May 19

History events
363 — (19th of Iyar, 4123) For a second day in a row, a series of earthquakes that took place along a fault-line stretching from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba shook the region around the Galilee. According to some, this seismic event was part of the reason the Temple in Jerusalem was not rebuilt despite Emperor Julian’s support for the project
1555 — (28th of Iyar, 5315) Today, “in a document…Nahum Psakohovich, as representative of all the Jews in the grand duchy of Lithuania, lodged a complaint with the king against the magistrate and burghers of Kiev because, contrary to the old, established custom, they had prohibited the Jews from coming to Kiev for trading in the city stores and compelled them to stop at, and to their wares, in the city market recently erected by the burghers.”
1882 — (1th of Sivan, 5642) In Tisza-EszlarJoszef Sharf, custodian of the local synagogue and his wife were arrested in connection with the disappearance of Esther Solymosi, a Christian peasant girl fourteen years old whom the locals claim was the victim of a Jewish blood lust
1896 — (7th of Sivan, 5656) The village of Metula was founded with funds supplied by Baron Rothschild. Metula was the northern most town in Palestine and would become the northern most town in Israel. Metula is close to the border with Lebanon
1905 — (14th of Iyar, 5665) The Bagatela Theatre, a Yiddish theatre where Mark Arnstein worked as a director opened today in Warsaw
1922 — (21th of Iyar, 5682) A new department of the Keren Hayesod has been established “to mobilize the Jewish workingmen for the Palestine Foundation Fund.”
1936 — (27th of Iyar, 5696) A 43 year old Jew named, Feivil Schnitzer, was shot and killed early this morning by an Arab in the Armenian quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. It was the twenty- sixth murder of a Jew by Arabs since the present disturbances began, and in every case the assassins are still at large
1936 — (27th of Iyar, 5696) Tel Aviv celebrated the inauguration of its new port today. Tens of thousands gathered around a provisional jetty to watch the arrival and unloading of two steamers with cargoes of cement.
1939 — (1th of Sivan, 5699) In defiance of the White Paper, 309 “illegal Jewish immigrants” landed on the “shores of Southern Palestine.” Before they were discovered by British troops, the group, including 74 women and 14 children were attacked by an armed mob of Arab villagers
1941 — (22th of Iyar, 5701) The Palmach («peluggot mahaz» — «assault companies») commando units were established by Yitzhak Sade as a defense from any Axis (Germany and Italy) attack on Eretz Israel
1948 — (10th of Iyar, 5708) Israeli forces abandoned Bet ha-Aravah and the potash works on the northern end of the Dead Sea.
1948 — (10th of Iyar, 5708) The provisional government of Israel declared a state of emergency.
1948 — (10th of Iyar, 5708) As the undermanned and outgunned Israeli units sought to keep the Syrians and Iraqis from taking the Jordan Valley, a second raid, by a Yiftach company, crossed the Jordan and struck the Syrian camp at the Customs House, near the main Bnot Yaakov Bridge After a short battle, the Syrian defenders (one or two companies) fled. The Palmachniks destroyed the camp and several vehicles, including two armored cars, without losses.”
1948 — (10th of Iyar, 5708) In Jerusalem, “the Arabs recaptured the Sheikh Jarrah area”
1948 — (10th of Iyar, 5708) The Iraqis, who were about to drive west through Nablus toward Tulkarm, “asked the Syrians to make a diversion in the Degania area to protect their right flank. The Syrians complied, their main objective being to seize the bridge across the river north of Degania Alef, thus blocking any Israeli attack from Tiberias against the Iraqi line of communications.”
