under an Inquisitor-General, the infamous Thomas Torquemada.

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1492. THE EXPULSION OF THE JEWS OF SPAIN.

Completely unexpectedly, as soon as the Christian kings had finally conquered the last part of Spain that had been for centuries under Moslem rule - Granada - the monarchs decided to expel all of their country's Jews. The official reason was that the presence of a Jewish community only made it harder to flush out the secret Jews from among the Christian population. The Jews were given some three months to put their affairs in order and to leave Spain. It clear how many Jews now left Spain, but the estimates vary between 100,000 and 300,000 Jews. Many left to Portugal but others left for North Africa, the Ottoman Empire and Italy with a few making their way in secret to North West Europe where officially there were no Jews at all at this time. The Spanish expulsion was by far the biggest expulsion of all.

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1495. TEMPORARY EXPULSION OF JEWS FROM LITHUANIA.

Jews had been in Lithuania from the early fourteeth century. By this time there were some ten thousand Jews there and the Grand Duke of Lithuania decided to expel them largely for financial reasons, which suggests that their financial situation was reasonable. They would be allowed to return seven years later and they would continue to increase their numbers.

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1497. EXPULSION OF THE JEWS OF PORTUGAL.

The majority of the 1492 refugees from Spain had gone to Portugal which had benefited greatly from their presence. However, in order to cement a marriage union with Spain, the king of Portugal was forced to agree to an expulsion of the Jews. In the end, unwilling to let them go, he used a combination of coercion and trickery to convert all the Jews of his kingdom formally so that he could announce that he had no more Jews. Some Jews fled but tens of thousands of others, now outwardly Christian, practiced their Judaism in secret.

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C1500. DEVELOPMENT OF LADINO.

With the flow of the Spanish exiles to different lands we find the early development of the special language, based on old Castilian with an admixture of Hebrew and other elements, that would characterise many of the ex-Spanish communities. This is Ladino and the first book printed in the language was published in Constantinople in 1510.

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1500-1502. MESSIANIC MOVEMENT AMONG JEWS OF ITALY AND GERMANY.

Asher Lemlein, a Jew of apparently Ashkenazi origins aroused great excitement among local Jews claiming to be the Messiah. The movement appears to have lapsed with his death.

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C1500. APPEARANCE OF CONVERSOS IN THE NEW WORLD.

We start to hear of the presence of secret Jews in the New World close to the start of the sixteenth century. Many converso families arrive in places like Cuba and Mexico to the anger of the local church authorities who try to prevent their arrival. Almost certainly, even at this early date there were already secret Jews among them. The new arrivals were certainly suspected. In 1528 two suspected Judaisers were burnt at the stake despite the fact that only in another forty years would the Inquisition be formally introduced into the New World.

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1510-16. TROUBLES IN ITALY; EXPULSION FROM NAPLES, THE GHETTO IN VENICE.

The Jewish situation in Italy was always unstable. In 1510 the Jews were expelled from Naples which had recently come under Spanish control; only a couple of hundred wealthy families were allowed to stay. There would be a more comprehensive expulsion in 1545 after which Jews would not be able to return for some two centuries. In Venice, the situation was different. The community had received great reinforcement from the time of a war with German forces in 1509 that had driven many refugees from German lands into the city. In 1516 it was decided to separate the Jewish population in an area called the Ghetto ("foundry" in Italian after the name of the specific area put aside for their use). One major reason was to limit Jewish social interaction with the Christian population and there were also financial reasons for the act. Within a couple of generations the number of Jews in the Venetian ghetto would rise to some 5,000.

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1517. PALESTINE CONQUERED BY THE OTTOMANS. RISE OF SAFED.

This was seen as an extremely inpoprtant event especially by those thousands of Jews of Spanish origin who had found a home in the Ottoman empire. The Ottomans were the only power formally to invite the Spanish Jews into their lands, and their conquest of Eretz Israel was seen by many as a sign of divine intervention giving rise to enormous messianic enthusiasm. Jews would start coming in large numbers to the country and we see the rise of a new Jewish centre in the northern town of Safed.

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1524-32. STRANGE STORIES OF LOST TRIBES AND MESSIAHS. DAVID REUVENI AND SHLOMO MOLCHO.

David Reuveni was a Jew who appeared in Venice in 1524 claiming that his brother was the king of the lost tribe of Reuven and that he had come to make a pact with the Christians against the Moslems. His appearance caused great excitement among Jew and non-Jew. One of his followers, the ex-converso, Shlomo Molcho, reverted to Judaism and announced himself as the Messiah. Both ultimately were burnt by the Church, Molcho in 1532, Reuveni in 1535.

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1543. MARTIN LUTHER ATTACKS THE JEWS.

Luther, the great German reformer, at first praised the Jews in the hope that they would be attracted to Christianity through his movement, but when his hopes were disappointed he turned sharply against the Jews and published a book of great hatred which many see as one of the forerunners of modern racial anti-semitism.

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1551. JEWS CHOOSE OWN CHIEF RABBI IN POLAND-LITHUANIA.

Since the early years of the sixteenth century the Polish crown had nominated Jews to be the Chief Rabbi over Polish Jews. Now, however, as the community got stronger, they gained the right of appointing their own Chief Rabbi. This was not merely a practical change; it was also symbolic of the rising importance of the Jewish community in Poland.

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1554. POPE PAUL THE FOURTH STRENGTHENS ANTI-JEWISH LINE IN CHURCH; GHETTOISATION.

Pope Paul was the first of the Popes who represented the movement known as the Counter-Reformation. This was a movement for cleaning up various abuses which had crept in over the centuries which were considered to be one of the major reasons for the Reformation. One of the abuses that the Counter-Reformation was determined to wipe out was the lenient treatment that the Jews had experienced in recent generations from the pacy. Jews were considered too involved in Christian society and as a result one of the first instructions of the new Pope was concerned with the setting up of ghettoes in order to remove the Jews from Christain society.

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C1577. BEGINNING OF THE PHENOMENON OF THE COURT JEW.

Mordechai Marcus, a rich financier from Prague is appointed financier of the crown. He will be given special privileges enabling him to accumulate enormous wealth in the service of the crown. He has been called the first Jewish capitalist and there are those who see him as the first Court Jew. The Court Jews were special financial advisers and royal purveyors who worked with the monarchs and nobles of Europe up to the mid-eighteenth century. They played an extremely important role in the development of modern finance and also in the change of status of the Jews on the way to the modern world.

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1579. THE ARI - RABBI ISAAC LURIA - COMES TO SAFED.

The extraordinary community in Safed had been developing since the Ottoman conquest of Palestine. For over fifty years a community of exceptional religious intensity and messianic enthusiasm had been developing in Safed. Now there arrived in the town, the figure who would be seen as the most gifted of all the mystics, and who would become truly identified as the leader of the whole Sefad phenomenon, Isaac Luria, known as the holy Ari. Luria wo in Safed for only three years before his sudden death but in those years he put his stamp on the already dynamic community and caused a great advance in the religious and mystical fervour within the community.

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1581. COUNCIL OF THE FOUR LANDS FORMED IN POLAND. There now started an institution that represented the high point of Jewish autonomy in the diaspora. This was the Council of the Four Lands representing the Jewish communities in the different parts of the Polish commonwealth. Its reason for official existence as far as the Crown was concerned was financial. Centralising Jewry made tax negotiations and collections easier. Its reasons as far as the Jews were concerned were different. It enabled the Jews to have more control over their own lives. There were two regular committees, one of laymen who dealt with technical and financial subjects of concern to the Polish Jews and one of Rabbis who examined important halachic questions which needed to be decided.

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1585. SPANISH OCCUPY ANTWERP. AMSTERDAM EMERGES AS NORTHERN CONVERSO CENTRE.

Antwerp had developed in the sixteenth century as the hubpoint of activity for ex-Spanish and Portuguese Conversos in northern Europe, the emerging new financial centre of Europe. After the city was occupied by the Spanish, the community moved to Amsterdam, initially as a converso community but with time, we see Jewish activity rising more openly to the surface. By the early seventeenth century we will find a strong Jewish community,initially Sephardi but in time also Ashkenazi that will be present in Amsterdam.

