10 Things You May Not Know About Israel’s Past

[nextpage title=”1. El Al used to fly to Tehran” ]
1. El Al used to fly to Tehran.
El Al’s Tehran office - Screen shot from After the Revolution

Yom Ha’atzmaut, The Israel’s independence Day, falls on April 23rd. In honor of Jewish state’s 67th birthday, we present, in no specific order, Ten little-known aspects of its Background history.
Iran and Israel enjoyed mostly good relations up until the Islamic revolution that overthrew the shah in 1979. Iran identified Israel in 1950, getting the 2nd Islamic-majority country to do so (after Turkey). Iran provided Israel with oil during the OPEC oil embargo, Israel sold Iran guns, there was brisk buswithiness between your countrys, and Elal flew normal routes between Tel Aviv and Tehran. All that ended a week after the shah’s ouster, when Iran’s new rulers reduce ties with Israel and shifted its embassy in Tehran to the Palestine Liberation Organization. Even after 35 years of hostilities, however, Iranians have less antipathy toward Jews than any other Middle Eastern country. A 2014 worldwide anti-Semitism survey by the Anti-Defamation Group found that 56% of Iranians hold anti-Semitic opinions — compared to 80% of Moroccans and 93% of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
check out the 2014 documentary, “Before the revolution”.


[nextpage title=”2. Israel is home to hundreds of Nazi descendants.” ]
2. Israel is home to hundreds of Nazi descendants.
A pro-Nazi family with 12 children in Third Reich Germany. (Wikimedia Commons)

At least four hundred descendants of Nazis have converted to Judaism and Shifted to Israel, according to filmmakers WHO made a documentary about the phenomenon many years ago. in addition, others converted to Judaism or married Israelis but don’t live in the jewish state – such as Heinrich Himmler’s grandniece, who married an Israeli jew and lives overseas. In Israel’s early years, the state was roiled by a dialogue over whether to simply accept German reparations for the Holocaust (it did), and germany remained a controversial subject: From 1956 until 1967, Israel had a ban on all German-produced films.


[nextpage title=”3. Ben-Gurion invented Israeli couscous (sort of)” ]
3. Ben-Gurion invented Israeli couscous (sort of).
Israeli couscous was invented in the 1950s. (Wikimedia Commons)

The tiny pasta balls known as “Israeli couscous” called “ptitim in Hebrew” were invented within the 1950s at the behest of Israel’s initial prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who asked the Osem company to come up with a wheat based substitute for rice during a period of austerity in Israel. The invention, which Israelis dubbed “Ben-Gurion’s rice,” was a second hit.


[nextpage title=”4. Israel had no TV service till the late ‘60s.” ]
4. Israel had no TV service till the late ‘60s.

The first Israeli TV transmission failed to take place until 1966, and at first was intended just for schools for educational use. Regular public broadcasts began on Israeli national holiday in may 1968. for nearly two decades more, Israel had only one channel, and broadcasts were restricted to specific hours of the day. A second channel debuted in 1986, and cable was introduced in 1990. Today, Israeli TV is a popular source for Hollywood scriptwriters: “Homeland” (Showtime), “In Treatment” (HBO), “Your Family or Mine” (TBS), “Allegiance” (NBC), “Deal With It” (TBS), “Tyrant” and “Boom” (Showtime) all are remakes of Israeli shows.


[nextpage title=”5. Queen Elizabeth II’s mother-in-law is buried in Jerusalem.” ]
5. Queen Elizabeth II’s mother-in-law is buried in Jerusalem.
5. Queen Elizabeth II’s mother-in-law is buried in Jerusalem.

Prince Philip’s mother, born in 1885 as princess Alice of Battenberg and congenitally deaf, spent a lot of of her life in greece once marrying prince andrew of greece and denmark (yes, he was at the same time prince of 2 completely different European countries). during the Nazi occupation of greece, Alice hid a jewish girl and 2 of her kids from the Nazis, earning her eventual recognition by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial as a “Righteous Among the Nations” and by the british government as a “Hero of the Holocaust.” She moved to London in (1967) to live in castle with her son and daughter-in-law, Queen elizabeth ii. after the princess died 2 years later, her body was interred in a very crypt at Windsor Castle. In 1988, she was transferred to a crypt at the Convent of Saint mary magdalene in Gethsemane on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives – honoring a wish she had expressed before her death. The Mount of Olives is home to the world’s oldest continuously used cemetery.


