Last modified on March 13, 2023, at 00:46


מדינת ישראל
Medīnat Yisrā'el
Israel shaded.jpg
Flag of Israel.png
Arms of Israel.png
Flag Coat of Arms
Capital Jerusalem
Government Parliamentary Democracy
Language Hebrew (official)
President Isaac Hezog
Prime minister Yair Laipid
Area 8,019 / 8,522 sq mi
Population 8,666,667 (2020)
GDP $385,000,000,000 (2020)
GDP per capita $44,423 (2020)
Currency Shekel

The State of Israel (Hebrew: מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Medinat Yisra'el from יִשְׂרָאֵל Yisra'el, "Struggled with God") is a nation located in the Middle East. It is the world's only Jewish state, having emerged from Zionism in Europe and the U.S. in the 1880s-1940s. It grants citizenship to anybody considered to be Jewish (including Jews not by ethnicity but by conversion), although this does not apply to anyone suspected or convicted of serious crimes or who the state otherwise considers a serious threat to its welfare. It also contains Arab Muslim and Arab (growing[1]) Christian minorities who are remnants of the pre-1948 Arab majority, along with a small Druze community. It is the location of most Biblical events.

Israel gets nearly all of its tap water from desalination using the Mediterranean Sea.[2] Its agricultural water is from purified sewage.[2] Israel does not have legalized cannabis, which in the U.S. is an enormous waste of water.

Israel is the original historical homeland of the Jews.[3][4][5] [The same Hebrew nation, the very historical fact of a the unbroken chain of persecution since the destruction of the second Temple]. The Hebrews, Israelites, also called and known as Jews, at least since the time of Esther.[6][7][8][9]



Israel occupies an area along the eastern Mediterranean Sea, with Jordan and Syria to the east; Lebanon on the north; and Egypt to the south. The territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are currently controlled by Israel, but disputed.

The terrain varies from a temperate, coastal climate to desert conditions. Israel shares with Jordan the shoreline of the Dead Sea, at 1,378 feet below sea level.


Of the approximately 6.43 million Israelis in 2007 about 76% were counted as Jewish, though some of those are not considered Jewish under Orthodox Jewish law. Since 1989, nearly a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union have arrived in Israel, making this the largest wave of immigration since independence. In addition, an estimated 105,000 members of the Ethiopian Jewish community have immigrated to Israel, 14,000 of them during the dramatic May 1991 Operation Solomon airlift. 32.9% of Israelis were born outside of Israel. Under Israel's Law of Return, any person of Jewish ancestry (with extremely few exceptions, such as those with a criminal background) have a legal right to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel.

The three broad Jewish groupings are the Ashkenazim, or Jews who trace their ancestry to Central Europe; the Sephardim, who trace their origin to Spain, Portugal, southern Europe, and North Africa; and Eastern or Oriental Jews, who descend from ancient communities in Islamic lands. Of the non-Jewish population, about 68% are Muslims, about 9% are Christian, and about 7% are Druze.

At a Bar Mitzvah in the Western Wall tunnel.

Education is compulsory from age 6 to 16 and is free up to age 18. The school system is organized into kindergartens, 6-year primary schools, 3-year junior secondary schools, and 3-year senior secondary schools, after which a comprehensive examination is offered for university admissions. There are seven university-level institutions in Israel, a number of regional colleges, and an Open University program.

The majority of families in Israel - Jewish and Arab - send their children to segregated schools. This segregation poses a distinct problem, tending to promote rival viewpoints and attitudes that become ripe for exploitation by proponents of violence. Within Israel, the schools of the minority Arab population become incubators for resentment and hostility, while the schools of the majority Jewish population tend to reinforce a sense of insulation from the concerns of others.[10]

With a population drawn from more than 100 countries on 5 continents, Israeli society is rich in cultural diversity and artistic creativity. The arts are actively encouraged and supported by the government. The first Jewish artist on record was named Bezalel, an architect, sculptor and designer of holy garments best known for purportedly making the Tabernacle that contained the Ark of the Covenant.[11] The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra performs throughout the country and frequently tours abroad. The Jerusalem Symphony and the New Israel Opera also tour frequently, as do other musical ensembles. Almost every municipality has a chamber orchestra or ensemble, many boasting the talents of gifted performers from the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Israel has several professional ballet and modern dance companies, and folk dancing, which draws upon the cultural heritage of many immigrant groups, continues to be very popular. There is great public interest in the theater; the repertoire covers the entire range of classical and contemporary drama in translation as well as plays by Israeli authors. Of the three major repertory companies, the most famous, Habimah, was founded in 1917.

Active artist colonies thrive in Safed, Jaffa, and Ein Hod, and Israeli painters and sculptors exhibit works worldwide. Israel boasts more than 120 museums, including the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls along with an extensive collection of regional archaeological artifacts, art, and Jewish religious and folk exhibits. Israelis are avid newspaper readers, with more than 90% of Israeli adults reading a newspaper at least once a week. Major daily papers are in Hebrew; others are in Arabic, English, French, Polish, Yiddish, Russian, Hungarian, and German.

Because of Israel's long life expectancy and economic prosperity, it has seen population growth.[12]


David Ben Gurion, the First Prime Minister of Israel, publicly pronouncing the Declaration of the State of Israel, May 14, 1948, Tel Aviv, Israel, beneath a large portrait of Theodore Herzl, founder of modern political Zionism, in the old Tel Aviv Museum of Art building on Rotshild St.

Israel is a parliamentary democracy with a governmental system based on several basic laws (similar to but not comprising a formal constitution) enacted by its unicameral parliament, the Knesset. The president (chief of state) is elected by the Knesset for a 5-year term.

The prime minister (head of government) exercises executive power and has in the past been selected by the president as the party leader most able to form a government. Between May 1996 and March 2001, Israelis voted for the prime minister directly. (The legislation, which required the direct election of the prime minister, was rescinded by the Knesset in March 2001.) The members of the cabinet must be collectively approved by the Knesset.

The Knesset's 120 members are elected by secret ballot to 4-year terms, although the prime minister may decide to call for new elections before the end of the 4-year term (this is frequent since, due to the multi-party system in place, no single party has enough members to control the Knesset, thus requiring coalitions which nearly always collapse before the term ends). Voting is for party lists rather than for individual candidates, and the total number of seats assigned each party reflects that party's percentage of the vote (except that a party must receive 3.25% of the national vote to be assigned a seat). Successful Knesset candidates are drawn from the lists in order of party-assigned rank. Under the present electoral system, all members of the Knesset are elected at large. Parties may, and frequently do, ally with each other in order to maximize the number of seats awarded (United Torah Judaism, an alliance of two ultra-Orthdox parties, is a notable example).

The independent judicial system includes secular and religious courts. The courts' right of judicial review of the Knesset's legislation is limited. Judicial interpretation is restricted to problems of execution of laws and validity of subsidiary legislation. The highest court in Israel is the Supreme Court, whose judges are approved by the President.

Israel is divided into six districts, administration of which is coordinated by the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Defense is responsible for the administration of the occupied territories.

Principal Government Officials

  • President—Reuven Rivlin
  • Prime Minister—Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Foreign Minister—Avigdor Lieberman (Our Home Israel)
  • Ambassador to the United States—Sallai Meridor
  • Ambassador to the United Nations—Dan Gillerman

Political Conditions

The Knesset, The House of Representatives.

From the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948 until the election of May 1977 Israel was ruled by successive coalition governments led by the Labor alignment or its constituent parties. From 1967 to 1970 the coalition government included all of Israel's parties except the communist party. After the 1977 election the Likud bloc, then composed of Herut, the Liberals, and the smaller La'am Party, came to power forming a coalition with the National Religious Party, Agudat Israel, and others. As head of Likud, Menachem Begin became Prime Minister. The Likud retained power in the succeeding election in June 1981, and Begin remained Prime Minister. In the summer of 1983, Begin resigned and was succeeded by his Foreign Minister, Yitzhak Shamir.

After Prime Minister Shamir lost a Knesset vote of confidence early in 1984, new elections in July provided no clear winner, with both Labor and Likud considerably short of a Knesset majority and unable to form even narrow coalitions. After several weeks of difficult negotiations, they agreed on a government of national unity, including the rotation of the office of Prime Minister and the combined office of Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister midway through the government's 50-month term.

