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Note: This glossary is under construction.

Aliyah —“A term used in modern Judaism especially for migration (Hebrew, literally: ‘going up’) to the land of Israel. Aliyah can also be used for ‘going up’ to the altar (bema) to read from the Torah.” Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

Al Nakba — Arabic, literally: “catastrophe.” “The (Palestinian) name for Israeli Independence Day, May 15th.” Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

Arafat, Yasser — “Muhammad Abd ar-Rauf al-Qudwah al-Husayni (born August 27, 1929), better known as Yasser Arafat or less frequently Abu Ammar, is the leader (from 1993) of the Palestinian Authority, Chairman (from 1969) of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and leader of Fatah, the largest of the factions within the PLO.” Source: Wikipedia.

British Mandate — “(1918-1948) In the course of World War I, Great Britain defeated the Turks and drove them out of the Land of Israel. In July 1922, the League of Nations entrusted Great Britain with the ‘Mandate for Palestine.’” Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

Diaspora — Greek, literally: “scattering.” “Often used to refer to the Jewish communities living among the gentiles outside the ‘holy land’ of Canaan/Israel/Palestine.” Source: Jewish Virtual Library. Diaspora (without a capital first letter) also may refer to other peoples dispersed from their native homes.

Ha’aretz — Hebrew, literally: the Land. A leading Israeli daily newspaper.

Hamas, Hizbollah — “Officially termed by the United States as terrorist organizations whose objective is to use any means possible (including violence) to fight Israel.” Source: The Department for Jewish Zionist Education, The Pedagogic Center.

Hasbara — “Explaining the facts in the Middle East Conflict; Israel Advocacy.” Source: The Department for Jewish Zionist Education. The Pedagogic Center.

Herzl, Theodor — “German Jewish author of Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) in 1896, which served as a catalyst to the development of modern Zionism.” Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) — The Israeli term for its armed forces.

Intifadah — Arabic, literally: “shaking off.” “Palestinian civil uprising in Gaza and the West Bank, December 1987-September 1993, to protest Israeli occupation.” Source: Jewish Virtual Library. A second intifadah began in September 2000 and is ongoing.

Irredentist — “One who advocates the recovery of lands of which his nation has been deprived, or of territory culturally or historically related to his nation but now subject to a foreign government. [Italian irredentista, from (Italian) irredenta, “unredeemed (Italy)” (Italian-speaking areas subject to other countries).” Source: American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.

Jackson-Vanick Bill — “Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the Trade Reform Act - now Title IV of the Trade Act. Originally sponsored by Senator Henry (“Scoop”) Jackson of Washington and Rep. Charles Vanik of Ohio, both Democrats.

“It forbids the U.S. government to extend the much coveted “Most Favored Nation (MFN)” status - now known as ‘Normal Trade Relations’ — NTR — with its attendant trade privileges to ‘non-market economy’ countries with a dismal record of human rights — chiefly the right to freely and inexpensively emigrate.

“This prohibition also encompasses financial credits from the various organs of the American government - the Export-Import Bank, the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

“Jackson-Vanik was a formidable instrument in the cold warrior’s arsenal. More than 1.5 million Jews left Russia since 1975. At the time, Israelis regarded the Kremlin as their mortal enemy. Thus, when the Amendment passed, official Israel was exuberant.” Source: Review, Let My People Go - The Jackson-Vanik Controversy by Sam Vaknin, 11/5/2002

Jewish Legion — “Jewish units in the British army during World War I”. Source: Virtual Jewish Library

Jewish National Fund (JNF) — “The land purchase and development fund of the World Zionist Organization, founded in 1920.” Source: Jewish Virtual Library. Known in Hebrew as Keren Kayemet L'Israel.

The Jewish State — Publication written by Theodor Herzl in 1896 that laid out in great detail the financial, political, social, and other steps necessary to create a Jewish state.

Meir, Golda — “(May 3, 1898 - December 8, 1978) was fourth Prime Minister of Israel from March 17, 1969 to 1974. She was born in Kiev, Ukraine and emigrated to the United States in 1906. She arrived in Israel in 1921, settling in a kibbutz. Meir moved to Tel Aviv in 1924 where she was employed in a variety of posts in the trade union movement and civil service before being elected to the Knesset in 1949. She served as Minister of Labor (1949-1956) and Foreign Minister (1956-1966) in successive governments.

“Upon becoming Prime Minister following the death of Levi Eshkol, her government was clouded by internal squabbles among the governing coalition, and serious questions over strategic misjudgments and general lack of leadership that resulted in the unanticipated Yom Kippur War. Golda Meir resigned leadership, to be succeeded by Yitzhak Rabin. Golda Meir died in Jerusalem and was buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. Source: Wikipedia.

Military Order 101 of 27 August 1967 — Order Concerning Prohibition of Incitement and Hostile Propaganda (Applies throughout the Occupied Territories)

It is forbidden to conduct a protest march or meeting (grouping of ten or more where the subject concerns or relates to politics) without permission from the Military Commander. It is also forbidden to raise the flag or other symbols, to distribute or publish political articles and pictures with political connotations. No attempt should be made to influence public opinion in a way which would be detrimental to public order/security. Censorship regulations are in accordance with the Defence Regulations (Emergency) 1945. The punishment for non-compliance is a prison sentence of up to 10 years and/or a fine of 2,000 Israeli lira; soldiers may use force to apply this law.

