Cover art for podcast Unpacking Israeli History

Unpacking Israeli History

40 EpisodesProduced by UnpackedWebsite

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 angle… read more

40 Episodes | 2020 - 2022

Introducing Jewish History Unpacked

November 29th, 2022


Unpacking Israeli History introduces another podcast from Unpacked: Jewish History Unpacked. Whoever said history was boring clearly never heard these stories Join hosts Yael and Schwab each week as they take a dive …

Osirak: The Airstrike That Shocked The World

June 13th, 2022


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On the night before Shavuot, 1981, Prime Minister Menachem Begin shocked his cabinet by …

"Torah Dome": Why Don't Haredim Serve In The IDF?

May 30th, 2022


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Who should serve in the Israeli military? It doesn’t sound like a particularly spicy …

Farhud: The Massacre You May Not Know About (But Should)

May 23rd, 2022


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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 …

Desert Storm: Gas Masks in...Tel Aviv?

May 16th, 2022


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You may have heard about the first Gulf War - basically the entire world vs. Saddam …

Qibya: Civilian Massacre or Military Operation?

May 9th, 2022


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Qibya is one of the saddest and most difficult events in Israeli history. A military …

Sykes-Picot and San Remo: You've Never Heard Of Them, But Did They Create Israel?

May 2nd, 2022


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It’s 1916 and World War I is raging. Countries are fighting for resources, land and power and the Ottoman Empire is on its deathbed. With all eyes on the …

Behind the Mossad: Three Stories You Won't Believe

April 25th, 2022


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How much do you know about the Mossad, Israel’s legendary intelligence agency? In this episode, Noam regales three wild stories about the Mossad that seem …

Kishinev: Auschwitz Before Auschwitz

April 18th, 2022


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Prior to the Holocaust, the 1903 pogrom in Kishinev (now Moldova) was the most infamous …

Hebron Riots: When Tensions Erupt

April 12th, 2022

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Welcome to Season 3 of Unpacking Israeli History!   In the summer of 1929, Jews and Arabs alike found themselves caught in an unbearably bloody battle. The …

Kastner Trial: The Weight of a Choice

April 12th, 2022


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It’s January of 1954 and the Attorney General v. Gruenwald case, AKA the Kastner trial, has begun. This was seemingly an open and shut libel case between an …

New Season Coming!

March 2nd, 2022


We are deep in the weeds prepping Season 3 of Unpacking Israeli History, and, dear listeners, you’re going to love it. As in past seasons, we’ll be exploring exciting, intense, and complicated topics. Stay tuned, and …

Black Saturday: How Far Would You Go For A Homeland?

October 14th, 2021


This is the story of the men and women who brought us our state. Who ran guns, defended settlements, defied the Mandatory Powers that Be, smuggled shell-shocked refugees into their homeland… and who disagreed with each …

Oslo: The Peace That Wasn't

October 7th, 2021


By January 1993, the Israelis and the Palestinians had opened secret negotiations, culminating in the Oslo Accords, a series of agreements between …

Sabra and Shatila: What Happened And Why It Matters

September 30th, 2021


The story of Sabra and Shatila is a horrifying one. A paramilitary Lebanese group massacres between 800 and 2,000 refugees, many in horrifying ways. …

Does Israel Represent All Jews?: The Great Debate

September 23rd, 2021


A tension between Israeli and diaspora Jewry has been obvious since the founding of the state. And nowhere was that more apparent than in the epic exchanges between philanthropist Jacob Blaustein and Prime Minister …

The Story Of Israel's Black Panthers

September 9th, 2021


The modern country of Israel is a country of immigrants, and many are Mizrahi, ie Jews from North Africa and the Middle East. They came, often running for their lives, from countries like Yemen, Morocco, Iraq, Egypt, …

The Great Debate Around German Reparations

September 2nd, 2021


Begin and Ben Gurion had some epics battles, but one of the biggest ones happened in 1952, as these two Israeli giants battled about whether to take …

Is Zionism…Racism?: UN Resolution 3379

August 27th, 2021


On Nov 10, 1975, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, determining that Zionism is "a form of racism and racial discrimination.” That’s …

Dimona: Israel's "Secret" Nuclear Option

August 19th, 2021


Have you heard about Israel's secret nuclear weapons in Dimona? Yeah, we haven't either. In this episode, Noam digs deep into how Israel's not-so-secret nuclear program came to be, and asks, does the nuclear program …

Ingathering of Exiles: From Ethiopia to Israel

August 12th, 2021


You might have heard of the Beta Israel, the community of Israel’s Ethiopian community. In this episode, Noam Weissman tells their story - not only their rich Jewish heritage and history, but also the story of how they …

Operation Thunderbolt: The Raid on Entebbe

August 5th, 2021

When Air France Flight 139 took off from Tel Aviv on the morning of June 27th, 1976, no one could have suspected that the soon-to-be-hijacked flight …

Introducing: This Week Unpacked

June 16th, 2021


Presenting: This Week Unpacked.