1948 — (10th of Iyar, 5708) During the War for Independence two civilian leaders from Kibbutz Deganya arrive at Ben Gurion’s offices begging for help in fighting off the attacking Syrian armored column. Ben Gurion responded candidly “We don’t have enough artillery, enough airplanes. Every front needs reinforcements. The situation is extremely grave in the Negev, in the Jerusalem area and in the Upper Galilee.” And if anything, Ben Gurion was understating the desperate situation. So far the only help he had to send to Deganya was Moshe Dayan who had little more than his eye-patch with which to face the Syrians, Iraqis and Jordanians. Ben Gurion sent the two leaders to Yigal Yadin, his Chief of Staff. Yadin listens to the report and then advises them to let the Syrian tanks breach the kibbutz so that the defenders can disable them with Molotov cocktails. Their angry response shocks Yadin into action. If Daganya is lost the North is lost. With the Egyptians advancing from the Negev and the Arab Legion besieging Jerusalem, Yadin’s position seems more like Custer than King David. Yadin meets with Ben Gurion. In a table-pounding dispute, Yadin attempts to convince the Old Man to send four 65 millimeter artillery pieces that had been intended for Jerusalem north to Deganya. This is the sum total of the Israeli artillery reserve and the weapons lack sights (you know, the things you aim the gun with). Ben Gurion agrees to send two of the canon North with Dayan under the condition that they be returned promptly to help with the fighting around Jerusalem.
1950 — (3rd of Sivan, 5710) The Aliyah of Iraqi Jews began
1966 — (29th of Iyar, 5726) The emblem for the Israeli town of Arad, a square with a hill and a flame, was adopted today

1103 — (10th of Sivan, 4863) Isaac Alfasi, Talmudic author, died. Born in Fez in 1013, he is also known as the «RIF». He compiled the first codification of Jewish law, called Sefer Halachot. It still appears today in every volume of the Talmud. Joseph Caro later used it as a basis for his work. Sefer Halachot was the most important codex until Maimonides’ Mishna Torah. Alfasi was 25 years old when Hai Gaon died. He was called Gaon by many authorities and his death marked the very end of that (Gaonic) period. His students included Judah Halevi and Josef ibn Migash
1771 — (6th of Sivan, 5531) Birthdate of Rahel Levin, the prominent 19th century literary figure who converted when she married and gained fame as Rahel Varnhagen who was the subject of a biography by Hannah Arendt, Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess
1909 — (28th of Iyar, 5669) Birthdate of composer Shlomo Yoffe or Schlomo Joffe
1951 — (13th of Iyar, 5711) David Remez passed away. Born David Drabkin in Russia in May of 1886, he made Aliyah in 191. Trained as a lawyer and teacher, he worked as field hand on several agricultural settlements. A founding member of Mapai and a leader of Histadrut, he was a true founding father as one of the signatories to Israel’s Declaration of Independence. He was the first Minister of Transportation and was serving as Minister of Education at the time of his death
2002 — (8th of Sivan, 5762) Yosef Haviv, 70, Victor Tatrinov, 63, and Arkady Vieselman, 40, all of Netanya, were killed and 59 people were injured — 10 seriously — when a suicide bomber, disguised as a soldier, blew himself up in the market in Netanya
2003 — (17th of Iyar, 5763) Avi Zerihan, 36, of Beit Shean, Hassan Ismail Tawatha, 41, of Jisr a-Zarqa, Kiryl Shremko, 22, of Afula were murdered today and seventy others were injured by a Palestinian suicide bomber at a mall in Afula – an act of terror for which at least two Arab organizations took credit
2009 — (15th of Iyar, 5769) Shlomo Shamir whose passed away. Born Shlomo Rabinowitch in Russia in 1915, he made aliyah ten years later. He was an active member of the Haganah from 1929 until 1940 when he joined the RAF and rose to the rank of major before his discharge in 1946. During the War of Independence he played a key role in the fighting around Latrun and the creation of the Burma Road. After the war, he served as the 3rd commander of the Israeli Navy and the 3rd commander of the Israeli Air Force. After leaving the military he graduated from Tel Aviv University and Harvard. He was an entrepreneur who developed several successful businesses.