Yom Kippur War, Soviet Aliya and Peace with Egypt: 1970-1979

In the early 1970s, plane-hijackings and terrorist actions were directed against Israeli targets in Israel and abroad.  The massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists takes place at Munich Olympics in 1972.

On October 6, 1973, the Egyptian and Syrian armies attacked Israeli forces in Sinai and the Golan Heights, starting the Yom Kippur War, producing tremendous anxiety in Israel and the Jewish world.  This was accompanied by the Arab oil boycott, which had a harsh affect on the international economy.

United Nations Resolution 338 joined UN 242 (passed after the Six Day War), creating an international basis for a land for peace arrangement, while American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy led to disengagement agreements with Egypt and Syria and the Geneva Conference.

In 1975, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution declaring that Zionism equals racism, which was torn up by Israeli Ambassador to the UN Chaim Herzog, the future president of Israel.  Israel and Zionism were under attack in all UN conferences and other international forums.

The early 1970s also witnessed the first large wave of Soviet Jewish immigration, marking the success of the Let My People Go campaign for the Jews of Silence.

In 1976, the heroic IDF Entebbe Operation rescuing hijacked passengers in Uganda captured the imagination of the world.

Purim at WIZO Day Cate Center


In 1977, the Likud came to power for the first time, with Menachem Begin becoming prime minister after eight straight defeats to Mapai, the forerunner of today’s Labor Party.In October, 1977, Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat declared that he would go “to the ends of the earth, even to Jerusalem,” and his unprecedented visit to Israel and speech before the Knesset paved the way to the Camp David talks hosted by American President Jimmy Carter. 

President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978.  An Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty was signed in 1979, and Sinai was returned to Egypt.

WIZO Miliestones:

1970- WIZO marks its 50th anniversary at the 16th World WIZO Conference.
         Raya Jaglom is elected the 3rd President of World WIZO.
         WIZO begins activities in Air Force bases with clubs for Air Force wives and women serving in the corps.

1971- The first annual WIZO summer camps are organized in WIZO institutions for 5,000 children from 
         development towns, border settlements and deprived neighborhoods.

1972- Knesset passes Alimony Law at the initiative of WIZO Israel’s Department for the Status of Women.
         Opening of WIZO Neri Bloomfield College of Design and Teacher Training, Haifa, sponsored by 
         Hadassah-WIZO Canada with four trends: 1. Photography, graphics and interior design; 2. School 
         of Education for Training Teachers; 3. Advanced study and qualifying courses for teachers; 4. 
         Vocational retraining for new immigrants.
         First International Aviv Seminar in Israel is organized by Rachel Limon,  Head of the World 
         WIZO Organization Department,  to educate future leadership for WIZO and Jewish communities 
         around the world.

1973- During the Yom Kippur War, all WIZO centers are turned into civil defense bases.  
         Members volunteer assistance to soldiers and their families. 
         Beit Heuss becomes branch of Tel Hashomer Hospital for the rehabilitation of wounded IDF soldiers
         who lost limbs.
         Opening of WIZO Israel’s Department for Bridging the Social Gap, today the Department for
         Family and Community Welfare, led by Rachel Ben-Ezer.

1974- WIZO branches opened in new civilian settlements (previously Nahal military outposts) in Sinai 
         and the Golan Heights.
         Keren Hachavera (Members Loan Fund) set up at the initiative of Rachel Kagan.

1975- Jerusalem Baby Home, sponsored by British WIZO, expands its activities, becoming a 
         family center and adding a vocational school for girls.
         WIZO sends a large delegation to the UN Women’s Year Conference in Mexico, which struggles 
         against anti-Zionist tendencies.
         First WIZO clubs for Druze women opened in the villages of Daliat Al-Carmel and Peki’in.

1976- WIZO’s first center beyond the Green Line opened in Hamra in the Jordan Valley, eventually named
         in honor of WIZO Israel Chairperson Hanna Levin.
         Israel Prize for life’s work in volunteering awarded on Israeli Independence Day to WIZO Metulla 
         Chairperson Esther Levit.

1979- WIZO Immigrant Absorption Department initiates annual competition for school children: 
         “I Befriended an Immigrant Child.”  Prize-award ceremony held at the Knesset.