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1593. DEVELOPMENT OF LEGHORN IN ITALY AS IMPORTANT JEWISH CENTRE.

When the Medici family gained control of the small port of Leghorn in Italy, they sought to develop it into a major economic power. To this end they invited the Jews to settle there, allowing immunity too to Jews who had become Conversos. The community soon started to thrive and within a century it will contain several thousand Jews and become one of the most important centres of Jewish life in western Europe.

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C1600. DEVELOPMENT OF PRAGUE COMMUNITY.

Prague, the capital of Bohemia, was fast developing into a serious Jewish community. The Jewish community was rapidly developing in size, attracting Jews from all over including many from eastern Europe where life for the Jews was becoming hard. By the mid-seventeenth century it would be one of the largest and most impressive of all European communities.

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C1600-25. JEWISH LIFE DEVELOPING IN NORTHERN EUROPEAN PORTS.

Increasingly we find Jewish life beginning to emerge in the new developing ports of northern Europe. In ports like Hamburg and Altona in Germany and Gluckstadt, then under Danish control, Jewish communities start to appear. In some places like Hamburg, the community started in secret as a group of outwardly Christian merchants who at a certain point revealed their Judaism. In other places they were invited in as merchants. The usual pattern was for Sephardi communities of merchants to settle, bringing in their wake poorer Ashkenazi communities.

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1603. ATTEMPT AT CENTRALISING GERMAN JEWRY; COUNCIL OF GERMAN JEWRY IN FRANKFURT.

An effort was now made to imitate the success of the Polish Council of Lands and to centralise Jewish community organisation in Germany. The delegates attempted to overhaul and rationalise the system of tax collection, as well as to improve Jewish life in many different spheres. It represents a serious and systematic attempt to organise German Jewry into a more effective body. Unquestionably it reflects a revival on the part of the German communities. Unfortunately this particular council failed, apparently because it was seen as threatening from the German point of view. Some of the participants were brought to trial on a charge of treason against the state.

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1630-54. DEVELOPMENT OF JEWISH SETTLEMENT IN BRAZIL.

The Dutch gained a serious foothold in north-eastern Brazil with their conquest of the area in 1630. Conversos started to be attracted there and began to live openly as Jews. The biggest community was in Recife. However when the Portuguese conquered the area in 1654, the Jews had to leave and seek other destinations. At that point Jewish settlement would develop at different points in the Caribbean and in North America too.

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1648. DESTRUCTION OF UKRAINIAN JEWRY; THE CHMELNITSKI POGROMS.

The early seventeenth century had seen intensive Polish colonisation of the Ukraine. Among the settlers were many Jews who rose to positions of economic influence over the local population, especially working on behalf of the usually absent Polish overlords who owned the land. This added to great discontent among the local native population who resented what they saw as the occupation of their land by the Poles. Ultimately in 1648, a revolt broke out led by the local Cossacks and one of their leaders, Chmelnitski, who rebelled against the Polish occupation and marched on Poland to take the Polish Crown. The Jews were the main victims of the revolt and between a hundred and two hundred thousand Jews are thought to have lost their lives. Nevertheless, ironically, within a generation, the Ukraine had filled up with Jews again.

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1654. FIRST JEWS IN NORTH AMERICA ARRIVE IN NEW AMSTERDAM (NEW YORK).

With the flight of the Jews from Recife in Brazil, Jewish settlement developed at many different places in the Americas as the Jews looked for new places to settle. Among the new settlements was the recently settled Dutch trading centre of New Amsterdam in North America. Some two dozen Jews from Recife found their way to New Amsterdam and asked for permission to stay. In point of fact they were not the first. About two months their arrival a couple of Jews had arrived from Holland. Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch governor, was opposed to the Jews staying but his hand was forced by his superiors in Holland and thus the first Jewish settlement in North America was born.

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1655. RABBI MENASHE BEN ISRAEL PETITIONS FOR THE READMITTANCE OF JEWS INTO ENGLAND.

Menashe ben Israel was a Rabbi in Amsterdam. Inspired by recent reports of sightings of the Ten Lost Tribes in South America, and knowing that there was a Christian belief that Christ would only return when the Jews were at all corners of the earth, he petitioned the English government to allow the Jews to return. In England, at this time, government was in the hands of an extreme Christian sect, the Puritans, led by Oliver Cromwell, and Menashe had reason to believe that Cromwell would be open to his arguments. And so it proved. Without any official rescinding of the Act of 1290 that outlawed a Jewish presence in England, Cromwell allowed the Jews to stay. Thus, the Jews returned to England after some three and a half centuries.

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1656. SPINOZA EXCOMMUNICATED FROM JUDAISM IN AMSTERDAM.

Baruch (Benedict) Spinoza was excommunicated for his unorthodox thought by the community of Amsterdam. The accusation was that he denied the divinity of Torah, the existence of angels and the immortality of the soul. He was by no means the only Jew in the Amsterdam community who had doubts of that nature. In the community there were many Jews whose families had returned to Judaism after a long period of Christianity and it created many hardships for the believers.

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1657. JEWS ALLOWED TO SETTLE IN DENMARK.

Economic sense made it increasingly clear to European rulers that Jews could be good and valuable subjects. It was proved now in Denmark. Jewish merchants had thirty years previously been invited to the German town of Gluckstadt, then under Danish control but now the doors of Denmark proper were thrown open to Jews. At first it was only Sephardi Jews who were allowed in since they were felt to be a more worthwhile acquisition from the Danish point of view, but in time other Jews would also be allowed to come.

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1665-6. SHABBETAI ZEVI, THE FALSE MESSIAH.

There had been many messianic movements in Jewish history. At certain times it had been felt that the time was right and such was the feeling now. All over Europe and the Middle East, a movement broke out proclaiming that the Messiah had arrived in the form of a young Turkish Jew, Shabbetai Zevi, who was ready to go and confront the Sultan of Ottoman Turkey and demand the handing over of Eretz Israel to the Jews. The Jewish world followed the story with breath but Shabbetai's confrontation with the Sultan ended differently. Faced with a choice between death and conversion to Islam, Shabbetai chose the latter and converted to the horror of the whole Jewish world. Some, thinking that this was a necessary part of the Messianic plan, followed him into Islam and created a separate sect that lasted in Islam right to the twentieth century.

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1676-1680. THE TEMPORARY EXPULSION OF THE JEWS OF YEMEN. THE EXILE TO MAWZA.

The Jews of Yemen had gone through ups and downs over recent history (mostly downs). Now, under a new fanatical Imam the situation went down even more. Resolved to rid the country of all non-Moslems, he published a decree of exile for the Jews. The actual exile took place in 1678-9, when they were all exiled to a place called Mawza on the shores of the Red Sea. The exile was extremely traumatic for the community. A y later they were allowed to return and they did so with numbers badly depleted, but they were not allowed to re-enter their former homes which had been taken over by Moslems. Enormous hardship followed.

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1700. THE MASS ALIYAH OF JUDAH HASID.

Judah was an Eastern European kabbalist who believing that redemption was near, organised a mass Aliyah to Eretz Israel. About thirteen hundred of his followers started the trip although hundreds died on the way. When the remainder came to Jerusalem, Judah himself was taken ill and died and the leaderless group fell apart, many making their way back to Europe. It seems that Judah himself was a secret believer in the messianic mission of Shabbetai Zevi.

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1723. THE SEPHARDI COMMUNITY IN BORDEAUX, FRANCE, IS OFFICIALLY RECOGNISED AS JEWISH.

For generations there had been Conversos living in Bordeaux attracted across the border from Spain and Portugal by economic opportunities. How many of them were secret Jews we have no way of knowing but about 1710 it seems that some of them stopped disguising themselves and professed Judaism more openly. The first time that this was formally recognised was in 1723 when official documents mention them as Jews. H officially it was still illegal for them publicly to profess Judaism.

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1730. FIRST SYNAGOGUE IN NORTH AMERICA.

The Shearit Israel congregation in New York dedicates its first synagogue. The congregation like others in North America has been existing for some decades but this is the first time that a building will expressly serve as a synagogue building.

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C1740. APPEARANCE OF THE BAAL SHEM TOV, THE "FOUNDER" OF HASSIDUT.

