Aug. 28, 1965
Physicist Giulio Racah Dies
Physicist Giulio Racah, 56, an Israel Prize winner considered a Nobel candidate, is killed by a leaky gas heater during a visit to the city of his birth, Florence, Italy. A student of Enrico Fermi’s, Racah did groundbreaking work with atomic spectroscopy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he led the physics department and served as acting president. The university’s Racah Institute of Physics is named for him.
Aug. 29, 1897
First Zionist Congress Opens
Organized by Theodor Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convenes in Basel, Switzerland, moved from Munich to minimize backlash. Over three days, the 200 delegates define the goals and strategies of Zionism through the Basel Program, which calls for “establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in the Land of Israel.” The congress forms the World Zionist Organization and elects Herzl as its president.
Aug. 30, 1987
Cabinet Halts Lavi Production
The Israeli Cabinet votes 12-11 to cancel Israel Aerospace Industries’ Lavi fighter jet program amid soaring costs, reduced production plans and the end of hopes to sell the airplane on the export market. Supported by the Finance Ministry, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres leads the cancellation push, while Israeli Air Force veteran Moshe Arens tries to save the 7-year-old effort to end Israel’s dependence on imported military aircraft.
Aug. 31, 2004
Beersheba Bus Bombs Kill 16 Israelis
Suicide bombers destroy two buses 100 yards apart shortly after they depart Beersheba’s central bus station, killing 16 passengers and injuring 100 other people. The attack is the deadliest since 21 Israelis were killed in the bombing of a Haifa restaurant in October 2003, and the toll likely would have been higher if not for the quick action of the second bus driver, who evacuated his passengers after the first bus exploded.
Sept. 1, 1915
Weizmann Joins British Admiralty
Chaim Weizmann, who is credited with playing a key diplomatic role in the Balfour Declaration in November 1917, is named an honorary technical adviser to the British Admiralty on the supply of acetone, an important ingredient in the manufacture of the military explosive cordite. Weizmann, a chemist in Manchester, England, has developed an improved process for acetone production.
Sept. 2, 1935
Funeral Held for Rabbi Kook
An estimated 80,000 mourners, roughly a quarter of the Jewish population of Palestine, line the streets of Jerusalem for the funeral of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, who died of cancer the previous day. Kook, who made aliyah from Latvia in 1904, was appointed the British Mandate’s first Ashkenazi chief rabbi in 1921. Unlike many Orthodox leaders at the time, he supported the Zionist movement as a step toward divine redemption.
Sept. 3, 2011
March of the Million Is Held
More than 450,000 Israelis take to the streets around the country in the largest demonstration in Israel’s history, billed as the March of the Million. It is part of a summer of social justice demonstrations focused on affordable housing and relief from the high cost of living. Under the slogan “The government only understands the numbers,” march leaders demand changes from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (www.israeled.org), where you can find more details.