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JERUSALEM -- Mahmoud Abbas handily wins the presidency of the Palestinian Authority in the first election since Yasser Arafat’s death, claiming 62 percent of votes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

JERUSALEM -- The vice chairman of Citigroup, Stanley Fischer, is named governor of the Bank of Israel.

JERUSALEM -- Ariel Sharon’s new unity government is sworn in, consisting of the prime minister’s Likud Party, the opposition Labor Party and the United Torah Judaism faction.

BRUSSELS -- Edgar Bronfman is unanimously re-elected president of the World Jewish Congress. Around 500 delegates representing Jewish communities around the world also confirm Israel Singer as the chairman of the WJC’s board of governors.
WASHINGTON -- President Bush nominates Michael Chertoff, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, in Philadelphia, who is Jewish, to head the Department of Homeland Security.

JERUSALEM -- A group of Jewish scholars attempts to recreate the ancient Sanhedrin tribunal in Jerusalem. According to the Jerusalem Post, the 71 Orthodox scholars who convened believe they can reconstitute the Second Temple-era Sanhedrin and that one of their members, Rabbi Yosef Dayan, could qualify as a Jewish monarch because he can trace his lineage to King David.

NEW YORK -- For the first time in its history, the United Nations marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

WASHINGTON -- Condoleezza Rice, who has pledged to work diligently on Israeli-Palestinian issues, is confirmed as U.S. secretary of state, replacing Colin Powell. Three Jewish senators -- Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.); Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.); and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) -- vote against her confirmation.

NEW YORK -- The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee announces that it has raised more than $12 million for tsunami relief.

KRAKOW, Poland -- Close to 40 heads of state and foreign ministers are among 7,000 people attending a memorial marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The number includes about 1,000 survivors of the death camp.


WASHINGTON -- In his State of the Union address, President Bush proposes $350 million in U.S. aid for the Palestinians.

EGYPT -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declare an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire at a summit in Sharm el-Sheik.

JERUSALEM -- Israel names Yuval Diskin to replace Avi Dichter as head of Shin Bet, its domestic security service.

NEW YORK -- The Artscroll publishing house completes its 73-volume translation of the Talmud, a $23 million project that took more than 15 years.

MARCH 2005

NEW YORK -- Tens of thousands of Jews gather in Madison Square Garden and other locations throughout the world to mark the end of the Daf Yomi, a seven-year cycle of Talmud study.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush nominates John Bolton as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, sparking a contentious battle between Democrats and Republicans over his confirmation. Bolton is an ardent advocate of U.N. reform.

JERUSALEM -- Israel’s Cabinet formally approves Maj. Gen. Dan Halutz as military chief of staff.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush nominates Paul Wolfowitz, who is Jewish, to head the World Bank.

WEST BANK -- Israel gives the Palestinian Authority control of Jericho and Tulkarm as part of the cease-fire agreement reached between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas at a February summit.

PARIS -- Attacks on French Jews and Muslims and their institutions have almost doubled -- from 833 in 2004 to 1,565 -- according to a report issued by France’s National Consultative Commission of Human Rights.

NEW YORK -- Columbia University issues a report investigating charges that pro-Palestinian professors bullied pro-Israel students. The report finds that one faculty member “exceeded commonly accepted bounds” in responding to a student’s question about whether Israel sometimes warns Palestinians before it undertakes military operations.

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli-Arab player scores a key goal in the final minutes of a World Cup qualifying match, helping Israel advance to the next round of the tournament. Abbas Suwan’s goal is greeted with roaring cheers from 40,000 fans in the soccer stadium near Tel Aviv.

APRIL 2005

ROME -- Pope John Paul II, who made positive Jewish-Catholic relations a pillar of his papacy, dies at age 84. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany is selected to succeed him.

WASHINGTON -- Sandy Berger, President Clinton’s national security adviser, pleads guilty to a misdemeanor for removing classified documents from the National Archives. He later is fined $50,000 for the offense.

CRAWFORD, Texas -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets with President Bush at his ranch. Bush reportedly insists that Israel not expand settlements without negotiating with the Palestinians, though he also repeats a previous statement that facts on the ground, including major population centers in the West Bank, must be taken into account in any peace talks.