The movement known as Hassidut did not spring out of nowhere. It came from a particular milieu that was soaked through with mystics existing both as groups and as isolated individuals. The BeSht (Ba'al Shem Tov) who is seen as the founder of the movement was one of these individuals but he changed an important direction, the direction of the mystic who withdrew from the world and replaced it the idea of the mystic who embraced the and worked within it. As such he would attract a group of disciples who well after his death would take the new ideas that they had developed on the basis of his initial direction and go out to create the mass-movement that Hassidut would ultimately become. He appears to have started to reveal his ideas to others about this time.

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1751. THE EYBESCHUTZ-EMDEN AFFAIR.

Since the conversion of Shabbetai Zevi in 1666, the question of the man's messianic character had officially disappeared from the Jewish world. Some of his followers had embraced Islam; all others, it was assumed, had painfully seen the light. However, the reality was much different. Underneath the surface of the Jewish world, there was a large network of secret supporters of Shabbetai, who waited for his second coming. They included scholars and Rabbis. Ever ten the charge of secret Shabbetianism would come to the surface, usually amid great uproar. Never was this truer than in the 1750's when one of the greatest Talmudic experts of the generation, Rabbi Yonatan Eybeschutz was accused by another great Rabbi, Ya'akov Emden of being a secret Shabbetean who distributed encoded amulets. The affair, with its accusations and counter-accusations lasted many years and was finally unresolved but at its height it threw the Jewish world and parts of the Christian world too into an uproar.

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1755. THE FRANKIST AFFAIR. MESSIANISM GONE MAD.

A new Shabbetean movement developed in Podolia, Poland in the mid 1750's when a Jew called Jacob Frank announced himself as the successor to Shabbetai and claimed to be the Messiah. His followers indulged in sexual orgies and other open forms of sin announcing that this was permissible in the messianic time. Excommunicated by the Jews they were finally baptised into Christianity and continued as a sect of their own within the Christian world for at two generations.

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1764. THE FIRST CHASSIDIC ALIYAH.

Two Hassidic Rabbis, Menachem-Mendel of Premyshlan and Nahman of Horodenko led a group of Hassidim to Eretz Israel and settled in Tiberias. Thirteen years later, a larger Hassidic Aliyah of some three hundred people would be led by Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk to settle in Safed and Tiberias. These Aliyot made a very big contribution numerically to the Jewish population in Eretz Israel, creating the beginning of an important Ashkenazi centre.

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1764. THE ABOLITION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE FOUR LANDS.

The Council of Lands had been active for almost two hundred years but as Polish Jewry had sunk into an increasingly difficult reality of violence, degradation and debt, the Council had been dragged down with it. It was finding it increasingly hard to perform its internal tasks vis a vis the Jews of Poland and it was finding it impossible to fulfil its external tasks vis a vis the crown. Without real authority and without resources it could no function effectively and it was now abolished with the crown preferring to try and collect its taxes from the half bankrupt communities rather than the bankrupt organisation that had once represented them in better times.

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1768. THE HAIDAMACK ATTACKS IN EASTERN POLAND.

Gangs of Cossacks and peasants who saw themselves as the heirs of Chmelnitski marauded throughout the eastern provinces of Poland since the 1720's preying on Jews and Poles. Some of the violence had been extreme but the climax was now reached when the mobs attacked the large fortress of Uman where Jews and Poles had sought refuge and murdered them by the tens of thousand. There were thousands of Jews among the victims. The violence was so intense th government was finally moved to supress them.

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1772. FIRST PARTITION OF POLAND.

Poland had been falling into anarchy for decades. The central government was weak and the nobles were rapacious. These weaknesses had long been exploited by Poland's neighbours, Austria, Prussia and Russia, who lost no opportunity to advance their own interests by interfering in Poland's internal situation. Now finally they decided to act together and to carve areas out of Poland that they themselves would annex. This first annexation of Poland was the beginning of the end for that beleagured country. Two more divisions twenty years later in 1793 and 1795 would finish the job. Poland would no longer exist. By the time of the third partition, the lion's share would have gone to Russia who took vast lands, inheriting into the bargain almost a million Jews.

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1772. HASSIDUT EXCOMMUNICATED.

There were leaders of Eastern European Jewry who saw Hassidut as a dreadful threat to the world of Torah and Jewish law. They were led by the Vilna Gaon the leading light of scholarship in Eastern Europe. In 1772, discovering a group of Hasidim in Vilna itself he published a ban of excommunication against the group and called on other Rabbis and Jewish communities to act likewise. Almost all the Lithuanian communities followed suit but not those of the southern area Poland. The war between the Hassidim and their opponents lasted to the end of the Gaon's life (1797) and beyond.

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1778. THE FIRST MODERN JEWISH SCHOOL OPENS IN BERLIN.

The fight over modernity was developing now in the West, as the movement of Haskalah (Jewish enlightenment) gained ground. One of the crucial arenas of the struggle would be in the world of education. In Berlin, a Jewish manufacturer and community activist, David Friedlander, opened up the Jewish Free School. The school, opened in the main for the children of poor families, emphasised commercial subjects and practical skills important to give students the necessary skills to advance in life. French and German language, mathematics and art were all taught there, subjects that were unheard of in a traditional Jewish school. The school would last for almost fifty years.

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1782. THE EDICT OF TOLERANCE OF JOSEPH THE SECOND.

The ideas of the enlightenment had influenced a number of the higher nobility of Europe and even some of the monarchs. In the late eighteenth century we encounter the figure of the "Enlightened Despots" a group of monarchs who believed in trying to change and reform their kingdoms from the top without changing the system of government. A prime example was Joseph the Second, the Holy Roman Emperor, who brought in various changes which affected the He tried to bring Jewish life more into line with the lives of the other inhabitants of the Empire. He now published his famous "Edict of Toleration" which attempted to improve the situation of Austrian Jewry, by applying the principles of the enlightenment to the Jews of his realm.

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1783. MOSES MENDELSSOHN PUBLISHES HIS TRANSLATION OF THE TORAH IN GERMAN. Mendelssohn was perhaps the most important figure of the early Jewish enlightenment, the movement that sought to make the Jew a part of the modern world. An orthodox Jew till his death in 1786, he tried to distinguish between essence and externals in Judaism arguing that while the essence of belief and observance must not change, a Jew could and should absolutely be part of the modern world and that a Jew could live a modern life while still remaining a conscientious Jew. Jews should speak the language of their host communities and to that end he published his translation of the Torah with a modern commentary so that Jews in the German lands would be able to learn the German language, an essential step, to his way of thinking, towards an integration into German society.

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1789. FIRST DEBATE IN FRANCE ON JEWISH EMANCIPATION.

This was the year of the beginning of what is known as the French Revolution. It was the first attempt to thoroughly reorganise a European country in a modern way according to the principles of the Enlightenment. As part of this reorganisation the question was debated whether the Jews should be emancipated - i.e. given total equality under the law with other French people. The initial suggestion was rejected but in 1790, after reconsideration Sephardi Jews of the south were emancipated and a year later the Ashkenazi Jews of France gained the same staus. This was the first time that a Jewish community was actively emancipated.

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1791. THE BEGINNING OF THE PALE OF SETTLEMENT IN RUSSIA.

The divisions of Poland and the acquisition of most of Poland's territory by Russia presented the latter with a great problem. They had wanted the land, but with it they acquired altogether almost a million Jews, and this in a land where no Jews had been tolerated for many generations. The solution was initially outlined in 1791 after the first partition and before the second and third, when Catherine the Great of Russia created an area of settlement based on the old Polish provinces where the Jews had lived and would be able to continue. The areas were obviously adjusted after the other partitions. From time to time the areas were enlarged and new areas incorporated according to Russian settlement interests.

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1794. BEREK JOSELOWICZ ORGANISES A JEWISH LEGION IN POLAND.

Poland was being swallowed up by its neighbours. In 1794 there developed a heroic Polish rebellion against Russia nad Prussia and Joselewicz a Warsaw Jew organised a Jewish battalion to help in the defence of Warsaw. The Poles were defeated, and Berek fled to France. He returned later and died as a military hero against the Austrians in 1809. He became a folk hero in Poland.

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1796-9. ITALIAN JEWS TEMPORARILY EMANCIPATED AND THEIR GHETTOES PULLED DOWN BY NAPOLEON'S ARMIES.