During the first 25 months of unity government rule, Labor's Shimon Peres served as Prime Minister, while Likud's Shamir held the posts of Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, until they switched positions in October 1986. In November 1988 elections, Likud edged Labor out by one seat but was unable to form a coalition, producing another national unity government in January 1989. Yitzhak Shamir became Prime Minister, and Shimon Peres became Vice Prime Minister and Finance Minister. This government fell in March 1990, however, in a vote of no confidence precipitated by disagreement over the government's response to U.S. Secretary of State Baker's initiative in the peace process. Labor Party leader Peres was unable to attract sufficient support among the religious parties to form a government. Yitzhak Shamir then formed a Likud-led coalition government, including members from religious and right-wing parties.

Shamir's government took office in June 1990, and held power for 2 years. In the June 1992 national elections, the Labor Party reversed its electoral fortunes, taking 44 seats. Labor Party leader Yitzhak Rabin formed a coalition with Meretz (a leftist party) and Shas (an ultra-Orthodox religious party). The coalition included the support of two Arab-majority parties. Rabin became Prime Minister in July 1992, presiding over the signing of the Oslo accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization. However, Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish radical on November 4, 1995. Peres, then Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, once again became Prime Minister and immediately proceeded to carry forward the peace policies of the Rabin government and to implement Israel's Oslo commitments, including military redeployment in the West Bank and the holding of historic Palestinian elections on January 20, 1996.

Enjoying broad public support and anxious to secure his own mandate, Peres called for early elections after just 3 months in office. (They would have otherwise been held by the end of October 1996.) In late February and early March, a series of suicide bombing attacks by Palestinian terrorists took some 60 Israeli lives, seriously eroding public support for Peres and raising concerns about the peace process. Increased fighting in southern Lebanon, which also brought Katyusha rocket attacks against northern Israel, also raised tensions and weakened the government politically a month before the May 29 elections.

Ariel Sharon (1928-2014).

In those elections—the first direct election of a Prime Minister in Israeli history—Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu won by a narrow margin, having sharply criticized the government's peace policies for failing to protect Israeli security. Netanyahu subsequently formed a right-wing coalition government publicly committed to pursuing the peace process, but with an emphasis on security and reciprocity. In 1999, with a shrunken coalition and facing increasing difficulty passing legislation and defeating no-confidence motions, Netanyahu dissolved parliament and called for new elections. This time, the Labor candidate—Ehud Barak—was victorious. Barak formed a mixed coalition government of secular and religious parties, with Likud in the opposition. In May 2000, Barak fulfilled one of his major campaign promises by withdrawing Israeli forces from Southern Lebanon. However, by mid-autumn, with the breakdown of the Camp David talks and the worsening security situation caused by the new intifada, Barak's coalition was in jeopardy. In December, he resigned as Prime Minister, precipitating a new prime ministerial election.

In a special election on February 6, 2001, after a campaign stressing security and the maintenance of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, Likud leader Ariel Sharon defeated Barak by over 20 percentage points. As he had promised in his campaign, Sharon formed a broad unity government that included the Labor and Likud parties, the far-right parties, some smaller secular parties, and several religious parties. The unity government collapsed in late 2002, and new elections were held in January 2003. Sharon again won, and formed a new government consisting of his own Likud party, the right-wing National Religious Party and National Union party, and centrist Shinui.

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

The summer of 2004 saw renewed instability in the government, as disagreement over the Gaza disengagement plan resulted in Sharon's firing two ministers of the National Union Party and accepting the resignation of a third from the National Religious Party in order to secure cabinet approval of the plan (it was endorsed on June 6, 2004). Continuing divisions within the Likud on next steps then prompted Ariel Sharon to leave the party in November 2005 to form the Kadima ("Forward") party and call new elections for March 2006. However, Sharon was unexpectedly incapacitated in January 2006 due to a severe stroke and leadership of Kadima shifted to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who on March 28 led the party to 29 seats in the Knesset. Labor came in second with 19 seats, and Shas and Likud tied with 12. After intensive coalition negotiations, a new, Kadima-led government, with Labor as "senior partner", was sworn in on May 4, 2006.

Foreign Relations

In addition to seeking an end to hostilities with Arab forces, against which it has fought five wars since 1948, Israel has given high priority to gaining wide acceptance as a sovereign state with an important international role.

Before 1967, Israel had established diplomatic relations with a majority of the world's nations, except for the Arab states and most other Muslim countries. UN Security Council resolutions provided the basis for cease-fire and disengagement agreements concerning the Sinai and the Golan Heights between Israel, Egypt, and Syria and for promoting the Camp David accords and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty. The Soviet Union and the communist states of Central Europe (except Romania) broke diplomatic relations with Israel during the 1967 war, but those relations were restored by 1991.

The landmark October 1991 Madrid conference recognized the importance of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 in resolving regional disputes, and brought together for the first time Israel, the Palestinians, and the neighboring Arab countries, launching a series of direct bilateral and multilateral negotiations. These talks were designed to finally resolve outstanding security, border, and other issues between the parties while providing a basis for mutual cooperation on issues of general concern, including the status of refugees, arms control and regional security, water and environmental concerns, and economic development.

Today, Israel has diplomatic relations with 161 states. Following the signing of the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on September 13, 1993, Israel established or renewed diplomatic relations with 36 countries. Israel has full diplomatic relations with Egypt, Jordan, and Mauritania. In addition, on October 1, 1994, the Gulf States publicly announced their support for a review of the Arab boycott, in effect abolishing the secondary and tertiary boycotts against Israel.

Israel has diplomatic relations with nine non-Arab Muslim states and with 32 of the 43 Sub-Saharan states that are not members of the Arab League. Israel established relations with China and India in 1992 and with the Holy See in 1993.

In 2020 President Trump announced a groundbreaking and historic peace agreement reached between Bahrain, the UAE and Israel,[13] and the normalization of relations between Kosovo, Serbia, and Israel, with Serbia agreeing to move their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.[14]


In December 2020, after torchlight parades took place all over Ukraine honoring Stepan Bandera, head of the OUN-B, Ukrainian national hero, who was a collaborator with the Nazis during the Second World War, and whose men massacred Jews and Polish civilians, Poland and Israel issued a joint communiqué to complain about the glorification of Bandera, Andriy Melnyk, the head of the other branch of the OUN, the OUN-M, and all others who actively promoted the ethnic cleansing of Jews and Poles.[15]

Relations with the United States

President Trump visits the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

Commitment to Israel's security and well being has been a cornerstone of U.S. policy in the Middle East since Israel's founding in 1948, in which the United States played a key supporting role. Israel and the United States are bound closely by historic and cultural ties as well as by mutual interests. Continuing U.S. economic and security assistance to Israel acknowledges these ties and signals U.S. commitment. The broad issues of Arab-Israeli peace have been a major focus in the U.S.-Israeli relationship. U.S. efforts to reach a Middle East peace settlement are based on many critical security interests. The United States' strong national security interests in promoting regional security in the Middle East and curtailing acts of terrorism both in Israel and abroad are supported in part by UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. As one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, the United States also has a strong interest in promoting Israel's economic success.

On a bilateral level, relations between the United States and Israel are continually strengthening in every field. In addition to the Joint Political-Military Group described above, there are: bilateral science and technology efforts (including the Binational Science Foundation and the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation); the U.S.-Israeli Education Foundation, which sponsors educational and cultural programs; the Joint Economic Development Group, which maintains a high-level dialogue on economic issues; the Joint Counterterrorism Group, designed to enhance cooperation in fighting terrorism; and a high-level Strategic Dialogue that meets biannually.

On December 6, 2017, President Donald Trump announced the United States would finally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and that the U.S. Embassy would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump in 2019 also gave official U.S. recognition to the Golan Heights as being part of Israel. In recognition for his support of Israel, a plaza in Jerusalem was named for Trump ("Donald Trump Square"), as well as a settlement in the Golan Heights ("Trump Heights")


Israel's ground, air, and naval forces, known as the Israel Defense Force (IDF), fall under the command of a single general staff. Conscription is universal for Israeli men and women over the age of 18, although exemptions may be made on religious grounds. Druze, members of a small Islamic offshoot living in Israel's mountains, also serve in the IDF. Israeli Arabs, with the exception of some Bedouins, do not serve. During 1950–66, Israel spent an average of 9% of GDP on defense. Real defense expenditures increased dramatically after both the 1967 and 1973 wars. Military spending in 2005 totaled $9.45 billion, which is equivalent to 7.7% of GDP, and represents 16.3% of government expenditures. The United States provides approximately $2.4 billion per year in security assistance.

In 1983, the United States and Israel established the Joint Political Military Group, which meets twice a year. Both the U.S. and Israel participate in joint military planning and combined exercises, and have collaborated on military research and weapons development.