NEW YORK -- Harold Tanner, a past president of the American Jewish Committee, is nominated to chair the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

WASHINGTON -- The American Israel Public Affairs Committee fires two top employees -- policy director Steve Rosen and senior Iran analyst Keith Weissman -- due to allegations raised by an FBI investigation that they mishandled classified information.

NEW YORK -- The United Nations Commission on Human Rights condemns anti-Semitism in two separate resolutions.

JERUSALEM -- Former Israeli President Ezer Weizman dies at age 80.

CRAWFORD, Texas -- President Bush meets with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah at Bush’s ranch. Bush reportedly stresses the need for the Saudis to offer financial support to the Palestinian Authority.

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Syria formally withdraws its troops from Lebanon, ending its 29-year occupation of the country.

LONDON -- Britain’s Association of University Teachers votes to boycott two Israeli universities over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. The boycott, which sparks outrage in the Jewish world, is overturned in May.

MAY 2005

JERUSALEM -- Natan Sharansky resigns from Israel’s government to protest the planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank.

MOSCOW -- Representatives of the Quartet pursuing Middle East peace -- America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- emphasize the need for a future Palestinian state to have territorial contiguity. The group also issues a statement supporting Israel’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

KRAKOW, Poland -- Some 18,000 marchers mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. At Birkenau, marchers take part in what organizers describe as the largest Holocaust memorial ceremony ever.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush signs legislation earmarking $200 million in aid to the Palestinians.

BERLIN -- Germany dedicates its new Holocaust memorial. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a sea of 2,700 cement steles in the heart of the city.

PARIS -- A French appeals court finds Le Monde, the country’s leading daily newspaper, guilty of “racial defamation” for an article on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that was harshly critical of Jews.

NEW YORK -- Sallai Meridor steps down as the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization, a year before his term is scheduled to end.

BUTNER, N.C. -- Israeli ambassador Daniel Ayalon visits Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in a U.S. prison for the first time.

JERUSALEM -- First lady Laura Bush visits Jerusalem as part of a Middle East tour.

NEW YORK -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon comes to New York, where he defends his plans to withdraw from the Gaza Strip in meetings with various American Jewish groups.

WASHINGTON -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets with President Bush at the White House. Bush offers $50 million in direct financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority, defying congressional directions not to send the money directly to the P.A. because of its past corruption and ties to terrorism.

VIENNA -- The Austrian government and the Jewish community agree on compensation for communal property looted or destroyed during the Holocaust. The government agrees to pay some $22.8 million to Austrian Jewry.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutional right to religious accommodation for minorities in prisons, declaring the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 to be constitutional.

JUNE 2005

WASHINGTON -- The White House names Jeffrey Berkowitz as liaison to the Jewish community.

JERUSALEM -- Former Israeli air force commander Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz replaces Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon as the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff.

NEW YORK -- Hundreds of thousands of people march down Fifth Avenue in the annual Salute to Israel parade. Many onlookers are clad in orange, signifying their opposition to Israel’s plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

CORDOBA, Spain -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe holds its third annual Conference on Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance. For the first time, the meeting on anti-Semitism includes discussions on prejudice against other groups.

TAMPA, Fla. -- A former professor at a U.S. university is accused of living a double life as a conduit for Islamic Jihad as the trial of Sami Al-Arian opens in Tampa. Prosecutors allege that the former University of South Florida professor raised money and organized operations for the terrorist group.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passes a resolution urging the United Nations to address anti-Semitism and anti-Israel policies.

WASHINGTON -- Former Nazi death-camp guard John Demjanjuk is deemed eligible for deportation from the United States. Demjanjuk was acquitted in Israel in 1993 of being “Ivan the Terrible,” one of the most notorious Nazi guards.

NEW YORK -- Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, the longtime chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative movement’s flagship institution, announces his retirement.

JERUSALEM -- Ra’anana Mayor Zeev Bielski is unanimously elected chairman of the World Zionist Organization, replacing Sallai Meridor.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court rules that displays of the Ten Commandments are permissible on state grounds but not in courthouses.