As Napoleon at the head of the French armies moved across Europe, he spread French law where he could. In Italy in 1796, he started to pull down the age old ghettoes, and later on he announced the emancipation of the Jews. At the end of the decade, however, when the French were forced out of Italy, the emancipation was cancelled and the ghettoes rebuilt.

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1802. FIRST CHIEF RABBI OF ANGLO-JEWRY APPOINTED.

Solomon Hirschel, a London born but European educated Rabbi was appointed as Rabbi of the important Great Synagogue of London and as such was recognised as the de facto Chief Rabbi of England (and its overseas lands) by the country's Ashkenazi community.

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1802. FIRST OF THE GREAT NINETEENTH CENTURY LITHUANIAN YESHIVOT ESTABLISHED.

The Volozhin Yeshiva founded by Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin was the first of an entirely new kind of yeshiva in Eastern Europe which sought to draw its students from all over the Pale and to give them financial help. Many other such yeshivot would follow in its footsteps.

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1804. FIRST CONSTITUTION FOR RUSSIA'S JEWS ADOPTED BY TSAR ALEXANDER THE FIRST.

Alexander, a one time liberal and a subsequent mystic and reactionary ordered a committee to recommend a policy for the Jews, and he adopted their suggestions. These were a mixture of restrictive legislation cutting the Jew of from mainstream Russian society so that the Jew would not contaminate his neighbour and other laws encouraging the Jews to improve their situation, formed the basis of most subsequent government legislation towards the Jews.

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1805. THE GREAT ALGERIAN MASSACRE.

A massacre broke out for the first time in Algerian history after the ruler of Algeria, the Bey, was felt to be favouring the Jews too much. The Jewish aide to the Bey was assassinated and then riots broke out which took hundreds of Jewish lives.

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1806. NAPOLEON CALLS AN ASSEMBLY OF NOTABLES.

Napoleon, the Emperor of France, wished to test the sincerity of the Jews'adherence to France after he was told that they were not sincere in their attitudes. To that end he called a Council of Notables to give him clear answers on a number of questions connected with Frwnch Jewish identity and loyalty. He then called a "Sanhedrin" to ratify and authorise the answers.

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1806. THE NEW YESHIVAH IN PRESSBURG, HUNGARY, BECOMES THE CENTRE OF OPPOSITION TO MODERNITY.

Rabbi Moses Sofer, known as the Chatam Sofer, accepted the Rabbinate of the largest community in Hungary and from here he waged an uncompromising war against anything connected with modernity. His pupils became the backbone of European Jewry's ideological war against compromise with modernity.

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1812. THE NEAR EMANCIPATION OF THE JEWS OF PRUSSIA.

In a decreee of this year, Prussia explicitly granted the Jews civil and political rights. Napoleon's influence had penetrated here too and it was seen that without modernisation of all aspects of life, Prussia would lag behind other countries in Europe. The legislation regarding the Jews was part of this modernisation process. However, there were still limitations on what professions Jews were allowed to take on. In subsequent years it became that the Prussian ruler was still very interested in limiting the Jews in many aspects and encouraging the Jews to convert.

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1819. HEP HEP RIOTS IN GERMANY AND DENMARK.

These riots broke out because of the feeling that the newly emancipated Jews had used their new freedoms to exploit unfairly the "native" population. They were used by the opponents of Jewish emancipation to show that it had not worked and that it was necessary to roll the emancipation back. The last few years had seen the rise of a huge popular movement expressing itself in many different pamphlets arguing against the Jewish threat.

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1821. JEWS MASSACRED IN GREECE AS A RESULT OF THE GREEK REVOLT AGAINST THE TURKS.

When the Greeks rebelled against their Ottoman masters, the Jews in the areas of revolt refused to side with the rebels and sided with the Ottomans who had treated the Jews generally well in the past. As a result the Jews were blamed by the rebels and slaughtered for their "treachery". In the Peloponnese area, some five hundred Jews were massacred.

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1826. THE LAST AUTO DE FE CEREMONY OF THE SPANISH INQUISITION.

After almost four and a half centuries, the last Spanish cremony of the auto de fe ('Act of faith") the ceremony of condemnation for victims of the Inquisition, was held. But only Jews were condemned in such ceremonies. In this last ceremony in Valencia, the victim was not Jewish. Nevertheless, of the thirty thousand or so victims of the Inquisition condemned in such ceremonies, tens of thousands were Jews.

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1827. JUVENILE CONSCRIPTION - THE STORY OF THE CANTONISTS.

In an attempt to break the Jewish spirit, the government of Nicholas the First of Russia passed a law that took child soldiers as well as adult soldiers. The adults would be taken at the age of eighteen for twenty five years in the army. The juvenile conscipts ('cantonists') were taken at twelve years old for six years of preliminary service usually in a peasant village and at eighteen would be turned over for the regular service of twent years. It is estimated that by 1856, when the law was cancelled, some forty to fifty thousand boys were taken away to be cantoniss.

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1832. DAVID SASSOON MOVES TO BOMBAY FROM BAGHDAD AND STARTS AN EMPIRE.

David Sassoon was one of a large number of Baghdad Jews who moved to Bombay and became a dominant factor in the Indian community. David built up a commercial empire, and became a major Indian Jewish community leader. He built schools and hospitals and was famous for his philanthropy.

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1836. GOVERNMENT CENSORSHIP ON JEWISH BOOKS IN RUSSIA. PRINTING PRESSES CLOSED.

The government of Russia imposed censorship on Jewish books allowing books to be printed only under very close supervision. Strangely enough the move towards censorship had been initiated by the Jews themselves. Already ten years previously, enlightened Jews at ideological war with the Hassidim, had petitioned the government to allow only enlightened books to be printed and not the "superstitious" works of the Hassid Now a censorship was rigidly imposed and nearly all Jewish printing presses in the country were closed.

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1837. EARTHQUAKE IN SAFED. THOUSANDS KILLED.

In the last two generations many Jews had started to live in Safed which had become a large Jewish community in Eretz Israel. But tragically, now, an earthquake hit Safed. Thousands were killed, most of them Jews. The community was almost totally destroyed.

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1839. THE MASS FORCED CONVERSIONS OF MESHED, PERSIA.

Meshed in northern Persia had a flourishing Jewish community, but one day a fanatical mob burst in on the Jewish community and threatened death and destruction only stopping when the Moslem leaders promised to convert the entire community to Islam. They all converted and practiced their Judaism in secret. Most of them ultimately moved to other countries with many coming to Jerusalem.

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1840. THE DAMASCUS BLOOD LIBEL.

After a Capuchin monk went missing in Damascus, the local Jews were blamed and serious torture brought confessions. The affair caused enormous protest and showed the strength of Jewish public opinion. After a delegation of top European Jewish leaders went to the east to try and reverse the verdict (successfully), the Sultan of Turkey was persuaded to dneounce blood libels.

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1840. THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT OPENS JEWISH SCHOOLS.

The Russian government now opens a campaign to persuade the Jews to go to government sponsored schools for Jews where they will learn not only Jewish but also general subjects. Most of the Jews, not unreasonably, not inaccurately, understand that this intiative comes at least partly from a desire to drew the Jews away from Judaism, and refuse to take part in the schools.

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1842. THE BEGINNING OF THE MUSAR MOVEMENT IN LITHUANIA.

The Musar movement was an attempt to improve the moral and ethical sides of the traditional Jewish community in Eastern Europe. It was started by Rabbi Israel Salanter who opened his first group in Vilna. In the frameworks that accepted Musar ideas it was deemed insufficient to learn Torah without some kind of moral development.

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1844. THE ABOLITION OF THE KAHAL, THE COMMUNITY ORGANISATION OF THE JEWS OF RUSSIA.

The Russian government was determined to try and wean away the Jews from their traditional Judaism and weaken the Jewish community. The cantonists was one measure that they used, and the attempt to introduce government Jewish schools can also be understood in that light. One of the major initiatives in this respect was the measure that was now taken to suppress the community roof body that existed in every Jewish community - the kahal. The kahal was abolished and its functions were taken over by government appointees. This was a major blow to the whole institution of Jewish self-government and to the self esteem of the communities.