Tel Aviv.

Israel has a diversified, technologically advanced economy with substantial but decreasing government ownership and a strong high-tech sector. The major industrial sectors include high-technology electronic and biomedical equipment, metal products, processed foods, chemicals, and transport equipment. Israel possesses a substantial service sector and is one of the world's centers for diamond cutting and polishing. It also is a world leader in software development and, prior to the violence that began in September 2000, was a major tourist destination.

Israel's strong commitment to economic development and its talented work force led to economic growth rates during the nation's first two decades that frequently exceeded 10% annually. The years after the 1973 Yom Kippur War were a lost decade economically, as growth stalled and inflation reached triple-digit levels. The successful economic stabilization plan implemented in 1985 and the subsequent introduction of market-oriented structural reforms reinvigorated the economy and paved the way for rapid growth in the 1990s.

A wave of Jewish immigration beginning in 1989, predominantly from the countries of the former U.S.S.R., brought nearly a million new citizens to Israel. These new immigrants, many of them highly educated, now constitute some 13% of Israel's 6.7 million inhabitants. Their successful absorption into Israeli society and its labor force forms a remarkable chapter in Israeli history. The skills brought by the new immigrants and their added demand as consumers gave the Israeli economy a strong upward push and in the 1990s, they played a key role in the ongoing development of Israel's high-tech sector.

  • GDP (2006 est.): $170.3 billion.
  • Annual growth rate (2006): 4.8%.
  • Per capita GDP (2006): $26,800.
  • Currency: Shekel (4.13 shekels = 1 U.S. dollar; 2007 est.).
  • Natural resources: Copper, phosphate, bromide, potash, clay, sand, sulfur, bitumen, manganese.
  • Agriculture: Products—citrus and other fruits, vegetables, beef, dairy, and poultry products.
  • Industry: Types—high-technology projects (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics, fiber optics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, tobacco, caustic soda, cement, construction, plastics, chemical products, diamond cutting and polishing, metal products, textiles, and footwear.
  • Trade: Exports (2006 est.)--$42.86 billion. Exports include polished diamonds, electronic communication, medical and scientific equipment, chemicals and chemical products, electronic components and computers, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, rubber, plastics, and textiles. Imports (excluding defense imports, 2006 est.)--$47.8 billion: raw materials, diamonds, energy ships and airplanes, machinery, equipment, land transportation equipment for investment, and consumer goods. Major partners—U.S., U.K., Germany; exports—U.S., Belgium, Hong Kong; imports—U.S., Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, U.K.

During the 1990s, progress in the Middle East peace process, beginning with the Madrid Conference of 1991, helped to reduce Israel's economic isolation from its neighbors and opened up new markets to Israeli exporters farther afield. The peace process stimulated an unprecedented inflow of foreign investment in Israel, and provided a substantial boost to economic growth in the region over the last decade. The onset of the intifada beginning at the end of September 2000, the downturn in the high-tech sector and Nasdaq crisis, and the slowdown of the global economy have all significantly affected the Israeli economy. However, despite the recent conflicts in Gaza and Lebanon, the Israeli economy grew during 2006.

Shopping Tel Aviv Israel.jpg

Israeli companies, particularly in the high-tech area, have in the past enjoyed considerable success raising money on Wall Street and other world financial markets; Israel ranks second to Canada among foreign countries in the number of its companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. Israel's tech market is very developed, and in spite of the pause in the industry's growth, the high-tech sector is likely to be the major driver of the Israeli economy. Almost half of Israel's exports are high tech. Most leading players, including Intel, IBM, and Cisco have a presence in Israel.

Growth was an exceptional 6.2% in 2000, due in part to a number of one-time high tech acquisitions and investments. This exceptional year was followed by two years of negative growth of -0.9% and -1%, respectively, in 2001 and 2002. As a result of the security situation and the associated downturn in the economy, there was a significant rise in unemployment and wage erosion. This led to a decline in private consumption in 2002, the first time that there had been negative private consumption since the early 1980s. However, following growth rates of 1.7% in 2003 and 4.4% in 2004, the Israeli economy entered into a period of stabilization and recovery after the deep recession of 2001 and 2002. Since then, the Israeli economy seems to have returned to a trend of consistent growth. The Israeli economy grew by 5.2% in 2005 and GDP per capita (U.S. $17,800) increased by 3.3%. The Israeli economy grew by an estimated 4.8% in 2006.

Exports of goods and services in Israel grew by 7% in 2005. Service and agricultural exports each increased by more than 10% in 2005, whereas exports increased by 5.6% and imports rose to 4.4%. Israel Tourism revenues increased by 22.7% as a result of the dramatic increase following the intifada's subsidence.

Israel's private consumption increased by 4% in 2005. The largest growth in private consumption was in the purchase of clothing, footwear, and personal effects, which increased by 10.2%, following an increase of 5.4% in 2004. Consumption of consumer durables grew much more slowly than in 2004, with an increase of only 3.4%, compared with 14.3% the previous year.

In the Israeli business sector, business GDP grew by 6.6% in 2005. According to CBS statistics, the transportation, storage, and communications industries grew by 9.2%, following growth of 6.6% in 2004. The GDP of the wholesale, retail, restaurant, and hotel sector increased by 8.1%, up from 6.1% in 2004. The GDP of the finance and business services sector in 2005 increased by 6.4%, up from the previous year's 6.1% growth rate.

The general consensus among economists is that Israel's economy is very strong and that its growth potential is in the 4% to 5% range.

Bar Refaeli, model and actress.

The United States is Israel's largest trading partner. In 2005, two-way trade totaled some $26.6 billion, up 12% from 2004. The U.S. trade deficit with Israel was $7.1 billion in 2005, up 33% from 2004, due largely to rising Israeli exports to the U.S. U.S. exports to Israel rose 6.1% in 2005 to $9.7 billion, making Israel our 19th largest export market for goods. The principal goods exported from the U.S. include civilian aircraft parts, telecommunications equipment, semiconductors, civilian aircraft, electrical apparatus, and computer accessories. Israel's chief exports to the U.S. include diamonds, pharmaceutical preparations, telecommunications equipment, medicinal equipment, electrical apparatus, and cotton apparel. The two countries signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in 1985 that progressively eliminated tariffs on most goods traded between the two countries over the following 10 years. An agricultural trade accord signed in November 1996 addressed the remaining goods not covered in the FTA but has not entirely erased barriers to trade in the agricultural sector. Israel also has trade and cooperation agreements in place with the European Union, Canada, Mexico, and other countries.

Best prospect industry sectors in Israel for U.S. exporters are electricity and gas equipment, defense equipment, medical instruments and disposable products, industrial chemicals, telecommunication equipment, electronic components, building materials/construction industries (DIY and infrastructure), safety and security equipment and services, non-prescription drugs, travel and tourism services, and computer software.


Twelve Tribes of Israel.
Stele of the Canaanite god Baal with a thunderbolt, 15th-13th century BC.
Map of the Holy Land Divided into the XII Tribes of Israel, by Emanuel Bowen, PUBLISHED 1752.

The name Israel refers to Jacob from the Bible, the father of the Jews who would eventually create the kingdom of Israel. (See the Book of Genesis in the Bible.) Jacob's descendants were numerous, but were put under bondage in Egypt. The first attempt at forming a nation dates back to the migration or Exodus of Israel out of Egypt after being freed from their slavery. (See the Book of Exodus in the Bible). While the exact date is not known, the most likely scenario is in the 1400s B.C. After 40 years of wandering, the Hebrews attempted to settle in the land of Canaan, after first having to fight battles with the inhabitants. (See the Book of Joshua in the Bible). The Jewish people lived for hundreds of years under Judges (See the Book of Judges in the Bible) before forming a monarchy under their first King, Saul in 1050 B.C. Israel expanded under David from 1010 to 970 B.C. and then reached its height under Solomon from 970 to 930 B.C. With the death of Solomon the united kingdom of Israel split in two with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin forming their own nation, Judah. (See I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, I Chronicles in the Bible)

The first King of Israel was Jeroboam I, who made his capital at Shechem until it was replaced by Samaria under Omri. Almost immediately the Israeli kings "did evil in the sight of the Lord" and turned away from the Lord God. Although they were larger and more powerful than Judah, they fell more quickly due to their apostacy. Israel continued being ruled by kings until its conquest by Assyria in 722 B.C. Judah had a number of kings who did what was right in God's sight, but eventually they too were turning away. They continued as an independent nation until 586 B.C. when they fell to the Babylonians. Both of these conquests led to many Jews being deported from the land of Israel. While under Persian rule after the Babylonians had fallen to the Persians, the Jews were allowed to return and rebuild their temple (520 - 516 B.C.)[16] In the 400's B.C. they began to return to God as well, showing a reverence for Him that was often lacking during the time they had their own kingdom. Still under Persian rule and with their blessing, Nehemiah came to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, a position that was bitterly opposed by the other peoples living on the land. The Jews had to stand guard as they built.