JERUSALEM -- Israel and Egypt ink a $2.5 billion deal for Egypt to supply natural gas to the Jewish state.

BERLIN -- Germany modifies a tough immigration law, which took effect Jan. 1, averting a feared clampdown on immigration by Jews from the former Soviet Union.

JULY 2005

MOSCOW -- The Reform movement announces a plan to translate the Plaut Modern Torah Commentary into Russian, which would be the first modern translation of the Torah into Russian.

NEW YORK -- The founders of, a Web site about Jews in rock ‘n’ roll, settle a lawsuit with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

JERUSALEM -- The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, the Jerusalem affiliate of the Conservative movement’s flagship institution, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, receives official recognition as an Israeli academic institution.

WASHINGTON --, a coalition of religious groups that includes a number of Jewish organizations, holds a prayer weekend to protest the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. In addition, a coalition of Jewish groups calls on President Bush to intervene in the crisis.

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announces her resignation.

ATLANTA -- The United Church of Christ calls on members to employ “economic leverage” against Israel, including possible divestment, at its biennial synod, joining other mainline Protestant churches also considering economic pressure on Israel regarding its treatment of the Palestinians.

GAZA -- Hamas declines Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ offer to join the P.A. government.

LONDON -- Four suicide bombers kill 52 people, including three Jews, and wound more than 700 aboard three subway trains and a double-decker bus. Two weeks later, more blasts on a double-decker bus and the subway injure one person.

WASHINGTON -- Israel requests aid from the United States, believed to total $2.2 billion, to support its Gaza withdrawal plan.

GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- Industrialized nations meeting at the G8 summit in Scotland pledge $3 billion in assistance to the Palestinians.

BERLIN n “Go for Zucker,” a comedy about contemporary German Jewish life, wins six prizes at Germany’s main film-awards ceremony.

WASHINGTON -- Condoleezza Rice visits the Middle East in an effort to calm tensions following several terror attacks in Israel, including a bombing in Netanya that killed five people, in advance of the Gaza Strip withdrawal.

JERUSALEM -- Israel hosts the 17th Maccabiah Games, known as the Jewish Olympics. An Israeli-Arab swimmer wins Israel’s first gold medal at the 2005 games.

MONTREAL -- An art auction featuring several watercolors and drawings by Hitler raises the ire of Canadian Jewish groups.

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. federal appeals court rejects Jonathan Pollard’s request for an appeal. Pollard claims he had inadequate counsel when he was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House of Representatives approves a revised version of the USA Patriot Act. The Patriot Act has been of concern to numerous Jewish groups because of perceived violations of civil liberties, but the Anti-Defamation League calls the revised version “a measured response to the legitimate threat of terrorism.”

WASHINGTON -- President Bush nominates Richard Jones, a former ambassador to Kuwait and Lebanon, as the U.S. ambassador to Israel, replacing Daniel Kurtzer.

NEW YORK -- Two El Al flights leave for Israel carrying the largest single-day aliyah of North American Jews to the Jewish state. The flights are sponsored by Nefesh b’Nefesh and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

BUENOS AIRES -- Argentine President Nestor Kirchner admits that previous governments covered up facts that could have helped solve the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center, which killed 85 people.

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon orders funding for a soccer stadium in the Israeli-Arab town of Sakhnin.

ROME -- Israel is outraged when new Pope Benedict XVI neglected to include the Jewish state in a list of countries that had suffered terrorist attacks, despite a recent bombing that killed five people. The dispute leads to a war of words between Israel and the Vatican.

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son, Knesset-member Omri Sharon, is indicted on charges of illegally financing his father’s Likud Party primary campaign.

PARIS -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is greeted warmly on a state visit to France, a country which is often highly critical of the Jewish state and supportive of the Palestinians.

WASHINGTON -- Congress passes a bill extending daylight-saving time by a month. Some Conservative and Orthodox groups fear that the bill will force observant Jews to choose between getting to work on time and saying morning prayers at the proper hour.


WASHINGTON -- After a contentious nomination battle in the U.S. Senate ended in a stalemate, President Bush uses a recess appointment to make John Bolton the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

ROME -- Jewish catacombs under the ancient city of Rome thought to be copies of Christian sites are found to predate them by at least a century, suggesting that Christian burial practices may have been modeled on Jewish ones.

