This week in Israel’s history includes the assassination of Hezbollah terrorist Imad Mugniyeh; the day when Israel’s Knesset convened for the first time.
February 12, 2008
On Feb. 12, 2008, Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s international operations chief, was killed in Damascus when a bomb planted in a spare tire on the back of his SUV exploded. The device was triggered remotely from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents who were in communication with operatives on the ground in Damascus as well as with the CIA.
Mughniyeh was on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists list and was sought by authorities in 42 other countries. Some of the alleged activities for which he was wanted were:
The bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut (1983), which killed 63 people, including eight CIA officers;
Torture and killing of CIA’s Lebanon station chief William F. Buckley (1985);
Hijacking of TWA Flight 847 from Athens to Rome, resulting in the murder of US Navy diver Robert Stethem (1985);
Bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing four Israeli civilians and 25 Agentines (1994);
Bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people (1994); and
Bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 US Air Force pilots and staff (1996).
February 14, 1949
Following the United Nations vote to partition British-Mandated Palestine and grant the Jewish people a modern state within their ancient homeland on November 29, 1947, Arabs living in the territory were joined by volunteers from surrounding Arab states in attacking what was soon to become the State of Israel.
On May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence and five Arab states – Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia –immediately launched an attack on the nascent state. Israel’s War of Independence continued until March 10, 1949. Although still in the midst of fighting, elections for the first Knesset (Israeli parliament) were held on January 25, 1949. The original name for the Knesset was the Constituent Assembly, and it was two days after its first official meeting on February 14, 1949, that the Assembly voted to change its name to Knesset, which means “assembly.”
David Ben Gurion was the first Prime Minister and Chaim Weizmann the first President of the State of Israel.
By Penina Taylor, United with Israel