[nextpage title=”6. Alaska Airlines airlifted thousands of Yemenite Jews to Israel.” ]
6. Alaska Airlines airlifted thousands of Yemenite Jews to Israel.

Alaska Airlines

When anti-Jewish riots broke out in Yemen once Israel’s victory within the 1948 War of Independence, Yemen’s jewish community set to move as a group to the jewish homeland. James Wooten, president of alaska Airlines, was among those moved by their plight. Between June 1949 and Sep 1950, alaska Airlines made about 430 flights in twin-engine C-46 and DC-4 aircrafts as a part of Operation Magic Carpet, the key mission that transported nearly 50,000 Jews from Yemen to Israel. Pilots had to contend with fuel shortages, sandstorms and enemy fire, and one plane crash-landed after losing an engine, however not one life was lost aboard the flights.


[nextpage title=”7. Golda Meir was the world’s third female prime minister.” ]
7. Golda Meir was the world’s third female prime minister.
Golda Meir, minister van buitenlandse zaken van Israel

Meir (née Myerson), who became Israeli prime minister in 1969, was preceded only by Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka (1960-’65) and Indira Ghandi of Bharat (1966-’77). Born in Kiev and raised in milwaukee, meir moved to an Israeli kibbutz in her early 20s and quickly became active in labor politics. tho’ fashionable yank Jews, Golda Meir remains a subject matter of some derision in Israel for her perceived failures during the 1973 yom kippur War, once she opted to not attack preemptively Arab forces massing on Israel’s border with syria. though the Agranat Commission that investigated the war cleared meir of direct responsibility, she resigned shortly afterward and was succeeded as prime minister by Yitzhak Rabin in 1974 (who served until 1977, however again became prime minister in 1992).


[nextpage title=”8. Israeli law began requiring solar water heaters in all new homes in 1980″ ]
8. Israeli law began requiring solar water heaters in all new homes in 1980.
Rooftop solar panels in Israel. (Wikimedia Commons)

The law was passed following the energy crisis of the late ‘70s and created Israel the world’s leader within the use of solar energy per capita. Today, an estimated 85 percent of Israeli households use solar systems for hot water, amounting to some 3 percent of the nation’s energy consumption. However, nowadays Israel lags behind other countries in implemented different solar energy solutions, and a growing number of recent buildings in Israel utilize legal loopholes that provide exemptions to the solar heater law.


[nextpage title=”9. Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus is not technically part of the West Bank” ]
9. Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus is not technically part of the West Bank.

Though situated in eastern jerusalem, Mount Scopus, where Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital have campuses, has been in Israeli hands since the state’s founding. once the conclusion of the War of Independence in 1949, the hilltop was controlled by Jews however surrounded by Jordanian-controlled eastern capital of Israel. Israel maintained its Mount Scopus exclave by ferrying in troops and provides each every under united nations guard. The convoys were frequently subject to Arab enemy fire, and an attack in 1958 killed four Israelis and one U.N. soldier. Mount Scopus was reunited with the rest of jewish jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.


[nextpage title=”10. Albert Einstein was offered Israel’s presidency.” ]
10. Albert Einstein was offered Israel’s presidency.
Albert Einstein at Princeton

The offer came from David Ben-Gurion in Nov 1952, in the days once the death of Israel’s 1st president, chaim weizmann. “I am anxious for you to feel that the Prime Minister’s question embodies the deepest respect that the jewish people will repose in any of its sons,” Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban wrote to the famed scientist. Einstein turned down the invitation, citing his advanced age and inaptitude at dealing with people. “I am deeply moved by the provide from our State of Israel, and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it,” Einstein replied, noting, “my relationship to the jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became attentive to our precarious situation among the nations of the globe.” interestingly, Ben-Gurion at 1st denied press reports regarding the invitation. Einstein died less than 3 years later.


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