JERUSALEM -- An AWOL Israeli soldier kills four Arabs in a terrorist attack on a bus in the Israeli-Arab town of Shfaram. Police manage to shackle Natan Eden Zada when he stops shooting, but an enraged mob boards the bus and beats him to death.

WASHINGTON -- Federal charges are filed against two former employees of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee. Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman are charged with “conspiracy to communicate national defense information to persons not entitled to receive it,” starting in 1999. The two plead not guilty.

BUENOS AIRES -- Judge Juan Jose Galeano is impeached over “serious irregularities” in his handling of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center, which killed 85 people.

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resigns, ostensibly to protest the Gaza Strip withdrawal scheduled to begin a week later. Netanyahu later announces that he will challenge Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for the Likud Party leadership and the premiership.

NEW YORK -- The Presbyterian Church (USA) says it may divest from four companies -- Caterpillar, Motorola, ITT Industries and United Technologies -- unless they stop doing business with Israel. The church also presses Citigroup because of its ties to an Arab bank accused of transferring money to Palestinian terrorist groups.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government changes regulations to allow part-time federal employees to use comp time to take off for Shabbat and other Jewish observances.

JERUSALEM -- Israeli soldiers and police forces evict thousands of settlers from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank as part of the government’s plan to “disengage” from the Palestinians. Despite predictions of civil war, the action passes relatively peacefully. The settlements are then bulldozed by Israel.

ROME -- Members of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultation meet with Pope Benedict XVI, his first audience with an official Jewish delegation since assuming the papacy.

JERUSALEM -- A settler incensed over the Gaza withdrawal shoots dead four Palestinians in the West Bank. Asher Weissgan later says that he hopes someone kills Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as well.

NEW YORK -- The Arab Bank agrees to pay a $24 million fine for inadequate controls against money laundering that may have contributed to terrorism. Several American and Israeli terror victims filed lawsuits against the bank, accusing it of transferring funds to its branches in Palestinian areas for payouts to suicide bombers’ families.

COLOGNE, Germany -- Pope Benedict XVI visits a German synagogue that was rebuilt after being destroyed by the Nazis.

JERUSALEM -- Israel and Egypt reach agreement on a deal for Egypt to patrol the dangerous Philadelphia Corridor along Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip. Palestinians have used tunnels dug under the route to smuggle weapons, drugs and other contraband into Gaza.

JERUSALEM -- A group of gay, lesbian and transgendered Jews visits Israel on a mission sponsored by the United Jewish Communities federation umbrella organization.

BERLIN -- International leaders of Reform Jewry hold their first meeting ever with Germany’s chancellor to promote Jewish pluralism in the European nation, but Gerhard Schroeder tells them that he doesn’t want to get involved in internal Jewish matters.

NEW ORLEANS -- Jews from the Crescent City seek shelter with their brethren in Baton Rouge, Houston and elsewhere as a levee breach in the wake of powerful Hurricane Katrina sends floodwaters surging into the beleaguered city.

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian skinheads critically wound a Jewish youth in a stabbing attack on two yeshiva students.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Air Force issues new guidelines for religious tolerance that stress respect for others. The guidelines come after cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs said the academy had a strongly Christian feel.


WASHINGTON n U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist dies at age 80.

NEW YORK -- A U.S. court froze the Palestinian Authority’s U.S. assets because of an unpaid court order for $116 million regarding a 1996 terrorist attack.

NEW YORK -- Jewish groups launched an initiative to help Sudanese refugees living in Chad. Participating groups include the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the Israel Forum for Humanitarian Aid.

LOS ANGELES -- Four people were indicted in an alleged terror plot against targets in Los Angeles, including the Israeli Consulate and two synagogues.

NEW YORK -- Rabbi Aaron Twerski was named dean of Hofstra University’s law school, believed to be the first Chassidic Jew to lead a U.S. law school.

JERUSALEM -- Israel signed an agreement giving Egypt control over the Philadelphia Route along the Gaza-Egypt border, where Palestinians often attempt to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.