Cochin Jews are the oldest group of Jews in India.

When Alexander the Great swept through Israel in 332 B.C., Persian rule had ended to be replaced by Greek. Upon Alexander's death in 323 B.C. there was a fight for power among his generals and subordinates, which led to Israel coming under control of the Ptolemies, the Greek leaders of Egypt. The Jews were treated leniently until the Seleucids, the Greek leaders of Syria, pushed back the Ptolemies and took over Israel in 198 B.C. The Seleucids were not as lenient and under Antiochus IV (175 to 164 B.C.) conditions worsened considerably. In 168 B.C. Judaism was declared to be illegal and a pig was sacrified on the altar of the Jewish temple; the Jews revolted under the Maccabees and fought a prolonged guerrilla war until their eventual religious independence in 164 B.C. Complete acknowledgement of independence from the Seleucids didn't come until 142 B.C. when Roman pressure helped them to make the decision to let Israel go. This independence would last until 63 B.C., when infighting caused the Jews to ask for Roman intervention. Rome stopped the fighting, but Israel came under Roman rule as the province of Palestine. The Jewish people would not have their independence again for over 2000 years. It was under this state of Roman control that Jesus was born around 4 B.C. Three revolts against Roman rule by the Jews, the first in 66 A.D., the next in 115 A.D., and the last in 132 A.D. took place, and failed. After the failure of the third, the Romans forced the Jews to leave Israel thus beginning the diaspora, the dispersal of the Jews from the land of Palestine.

By the fifth century inhabitants of the wider region were Christianized, under the Byzantine Empire, a situation which continued until the Arab invasions of the 7th and 8th centuries. The Arabs brought with them the Islamic faith which, due to its many similarities with Christianity and Judaism and the social advantages it brought, was gradually adopted by the population. However, Jewish and Christian citizens, remains in their faiths and continued to live in the region, in relative peace, until the Crusades.

With the conquest of the Land of Israel by Muslim armies in 635, the Jews became dhimmis (second-class citizens) in their own land. [17]

The Crusades saw part of the Holy Lands reconquered from Islam in the name of Christianity. The Crusader states were temporary before being conquered by Islam again with the fall of the last Crusader state in 1290. First the Mamelukes controlled the area, then starting in the early 1500s, the Ottoman Turks conquered the region. From an example of the city of Safed, main city of Upper Gallilee in 1891: predominantly Jewish and there are also some Arab settlers among others.[18]

World War I saw a British victory over the Ottoman's and the region came under British mandate of Palestine in 1920.

The British and late Ottoman authorities permitted the resettlement of Jews from Europe, many of them looking to establish a Jewish state in the region, part of a movement called Zionism. Haj Amin al-Husseini was a strong instigator for hatred and violence, he would later be known as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. During the 1930s, his gangs eliminated thousands of moderates among his people. He allied himself with Hitler including his then helpers, Jamal Husseini and Ahmad Shukeiri among many. In the last years of British mandate the number and strength of the Jews in Palestine increased, with many adopting extremely radical tactics to achieve their goal of an independent Jewish state. Terrorist organizations such as Irgun and Lehi (rejected by mainstream) attacked British and Arab targets, killing civilians in the process. Britain's occupation became too expensive and they handed control to the United Nations to sort out a solution. Anti-Jewish terrorism began at least since 1920.[19]

Modern Nation

Jaffa (Yafo) gate, Jerusalem.

The recreation of the State of Israel in 1948 was preceded by more than 50 years of efforts to re-establish a sovereign state as a homeland for the Jewish nation. These efforts were initiated by Theodore Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement, and were given added impetus by the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which asserted the British Government's support for the recreation of a Jewish homeland in roughly its original position, which was then known as Palestine.


1939 Palestine flag - Star of David (French dictionary at the time)

A picture posted from the Larousse French dictionary of 1939 shows that the flag of Palestine has a visibly Jewish origin.[20]

In the years following World War I, Palestine became a British Mandate and the number of Jews returning to their homeland steadily increased, as did violence between Palestine's Jewish and Arab communities. Mounting British efforts to restrict this immigration were countered by international support for Jewish national aspirations following the near-extermination of European Jewry by the Nazis during World War II. This support led to the 1947 UN partition plan, which would have divided Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem under UN administration.

On May 14, 1948, immediately after the British quit Palestine, the State of Israel was proclaimed and was immediately invaded by armies from neighboring Arab states, which rejected the UN partition plan. This conflict, Israel's War of Independence, was concluded by armistice agreements between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria in 1949 and resulted in a 50% increase in Israeli territory. The U.S. immediately recognized Israel and gave large amounts of financial aid through private sources, but did not at this time send military aid.
Two Jewish girls fill out their registration forms for the Jewish Army in Israel on Dec. 16, 1947. Many are now members of the semi-official Haganah.
An injured Jewish couple walk past rescuers searching for wounded and dead people in the wreckage of shops on Ben Yehuda Street, Jerusalem, Feb. 22, 1948, after a bomb exploded. The bomb killed 52 Jews and wounded 100 more and levelled buildings on both sides of the street.
Two trucks exploded on Ben Yehuda Street, in the heart of the Jewish business district of Jerusalem, Feb. 2, 1948, killing 27 people and injuring more than 100 others.

The head of the Muslim Brotherhood in August 1948 threatened to drive the Jews that live among the Arabs into the sea.[21] And Arab League's Secretary General Azzam Pasha assured the Arab people, that the millions the Jews had spent on land and economic development would be easy booty, for it would be a simple matter to throw Jews at the bottom of the Mediterranean sea.[22][23][24]

In 1956, French, British, and Israeli forces engaged Egypt in response to its nationalization of the Suez Canal and blockade of the Straits of Tiran. Israeli forces withdrew in March 1957, after the United Nations established the UN Emergency Force (UNEF) in the Gaza Strip and Sinai. This war resulted in no territorial shifts and was followed by several years of terrorist incidents and retaliatory acts across Israel's borders.

Pre 1967 Arab terror

Which Came First - Terrorism or so-called "Occupation"?[25]

Major Arab Terrorist Attacks against Israelis Prior to the 1967 Six-Day War

Palestinian and Arab spokesmen commonly claim that the recent Palestinian terrorism is the result of the Israeli 'occupation' of the West Bank and Gaza, adding that the violence will cease only when the 'occupation' is ended.

Despite this claim, it should be recalled that the many Palestinian and Arab rejectionist factions (such as the Hamas and the Hizbullah) repeatedly declare that even if Israel would fully withdraw from the territories they will continue their attacks, since they refute Israel's basic right to exist.

More importantly, however, the basic premise of the Palestinian claim - that the 'occupation' causes terrorism - is historically flawed. Arab and Palestinian terrorism against Israel existed prior to the beginning of Israeli control over the West Bank and Gaza as a result of the Six Day War of June 1967, and even prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948.

For example, Arab terrorism was rampant during wave of anti-Jewish riots in 1920-21 (which was characterized by the brutal murder in Jaffa of the prominent Jewish author Y. Brenner), during the 'Disturbances' of 1929 (which included the massacre of the Jewish community in Hebron), during the Arab Revolt of 1936-39, and in many other recorded incidents of wholesale anti-Jewish Arab violence throughout the pre-state period.

The Palestinian terrorism campaign was stepped-up on the eve of the UN Partition Resolution of November 1947, and led to the joint Arab invasion of 1948-49 which delineated the boundaries of the newly established State of Israel.

Indeed, this deplorable violence can be traced back to the beginning of the renewed Jewish settlement of the Land of Israel over a century ago.

After the War of Independence, Arab terrorism expanded in scope. In 1952, when 'fedayeen' terrorist border incursions reached their height, there were about 3,000 incidents of cross-border violence, extending from the malicious destruction of property to the brutal murder of civilians. In the years 1951-1955, 503 Israelis were killed by Arab terrorists infiltrating from Jordan, 358 were killed in attacks from Egypt, and 61 were killed in attacks originating from Syria and Lebanon. This anti-Israeli violence encompassed both frontier settlements and population centers, and was perpetrated, for the most part, against innocent civilians, most of them new immigrants.

