Retrospect: The year in review

Compiled by The Jerusalem Post Staff


October 5, 2003

A female suicide bomber kills 21 at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa.

October 10, 2003

Cafe’ Hillel on Rehov Emek Refaim in Jerusalem reopens one month after being destroyed by a suicide bombing, in which seven patrons and workers had been killed and over 50 wounded.

October 16, 2003

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad tells leaders of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference that “Jews rule the world by proxy” in an anti-Semitic tirade.

October 16, 2003

Three American guards are killed in a terrorist bombing of a US Embassy convoy in the Gaza Strip.


November 2, 2003

A European Commission survey of approximately 7,500 Europeans reports that a majority of Europeans say Israel is the greatest threat to world peace.

November 10, 2003

On the 65th anniversary of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), Jews lay the cornerstone of a new synagogue and Jewish center in Munich.

November 11, 2003

Over NIS 1 billion worth of class-action and individual lawsuits are filed against Israeli baby formula importer and manufacturer Remedia and German manufacturer Humana and others involved in the deaths and hospitalizations of infants in Israel and abroad, when the nondairy formula is shown to completely lack the essential vitamin B1 (thiamine).

November 12, 2003

The High Court of Justice unanimously upholds Israeli Arab director Muhammad Bakri’s petition against a decision by the Israeli Film Board to ban his controversial documentary Jenin, Jenin.

November 16, 2003

Car bombs explode outside two Istanbul synagogues during Shabbat prayers, killing 23 and wounding hundreds. Al-Qaida claims responsibility.

November 18, 2003

Conrad Black resigns as chief executive officer of Hollinger International, the parent company of The Jerusalem Post, The Daily Telegraph and The Chicago Sun-Times, among others, following a two-year battle with share-holders after an internal investigation found irregularities in company reports of approximately $32 million paid to executives.

November 19, 2003

A Jordanian truck driver opens fire on group of Ecuadoran tourists at the Arava border crossing, killing one tourist and wounding others.

November 20, 2003

Birthright israel cofounder Michael Steinhardt pledges $10m. for a new North American Jewish education project to focus on future generations’ Jewish identity formation.

November 24, 2003

The Greek government announces that Greece will establish a national day of remembrance for Greek Jews who perished during the Holocaust.


December 9, 2003

The un votes to request that the International Court of Justice in the Hague render an advisory opinion on the security fence.

December 12, 2003

A Tel Aviv underworld bombing aimed at kingpin Ze’ev Rosenstein causes three deaths and leaves many wounded.

December 15, 2003

US forces capture Saddam Hussein in an underground hideout, ending one of the world’s greatest manhunts.

December 19, 2003

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announces that if the Palestinian Authority does not meet its commitments under the road map, Israel will be forced to take unilateral security steps in the form of a disengagement plan, including removal of settlements.

December 22, 2003

Thirteen IDF reservists serving in the elite General Staff Reconnaissance Unit (Sayeret Matkal) announce their refusal to serve in the territories.

December 23, 2003

Four Israelis and a Briton kidnapped by Colombian rebels are released after a three-month ordeal.

December 24, 2003

Siblings Shoshana November, 73, and her brother Binyamin Shilon, 78, are reunited after more than 60 years, during which time each believed the other had died in the Holocaust.


December 26, 2003

A suicide bomber kills four at a bus stop in Bnei Brak.

January 8, 2004

Israeli architect Michael Arad’s “Reflecting Absence” design is chosen from some 5,000 entries to memorialize the victims of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.

January 12, 2004

More than 100,000 pro-settlement activists turn out for a demonstration in Tel Aviv to protest Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s promises to uproot settlements and uilaterally withdraw from the territories.

January 13, 2004

The US State Department releases new documents indicating that the Israeli Air Force did not know it was striking an American vessel when it attacked the USS Liberty off the coast of the Gaza Strip on June 8, 1967, killing 34 American sailors.

January 14, 2004

British International Solidarity Movement activist Tom Hurndall dies after being in a deep coma since he was shot in Rafah in April 2003. His family demands that the IDF soldier who shot him be charged with murder, not manslaughter.