JERUSALEM -- Israel sent personnel and relief supplies to help the U.S. Gulf Coast recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

NEW YORK -- The Israel on Campus Coalition launched a new initiative to strengthen ties between American and Israeli universities.

JERUSALEM -- Palestinians ransacked and torched synagogues left behind after Israel completed its Gaza Strip withdrawal.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- A new Jewish community center was dedicated, sponsored by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Up to 20 percent of an estimated 6 million American Jews are African-American, Asian-American, Latino, Sephardi, Middle Eastern or of mixed race, according to a new book by demographer Gary Tobin.

ROME -- Israel’s two chief rabbis met with Pope Benedict XVI and urged him to establish an annual day for Catholics to reflect on Catholic-Jewish relations and join the fight against anti-Semitism.

NEW YORK -- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf made a historic address to American Jewish groups that is coordinated by the American Jewish Congress. But during the talk, Musharraf said his country would establish ties with Israel only after a Palestinian state is created.

NEW YORK -- Ariel Sharon endorsed a United Jewish Communities effort to bring the remaining Jews of Ethiopia to Israel. He launched Operation Promise in a meeting with UJC leaders.

NEW YORK -- Israel applied for membership on the UN Security Council for the first time. Israel will be running for a spot on the Western European and Others regional group. No vote will take place until 2017.

WASHINGTON n John Roberts is sworn in as the new chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.


NEW YORK -- Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressing the U.N. General Assembly, called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” He was quoting Ayatollah Khomeini from decades ago.

HADERA, Israel -- Six Israelis were killed by a suicide bomber’s explosives in the Hadera market, at a falafel stand.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court, just days after Harriet Miers, Bush’s White House counsel, withdrew her name.


JERUSALEM -- World leaders gathered in Israel to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination.

JERUSALEM -- Jonathan Pollard, the U.S. Navy analyst jailed for spying for Israel, is to go free in 10 years, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

NEW YORK -- The U.N. General Assembly passed a Holocaust commemoration resolution, the first time the world body adopted a resolution related to the Holocaust.

WASHINGTON -- Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, who is Jewish, was forced to resign after being indicted on perjury charges related to the leaking of the name of a CIA operative married to a prominent Bush administration critic.

WASHINGTON -- A rabbi affiliated with an educational program for Jewish high school students based in Washington, D.C., resigned after an NBC report said he allegedly searched the Internet for liaisons with underage boys and sending naked pictures of himself.

PARIS -- Two synagogues were damaged in Muslim riots that raged across Paris’ suburbs.

JERUSALEM -- Israeli trade union chief Amir Peretz ousted Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres from the leadership of the Israeli Labor Party.

BUENOS AIRES -- Prosecutors confirmed that the suicide bomber who destroyed the Jewish community center in 1994 was from Lebanon, and backed by Hezbollah.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush signed the foreign-assistance bill, including more than $2.5 billion in aid to Israel and $150 million for the Palestinians.

JERUSALEM -- Ariel Sharon broke with the ruling Likud party, and formed a new political party, Kadima. Pundits said it would change the Israeli political landscape.

HOUSTON -- At the biennial of the Union for Reform Judaism, a new conversion initiative was announced. Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president, encouraged Reform Jews to actively invite non-Jews to convert to Judaism.

NEW YORK -- ADL national director Abe Foxman delivered a speech warning that major Christian Right players are in active pursuit of not only promoting Christian values, but seeking to transform American into a Christian nation.


JERUSALEM -- PA Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opened the Rafah border crossing in Gaza, marking the first time Palestinians controlled an international border.

JERUSALEM -- Hebrew University Prof. Robert Aumann was named co-winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in economics.

NETANYA -- A Palestinian suicide bomber detonated himself and killed five Israelis at a mall in Netanya, Israel. This was the third bombing attack on this mall in the past two years.

BOSTON -- At the Conservative movement biennial, a new outreach initiative was presented. The movement needs to begin working actively to integrate intermarried families into congregational life, said the movement’s leader, Rabbi Jerome Epstein.

LOS ANGELES -- Steven Spielberg’s new film, “Munich,” sparked controversy before it even opened in theaters.


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