In conclusion, the oft-repeated Arab claim that the Israeli 'occupation' is somehow to blame for the Palestinian terrorism is nothing more than an empty retort, repudiated by the facts, and disproved by a century of historical reality.

The following is a partial list of documented acts of Arab terrorism, all occurring prior to the beginning of the Israeli administration of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967:

Major Arab Terrorist Attacks against Israelis Prior to the 1967 Six-Day War

Jan 1, 1952 - Seven armed terrorists attacked and killed a nineteen year-old girl in her home, in the neighborhood of Beit Yisrael, in Jerusalem.

Apr 14, 1953 - Terrorists tried for the first time to infiltrate Israel by sea, but were unsuccessful. One of the boats was intercepted and the other boat escaped.

June 7, 1953 - A youngster was killed and three others were wounded, in shooting attacks on residential areas in southern Jerusalem.

June 9, 1953 - Terrorists attacked a farming community near Lod, and killed one of the residents. The terrorists threw hand grenades and sprayed gunfire in all directions. On the same night, another group of terrorists attacked a house in the town of Hadera. This occurred a day after Israel and Jordan signed an agreement, with UN mediation, in which Jordan undertook to prevent terrorists from crossing into Israel from Jordanian territory.

June 10, 1953 - Terrorists infiltrating from Jordan destroyed a house in the farming village of Mishmar Ayalon.

June 11, 1953 - Terrorists attacked a young couple in their home in Kfar Hess, and shot them to death.

Sept 2, 1953 - Terrorists infiltrated from Jordan, and reached the neighborhood of Katamon, in the heart of Jerusalem. They threw hand grenades in all directions. Miraculously, no one was hurt.

Mar 17, 1954- Terrorists ambushed a bus traveling from Eilat to Tel Aviv, and opened fire at short range when the bus reached the area of Maale Akrabim in the northern Negev. In the initial ambush, the terrorists killed the driver and wounded most of the passengers. The terrorists then boarded the bus, and shot each passenger, one by one. Eleven passengers were murdered. Survivors recounted how the murderers spat on the bodies and abused them. The terrorists could clearly be traced back to the Jordanian border, some 20 km from the site of the terrorist attack.

Jan 2, 1955 - Terrorists killed two hikers in the Judean Desert.

Mar 24, 1955 - Terrorists threw hand grenades and opened fire on a crowd at a wedding in the farming community of Patish, in the Negev. A young woman was killed, and eighteen people were wounded in the attack.

Apr 7, 1956 - A resident of Ashkelon was killed in her home, when terrorists threw three hand grenades into her house. Two members of Kibbutz Givat Chaim were killed, when terrorists opened fire on their car, on the road from Plugot Junction to Mishmar Hanegev. There were further hand grenade and shooting attacks on homes and cars, in areas such as Nitzanim and Ketziot. One person was killed and three others wounded.

Apr 11, 1956 - Terrorists opened fire on a synagogue full of children and teenagers, in the farming community of Shafrir. Three children and a youth worker were killed on the spot, and five were wounded, including three seriously.

Apr 29, 1956 - Egyptians killed Roi Rotenberg, 21 years of age, from Nahal Oz.

Sept 12, 1956 - Terrorists killed three Druze guards at Ein Ofarim, in the Arava region.

Sept 23, 1956 - Terrorists opened fire from a Jordanian position, and killed four archaeologists, and wounded sixteen others, near Kibbutz Ramat Rachel.

Sept 24, 1956 - Terrorists killed a girl in the fields of the farming community of Aminadav, near Jerusalem.

Oct 4, 1956 - Five Israeli workers were killed in Sdom.

Oct 9, 1956 - Two workers were killed in an orchard of the youth village, Neve Hadassah, in the Sharon region.

Nov 8, 1956 - Terrorists opened fire on a train, attacked cars and blew up wells, in the North and Center of Israel. Six Israelis were wounded.

Feb 18, 1957 - Two civilians were killed by terrorist landmines, next to Nir Yitzhak, on the southern border of the Gaza Strip.

Mar 8, 1957 - A shepherd from Kibbutz Beit Govrin was killed by terrorists in a field near the Kibbutz.

Apr 16, 1957 - Terrorists infiltrated from Jordan, and killed two guards at Kibbutz Mesilot.

May 20, 1957 - A terrorist opened fire on a truck in the Arava region, killing a worker.

May 29, 1957 - A tractor driver was killed and two others wounded, when the vehicle struck a landmine, next to Kibbutz Kisufim.

June 23, 1957 - Israelis were wounded by landmines, close to the Gaza Strip.

Aug 23, 1957 - Two guards of the Israeli Mekorot water company were killed near Kibbutz Beit Govrin.

Dec 21, 1957 - A member of Kibbutz Gadot was killed in the Kibbutz fields.

Feb 11, 1958 - Terrorists killed a resident of Moshav Yanov who was on his way to Kfar Yona, in the Sharon area.

Apr 5, 1958 - Terrorists lying in ambush shot and killed two people near Tel Lachish.

Apr 22, 1958 - Jordanian soldiers shot and killed two fishermen near Aqaba.

May 26, 1958 - Four Israeli police officers were killed in a Jordanian attack on Mt. Scopus, in Jerusalem.

Nov 17, 1958 - Syrian terrorists killed the wife of the British air attache in Israel, who was staying at the guesthouse of the Italian Convent on the Mt. of the Beatitudes.

Dec 3, 1958- A shepherd was killed at Kibbutz Gonen. In the artillery attack that followed, 31 civilians were wounded.

Jan 23, 1959 - A shepherd from Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan was killed.

Feb 1, 1959 - Three civilians were killed by a terrorist landmine near Moshav Zavdiel.

Apr 15, 1959 - A guard was killed at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel.

Apr 27, 1959 - Two hikers were shot at close range and killed near Massada.

Sept 6, 1959 - Bedouin terrorists killed a paratroop reconnaissance officer near Nitzana.

Sept 8, 1959 - Bedouins opened fire on an army bivouac in the Negev, killing an IDF officer, Captain Yair Peled.

Oct 3, 1959 - A shepherd from Kibbutz Heftziba was killed near Kibbutz Yad Hana.

Apr 26, 1960 - Terrorists killed a resident of Ashkelon south of the city.

Apr 12, 1962 - Terrorists fired on an Egged bus on the way to Eilat; one passenger was wounded.

Sept 30, 1962 - Two terrorists attacked an Egged bus on the way to Eilat. No one was wounded.

Jan 1, 1965 - Palestinian terrorists attempted to bomb the National Water Carrier. This was the first attack carried out by the PLO's Fatah faction.

May 31, 1965 - Jordanian Legionnaires fired on the neighborhood of Musrara in Jerusalem, killing two civilians and wounding four.

June 1, 1965 - Terrorists attack a house in Kibbutz Yiftach.

July 5, 1965 - A Fatah cell planted explosives at Mitzpe Massua, near Beit Guvrin; and on the railroad tracks to Jerusalem near Kafr Battir.

Aug 26, 1965 - A waterline was sabotaged at Kibbutz Manara, in the Upper Galilee.

Sept 29, 1965 - A terrorist was killed as he attempted to attack Moshav Amatzia.

Nov 7, 1965 - A Fatah cell that infiltrated from Jordan blew up a house in Moshav Givat Yeshayahu, south of Beit Shemesh. The house was destroyed, but the inhabitants were miraculously unhurt.

Apr 25, 1966 - Explosions placed by terrorists wounded two civilians and damaged three houses in Moshav Beit Yosef, in the Beit Shean Valley.

May 16, 1966 - Two Israelis were killed when their jeep hit a terrorist landmine, north of the Sea of Galilee and south of Almagor. Tracks led into Syria.

July 13, 1966 - Two soldiers and a civilian were killed near Almagor, when their truck struck a terrorist landmine.

July 14, 1966 - Terrorists attacked a house in Kfar Yuval, in the North.

July 19, 1966 - Terrorists infiltrated into Moshav Margaliot on the northern border and planted nine explosive charges.

Oct 27, 1966 - A civilian was wounded by an explosive charge on the railroad tracks to Jerusalem.

