On 28 November 1980, in the London Jewish Chronicle, Israeli Ambassador Shlomo Argov published a letter on the importance of November to the Jewish cause. Ambassador Argov shortly afterwards, in 1982, was the victim of an attack by Palestinian terrorists in London where he was serving as ambassador to the United Kingdom. Argov survived, remaining in his native Jerusalem disabled and hospitalised for 21 years.
The November milestones, however, became a milestone in the history of Jews, Israel and Zionism. Likewise, the terrorist attack by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on Ambassador Argov triggered the Lebanon War.
On 3 June 1982, Ghassan Hussein Said, Marwan al-Banna, and Nawaf al-Rosan viciously shot Ambassador Argov in the head, leaving him in a vegetable state until his death in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. It came as a shock to Israeli politics and diplomacy that a brilliant man like Argov had been subjugated in such a despicable way. Argov had been a member of the Palmach, had fought in the 1948 War of Independence and worked in the office of the first Prime Minister Ben Gurion.
Ambassador Argov studied political science and international relations at Georgetown University and the London School of Economics. Later in his diplomatic career, he represented Israel in different countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Mexico and the Netherlands.
Ambassador Argov is remembered in his last post in England with special affection, as he was very close to the Anglo-Jewish communities. In addition, he had a close relationship with Britain from the beginning. The same close relationship that Zionism has had with this nation to this day. Not for nothing does his letter “the milestones of November” begin with the event that took place in London, when Lord Balfour through His Majesty to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild.
The other major event for the Zionist movement and the State of Israel was because of the Balfour Declaration, even though it came, 30 years too late, on 29 November 1947, when the General Assembly of the League of Nations declared a Hebrew state in what was then known as Palestine, at that time under British authority.
The Balfour Declaration is the key, and perhaps the most important milestone of November and of the national liberation movement, for the free self-determination of the Jewish people. Moreover, it is the real precedent for the creation of the modern state of Israel, and not, as anti-Semites or anti-Zionists would have us believe, that Israel was created because of the Shoah, or even that the Shoah was the pretext for the Jews to have a nation-state.
As nothing in Israel’s history has been easy, there are also dates in November that some would not even want to remember, such as 10 November 1975, when the General Assembly of the now United Nations declared Zionism to be the equivalent of racism with resolution 3379. However, after great efforts and time, it was reversed.
On the other hand, UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed on 22 November 1967, after the 6-Day War, was quite positive as it provided the necessary structure for the formal peace negotiations that would later take place between Arabs and Israelis.
Another milestone in November was the historic visit of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Israel on 19 November 1977, at the invitation of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, which led to the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty and later also to peace with Jordan.
Achieving peace has been a very difficult path in general, unlike war, peace takes a lot of human effort, goodwill, the good use of the concept of justice and, most importantly and perhaps most difficult for human nature, giving in.
On that premise, on 4 November 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish anti-peace extremist. This assassination, to this day, represents a very bitter taste for Israeli politics and society, as well as for the Middle East.