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1844. FIRST REFORM RABBINICAL MEETING IN BRUNSWICK, GERMANY.

Since the late eighteenth century there had been Jews, and Rabbis among them, in Germany who had been pushing for changes in Judaism. Now for the first time there took place a meeting between all the Rabbis who believed in reform of Judaism. At this conference many ideas were suggested and it was agreed that there would be additional meetings of the Rabbis. Out of the additional meetings that took place over the next few years, Reform Judaism as a movement started to emerge. Needless to say, the meetings were strongly attacked by the Orthodox Rabbis of Germany.

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1846. THE DEGRADATIONS OF THE COMMUNITY OF YEMEN.

The Jews of Yemen were one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. Their history under Islam had been very hard. Generally speaking they were at the bottom of the social scale and suffered endless humiliations from the authorities, who wasted few opportunities to make their lives hard. An example of this is the new decree that the Jews are responsible for the cleaning of all the sewers. It would take more than a century before the decree be cancelled.

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C1848-9. EMANCIPATION OF DIFFERENT JEWRIES.

One of the major stories of European Jewry in the nineteenth centuries is the emancipation of the different national communities of Jews. French Jewry had already been emancipated in the late neighteenth century as had Dutch Jewry and as the nineteenth century progressed more and more Jewish communities found themselves with either partial or full rights. These mid-century years were key in the process since these were years of national liberation movem and many of them were sympathetic to the idea of Jewish equality. So for example communities as diverse as Hungary, Denmark, parts of Italy and parts of Germany all gave the Jews their rights in these fateful years.

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C1850. JEWS FLOCK TO SAN FRANCISCO IN THE GOLD RUSH.

Many Jews came to San Francisco in these years, not so much as prospectors but more as shopkeepers and merchants. Two congregations got organised in these years and at the end of the decade, the town which had had very few Jews ten years earlier had over 6% Jews in its population.

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1854. ZECHARIAH FRANKEL OPENS THE JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY IN BRESLAU, GERMANY.

Frankel, a Rabbi who believed in bringing Judaism into line with the modern world but introducing changes only with extreme caution, opened his rabbinical seminary to train modern Rabbis. These must, in his opinion, combine great knowledge of the Jewish tradition and respect and love for it, with the finest and most critical modern scholarship. He hoped in this way to produce a group of Rabbis who would be able to traditional Judaism into the modern world. Frankel is seen as the European forerunner of Conservative Judaism.

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1858. THE MORTARA CASE; A JEWISH CHILD IS KIDNAPPED BY THE CHURCH.

Edgardo Mortara, a seven year old Jewish boy was claimed and taken by the Church for the reason that his Christian nurse had secretly baptised him when he was close to death when he was a baby. This was not the first such case in Italy but this time the case caused public indignation on an international scale and the Church found itself at the centre of an international scandal. Nevertheless, it refused to back down from its stand Edgardo was brought up as a Christian, and hardly saw his family again. He became a devout Christian and entered the Church as a priest.

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1858. A JEW SITS IN THE ENGLISH PARLIAMENT.

Lionel Rothschild, the elder son of the founder of the English branch of the Roshchild family business, was elected to Parliament originally in 1847, but because the oath that a new member had to swear on, was a Christian oath, he declined to sit in Parlaiment. Finally eleven years later, the oath was changed so that Jews could now say the formula. Rothschild now took the oath and became the first Jewish member of Parliament.

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1860. THE ALLIANCE ISRAELITE UNIVERSELLE FOUNDED.

One of the results of the international outcry aroused by the Mortara case was the decision by a group of French Jews to set up a new organisation with its headquarters in Paris. The organisation would have among its principal aims, the defence of Jewish rights all over the world. An additional aim would be the vocational training and education of young Jews throughout the world. Thus was born the Alliance, an organisation that gave substance to idea of Jewish solidarity combined with loyalty to one's own home country in a post-emancipation world. It would be the first such organisation but would later be followed by others.

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1863. MONTEFIORE PETITIONS THE SULTAN OF MOROCCO TO IMPROVE CONDITIONS FOR MOROCCAN JEWS.

Sir Moses Montefiore was an outstanding international Jewish leader who intervened time and time again to help improve the situation of Jews all over the world. He had been involved in the Damascus blood label and in the Mortara case as well as in many other cases. Now he turned his attention to the very poor state of Moroccan Jewry and tried to get the Sultan to promise better treatment to the local Jews. He received a promise and there was a certain improvement in the short term but the Sultan went back on his promises and the local Jews remained in a very poor situation right up to the twentieth century.

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1867-1870. FULL EMANCIPATION FOR THE JEWS OF AUSTRIA, GERMANY AND ITALY.

Emancipation proceeded apace and the end of the sixties brought full emancipation for the Jews of Austria in 1867, for all the Jews in newly united Italy in 1870, and for all the Jews in a newly united Germany in 1871. Italy and Germany were new countries based on a group of states that had amalgamated together and in some of those states the Jews had been emancipated decades earlier but now all the states in the new countries the same conditions to the Jews. The truth is that in Germany for example, full legal emancipation still did not mean full social acceptance and there were still many barriers both formal and informal that stood before the Jew. Three years later, emancipation arrived in Switzerland, and with that, Jews had at least theoretical equality in all the countries of western and central Europe (excluding only Spain and Portugal in southern Europe where the Jews would not be emancipated until the twentieth century).

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1879. NEW SETTLEMENT IN ERETZ ISRAEL.

At the end of the 1870's there were changes stirring underneath the surface of the traditional Jewish communities in Eretz Israel. New initiatives were afoot. These can be seen in Jerusalem where new neighbourhoods were developing but they can also be seen in two new projects which developed out of Jerusalem and Safed. In both places small groups of traditionally orthodox Jews had decided to try and buy land to set up agricultural settlements. The group from Jerusalem founded Petach Tikvah, while the group from Safed set up a village above the Kinneret called Gai Oni. Both would fail quickly, overcome by a host of difficulties. But within a few years both would be revived and would survive because of new settlers who came to the country in the early eighties. Petach Tikvah would survive with the same name. Gai Oni would change its name to Rosh Pinah.

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1881. ASSASSINATION OF A TSAR. POGROMS IN SOUTH RUSSIA.

When Alexander the Second of Russia was assassinated by terrorists, fingers were quickly pointed at the Jews and very soon a wave of pogroms broke out across South Russia. Apart from an isolated pogrom ten years earlier in Odessa, Russia had seen no major violence against the Jews for generations. It was now that many Jews realised that their situation, far from improving, was in fact deteriorating and decided that there was no future for t Russia. The economic situation had been atrocious for many years and there seemed to many to be no more room for hope. Emigration movements start to develop, mostly to America and the New World, with a smaller group deciding on Eretz Israel. Both places would be revolutionised by the waves of immigration that started in these years.

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1882-4. THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST ALIYAH. NEW SETTLEMENTS IN ERETZ ISRAEL.

These years saw several thousand Jews, most of them traditional, a few of them secular, arriving in Palestine as the start of what would prove to be a wave of Aliyah that would bring some twenty five thousad new immigrants to stay in Eretz Israel. The first part of the wave came in the early eighties and set up many new settlements besides reviving the two abandoned projects from the end of the seventies. There were many too who went to the towns, but the new factor in the story was indeed the new agricultural settlements that developed in the north and in the centre of the country.

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1884. KATTOWITZ CONFERENCE.

The first conference of the new Zionist Lovers of Zion movement took place in the Polish town of Kattowitz, an early Zionist centre. The major topic discussed was the support for agricultural settlement in Eretz Israel. Some of the participants were rabbinic leaders while others were secular intellectuals from Odessa.

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1885. PITTSBURGH PLATFORM OF THE REFORM MOVEMENT.

The first conference of American Reform Rabbis took place in Pittsburgh. It hammered out a document known as the Pittsburgh Platform which became the first ideological platform of the young Reform movement. Amomg opther things it stated that the Jews are not a nation but rather a religious grouping and that all ideas of a return to Zion should be dismissed.

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1891. THE EXPULSION OF THE JEWS OF MOSCOW.

