Unpacking Israeli History

Unpacking Israeli History

Go behind the scenes of Israeli history with self-confessed history nerd Noam Weissman. Each week, he offers a fresh perspective on some of the most controversial and interesting events in the country’s history. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about what Israel is all about –from multiple angles and viewpoints — this is the podcast for you.

30 mins

Kfar Qassem is a small bucolic city northeast of Petach Tikva. It is also the little-known site of the first salvo of the Suez Canal Crisis. On October 29, 1956, as Israel prepared for war with Egypt, an IDF commander made a decision that would permanently scar Israel’s Arab community. Today, we tell the story of the 49 Israeli citizens murdered at Kfar Qassem.

This episode is dedicated to them.

Ibrahim Abdalhadi Himad Isaa, 35

Abed Muhammad Abdalhadi Isaa, 9

Abdallah Ahmad Himad Isaa, 15

Talal Shaker Abdallah Isaa, 8 

Abdallah Sliman Isaa, 90 

Ahmad Muhammad Sous Freij, 35 

Ali Uthman Ali Tah, 30 

Muhammad Abed Samaha Asi, AKA Abu Samaha, 50 

Ghazi Mahmoud Darweesh Isaa, 20

Muhammad Abdalraheem Isaa, 50 

Fathi Uthman Abed Isaa, 12 

Uthman Abed Himad Isaa, 30

Saleh Mahmoud Naser Amer (age unknown)

Mahmoud Abdalghafer Rayan, 35

Mahmoud Abdalrazeq Sarsour, 16 

Ali Nimer Nuwwara Freij, 17

Saleh Salameh Ahmad Amer, 40 

Salim Ahmad Basheer Budeir, 50 

Abdallah Abdalghafer Budeir (age unknown)

Abed Salim Saleh Isaa (age unknown)

Atta Yacoub Abed Sarsour, 26

Riyad Raja Hamdan Dahoud, 8 

Jamal Salim Muhammad Tah, 11

Jumma Muhammad Abed Sarsour, 17

Mousa Thiab Abed Freij, 18 

Abdalkarim Salim Nuwwara Freij, 14 

Saleh Mustafa Ahmad Isaa, 17 

Abdalraheem Ismir Budeir, 25 

Ahmad Muhammad Jouda Amer, 17

Jumma Tawfik Ahmad Isaa, 16

Mahmoud Khader Jaber Sarsour, 27

Yousef Muhammad Ismail Sarsour, 52 

Muhammad Salim Khader Sarsour, 15 

Muhammad Ali Thiab Sarsour, 35

Abdallah Muhammad Abed Sarsour, 14 

Safa Abdallah Usus Sarsour, 45 

Amne Qasem Tah, 50

Khamise Faraj Muhammad Amer, 50 

Zaghlouleh Ahmad Basheer Isaa, 45 

Hilwe Muhammad Odeh Budeir, 65 

Fatme Dahoud Sarsour, 30 (nine months pregnant)

Unborn child of Fatme Dahoud Sarsour

Fatme Mustafa Khamran Isaa, 18

Fatme Mahmoud Budeir (Age unknown)

Fatme Saleh Ahmad Sarsour, 14

Rashika Faek Ibrahim Budeir, 14 

Zeinab Abdalrahman Ahmad Tah, 45

Latife Dahoud Khamran Isaa, 12

Bakriya Mahmoud Ismail Tah, 14 

Mahmoud Muhammad Habib Masarwa, 25

26 mins

Hey, it’s Noam. I’m excited to share that, as of this week, Unpacking Israeli History is officially back with Season 4! On this podcast, we take a deep dive into some of the most intense, historically fascinating, and often misunderstood events and stories surrounding Israeli history.

As in past seasons, we’ll be exploring exciting, intense, and complicated topics. Like, you’ve heard of Hamas, but what is their ideology and why does it matter? Who was Anwar Sadat, and how did his historic trip to Jerusalem change the future of the Middle East?

And we’re opening the season with one of the most difficult stories in Israeli history, the heart-wrenching story of the Ma’alot massacre of 1974.

In May 1974, over 100 Israeli high school students went on what was supposed to be a fun field trip in honor of Israel’s 26th birthday, exploring northern Israel and sleeping under the stars.

But the three Palestinian terrorists who sneaked in from Lebanon had other plans… This is the story of the Ma’alot massacre. It’s a story of horror and blood. But it’s also a story of hope and resistance. A reminder that every hour of our lives matters. This episode is dedicated to the memory of the victims.

Hasibah Shala, 27

Yosef (Jojo) Cohen, 45

Fortuna Cohen, 38 (7 months pregnant)

Unborn child of Fortuna Cohen

Moshe Eliahu Cohen, 4

Sylvan Zerach, 27

Ilana Turgeman, 15

Zvia Mor-Yoseph, 15

Rachel Aputa, 16

Yocheved Mazoz, 15

Sarah Ben-Shim’on, 15

Yona Sabag, 15

Yafa Cohen, 17

Shoshana Cohen, 17

Michal Sitrok, 16

Malka Amrosy, 15

Aviva Saada, 15

Yocheved Deri (age unknown)

Yakov Levi, 17

Yakov Kabla, 17

Rina Cohen, 15

Sarah Madar, 15

Tamar Dahan, 16

Sarah Sofer, 15

Lilly Morad, 16

David Madar, 17

Yehudit Madar, 16

42 mins

On the night before Shavuot, 1981, Prime Minister Menachem Begin shocked his cabinet by announcing they would be launching a surprise attack on a nuclear reactor in Iraq, known as Osirak. It was a gamble, one that the outside world, not to mention in Israel itself, most people didn’t approve of. In this episode, Noam takes us on a tour of Begin’s decision, the aftermath, and how it still impacts Israel today.

50 mins

It doesn’t sound like a particularly spicy question, does it? Because the obvious answer is… “Israelis.” Case closed, next question. But in this episode, Noam breaks down why Haredim, a massive force in Israel, don’t serve. He goes through the history and asks, how does this choice impact the country?

47 mins

The relationship between Jews and their host countries, for the past several thousand years, is complicated. And Iraq is no exception. While Jews have lived there for thousands of years, today, virtually no Jews are left in the country. This week’s episode tells that story, through the lens of the Farhud, the devastating 1941 massacre in which Iraqis murdered, raped, mutilated, looted, and destroyed Baghdad’s Jewish community.

42 mins

You may have heard about the first Gulf War – basically the entire world vs. Saddam Hussein. But though 34 countries – 34! – entered the alliance against Iraq, Israel didn’t. So why on earth did missiles begin to rain down on Israel? In this episode, Noam breaks down how the 1991 Gulf War affected ordinary Israelis, tested the US-Israel relationship, and even challenged the long-held Zionist ethos.

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