Oslo Peace Accords — “Capital of Norway, site of secret talks in 1993 between Israel and the PLO that led to mutual recognition and the signing of the Declaration of Principles. Refers generally to the multi-stage agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.” Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

Palestine Authority (PA) — “The Palestinian autonomous government in the West Bank and Gaza areas from which the Israeli Defense Forces have redeployed since the 1994 Gaza-Jericho agreement and the 1995 Interim Agreement (‘Oslo II’).” Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) — “Umbrella organization, a coalition of groups including the Fatah, the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and several others. The PLO was formed in 1964 by the first Arab summit conference as the embodiment of the notion of a Palestinian entity. It was originally controlled by the Arab states but after the 1967 war was taken over by genuine Palestinian nationalist groups and became autonomous.” Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

Palestine National Congress (PNC) — “The PLO’s highest decision-making body. Composed of nearly 600 members from all PLO factions, it meets once every few years to set the organization’s long-term goals and policies.” Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
“Leftist, Syrian-based PLO faction, led by George Habash, that rejects the current Israeli-PLO peace process. The PFLP is responsible for many terrorist acts, including airline hijackings and attacks on foreign airports. In 1999 the group forged ties with Arafat and Fateh. This group is listed as a terrorist organization by the US state department.” Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

Rabin, Yitzhak — “(March 1, 1922- November 4, 1995), was an Israeli politician and military general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, from 1974 until 1977 and again from 1992 until he was assassinated in 1995.

“Rabin was born in Jerusalem in British mandatory Palestine. He attended military schools and eventually rose to the rank of Chief of Staff in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Following his retirement from the IDF, he became a diplomat, serving as ambassador to the United States beginning in 1968. In 1973, he was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Labor Party, and was appointed Minister of Labor. In 1974, he succeeded Golda Meir as Prime Minister of Israel. This term in office was most famous for his ordering of Operation Entebbe, in which the IDF rescued passengers of a plane hijacked as it left Israel.

“In 1993, as Prime Minister again, he played a leading role in the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords, which created the Palestinian Authority and granted it partial control over parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. During this term of office, Rabin also oversaw the signing of a peace accord with Jordan and the rapid expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.

“For his role in the creation of the Oslo Accords, Rabin was awarded the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres. The Accords made him both a hero and a villain to different parts of Israeli society. On November 4, 1995, Rabin was assassinated by the right-wing activist Yigal Amir.” Source: Wikipedia.

Right of Return — “A right of return is a right, held by members of an ethnic or national group, to assurance of immigration and naturalization into the nation of their homeland. It is a special consideration in the nation’s immigrations laws to facilitate or encourage the reunion of a diaspora or dispersed ethnic population.

“The Palestinian Arab right of return is a hotly disputed topic in Middle East politics, and plays an important role in negotiations between Israel the Palestinians and the Arab states.

“By the Arabs it is commonly understood as the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes they had possessed prior to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and the Six Day War. Several early UN resolutions called upon Israel to grant this right, although most parties would currently opt for a multilateral solution accepted by Israel, the Palestinians and the hosting countries.

“The right of return can be seen, next to the question of the status of Jerusalem as one of the major impediments of the peace process. Israelis fear that granting all of the current 8 million Palestinian refugees a right to return to Israel would lead to a demographic shift which would remove its identity as a Jewish state. Furthermore, if a large proportion of the exiled Palestinians were indeed to return — which many read as likely since they are discriminated against and live in miserable conditions in their present host countries — catastrophic overpopulation would result.

“Even if a smaller number of refugees returns, as little as one million, it may still gravely alter Israel’s character as a Jewish state (in addition to having a severe impact on economy, environment and other areas). This is found unacceptable by the vast majority of Jewish Israelis.

“The Arab states, on the other hand, insisted over decades on this right as one of the main conditions for peace. The Oslo accords were only made possible, because both sides agreed to leave this question open for future negotiations.

“In June 2003, a survey of Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan and Lebanon found that only 10% (373,000 people) would become residents of Israel if given a choice. The majority would prefer to live in a Palestinian state, either in an existing Palestinian area or in an area that becomes Palestinian as the result of a territorial exchange. These results are in stark contrast with Israeli public opinion, which believes that a much greater number of Palestinians would wish to live in Israel.

“Further meanings of the right of return:

  • “Under Israeli law, any person of Jewish heritage can immigrate to Israel.
  • “German law allows persons of German descent living in Eastern countries like Russia (so-called “Aussiedler”) to return to Germany and acquire German citizenship.

“These laws are sometimes criticized because they give people of a certain ethnic background preference, while for other people who want to immigrate it is extremely difficult.” Source: Wikipedia

Sharon, Ariel — “(born February 27, 1928) is a longtime Israeli political and military leader, and has been the eleventh Prime Minister of Israel since February 17, 2001. He was born Ariel Shinerman, and is also often known by his nickname Arik.” Source: Wikipedia

Six Day War — “War fought in June 1967 when Israel reacted to Arab threats and the blockade of the Straits of Tiran. Stunning victory over the Egyptian, Jordanian and Syrian armies. (Called ‘The June War’ by Arabs.)” Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) — “The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.

“In more than five decades, the agency has helped an estimated 50 million people restart their lives. Today, a staff of around 5,000 people in more than 120 countries continues to help an estimated 19.8 million persons.” Source: United Nations High Commission on Refugees website.

Women In Black — “is an international peace network. WIB is not an organization, but a means of mobilization and a formula for action. WIB vigils were started in Israel in 1988 by women protesting against Israel’s Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. WIB has developed in countries such as Italy, Spain, Germany, England, Azerbaijan, Colombia, and in FR Yugoslavia, where women in Belgrade have stood in weekly vigils since 1991 to protest war and the Serbian regime’s policies of nationalist aggression. WIB groups have formed in many cities in the United States since September 11th.” Source:

Yishuv — (Hebrew, literally: community). “The Jewish community of Palestine. The pre-Zionist community is generally designated the ‘old yishuv,’ and the community evolving from 1880 the ‘new yishuv.’ Source: Jewish Virtual Library.



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