The 1880's and early 1890's were dreadful times for Russia's Jews. Ever since the assassination the government's attitude towards the Jews had hardened and a policy of harassment had been implemented. The climax of this was the expulsion of the Jews of Moscow at Pesach. At least ten thousand of the twenty thousand Jews residing in Moscow were expelled, many in chains despite the fact that they had been residing there legally. This was part of the gover policy in order to "purify" Moscow.

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1891. THE CORFU BLOOD LIBEL LEADS TO LARGE SCALE EMIGRATION.

There were blood libel accusations brought by the Greek residents of the island of Corfu against the Jews living there in 1861 and 1864, but that of 1894 caused the greatest reaction among the Jews. It led to a mass emigration movement and several thousand of the island's Jews - the great majority - decided to leave.

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1893. SUCCESS OF ANTI-SEMITES IN GERMAN NATIONAL ELECTIONS.

The last decades of the century saw the formation of anti-semitic parties in a number of states in Europe. Aided by the techniques of mass-media and propaganda and playing on the fears and the phobias of the native population, they experienced considerable success in these years. In the 1893 elections in Germany, for example, anti-semitic parties gained sixteen seats on the basis of the 262,000 votes that had been cast for them.

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1894-1906. DREYFUS CASE IN FRANCE.

The case hinged around the accusation that Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a successful Jewish officer on the French general staff, had sold secrets to the Germans. The documents brought to prove his guilt, on the basis of which he was tried and found guilty, were subsequently found to have been forged. The case caused enormous passion in France with its anti-semitic overtones, and its suggestion that Jews could not be trusted with a country's secrets which they would b to sell to the highest bidder. France was split in two for many years over the case which was finally closed only in 1906 when Dreyfus was fully acquitted. From the Jewish point of view, one who drew important lessons from the case was the journalist, Theodor Herzl, who concluded that Jews would never be fully equal citizens if even in France where the Jews had gained equal rights over a century ago, a thing like this could still be pinned on the Jew as outsider.

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1896. THE CAIRO GENIZAH DISCOVERED BY SOLOMON SCHECHTER.

One of the most remarkable and important Jewish scholarly discoveries in modern times was Schechter's discovery of the Geniza. Travelling to Egypt after having found an extremely rare Hebrew document picked up by some English tourists in the Cairo market, he managed to trace it to the geniza (burying place for old Hebrew books and documents) in an attic in the old synagogue at Fostat in Cairo. He succeeded in buying the contents of the geni Cambridge University where he was lecturer in Talmud and on examination back in England, it proved to yield enormous knowledge about the life of the Jews in the whole Mediterranean region over the previous thousand years.

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1897. FIRST ZIONIST CONGRESS CONVENED IN BASLE, SWITZERLAND.

Herzl's conclusions from the Dreyfus trial led him to try and develop a practical plan for a Jewish state in Palestine. He was convinced that only thus could the Jewish problem be solved. To this end he wrote his famous pamphlet "The Jewish State" in 1896 and tried to sell the idea to the wealthy Jews of Europe so that they could help underwrite the plan. Meeting little success, he decided to go to the people and this he did through th mechanism of a Zionist Congress, designed to put the idea on the agenda both of the Jews and of the non-Jewish world.

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1897-8. FOUNDATION OF THE BUND, THE FIRST JEWISH SOCIALIST PARTY IN EASTERN EUROPE.

The Bund (union or league) was a revolutionary party that was born out of the Jewish workers movement that had developed in the Pale of Settlement since the early eighties. Its initial object was to work among the Jewish workers and agitate for a revolutionary spirit which would be directed towards a general socialist revolution. In that spirit they were a major constituent in the 1898 founding of the Russian revolutionary Social Democratic party, the Communist Party of later years. However, as time went on, the leaders of the Bund became increasingly influenced by the Jewish culture of the masses that they led and as a result, the programme changed. They talked increasingly of some kind of a post-revolutionary framework which would allow the Jews cultural and national expression.

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1902. THE FOUNDING OF MIZRAHI ORGANISATION.

Since the beginning of Zionism there had been a struggle between the orthodox religious Zionists and non-religious Zionists. When it seemed that the nonreligious had an advantage within the movement, the decision was taken to start an orthodox Zionist organisation to work within the general organisation. This was Mizrahi whose first world conference in 1903 drew hundreds of delegates from all over the world.

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1903. THE KISHINEV POGROM.

The Kishinev pogrom of April caused universal indignation and condemnation of the Tsarist regime's treatment of the Russian Jews. Over forty-five Jews were killed and more than ninety were wounded. The poet Bialik wrote two very strong poems as an emotional reaction to the pogrom. In the poems he condemned not only the perpetrators but also the cowardice of the Jewish men and their inability or unwillingness to defend themselves and these poems had an enormous effect i Jewish world.

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1903. THE UGANDA CONTROVERSY.

When the British offered Herzl a part of East Africa - actually Kenya, not Uganda - and Herzl agreed to examine the suggestion it caused great anger and tension within the Zionist camp. Many condemned Herzl's preparedness to examine the proposal and promised to break up the Zionist movement. It was only with Herzl's death in 1904 that the controversy came to an end.

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1911. THE TRIAL OF MENDEL BEILIS.

The Beilis trial, a blood libel accusation made against a Jew in Kiev in 1911, caused a great storm within international public opinion. It was clear that the evidence was fabricated and that the trial was intended to be a show trial but Beilis was imprisoned for two years before he was actually brought to trial. In the end he was aquitted of the charges.

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1912. THE FOUNDING OF AGUDAT ISRAEL.

Largely as a response to Mizrahi, an orthodox anti-Zionist party was founded in Kattowitz in order to solve the problems facing the Jewish collective. Initially many of its supporters were modern-orthodox in orientation but with time, Hassidic and ultra-orthodox elements took over the organisation. After the foundation of the State of Israel, it began to seek seats in the Knesset but not for many years did the party think of any governmental position.

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1916. THE FOUNDING OF HASHOMER HATZAIR.

The period immediately before and during the First World War saw the formation of Zionist youth movements, often but not always with a left-wing perspective. One of the most important was Hashomer Hatzair. Founded in Galicia and subsequently reorganised in Vienna, it espoused a strong Marxist orientation. After many of its members underwent training in Hachsharot (training farms) in Europe, its first members came out after the war as part of the third wave Aliyah. They established collective groups and were instrumental in setting up the institution of the kibbutz.

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1917. THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION. CANCELLATION OF ALL OFFICIAL ANTIJEWISH LAWS. ABOLITION OF PALE OF SETTLEMENT.

Many Jews had been active in the revolutionary parties prior to the Revolution. When the Revolution occurred, all anti-Jewish laws were abrogated and the Pale of Settlement was cancelled. For the first time Jews shared officially the freedoms of the rest of the Russian population. Many Jews were given high positions in government. However within a short time, all forms of Jewish cultu that were not considered revolutionary were made illegal, and Jews started to feel limited in new ways. One form of non-freedom had been exchanged for another.

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1917. THE BALFOUR DECLARATION.

Shortly after the outbreak of World War One, discussions were held between the leaders of the Zionist movement in Britain, headed by Weizmann and Sokolov, and the British government on the subject of British support for Zionism. The discussions went on for years and finally led to a strong statement of support for Zionist plans and aspirations. This statement was called the Balfour declaration after Lord Balfour, the British foreign secretary in 1917. It stated th British looked favourably on the establishment of a Jewish national homein Palestine. Some leaders of Anglo-Jewry opposed the statement very strongly and saw it as a threat to their claim to be good English citizens, Jewish by religion only. However, most Jews supported it, seeing it as a very important step on the road to future Jewish sovereignty.

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1922. OFFICIAL ESTABLISHMENT OF BRITISH MANDATE IN PALESTINE.

The British had entered Palestine as part of their war effort against the Turks in 1917. After the war, there began to be discussed the idea that the British would be given an international mandate from the League of Nations to oversee the development of Palestine. Because of bureaucratic difficulties, they were only given the mandate formally in 1922. Initially it was supported by the Jewish community in Palestine but with time, it b less and less popular as the British went over to a stand of appeasing the Arabs.

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1922. MORDECAI KAPLAN FOUNDS THE SOCIETY FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JUDAISM, THE BASIS FOR RECONSTRUCTIONIST JUDAISM.