Six Day War (1967)

There were calls for annihilation by several Arab leaders.[26][27][28][29][30][31]

In June 1967, Israeli forces in the Six-Day War struck targets in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in response to Egyptian President Nasser's ordered withdrawal of UN peace keepers from the Sinai Peninsula and the buildup of Arab armies along Israel's borders. After 6 days, all parties agreed to a cease-fire, under which Israel retained control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, the formerly Jordanian-controlled West Bank of the Jordan River, and East Jerusalem. On November 22, 1967, the Security Council adopted Resolution 242, the "land for peace" formula, which called for the establishment of a just and lasting peace based on Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967 in return for the end of all states of belligerency, respect for the sovereignty of all states in the area, and the right to live in peace within secure, recognized boundaries. The Six Day War had a momentous effect on American Jews, mobilizing new support for Israel.

Since Six Day War

The following years were marked by continuing violence across the Suez Canal, punctuated by the 1969-70 War of Attrition between Israel and Egypt. On October 6, 1973—Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement), the armies of Syria and Egypt launched an attack against Israel. Although the Egyptians and Syrians initially made significant advances, Israel was able to push the invading armies back beyond the 1967 cease-fire lines by the time the United States and the Soviet Union helped bring an end to the fighting. In the UN Security Council, the United States supported Resolution 338, which reaffirmed Resolution 242 as the framework for peace and called for peace negotiations between the parties.

In the years that followed, sporadic clashes continued along the cease-fire lines but guided by the U.S., Egypt, and Israel continued negotiations. In November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made a historic visit to Jerusalem, which opened the door for the 1978 Israeli-Egyptian peace summit convened at Camp David by President Carter. These negotiations led to a 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, pursuant to which Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1982, signed by President Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menahem Begin of Israel.

In the years following the 1948 war, Israel's border with Lebanon was quiet relative to its borders with other neighbors. After the expulsion of Palestinian fighters from Jordan in 1970 and their influx into southern Lebanon, however, hostilities along Israel's northern border increased and Israeli forces crossed into Lebanon. After passage of Security Council Resolution 425, calling for Israeli withdrawal and the creation of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon peacekeeping force (UNIFIL), Israel withdrew its troops.

Karakal Israel.jpg

In June 1982, following a series of cross-border terrorist attacks and the attempted assassination of the Israeli Ambassador to the U.K., Israel invaded Lebanon to fight the forces of Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The PLO withdrew its forces from Lebanon in August 1982. Israel, having failed to finalize an agreement with Lebanon, withdrew most of its troops in June 1985 save for a residual force which remained in southern Lebanon to act as a buffer against attacks on northern Israel. These remaining forces were completely withdrawn in May 2000 behind a UN-brokered delineation of the Israel-Lebanon border (the Blue Line). Hezbollah forces in Southern Lebanon continued to attack Israeli positions south of the Blue Line in the Sheba Farms/Har Dov area of the Golan Heights.

The victory of the U.S.-led coalition in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 opened new possibilities for regional peace. In October 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union convened the Madrid Conference, in which Israeli, Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian, and Palestinian leaders laid the foundations for ongoing negotiations designed to bring peace and economic development to the region. Within this framework, Israel and the PLO signed a Declaration of Principles on September 13, 1993, which established an ambitious set of objectives relating to a transfer of authority from Israel to an interim Palestinian authority. Israel and the PLO subsequently signed the Gaza-Jericho Agreement on May 4, 1994, and the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities on August 29, 1994, which began the process of transferring authority from Israel to the Palestinians.

On October 26, 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a historic peace treaty, witnessed by President Clinton. This was followed by Israeli Prime Minister Rabin and PLO Chairman Arafat's signing of the historic Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on September 28, 1995. This accord, which incorporated and superseded previous agreements, broadened Palestinian self-government and provided for cooperation between Israel and the Palestinians in several areas.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995, by a right-wing Jewish radical, bringing the increasingly bitter national debate over the peace process to a climax. Subsequent Israeli governments continued to negotiate with the PLO resulting in additional agreements, including the Wye River and the Sharm el-Sheikh memoranda. However, a summit hosted by President Clinton at Camp David in July 2000 to address permanent status issues—including the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, final security arrangements, borders, and relations and cooperation with neighboring states—failed to produce an agreement.

Following the failed talks, widespread violence broke out in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza in September 2000. In April 2001 the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact Finding Committee, commissioned by the October 2000 Middle East Peace Summit and chaired by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, submitted its report, which recommended an immediate end to the violence followed by confidence-building measures and a resumption of security cooperation and peace negotiations. Building on the Mitchell report, In April 2003, the Quartet (the U.S., UN, European Union (EU), and the Russian Federation) announced the "roadmap," a performance-based plan to bring about two states, Israel and a democratic, viable Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

Despite the promising developments of spring 2003, violence continued and in September 2003 the first Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), resigned after failing to win true authority to restore law and order, fight terror, and reform Palestinian institutions. In response to the deadlock, in the winter of 2003-2004 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon put forward his Gaza disengagement initiative, proposing the withdrawal of Israeli settlements from Gaza as well as parts of the northern West Bank. President Bush endorsed this initiative in an exchange of letters with Prime Minister Sharon on April 14, 2004, viewing Gaza disengagement as an opportunity to move towards implementation of the two-state vision and begin the development of Palestinian institutions. In a meeting in May 2004 the Quartet endorsed the initiative, which was approved by the Knesset in October 2004.

The run-up to disengagement saw a flurry of diplomatic activity, including the February 2005 announcement of Lieutenant General William Ward as U.S. Security Coordinator; the March 2005 Sharon-Abbas summit in Sharm el-Sheikh; the return of Egyptian and Jordanian ambassadors to Israel; and the May 2005 appointment of former World Bank president James D. Wolfensohn as Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement to work for a revitalization of the Palestinian economy after disengagement. Wolfensohn's direct involvement spurred Israeli-Palestinian agreement on the Gaza ‘crossings" at Karni and Erez, on the demolition of settler homes, water, electricity, and communications infrastructure issues, as well as other issues related to the Palestinian economy.

Israeli Defense Forces.jpg

On August 15, 2005, Israel began implementing its disengagement from the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli Defense Forces completed their withdrawal, including the dismantling of 17 settlements, on September 12. After broad recognition for Prime Minister Sharon's accomplishment at that fall's UN General Assembly, international attention quickly turned to efforts to strengthen Palestinian governance and the economy in Gaza. The United States brokered a landmark Agreement on Movement and Access between the parties in November 2005 to facilitate further progress on Palestinian economic issues. However, the terrorist organization Hamas—building on popular support for its "resistance" to Israeli occupation and a commitment to clean up the notorious corruption of the Palestinian Authority (PA)--took a majority in the January 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections, with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya as Prime Minister. The Israeli leadership pledged not to work with a Palestinian government in which Hamas had a role.

Shortly following Hamas' PLC victory, the Quartet—comprised of the United States, European Union, United Nations. and Russia—outlined three basic principles the Hamas-led PA must meet in order for the U.S. and the international community to reengage with the PA: renounce violence and terror, recognize Israel, and respect previous agreements, including the roadmap. The Hamas-led PA government rejected these principles, resulting in a Quartet statement of "grave concern" on March 30, 2006, and the suspension of U.S. assistance to the PA, complete prohibition on U.S. Government contacts with the PA, and prohibition of unlicensed transactions with the PA government. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) under the leadership of PLO Chairman and PA President Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen), by contrast, remained consistently committed to the Quartet principles.

Israeli tanks, Gaza strip borders, 2007.

Despite several negotiated cease-fires between Hamas and Fatah, violent clashes in the Gaza Strip—and to a lesser extent in the West Bank—were commonplace between December 2006 and February 2007 and resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries. In an attempt to end the intra-Palestinian violence, the King of Saudi Arabia invited Palestinian rivals to Mecca, and on February 9, 2007, Abbas and Hamas leader Haniya agreed to the formation of a Palestinian national unity government and a cessation of violence. Hamas' rejectionist policies and violent behavior continued despite the formation of the national unity government.

In June 2007, Hamas effectively orchestrated a violent coup in Gaza. Hamas also launched scores of Qassam rockets into southern Israel in an attempt to involve Israel in the Hamas-Fatah conflict. On June 14, Palestinian Authority President Mahoud Abbas exercised his lawful authority by declaring a state of emergency, dissolving the national unity government, and replacing it with a new government with Salam Fayyad as Prime Minister.

The new Palestinian Authority government under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad has no elements controlled by Hamas. The new government claims they are dedicated to peace and the Quartet principles and has been embraced politically and financially by the international community, including Israel, mainly because of the far worse alternative that Hamas represent.

