In every nation’s history there are happy events and moments worth remembering and that are deserved to be celebrated. Here are some of the most known and joyful key dates in Israel’s history:
January 7, 1858
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s Birthday
Eliezer Ben Yehuda was born in was used to be the Russian Empire. He lived in Israel between the 19th and 20th century, before it was an official country. He is the most recognizable figure in revivaling the Hebrew language, after it almost got extinct.
May 2, 1860
Theodor Herzel’s Birthday
Theodor Herzel was born in Pest (now Budapest), Kingdom of Hungary (now Hungary). He was the first to take serious actions towards making the Zionist dream come true.
October 16, 1886
David Ben Gurion’s Birthday
David Ben Gurion was born in Plonsk, Russian Empire (now in Poland). He was the first prime Minister of Israel.
August 29 to August 31, 1897
First Zionist Congress
First Zionist Congress was the inaugural congress of the Zionist Organization, held in Basel, Switzerland. In this congress, the first plans of the State of Israel were drafted.
May 14, 1948
Israeli Declaration of Independence
It was announced by David Ben Gurion, who, by then, was still not the prime minister, but the Executive Head of the Zionist Organization and the chairman for the Jewish Agency.
May 11, 1949
Entering the United Nations
On December 17, 1948, Israel’s request to to join the United Nations was rejected. Five months later, Israel was accepted to the UN.
January 25, 1949
The Knesset is the House of Representatives of Israel. The name “Knesset” is taken from the ancient Jewish history, from the Persian Period. Elections were held shortly after Israel’s declaration of independence, and the representatives were elected through the parties they were in. The Knesset is located in Jerusalem, to this very day.
Entering the Olympics
The Olympic games that were held in Helsinki were the first games that Israel were a part of. Israel already had an “Israeli Olympic Organization” since 1933, under the initiative of Maccabi Organization. A year later the organization was accepted by the International Organization of the Olympics, and was even invited to participate in the games in Berlin in 1936. The invitation was rejected due to the state of Germany and the Nazi rule. In the games of 1948 Israel didn’t participate as well, due to becoming a country and all the complications around it. Finally in 1951 Israel got a permit to participate in the games in the next year.
December 10, 1966
First Time Winning Nobel Prize
The first nobel prize that Israel ever got was a literature prize, that was given to Shmuel Yosef Agnon, alongside with Neli Zakash, both famous and influential writers. Agnon’s work is especially recognized with the Jewish culture and his work often reflected that.
May 31 to June 21, 1970
First Time in the World Cup
The first (and only) time Israel took part in the World Cup was when the games were held in Mexico. Israel won the games with New Zealand and Australia, and then lost to Uruguay, that ended up in 4th place.
First Time in the Oscars
The first time Israel was nominated in the Oscars was for the movie “Fiddler on the Roof”, and the nomination went to Chaim Topol, for best actor in a leading role. He was also the first Middle-Eastern person to be nominated for an acting award.
First Time in the Eurovision
Israel participated in the Eurovision for the first time with the singer Ilanit, that was sent there with the song “Ei Sham” (“Somewhere”). The song won fourth place.
December 10, 1978
First Time Winning the Nobel Peace Prize
Israeli people won the nobel prize several times, in several categories. The first time of winning the Nobel Peace Prize was when Israel and Egypt reached their peace treaty (see previous paragraph). The price went to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, together President Anwar Sadat.
First Time Winning the Eurovision
First time Israel won the Eurovision was with the song “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”, sung by Izhar Cohen and the Alphabet band. The contest took place in Paris, France.
March 26, 1979
Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty
Egypt and Israel made a peace agreement, after years of political tension and wars. Signed on this treaty are Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and they were witnessed by the US President Jimmy Carter.
Second Time Winning the Eurovision
Second time Israel won, was with the song “Hallelujah”, sung by the group Halav and Dvash (“Milk and Honey”). This Eurovision was hosted in Israel, due to the previous win, but since Israel won twice in a row, the competition was not hosted in Israel the next year, regardless of their win.
First Medal in the Olympics
These Olympic games were held in Barcelona, from July 25 to August 9. After forty years in the Olympics without a single win, Israel finally won some medals: a silver medal with Yael Arad in Judo. And another bronze medal the next day, with Oren Smadga, also in Judo.
October 26, 1994
Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty
Jordan and Israel settled their borders, relations and distribution of resources in this treaty. The treaty was signed on the border, and signed on it are Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Hussein, King of Jordan. And the US President, Bill Clinton, is signed as a witness.
Second Time Winning the Nobel Peace Prize
Second Nobel Peace Prize that an Israeli won was due to the peace treaty with Jordan. The Prize was split between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s President Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat, that signed the Oslo Accords with Prime Minister Rabin.
November 26, 1998
Winning Miss World
Israel won the 48th edition of the Miss World Pageant, that was held in Lake Berjaya Mahé Resort in Mahé Island, in Seychelles. Israel’s representative, Linor Abargil, won and was crowned by the former Miss World, Diana Hayden of India. After the competition, Linor revealed that she was raped, few weeks before the competition. Later on, she became a global advocate in the fight against sexual violence.
Third Time Winning the Eurovision
The third Eurovision that Israel won was held in Britain. Ths winning song “Diva”, sung by Dana International. She was not only the first trans-woman to ever appear in this contest, but to also win it.
First Time Winning Economic Sciences Nobel Prize
The first time Israel won the Nobel Prize in the category of Economic Sciences, the winner was with Daniel Kahneman, that mixed his economic science study with a psychological study about people’s decision making process.
First Time Winning Chemistry Nobel Prize
The first time an Israeli won the Nobel Prize in the category of Chemistry, the winner was Aaron Ciechanover, alongside Avraham Hershko and Irwin Rose. They Discovered one of the most important cyclical processes in the cell that enables the breakdown of proteins.
First Golden Medal in the Olympics
These Olympic games took place in Athens, from August 13 to August 29. The Israeli mistral sailor Gal Friedman won the Golden Medal, and for the first time, Israel’s anthem was heard in the Olympic games.
Second Time Winning Economic Sciences Nobel Prize
The second time an Israeli won this category it was with Israel Aumann, for his work in the subject of the Game Theory, about people’s behavior with decision making, cooperation and conflicts. His theory is branching from math, economy and psychology.
Second Time Winning Chemistry Nobel Prize
The second time an Israeli won this category it was with Ada Yonat (first Israeli woman to win a nobel prize), for her study about the structure and the function of the Ribosome, that is responsible to the creation of protein in the cell.
Third Time Winning Chemistry
The third time an Israeli won this category was with Dan Shechtman, that discovered Cyclic-Like Crystal, that has a different symmetry than usual crystals.
Fourth Time Winning Chemistry
The fourth time an Israeli won this category it was with Arieh Warshel, for developing models for complex chemical systems. He shared the prize with Martin Karplus and Michael Levitt.
Fourth Time Winning the Eurovision
The last time Israel won the Eurovision was with the song “Toy”, sung by Neta Brazili. The contest took place in Lisbon, Portugal.
Think of some other (happy) events you want to add to our list? Drop your comment below with a joyful moment in the history of Israel you think people should know about.