January 14, 2004

Ro’i Arbel, a 29-year-old father of five, is murdered when terrorists shoot at his vehicle in Samaria.

January 15, 2004

A female suicide bomber blows herself up inside the Erez crossing terminal between Israel and the Gaza Strip, killing four Israelis.

January 18, 2004

Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, sparks a diplomatic incident when he wrecks a museum display that he said glorified the female suicide bomber Hamadi Jaradat, who murdered 21 Israelis at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa.


January 25, 2004

Israel and Hizbullah agree to swap Elhanan Tannenbaum and the remains of St.-Sgts. Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Sawayid for 435 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners.

January 26, 2004

The Mahal memorial statue is dedicated at the Latrun Armored Corps Museum, honoring the 1.5 million Jewish veterans of World War II.

January 30, 2004

A suicide bomber blows himself up on a crowded Jerusalem bus near the prime minister’s residence, killing 11 and wounding over 50.

February 2, 2004

Google, the most popular Internet search engine, inaugurates the world’s first search engine with Yiddish menus and messages.

February 3, 2004

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tells the Likud faction that he intends to ask US President George W. Bush to back a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as part of the disengagement plan.

February 4, 2004

The Labor Party convention votes to extend temporary chairman Shimon Peres’s tenure through December 2005.

February 5, 2004

The Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty and the UJA-Federation of NY release a survey claiming that poverty among Jewish New Yorkers is at an historic high, with 20% of the city’s 1 million Jews classified as poor.

February 8, 2004

The charred frame of a Jerusalem city bus, destroyed by a Palestinian suicide bomber 10 days earlier, is flown to the Netherlands for the International Court of Justice hearing on the legality of the security fence.


February 23, 2004

A Palestinian suicide bomber blows himself up on a crowded Jerusalem bus, killing eight and wounding more than 60, the second bus bombing in the capital in just over three weeks.

February 25, 2004

US Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, describes Israel’s construction of a security barrier as a “legitimate act of self-defense.”

February 26, 2004

Amid charges of anti-Semitism and mixed reviews, The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson’s controversial film about the final hours of Jesus’ life, opens in theaters across the US.

February 29, 2004

A young couple is gunned down by terrorists as they drive on the Hebron-Beersheba road near the Green Line. They are survived by their two-year-old daughter.

March 10, 2004

Muhammad Abbas (Abu Abbas), the head of the Palestinian group responsible for masterminding the 1985 hijacking of the Italian passenger ship Achille Lauro, in which wheelchair-bound Jewish American tourist Leon Klinghoffer was thrown overboard, dies in US custody in Iraq.

March 15, 2004

Ten Israelis are killed in a double suicide bomb attack (possibly launched as a mega-attack) at Ashdod Port, a site considered to be one of the most strategic and heavily guarded locations in the country.

March 21, 2004

A Christian Arab student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem is shot to death in the city’s French Hill neighborhood by Palestinian terrorists who mistook him for a Jew while he was out jogging.


March 23, 2004

Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, considered among the worst of Israel’s enemies, is killed in an IAF missile attack in Gaza City.

March 24, 2004

A 100-year-old Londoner, Simon Clyne, comes on aliya.

April 1, 2004

A Web surfer discovers that the very first of 1.75 million entries appearing in a Google search for the word “jew” is an anti-Semitic site, sparking a cyberspace showdown and a bid to alter the situation by a group of Internet experts.

April 1, 2004

Yigal Amir, assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, asks for permission to marry Larissa Trimbobler, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union and a divorced mother of four.

April 4, 2004

Michael Grades, descendant of an illustrious family of British Jewish impresarios, is appointed chairman of the BBC.

April 7, 2004

The United Talmud Torahs elementary school in St. Laurent, Montreal, is firebombed, destroying a library and computer system.

April 15, 2004

In an historic departure from US policy, President George W. Bush says Palestinian refugees should be resettled in a future Palestinian state, rather than return to Israel.

April 16, 2004

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden vows to avenge the killing of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin by striking against the US.