In November 2007, Israeli and Palestinian leaders participated in an international conference in Annapolis, at which they committed to launching bilateral negotiations towards the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, and the realization of Israeli-Palestinian peace. During the year that followed, Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Abbas and other members of their governments engaged in regular bilateral negotiations on final status issues. Although the two sides reportedly narrowed their differences on some issues, the negotiations were suspended in December 2008 when conflict broke out between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

On December 27, 2008, in response to a sharp increase in the number and frequency of rocket attacks into Israel shortly prior to and following the formal expiration of a 6-month "calm" between Israel and Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Cast Lead, targeting Hamas security installations, personnel, and other facilities in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military operation continued until January 18, 2009, when Israel and Hamas each declared a unilateral cease-fire.

On January 22, 2009, President Barack Obama named Senator Mitchell his and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's special envoy for Middle East peace. Special Envoy Mitchell immediately traveled to the region and subsequently returned on a nearly monthly basis in an effort to help create the conditions that would support a two-state solution and to re-launch credible and productive negotiations. The President has visited Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia and hosted Prime Minister Netanyahu and numerous Arab heads of state in Washington, DC. On September 22, 2009, he hosted a trilateral meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, and he has written to over a dozen Arab heads of state asking for their assistance in ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. Senator Mitchell began indirect talks between the two parties in March 2010, and direct talks were launched on September 2, 2010, in Washington, DC. Secretary Clinton has met many leaders from the region and has traveled to the Middle East multiple times since her appointment to promote a Middle East peace settlement.

On December 6, 2017, pursuant to the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, U.S. President Donald Trump authorized a move of the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as Israel's capital city. Five months later, on May 14, 2018, the embassy in Jerusalem was opened at the location of the previous U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.

In January 2020, President Trump unveiled a peace plan for the Middle East which recognized Israeli sovereignty, specifically over Jerusalem,[32] and was vehemently condemned by everyone from the establishment liberal New York Times[33] to the controversial Nick Fuentes,[34] a self-proclaimed "paleoconservative" whose ideas occasionally overlap with those of white nationalists to an extent.


  • Laqueur, Walter, and Rubin, Barry, eds. The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict (7th ed. 2008) 626p.
  • Rabinovich, Itamar, and Reinharz, Jehuda, eds. Israel in the Middle East: Documents and Readings on Society, Politics, and Foreign Relations, pre-1948 to the Present. (2008) 626pp
  1. Christian Population in Israel Grew by 1.4% in 2020." By Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency - 17 Tevet 5782 – December 21, 2021.

    In 2020, the Christian population in Israel grew by 1.4%, the Central Bureau for Statistics showed in a special report published Tuesday ahead of the New Year holidays.

    The growth rate of the Christian population in Israel over the years is constant and is always on the rise, the numbers show. For comparison, the growth rate in the Jewish population was 1.5% and in the Muslim population 2.2%.
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. Jews and aboriginals make a powerful team - The Canadian Jewish News, Jan 26, 2015
    — As Irwin Cotler is fond of saying “Jews were the aboriginal people of Israel.”...
  4. Ryan Bellerose, "Are Jews Indigenous to the Land of Israel? Yes." Tablet Mag. Feb 8, 2017.
    As an indigenous activist—I am a Métis from the Paddle Prairie Metis settlement in Alberta, Canada—there is one question I am most often asked by the public, one that can instantly divide a community due to its intense and arduous subject matter. Yet, regardless of the scenario, each time I hear the words, “Are Jews the indigenous people of Israel?” I’m inclined to answer not only with my heart but with the brutal, honest truth, backed by indisputable, thousands-year-old historical and archaeological fact: yes. While evidence in favor of this view is overwhelming...
  5. Rossella Tercatin, "Jews are indigenous to Israel and a rabbi should know it, scholar says," July 12, 2020.
    “For a long time there was very little doubt on whether the Jews were indigenous here. The concept started to be questioned by the Arab anti-Zionist community,” Ilan Troen said.
  6. Book of Esther.
  7. (Jewish calendar - 3,404-405. 355-356 BCE)
  8. What Is the Miracle of Purim?,, March 19, 2019.
  9. What Is Purim?
  11. Ancient Jewish art
  12. Kent, Simon (October 1, 2019). Report: Israel’s Population Growth Built on Prosperity, World-Leading Life Expectancies. Breitbart News. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
  13. Multiple references:
  14. Multiple references:
  15. Joint statement of Ambassador of Polish Ambassador Bartosz Cichocki and Ambassador of Israel in Ukraine Joel Lion.
  16. An Encyclopedia of World History, Kingsport Press, 1948
  17. Navon, Emmanuel. The Star and the Scepter: A Diplomatic History of Israel. United States: Jewish Publication Society, 2020. 54.

    For Islam, which claims to have "succeeded" both Judaism and Christianity, the Jews were guilty of not accepting Muhammad's "prophecy." Since they had refused to join Dar al-Islam (the house of Islam), they belonged to Dar al-Harab (the territor of war) and were therefore a legitimate target of Jihad. In 627 Muhammad massacred the Jews of Medina (in the Arabian Peninsula), beheading men and enslaving women and children.

    In Muslim lands, those Jews who refused to convert yet bowed to Islamic rule were tolerated as dhimmis, that is, second-class citizens. They had to pay a special tax, they were not allowed to ride horses, and their houses had to be lower than those of Muslims. The Muslim sovereign could also revoke their dhimmi status at any time.

    With the conquest of the Land of Israel by Muslim armies in 635, the Jews became dhimmis in their own land. The land itself suffered from Muslim rule...
  18. From 'Encyclopaedia Britannica' of 1891 Encyclopaedia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, and general literature, Volume 10, William Harrison De Puy, R.S. Peale, 1891, p. 28 1. Main city of Upper Gallilee: Safed, predominantly Jewish. 2. Most Muslims appear NOT to be Arab. 3. There are some Algerian (Arab) settlers. 4. There are also "wandering Arabs.": CALILLEE - Upper Galilee.—The mountains are tilted up towards the sea of Galilee, and the drainage of the district is towards the north-west On the south the rocky range of Jebel Jermuk rises to 4000 feet above the sea; on the east a narrow ridge 2800 feet high forms the watershed, with steep eastern slopes falling towards Jordan. Immediately west of the watershed are two small plateaus, covered with basaltic debris, near el Jish and Kades. On the west are rugged mountains with deep intricate valleys. The main drains of the country are—first, Wady el 'Ayun; rising north of Jebel Jermuk, and running north-west as an open valley, and secondly, Wady el Ahjar, a rugged precipitous gorge running north to join the Leontes. The district is well provided with springs throughout, and the valleys are full of water in the spring time. Though rocky and difficult, Upper Galilee is not barren, the soil of the plateaus is rich, and the vine flourishes in the higher hills, especially in the neighbourhood of Kefr Birim. The principal town is Safed, perched on a white mountain 2700 feet above the sea. It has a population of about 9000, including Jews, Christians, and Moslems. It is one of the four sacred cities in Palestine revered by the Jews, to which nationality the majority of the inhabitants belong. Among the smaller towns we may notice Meirun, near Safed, a place also much revered by the Jews as containing the tombs of Hillel Shammni, and Simon bar Jochai. A yearly festival of most curious character is here celebrated in honour of these rabbis.' The site of Hazor, one of the chief towns of Galilee in Bible times, has also been lately recovered. It was situated, according to Josephus, above the Lake Semechonitis (Bahr el Huleii), and the namo Hudireh, identical with the Hebrew. Hazor, has been found by the survey party in 1877 applying to a mountain and plain, near an ancient ruin, in the required position. The little village of Kades represents the once important town of Kadesh Naphtali (Josh. xix. 37). The ruins are here extensive and interesting, but belong apparently to the Greek period. The population of Galilee is mixed. In Lower Galilee the peasants are principally Moslem, with a sprinkling of Greek Christians round Nazareth, which is a Christian town. In Upper Galilee, however, there is a mixture of Jews and Maronites, Druses and Moslems (natives or Algerine settlers), while the slopes above the Jordan are inhabited by wandering Arabs. The Jews are engaged in trade, and the Christians, Druses, and Moslems in agriculture; and the Arabs are an entirely pastoral people.
  19. Hanan Amior,, Haaretz claims that "the occupation is the home of terrorism." And what about reality?, Presspectiva, April 6, 2015.

    In what universe should one live to claim that Arab terrorism is the result of the Six Day War? Still, this is what a certified academic claims over the pages of the Haaretz newspaper...

    In 1834, when the first lovers of Zion were just beginning to be born, the Arabs of the Galilee went on a pogrom against the Jews of Safed, in which they raped, looted, burned, destroyed and murdered the Jews of Safed and their property for 33 days. All community property is looted.