Reconstructionist Judaism which is considered the only new form of Judaism to date from the twentieth century, is usually dated from the 1930's. However, its roots are in the 1920's when Kaplan founded the Society, at a synagogue in New York. This became the focal point for the ideas which he developed into a full-fledged reconstructionist philosophy.

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1928. BEGINNING OF CREATION OF JEWISH AUTONOMIC AREA IN THE SOVIET UNION IN BIROBIDZHAN.

A decision was taken in the Soviet Union with the active encouragement of President Kalinin, to set up an autonomous Jewish area in Birobidzhan in Eastern Siberia. Jews were to be encouraged to settle there and Yiddish would be considered an official language. Some twenty thousand Jews went there in the early days of the experiment but the majority subsequently left. The percentage of Jews in the area fell, although in the early 1950's there were still some 40,000 Jews there.

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C1930-40. STALINIST PURGES. THE DISMANTLING OF JEWISH CULTURE IN THE SOVIET UNION.

Stalin's purges took many Jewish lives. However the Jews died not necessarily because they were Jews but rather because they were individuals seen as being part of the factors undermining the development of the Soviet state. There has been much debate as to the personal anti-semitism that motivated Stalin's actions. The tendency is to see him at this time as monstrous in his ruthlessness towards people but not necessarily animated by personal anti-semitism. However, it must be said that in his later years he appears to have become increasingly paranoid in his reactions to and relationships with Jews. Whatever the truth of his personal anti-Jewish bias, there is no question that in the 1930's he worked to dismantle much of what remained of Soviet Jewish culture. He presided over the liquidation of Jewish schools, theatres, research institutions and other cultural organs of Jewishness that had survived to this time.

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1933-5. HITLER AND THE NAZI PARTY COME TO POWER IN GERMANY. THE EARLY CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE JEWS.

Hitler had built up his party with its very heavy anti-Semitic ideology throughout the 1920's. In recent years, he had tended to play down his anti-semitism, emphasising other aspects of his fascist ideas. However, from the moment that he came to power as Reich Chancellor in January of this year, his anti-Jewish policies came back to the fore. March saw organised rioting and May, the burning of Jewi books. The climax to the first stage of his campaign against the Jews was, however the passing of the Nuremberg laws in 1935. These laws gave "legal" status to Nazi racist policies.

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1934. THE BEGINNING OF THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION MOVEMENT.

There had always been illegal immigration since the beginning of Zionism. The Turks limited immigration and the Jews tried to get round the limitations. However the main period of illegal immigration was under the British mandate after Hitler came to power and there was a very large group of potential immigrants who wanted to escape from Europe. The first attempts were made in 1934 by the Hechalutz organisation but after the lack of exper caused problems, the efforts ceased for a couple of years and were resumed by the Revisionist movement in 1936. Hechalutz then came back into the picture and in 1938, the Mossad set up its institutions and the illegal Aliyah started in earnest. After the 1939 White Paper limited immigration to 10,000 a year, the efforts increased and continued through to the foundation of the State.

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1937. THE REFORM MOVEMENT PUBLISHES ITS COLUMBUS PLATFORM.

Fifty years after the Pittsburgh platform with its rejection of Jewish peoplehood and Jewish tradition, a second platform was published by the Reform movement. This platform, published after a conference in Columbus, Ohio, stressed peoplehood much more positively than previously and put more emphasis on Jewish tradition than had been the case at Pittsburgh. The platform was not Zionist but neither was it anti-Zionist. In general the pla reflected important changes that American Jewry and Reform specifically, had undergone.

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1938. KRISTALLNACHT.

Kristallnacht - the night of the broken glass - was a high point in the Nazi campaign against the Jews. After the Nuremberg laws had been published in 1935, the campaign had quietened down, but immediately after the annexation of Austria in March 1938, the campaign was heated up and Jews had to submit to many humiliations and cruelties. One of these occurred in November when German Jews of Polish origin were expelled from the country and dumped across the border with Poland. Poland refused to let them in and the deportees suffered great misery. In reprisal for this act, a Jewish boy living in London, the son of parents who had been deported across the Polish border, shot a German diplomat and this was the excuse needed for the great pogrom all across Germany and Austria that is called Kristallnacht. The Nazis tried to present it as the spontaneous expression of German anger against the Jews but it was clearly orchestrated from above.

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1941-5. ORGANISED KILLING OF MILLIONS OF JEWS.

The Holocaust, the organised killings of millions of Jews in an attempt to destroy the Jewish people, was put into practice in late 1941. Up to that time there had been plenty of terror and death but this was the beginning of the organised concerted plan to rid Europe of its Jews. It began after the German invasion of Russia in June 1941, which was accompanied by mass killings of the likes of Babi Yar. It was continued in the specially constructed death camps that started used at the end of 1941 and the beginning of 1942. This is the apparatus that killed millions.

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1945. THE FOUNDING OF YESHIVA UNIVERSITY.

The origins of Yeshiva University lie in the amalgamation of two orthodox institutions in new York, the Etz Hayim Yeshiva (founded in 1886) and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (founded in 1896). They combined in 1915 and in 1928, they became Yeshiva College. It became a full fledged University in 1945, and has issued degrees from that time. It represents the atttempt to produce an educated Jewish person, deeply attached to the orthodox trad but open to the outside world of knowledge in the spirit of Modern Orthodoxy.

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1946. THE BLOWING UP OF THE KING DAVID HOTEL IN JERUSALEM.

The British military headquarters were blown up in an operation of the Irgun underground movement. The Irgun had declared war on the British and saw the hotel as a legitimate target of war. More than ninety people were killed, British, Arab and Jew. The Irgun insisted that they had warned the British and given enough time to evacuate the building. The British denied that. The operation was immensely controversial in the Yishuv, the Jew community in Palestine.

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1947. THE PARTITION VOTE IN THE UNITED NATIONS.

The United Nations report for the partition of Palestine came to the General Assembly for a vote, on November 29th. The suggestion was to divide Palestine into two different states west of the Jordan, a Jewish state and a Palestinian one. The borders had been delineated according to the general lines of settlement of Jews and Arabs and the area around Jerusalem was to be internationalised. There was to be an economic union between the two states. The Jews were not overly enthusiastic when the suggestion was originally made but had come to accept it as the best that could be attained. The Arabs rejected it and promised that its implementation would be met with war.

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1948. ISRAEL INDEPENDENT.

In May 1948, Israeli independence was proclaimed. The British had left and the Arabs had threatened full scale military invasion and war but Ben-Gurion read out the Declaration of Independence and ushered in not only the new Jewish state but also the War of Independence. The israeli population at the time of independence was about 650,000.

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1949-51. MASS IMMIGRATION FROM THE ARAB WORLD.

One of the first results of independence was the decision to encourage mass Aliyah. it was needed from a practical point of view - the young state had only a very small population - and from an ideological point of view, the struggle against the British had been carried out in the name of the need for unlimited immigration. Following independence Jews started to pour in from all over the wrld. Many hundreds of thousands came from destroyed Jewish Eu and the British refugee Camps, and hundreds of thousands of others would come from the Jewish communities in the Arab world. Large scale operations brought in huge numbers of Jews from the Arab countries. Primary among these operations were Operation Magic Carpet to bring the Jews of Yemen and Operation Ezra and Nehemiah which brought more than a hundred thousand Jews from Iraq.

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1952-3. TRIALS, ACCUSATIONS AND EXECUTIONS IN RUSSIA.

In Stalin's last years his anti-Jewish feelings appear to have grown much stronger. Many of his actions were clearly anti-Jewish. The wartime Jewish Anti-fascist Committee had played a very important role in securing western support for Soviet Russia. Now it was expendable and the leaders of the committee, including some top Yiddish writers and poets, were executed after a secret trial in which they were accused of trying to sever the Crimea Russia! A few months later nine physicians, among them seven Jews, were arrested and accused of trying to murder Soviet leaders and of spying for the West. They unquestionably would have suffered a similar fate to the writers but they were saved by Stalin's death in 1953.

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1952. REPARATIONS AGREEMENT CAUSES NEAR CIVIL WAR IN ISRAEL.

