This Week in Israeli History: Rav Kook’s 80th Yahrzeit, Three NOs and Operation Elkayam

Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook
Rav Kook was born in 1865 in a small town in the Russian Empire. He enrolled in the Volozhin Yeshiva at the age of 18 and was hailed as a brilliant prodigy. He quickly excelled and surpassed all his counterparts in learning, so much so that the head of the yeshiva, Rav Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin, was quoted saying that if the Volozhin Yeshiva had only been founded in order to educate Rav Kook it would have been worth it.
In 1904 Rav Kook immigrated to Ottoman Palestine and assumed the role of Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, and soon after, was appointed Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi of Mandatory Palestine. Rav Kook maintained a connection with all factions of Judaism and worked endlessly to bridge the gaps between secular and religious Jews.
Rav Kook founded the famous Jerusalem-based Mercaz Harav Yeshiva and wrote many books on Halacha, Philosophy, and Jewish Thought. He was an ardent advocate for Zionism, professing it as the fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy foreseeing the Jewish people’s return to the Holy Land.
His support of the Zionist movement and theological beliefs pertaining to Land of Israel laid the foundations for the mainstream Religious Zionist movement, which continued to gain momentum and legitimacy following his death on September 1, 1935.
Khartoum Resolution
On September 1, 1967, the Arab League concluded their summit in Khartoum, Sudan, which convened in the wake of the Six Day War to discuss the future Arab strategy towards Israel.
Led by the heads of eight Arab states, the summit became famous for its proclamation of the “Three NOs:” No peace, recognition, or negotiations with Israel.
The “Three NOs” doctrine would dictate Arab policy towards Israel for years to come.
Operation Elkayam
In the early 1950’s, the Palestinian Fedayeen launched unrelenting terror attacks against Israel. Encouraged and sponsored by Jordan and Egypt, the Fedayeen (lit. those who sacrifice themselves) infiltrated Israel’s borders and carried out brutal terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
In August 1955, one such attack was carried out that resulted in the deaths eleven Israeli civilians. Israel decided to respond. On August 31, the IDF launched a reprisal raid on the Egyptian military instillation in Khan Yunis and eliminated 72 Egyptian soldiers. One IDF soldier was also killed during the skirmishes.
Led by Ariel Sharon, Raful Eitan, and Motta Gur, the operation was wildly successful and led to Egypt withdrawing their support from the Fedayeen attacks.