Visite nuestro sitio/Visit our home page:
Aliyah, War and Peace
1970 and 1979, great dramas took place inside
and outside of Israel, the Jewish nation and the Zionist movement, leaving
Israel seriously shaken. When the War of Attrition with Egypt ended in
1970, relative quiet reigned along Israel's borders and there was no
reason to believe that this situation would not continue for years to
come. Alas, it was not to be. In the autumn of 1973, Egypt and Syria
launched a coordinated surprise attack on Israel on the holiest day of the
Jewish year - Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) - in order to recapture
territories taken by Israel in the course of the Six-Day War. The Yom
Kippur War was one of the fiercest wars Israel had known since its
establishment, but within a few short days the Israel Defense Forces had
repulsed the attack and conquered large parts of Egypt and Syria. A
ceasefire came after 18 grueling days of fighting.
The Yom Kippur War left scars on the fabric of Israeli society. Instead of the glorious victories of the Sinai Campaign and the Six-Day War, the battle proved to be hard and cruel. Israel was shocked not only at having lost more than 2,500 of its soldiers but at having had its very existence threatened. The outcome of the war resulted in the government's resignation, and Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan left the political arena.
There were no further wars during the 1970s, but the struggle against Arab terror in Israel, in the territories and even outside Israel's borders, escalated. Although successful in this ongoing war, Israel paid a bloody price.
In the mid-70s, an interim agreement was signed between Israel and Egypt, and the IDF withdrew its forces from parts of Sinai. This move opened the way for a daring Egyptian move in late 1977 - the historic visit of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem. The initiative was prompted by the new government in Israel and Israel's commitment to withdraw from Sinai. Towards the end of the decade, a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, the biggest Arab state, was signed.
In 1977 Israel experienced its first political upheaval. Mapai, and its successor the Labor party, which had been in power since the founding of the State (and, in fact, long before that) lost the election to the right wing Likud party, headed by Menahem Begin. The Likud had taken advantage of the public's disillusionment with prolonged Labor party rule and the frustration of olim who had made aliyah in the 1950s. Begin, who was considered a political "hawk," surprised everyone with his willingness to concede the Sinai, thus paving the way for peace with Egypt.
Throughout the decade, Soviet Jewry continued to struggle for national independence and for permission to leave the USSR and make aliyah to Israel. The Soviet authorities were mostly heavy-handed in their treatment of the Jews, arresting, imprisoning, judging and coercing them in every way possible. Only pressure from Western countries and the desire of the USSR to be awarded favorable trade agreements from the United States brought about a change in Soviet policy towards the Jews. During these years, a phenomenon known as "refuseniks" developed - Jewish activists who made their desire to immigrate to Israel known, and, consequently, were fired from their jobs, tried on trumped-up charges, and even imprisoned. They were not alone in their fight, however, for the State of Israel stood by them, as did Jewish and Zionist organizations and even non-Jewish bodies and personalities from all over the world.
Despite all the obstacles that the USSR created, 160,000 Soviet Jews managed to make aliyah to Israel, constituting approximately half the number of olim who arrived in the country during the 1970s. Although they encountered some absorption difficulties, their contribution to the country, both economically and socially, has been considerable. A worrying problem that later became a central issue was that of "dropouts" - Soviet Jews who decided to "drop out" in Vienna rather than continue on to Israel. As the years went by, this phenomenon grew and during the 1980s, there were years when almost all Soviet Jews bound for Israel "dropped out" along the way.
During these years, even before the Likud's rise to power, Jewish settlement in Judea, Samaria, the Golan and the Gaza Strip was being expanded. The government supported most of it but expressed opposition to some, especially in areas heavily populated by Arabs. After the political upheaval of May 1977, the project was moved forward.
Zionist organizations and federations around the world devoted tremendous effort in three main areas during the 1970s: aid to Israel, especially after the Yom Kippur War; continued aid to Soviet Jewry; and the strengthening of education and Jewish-Zionist consciousness among Jews throughout the world. In addition, they joined the joint struggle against the UN Assembly resolution of 1975 equating Zionism with racism and supporting the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). This struggle continued for sixteen long years, until the UN Assembly was convinced of the need to rescind the unjust resolution.
Aliyah from the USSR increases despite attempts by the authorities to end it by forcing Jewish public figures to attack aliyah and Israel. The Soviet government does all it can to blacken Israel's image in the world.
The year is marked by increased Palestinian terror against Israel, the launching of Katyusha rockets into population centers and the infiltration of terrorist groups across the border into Israel. Terror in the skies also continues.
Among the new settlements established this year are Petza'el and Mitzpe Shalem in the Jordan Valley and Ketura in the Arava.
More than 36,000 olim arrive this year. Some 10,000 of them are from the USSR, a record number despite the restrictions and the increasing difficulties created by the Soviet authorities.