In the early 1950's, reparations from Germany had become the subject of negotiations between the governments of Israel and West Germany. The issue was extremely complex. Israel was on its knees economically reeling from the effects of the war and the necessity to absorb hundreds of thousands of immigrants. In those circumstances, Ben Gurion turned to Germany to try and secure money to help the absorption process. But it looked to many blood money was being received from the Germans as expiation for their crimes. That at any rate was the accusation hurled at the government by the opposition parties led by Menachem Begin's Herut party when the agreement came to the Knesset in 1952. Begin engineered riots and attacks on the Knesset in which a hundred policemen were injured. The army was called in to restore order. It looked like the beginning of civil war. But order was restored, the vote went through and the Herut party backed down from its threats of violence.

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1956. ISRAEL OCCUPIES THE SINAI PENINSULA IN WAR AGAINST EGYPT.

In late October, after secret agreements with Britain and France, Israel attacked Egyptian forces in the Sinai and along the Suez canal in an effort to break the Egyptian threat and to eliminate terrorist bases in the Gaza Strip. Israel was successful in its attacks, even though it cost over 170 lives. Nevertheless it was forced to withdraw from the Sinai after some four months following protracted international pressure orchestrated U.S. The campaign was a blow to Egypt's prestige and enabled Israeli shipping to flow through the Gulf of Eilat.

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1961. THE EICHMAN TRIAL.

In 1960, Adolf Eichman was brought from Argentina to Israel to stand trial for crimes against humanity in his capacity as head of the Jewish Section of the Gestapo, responsible among other things for organising the whole bureaucratic operation that brought the Jews to their deaths. On arrival in Israel his trial was prepared and this took place in 1961. After a long public trial, closely followed by large sections of the Israeli public, he was sentenced to death and the sentence was carried out in Ramlah prison in May 1962. This is the only time that the death sentence has been implemented in Israel.

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1967. LIGTHNING FAST SIX DAY WAR LEAVES ISRAEL IN CONTROL OF TERRITORIES TAKEN FROM SYRIA, JORDAN AND EGYPT; JERUSALEM UNITED UNDER ISRAELI RULE.

The war of June 1967 created a David and Goliath mythology which the world loved. After months of threats from her neighbours, Israel destroyed the military capacity of her neighbours and made substantial territorial gains at comparatively little loss to itself. After less than a week of war, Israel found itself with victory on all fronts and in possess territories that seemed to offer both strategic security and a chance to use them as bargaining chips to gain peace with the intransigent neighbours. The reality as always proved more complex and few dreamed then of the problems and the rifts that would break Israeli public opinion apart over the issue of the territories in future years. Nevertheless, in the months and years after the war, Israel was in a state of euphoria. The threat had been broken and Israel was queen of the Middle East. So it seemed at the time.

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1973. ISRAEL SURPRISED ON YOM KIPPUR. DISASTROUS WAR ENDS IN VICTORY.

On Yom Kippur, Israel was surprised by a twin attack from Syria and Egypt. The first phase of the war was disastrous with an attempt at recovery after her lines had been smashed, but slowly after some individual feats of great bravery, the balance swung and Israel started to recover, eventually winning a great victory in objective terms. Despite the sense of relief that overtook the country in the days following the war, there also a great sense of anger over the complacency and unpreparedness of the government and the army. Protest movements developed calling for enquiries and investigations. In retrospect, the Yom Kippur war represents a watershed in the Israeli story. The sense of optimism and confidence started to fade and the social tensions that had existed quietly underneath the surface of Israeli society, only occasionally erupting, now increasingly came to the surface.

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1977. MAJOR CHANGE IN GOVERNMENT IN ISRAEL. LABOUR FALLS FROM POWER IN CHANGING OF THE GUARD.

The years after the Yom Kippur war were difficult and full of internal tension. In addition, the old guard of the Labour party who had been in power for a full generation were looking ever more tired and frail. There was corruption in the governing bureaucracy. In retrospect, it is perhaps not so surprising that the government change hands as there was definitely a feeling of need for something new and Nevertheless it was a great shock when the representatives of an establishment that had brought the state into being were voted out of office.

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1977-8. SADAT VISITS JERUSALEM. CYCLE OF VIOLENCE BROKEN. PEACE TREATY WITH EGYPT.

When President Anwar Sadat announced his intention to visit Israel and proclaimed an end to war between Israel and Egypt, it felt almost messianic to many. Sadat made the right gestures and said the right things and as a result he very quickly brought the majority of the Israeli population to see his quest for peace in the most positive terms. Even when it became clear what was the price that he was demanding - t whole of Sinai including the settlements that had been built there over the years - most people in Israel were willing to pay the price. In September 1978, the sides met at Camp David and hammered out an agreement that was subsequently passed in the Knesset. It was a major milestone in the Israeli search for peace.

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1982. ISRAEL'S WAR IN LEBANON.

The Lebanese war or as it was called "Operation Peace for Galilee" has been called Israel's Vietnam. It was controversial from the outset; not so much the idea of cleaning the area to the north of the Lebanese border from terrorists. Most were in favour of that. But the fear that the country might be drawn deeper in pursuit of unattainable aims was a real fear from the outset and the more the war went on, the greater that fear became. In the last resort the war be yet another source of great acrimony within Israel and became a great dividing subject.

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1985-1991. THE ETHIOPIAN AIRLIFTS. OPERATIONS MOSES AND SOLOMON.

In a pair of extraordinary operations, six years apart, basically the whole Ethiopian Jewish community was brought to Israel. Operation Moses in 1985 brought 8,000 Jews and this followed four years of less dramatic aliyot which brought some 7,000 immigrants. Operation Solomon, in 1991, brought an additional 14,000 Jews from Ethiopia. There was still some had-been-Jews or would-be-Jews-again, the Faleshmura, who were left behind bu almost all the undisputed Jews were in Israel. Their absorption and integration would prove very complex and continues to leave many scars, but a new group has been added to the diverse tribes that make up the people of the state of Israel.

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1986. SHARANSKY RELEASED BY THE RUSSIANS. COMES TO ISRAEL.

In an extraordinarily moving ceremony in Berlin, Anatoli Sharansky, one of the world's best known refuseniks, who had been in jails and prison camps since his arrest in 1978, was released in return for some people that had been held by the West. He immediately came to Israel earning a hero's welcome. He was not the only refusenik who earned a rapturous reception on arrival in Israel. Yosef Mendelevich, Ida Nudel and others who were rel in these years were greeted with great enthusiasm. It seemed a victory for Zionism and for the forces of good in the world.

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1987. THE INTIFADA BEGINS.

A truck accident in the Gaza strip sparked off a major Palestinian uprising that lasted for many years and showed that the Palestinians were capable of wounding Israel where she was most vulnerable. Arab wars had failed to bring Israel down but soldiers and public opinion in israel did not know how to react in the "war of the stones". Pictures flashed all over the world depicting Palestinian youths guilty of stone throwing and demonstrators being clubbed and beaten by I soldiers brought Israel to a new low both in world opinion and for many Israelis, in their own eyes too.

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1989. MAJOR JEWISH MEETING IN SOVIET UNION.

For the first time since the Russian revolution of 1917, there was a major meeting of the representatives of different Jewish organisations in a national forum. Representatives of seventy five Soviet cities came together in what only recently would have been unthinkable. Jewish life was beginning to redevelop, having been pushed underground since the beginning of the Communist regime.

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1995. PRIME MINISTER RABIN ASASSINATED.

There had been political violence before in Israel and many years previously there had even been political assassination but the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the end of a rally calling for an end to violence between Jew and Jew, caused shock waves of the deepest sort to run through the Israeli population. The fact that the attacker was from the elite of Israeli society, a lawyer, a soldier, a Zionist and one deeply learned in Jewish law created nightmare scenario that seemed likely to haunt Israel for years.

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1996. TERROR ATTACKS ON ISRAELI BUSES.

A series of murderous attacks on Israeli civilians in the main towns of the country, primarily Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, caused a wave of very deep fear to run through the society. It brought almost primeval hatreds and fears to the surface and caused a great reaction to the Oslo peace process that had started some two years earlier. Ultimately, this backlash and the fears that caused it, would be skilfully exploited by the oppositon to cause another turn arou Israeli politics, and lead to the election victory of Benjamin Netanyahu.


 

 

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25 Aug 2005 / 20 Av 5765 0