April 18, 2004

Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi is killed along with his son and bodyguard when Israeli missiles slam into his car in Gaza City.

April 18, 2004

According to a report published in New Zealand, two Israelis arrested on suspicion of trying to obtain forged passports allegedly work for the Mossad.

April 19, 2004

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wins a cabinet majority for his disengagement plan after Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Limor Livnat and Minister-without-Portfolio Meir Sheetrit decide to back it.

April 21, 2004

Mordechai Vanunu, the Dimona nuclear reactor technician who leaked Israel’s nuclear secrets, leaves prison after serving his 18-year sentence.


April 28, 2004

More than 70,000 people flock to a massive rally in Gush Katif, condemning Prime Minister Sharon’s plan to evacuate the Gaza Strip.

May 3, 2004

Promising to fight for coexistence and mutual respect throughout the world, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lays the cornerstone of Jerusalem’s Museum of Tolerance and pays tribute to the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

May 3, 2004

A pregnant mother and her four daughters are shot dead by terrorists on the Kissufim road in the Gaza Strip.

May 4, 2004

US Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry pledges, if elected, to be an “honest broker” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, promising to remain engaged in negotiations regardless of the future of the Gaza withdrawal plan.

May 5, 2004

Representatives of the Middle East Quartet (US Secretary of State Colin Powell, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowan for the EU) praise Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan of unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, calling it a “rare moment of opportunity in the search for peace in the Middle East.”

May 13, 2004

Eleven soldiers are killed in two days in Gaza mine attacks. Hamas and Islamic Jihad both claim responsibility and announce they are holding body parts of the dead soldiers, spurring debate on risking more soldiers’ lives vs. recovering remains of comrades at all costs.

May 13, 2004

The execution of 26-year-old Nicholas Berg, an American Jew whose decapitation by al-Qaida terrorists in Iraq was videotaped and then posted on an al-Qaida-linked Web site, sends shock waves throughout the US.

May 16, 2004

More than 150,000 Israelis demand withdrawal from Gaza in a demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Kikar Rabin, in a rally considered to be the first revival of Israel’s center-Left movement since the eruption of the intifada.

May 17, 2004

The cabinet unanimously approves the findings of the Dovrat Committee for reforming the education system, whose recommendations include a five-day school week.

May 19, 2004

Jordan’s King Abdullah II calls on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to step down in the interests of his people.


June 9, 2004

The White City, a collection of some 4,000 buildings in the Bauhaus style in the heart of Tel Aviv, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

June 9, 2004

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon loses his majority in the Knesset when two ministers from the National Religious Party resign from the government to protest the cabinet’s decision to evacuate the Gaza Strip.

June 14, 2004

Senior government officials announce that settlers evacuated from the Gaza Strip can, as complete communities, build new settlements in the western Negev near the Gaza Strip.

June 15, 2004

In a unanimous decision, the High Court of Justice instructs local governments to allow the sale of pork in neighborhoods where the overwhelming majority of the population wants to purchase it or does not mind it being sold.

June 16, 2004

Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz decides to close the Greek Island file against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his son Gilad.


June 20, 2004

Britain awards an honorary knighthood to 95-year-old Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal in recognition of a “lifetime of service to humanity.”

June 23, 2004

Thousands gather at the grave of Lubavitcher rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson in observance of the 10th anniversary of his death.

July 1, 2004

The High Court of Justice cancels a land seizure order issued by the IDF applying to 30 of 40 kilometers of the separation fence route west of Jerusalem because of the “disproportionate harm” it would cause the 35,000 Palestinians living in the area.

July 5, 2004

A 49-year-old Mevo Dotan resident is killed after a Palestinian terrorist opens fire on his car not far from his West Bank home.

July 8, 2004

Shock waves run through the Shinui Party as leader Yosef Lapid asks Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to fire the party’s Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky, after revelations that Paritzky had tried to frame political rival and fellow Shinui member Interior Minister Avraham Poraz.

July 9, 2004

President Moshe Katsav calls Theodor Herzl “one of the giants of the Jewish nation,” as the centenary of the Zionist visionary’s death is marked.