February - March
Aliyah to Israel from affluent countries and the USSR gains momentum. In 1971, 42,000 olim arrive in Israel. The year is marked by the continued struggle of Soviet Jews for recognition of their national identity and the right to immigrate to Israel. Protests are held in dozens of cities in Israel and throughout the Jewish world.
Settlement in the territories is expanded. Among the settlements established are: Ophira (Sharm El Sheikh), Di Zahav (Dahab), Neviot (Nuweiiba), Sadot in the Yamit district and Elrom in the Golan.
The Zionist Council is founded in Israel in 1971 and takes upon itself the nurturing of Zionist consciousness and volunteerism in the country. Some 100 voluntary bodies join it, including the Student Association and bodies from the kibbutzim and moshavim.
Fifty-six thousand olim arrive in Israel throughout the year, more than half of them from the USSR. The building of more than 50,000 new apartments contributes to economic prosperity in Israel.
The Soviet demand that all those wishing to make aliyah to Israel pay a "diploma tax" is rejected by Israel, the United States and other countries.
During the year, various Jewish and Zionist organizations initiate protests and demonstrations throughout the world on behalf of Soviet Jewry. There is increased pressure on Jews in the USSR, especially those requesting to make aliyah to Israel, including show trials in which Jews are charged with "maligning the USSR."
In 1973, some 55,000 olim arrive in Israel, despite the war and the state of emergency in effect two months after the war. Sixty percent of the olim (33,000) are from the Soviet Union - a record number from this country.
April - May
The tension brought on by the Yom Kippur War results in an economic and social crisis in Israel, and there is a sharp decline in aliyah to Israel. In 1974, only 32,000 olim arrive in Israel, a reduction of 72% in comparison to the previous year.
June 27 - July 4
Aliyah to Israel continues at a slow pace - less than 20,000 olim in 1976 - half of them from the USSR. The dropout rate in Vienna is growing. Jews and non-Jews throughout the world continue their activities on behalf of Soviet Jewry in the form of protest rallies, demonstrations and petitions.
By 1976, some 50 absorption centers and immigrant hostels are operating around the country, with room for 10,000 olim.
Palestinian acts of terror continue in Israel and in the administered territories - mostly the launching of Katyusha rockets from Lebanon into northern Israeli settlements. In a gesture of goodwill Israel provides medical and humanitarian aid to Christians in southern Lebanon at what comes to be called the "Good Fence."
1977 is an especially turbulent year for Israel. During the election campaign, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin resigns and the Labor party is defeated in the general elections.
Some 21,500 olim arrived in Israel during 1977. The majority of recent settlement projects were over the green line. Between 1971 and 1977, 44 new settlements were established by the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization. After the 1977 political upheaval, settlement in the territories was expanded. Also during this year - 17,000 youth were educated in Aliyat haNoar (Youth Aliyah) institutions; the Department for Education and Culture in the Diaspora continued its worldwide activities; 60 Hebrew teachers were trained in Jerusalem for work in Jewish communities abroad; more than 2,000 since the beginning of the 1950s. A census taken in 1977 throughout the Jewish world revealed that some 1.2 million Jews are affiliated to a variety of Zionist bodies outside of Israel.
February 20 - March 1
In 1978, aliyah recovers to a great extent and more than 26,000 olim, mostly from the USSR, arrive in Israel. The number would have been greater if not for the massive dropping out (50%) of Soviet Jews in Vienna en route to Israel.
The establishment of settlements in Samaria and in the Jordan Valley continues, and an operation to establish mitzpim (hilltop settlements) begins in the Galilee.
Despite the improved relationship with Egypt, and perhaps because of it, Palestinian terrorists continue to attack Israel, launch Katyusha rockets from Lebanon into Israel's northern settlements, and harm its citizens. After a serious attack on a bus on the coastal road, the IDF implements the Litani Operation, which aims to destroy the infrastructure of the terrorists in southern Lebanon (March-May 1978).
World Jewry responds to the government of Israel's call to finance a neighborhood rehabilitation campaign. For 15 years Keren Hayesod will invest more than 160 million dollars in rehabilitating 35 underprivileged neighborhoods throughout the country.
In the last two years of the 1970s, some 80,000 Jews are allowed to leave the USSR. Only half of them arrive in Israel.
In summing up the decade (1970-1979), 330,000 olim arrive in Israel during these years, 160,000 of them from the USSR, 36,000 from the US, 18,000 from Argentina and 17,000 from France.
In 1979, after the Ayatollah Humeini comes to power in Iran, many of the country's Jews make aliyah. Not all of the Jews who leave Iran, however, go to Israel.
Previous page Next Page
|Read about our specially designed tours||Click here to know who we are||Customers Testimonials||Site map|
|News and Media||Prices||Directory of Synagogues|
|More info? Click here to send us an email||Related links||Other services|