Unpacking Israeli History is all about excavating the past, but my colleagues at Unpacked have been working on a new …

What The Heck Is Going On In Israel?

May 24th, 2021


The news coming out of Israel is scaring and confusing all of us. Is Sheikh Jarrah a housing dispute, or something bigger? Who is responsible for the protests and riots all over the country? Why are thousands of rockets …

Gush Katif: When Jews Expelled Jews

December 15th, 2020

In the final episode of the season, Noam Weissman delves into one of the most divisive events in Israel’s history — the disengagement from the Gaza …

The Second Intifada: Trauma and Tragedy

December 8th, 2020

To appreciate the current Israeli and Palestinian psyches, it’s vital to understand the first five years of the 21st century — the period of the Second Intifada. Noam Weissman gets to the heart of the issue and asks why …

The assassination of Yitzchak Rabin

December 1st, 2020

The assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin on November 4th, 1995 remains one of the most difficult moments in Israeli history and in …

Baruch Goldstein: Legacy of a Massacre

November 24th, 2020

On the festival of Purim in 1994, Israeli-American doctor Baruch Goldstein opened fire in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, killing 29 Muslim …

The First Intifada: A Grassroots Movement

November 17th, 2020

The First Intifada, or uprising, differed greatly from the intense violence and bloodshed seen in the Second Intifada. Even without the same level of …

The Yom Kippur War: A National Catastrophe

November 10th, 2020

After the victory of the Six-Day War in 1967, it seemed like Israel was invincible. Less than a decade later, the country was taken by surprise by the outbreak of war on Yom Kippur 1973. Noam Weissman explores why — …

Munich Olympics: When Terrorism Won

November 3rd, 2020

The 1972 Munich Olympics was supposed to showcase the face of the new Germany. Instead, the horrific death of 11 Israeli athletes — slaughtered as the world watched  — marked a watershed moment in the Palestinian …

Eichmann: The Controversy of Justice

October 27th, 2020

You would have thought that bringing Nazis to justice would have been something the world could agree on, but the Mossad’s capture of the infamous …

Hatikvah: The Story Behind the Anthem

October 20th, 2020

Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, predates the establishment of the Jewish state by decades. Zionist leader Theodor Herzl hated it and many of Israel’s citizens refuse to sing it. So, how did this unlikely song take …

The Altalena: Israel’s (Almost) Civil War

October 13th, 2020

Just a month after its establishment, the State of Israel was on the brink of civil war, with two of its greatest leaders — David Ben Gurion and …

Deir Yassin: The Battle for Truth

October 6th, 2020


No incident in Israeli history has been more hotly contested than that of April 9, 1948, in the small Arab village of Deir Yassin. Noam Weissman …

Hebrew: A Dead Language Revived

September 29th, 2020

If you’ve learned anything about the spread of Modern Hebrew, you probably heard that it’s all thanks to one man - Eliezer Ben Yehuda - that Israel’s national language is Hebrew and not Yiddish (or even German!). Not to …

The Balfour Declaration: 67 Words That Changed the World

September 22nd, 2020


In a bizarre twist of history, the humble chestnut played a big role in the ultimate creation of the State of Israel. To understand why, Noam …

Herzl and the Non-Promised Land

September 15th, 2020


After over 70 years of existence, it’s impossible to imagine the Jewish State being located anywhere other than Israel. But in the early days of Zionism, there was a push to establish a homeland in a non-Promised Land …

Dreyfus: An Affair to Remember

September 8th, 2020


How is it possible that an espionage trial in France in the mid-1890s set into motion events that (tangentially) led to the rebirth of the State of Israel after 2,000 years? Noam Weissman demystifies the oft-repeated …

Introducing Unpacking Israeli History

August 25th, 2020


Explore the controversial, fascinating and confusing moments of Israeli history with host Noam Weissman. Join him each week as he unpacks another captivating story that you may have missed in history class.

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