July 9, 2004

The International Court of Justice in The Hague rules in a 14-1 advisory opinion that Israel’s security fence is illegal and should be dismantled.

July 12, 2004

After seven months of quiet in Tel Aviv, a bomb hidden behind a bus stop explodes, killing a woman soldier and wounding over 30.

July 14, 2004

Cameron Kerry, the Jewish brother of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, arrives in Israel for a visit.

July 14, 2004

The Defense Ministry decides to redraw the route of the security fence,moving it closer to the pre-1967 border, based on principles established by the High Court of Justice stating that the rights of Palestinians living alongside the fence must be balanced with Israel’s security needs.

July 15, 2004

More than 400 new immigrants from North America arrive in a single flight to Ben-Gurion Airport.

July 15, 2004

The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court clears Gilad Sharon, the son of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, of contempt of court charges, saying that he had fulfilled a court order to hand over to the National Fraud Squad all documents in his possession related to the Cyril Kern affair.

July 18, 2004

Jewish graves are vandalized at a cemetery in Wellington, New Zealand, soon after two Israelis were sentenced by an Auckland court after admitting to trying to falsely obtain New Zealand passports.


July 19, 2004

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon calls on France’s 600,000 Jews to immigrate to Israel “immediately,” prompting the French Foreign Ministry to issue a response calling his comments “unacceptable.”

July 26, 2004

A human protest chain, the first of its kind in Israel and the third largest in history, stretches 90 km. to Jerusalem as an estimated 150,000 people link hands to protest the disengagement plan.

July 30, 2004

Over a dozen years after the project was launched, the Arrow-2 missile, designed and built by Israel, successfully shoots down a Scud missile in a test launch over California.

July 30, 2004

Suicide bombings in front of the Israeli and US embassies in Tashkent kill three people in Uzbekistan.

August 8, 2004

Two Palestinian Authority ministers resign from the PA cabinet, citing the continued state of chaos and lawlessness in the Palestinian Authority and their frustration over the PA’s failure to implement reforms.

August 10, 2004

A group of 50 Jewish university students from Israel, the US, and Poland are verbally attacked by French tourists while on a tour of the Auschwitz museum in Poland.

August 11, 2004

Tali Fahima, a 28-year-old Israeli Jew, is arrested for allegedly aiding Palestinian terror organizations in planning terror attacks in Israel.

August 15, 2004

A 50-year-old Israeli father of seven, head of security in Itamar in the West Bank, is shot to death by a member of the Palestinian West Bank security service.

August 15, 2004

New Jersey Governor James McGreevey resigns after a scandal involving a gay affair, allegedly with an Israeli former adviser.


August 18, 2004

A secluded, alternative prayer area at the Western Wall in Jerusalem is officially inaugurated for women’s and mixed prayer services.

August 19, 2004

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffers a defeat at the Likud convention on his plan to bring the Labor Party into the government.

August 20, 2004

Israeli judoka Arik Ze’evi wins an Olympic bronze medal in Athens, bringing Israel its fifth Olympic medal ever and its third in judo.

August 20, 2004

The government of Poland announces its plan to establish a museum at the Treblinka death camp in coordination with Yad Vashem. It is slated to open in two years.

August 22, 2004

The US Justice Department unseals an indictment of Hamas leader Mousa Muhammad Abu Marzuk, living in Syria, together with two men living in the US, all accused of financing Hamas’s activities in Israel and helping to recruit new members.

August 23, 2004

The administrative body established to oversee compensation to settlers as part of the Gaza disengagement plan formally opens for business.

August 23, 2004

Arson is suspected after a Jewish center is torched in Paris.

August 25, 2004

Mistral windsurfer Gal Fridman wins Israel’s first gold medal at the Olympic Games in Athens.

September 1, 2004

Sixteen are killed and more than 100 wounded in the first major terrorist attack in six months, as Palestinian suicide bombers set off near-simultaneous explosions on two buses in Beersheba.

Jerusalem Post

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