    According to the book "The Line of Plowing and Fire" [1], which reviews the history of 150 years of conflict (and according to other historians), Arab hostilities against the Jews of the country began only later, in 1860, following the construction of the first Jewish neighborhood outside the Old City walls, Mishkenot Sha'ananim.

    According to the historian Hillel Cohen [2] - who ignores the riots of 1921 [3] (1921, 46 years before the "occupation"), which began in Jaffa and spread to other settlements in which dozens of Jews were murdered - the root of the conflict and terrorism appeared later, in 1929, 38 years before the "occupation" ), Then, I recalled, the Arabs murdered and wounded hundreds of Jews, mainly in Hebron and Safed, in brutal and horrific acts of terrorism reminiscent of what is happening these days around our borders.

    The year 1936 (31 years before the "occupation") can also be defined as the year in which organized Palestinian terror against the Jews of the country was born, as part of the great Arab uprising that erupted in the form of indiscriminate Arab terror following the rise of Eastern European Jews to Germany.

    The principle is understandable and one can skip a bit, straight to the establishment of the PLO terrorist organization in January 1964, which aimed at the armed resistance to Israel through terrorism against civilians, three and a half years before the "occupation."

    To claim that "the occupation is the creator of terrorism and not the other way around" indicates either ignorance or a severe lack of intellectual integrity.
  20. The Jewish Flag of Palestine – 1939, UWI, Nov 16, 2014.

    A picture posted from the Larousse French dictionary of 1939 shows that the flag of Palestine alestine has a visibly Jewish origin.  A picture of the flag of Palestine reported to be found in the appendix of a Larousse French dictionary in 1939 is circulating. The flag, as pointed out by the site [4], contains the Star of David, a universally recognized Jewish symbol that is also engraved in the State of Israel’s blue-and-white flag. This is certain to surprise many. The biased media would have one believe that the Jewish people “occupied” the land, brutally expelling and murdering the “Palestinians” who were there. This flag – besides archaeological evidence – is another clear indication that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, and this fact was widely known for centuries. In fact, in 1917, in the famous Balfour Declaration, British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour declared his government’s support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in what was then called Palestine. (Known as Judea since biblical times, the land was renamed Palestina by Roman King Hadrian 2,000 years ago in order to erase any Jewish historical claim. There was never a Palestinian state.) The land of Israel was mostly barren for centuries before the modern Zionist movement, as testified by famous 19th-century American author Mark Twain, who wrote about his travel to Palestine in Innocents Abroad: “There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere…. A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action. We reached Tabor safely. We never saw a human being on the whole route…. There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent – not for 30 miles in either direction. …One may ride 10 miles (16 km) hereabouts and not see 10 human beings.” …these unpeopled deserts, these rusty mounds of barrenness…” The modern Palestinian nation was invented by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO); the majority of Arabs living in Israel, including the PA-administered territories, hail from surrounding lands. As the saying goes, when a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes fact, and the fact is that PLO founder and arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat was born in Cairo, not in “Palestine.”

    Jewish Occupation of Israel

    It should be noted that more than 4,000 years of world history cannot and should not be denied, no matter how much some people may want to revise history. Israel is the rightful home of the Jewish people. There has always been a Jewish presence in the land, even under the harshest of conditions.

    So when did the first purchase of land happen in Israel? Anyone with a copy of the Torah or who looks in a Bible will see that Abraham purchased the cave of Machpela in Hebron to bury his beloved wife Sarah. When the Jewish people returned from slavery, we came to the land and made it our home. Even during periods when Jews were expelled from the land, the people yearned to return. In fact, the land of Israel is closely tied in with the daily Jewish prayers... Calling the Jewish people “settlers” in their own land is both false and ridiculous.
  21. "AIM TO OUST JEWS PLEDGED BY SHEIKH; Head of Moslem Brotherhood Says U.S., British 'Politics' Has Hurt Palestine Solution". Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. By Dana Adams Schmidt. Aug. 2, 1948. CAIRO, Egypt, Aug. 1 -- Sheikh Hassan el-Bana, head of the Moslem Brotherhood, largest of the extremist Arab nationalist organizations, declared in an interview today: "If the Jewish state becomes a fact, and this is realized by the Arab peoples, they will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea."
  22. "The Mutual Security Program. Hearings..." United States. Congress,1951, p.1503 Hearing, 1503 Azzam Pasha's statement pointed out that armies were already on the frontiers and that all the millions that the Jews had spent on land and armies were already on the frontiers and that all the millions that the Jews had spent on land and on economic development would surely be easy booty for the Arabs , since in would be a simple matter to throw the Jews to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea.
  23. "Palestinians, refugees or pawns?" Roger Talbot. Jul 12, 2008 The Arabs of Palestine were exhorted by their leaders to leave the area to make way for the slaughter of the Jews. They promised a quick victory and the Jews? property as spoils. To help induce flight, these leaders filled the airwaves with fabricated stories of Jewish atrocities. For example, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, assured Arab people that The occupation of Palestine and Tel Aviv would be as simple as a military promenade. He pointed out that Arab armies were already on the frontiers, and that Ball the millions the Jews had spent on land and economic development would be easy booty, for it would be a simple matter to throw the Jews into the Mediterranean.
  24. Gary Fine, "Palestinian Refugee Primer".  December 12, 2011: “the Secretary General of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha assured the Arab peoples… that the millions the Jews had spent on land and economic development would be easy booty, for it would be a simple matter to throw Jews into the Mediterranean…advice was given to the Arabs of Palestine to leave their land, homes, and property and to stay temporarily in neighboring fraternal states,”-Sec. General of the Arab League-(spokesman for the combined Arab States) Habib Issa, Al Hoda, NY Lebanese daily, June 1951.
  25. Which Came First - Terrorism or "Occupation"?, MFA, Jerusalem, 20 March 2002.
  26. Abba Evan: 1967: The Six-Day War and the historic reunification of Jerusalem
  27. Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the ... United States. Congress, 1967. p.29134... May 24, 1966, Syrian Defense Minister Hafez Assad: “We say: We shall never call for, nor accept peace. . . . We have resolved to drench this land with our blood, to oust you, aggressors, and throw you into the sea for good.
  28. Abstracts 11. BGU.AC.IL Did Shuqayri Call to Throw the Jews into the Sea? Moshe Shemesh should be emphasized that it is clear from his statement that his aim was to annihilate the Jews when he said ‘I think none of them will remain alive’, thus there would be no question of their future survival.
  29. "The New Middle East," Issues 16-39, New Middle East 1970, p.4 Mr Shukairy claims that when in his days of glory he publicly advocated the liquidation of Israel and “sweeping of the Jews into the sea”, he reflected the accepted official Arab outlook, an outlook that was changed only by the outcome of the war of 1967. Mr Shukairy is indignant that such extremism should be fathered on him alone ...
  30. Report of Annual Trades Union Congress, Volume 99; Volume 101 Trades Union Congress., 1967, p.491 But until the Arab States forget their Fascist, their Nazi, ideas of driving the Jews into the sea...
  31. The Road to Jerusalem. The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1967, Walter Laqueur, 1968 p.47
  33. Trump Releases Mideast Peace Plan.. NYTimes, Jan 28, 2020

Further reading

  • Durant, Will. Our Oriental Heritage (1935); A general history of the ebb and flow of civilizations in the area.
in front: David Ben Gurian, Golda Meir, Theodor Herzl
  • Gilbert, Martin. Israel: A History (2008) excerpt and text search
  • Oren, Michael B. Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East (2003), 480pp; standard history of the war excerpt and text search
  • Sachar, Howard M. A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Shindler, Colin. A History of Modern Israel (2008), very good on politics; thin otherwise. excerpt and text search
  • Stein, Leslie. The Hope Fulfilled: The Rise of Modern Israel (2003) excerpt and text search
  • Tucker, Spencer C., ed. The Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict A Political, Social, and Military History (4 vol. 2008); vol 4 includes 150 primary sources
  • Wigoder, Geoffrey, ed. New Encyclopedia of Zionism and Israel (2nd ed. 2 vol. 1994); 1521pp

Useful articles

  • Nazis shipped arms to Palestinians British National Archives unveil presence of Nazi S.S. agents in Mandatory Palestine, working closely with Palestinian leaders. Historical documents in Britain's National Archives in London show


Arabs Recognized Israel - 1919

See also

External links

Copyright Details
License: This work is in the Public Domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the U.S. Code
Source: File available from the United States Federal Government.

Source: [8]