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History of Israel

History of Israel

Overview
The State of Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948 after almost two millennia of Jewish dispersal
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

 and persecution around the Mediterranean. From the late 19th century the Zionist movement worked towards the goal of recreating a homeland for the Jewish people. Israeli independence has been marked by massive immigration of Jews, by conflict with the Palestinians and by wars with neighbouring Arab states.
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The State of Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948 after almost two millennia of Jewish dispersal
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

 and persecution around the Mediterranean. From the late 19th century the Zionist movement worked towards the goal of recreating a homeland for the Jewish people. Israeli independence has been marked by massive immigration of Jews, by conflict with the Palestinians and by wars with neighbouring Arab states. Since about 1970 the USA has been the principal ally of Israel. In 1979, an uneasy peace was established with Egypt and in 1994, with Jordan. About 42% of the world's Jews live in Israel today.

Modern Israel is roughly located on the site of ancient Jewish kingdoms which were the birthplace of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 and Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and contains sites sacred to all of the world's principal monotheistic religions. The Jews were mostly driven out of the country by the Romans over the course of centuries of conflict, although some Jews remained. In the Middle-Ages, the area formed the focal point of conflict between Christianity and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The expulsion of the Jews from Spain led to an increased, though still small, Jewish presence. In modern times, persecution in Europe led to the creation of the Zionist movement, which was able to win international support and establish the world's only Jewish-majority state.

Introduction: Jewish history in Israel


In the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 the Book of Genesis gives one of Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

's grandsons as Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

, whose name is changed to Israel and who has twelve sons who father twelve tribes known as the "children of Israel". Judah is the fourth of Israel's sons.

Early Israelites (1200–950 BCE)


The first record of the name Israel (as ) occurs in the Merneptah stele
Merneptah Stele
The Merneptah Stele — also known as the Israel Stele or Victory Stele of Merneptah — is an inscription by the Ancient Egyptian king Merneptah , which appears on the reverse side of a granite stele erected by the king Amenhotep III...

, erected for Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah
Merneptah
Merneptah was the fourth ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. He ruled Egypt for almost ten years between late July or early August 1213 and May 2, 1203 BC, according to contemporary historical records...

 c. 1209 BCE, "Israel is laid waste and his seed is not." William Dever
William G. Dever
William G. Dever is an American archaeologist, specialising in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times. He was Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1975 to 2002...

 sees this "Israel" in the central highlands as a cultural and probably political entity, but an ethnic group rather than an organised state.

Ancestors of the Israelites may have included Semites who occupied Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 and the Sea Peoples
Sea Peoples
The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of seafaring raiders of the second millennium BC who sailed into the eastern Mediterranean, caused political unrest, and attempted to enter or control Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty and especially during year 8 of Ramesses III of the 20th Dynasty...

. McNutt says, "It is probably safe to assume that sometime during Iron Age I a population began to identify itself as 'Israelite'", differentiating itself from the Canaanites through such markers as the prohibition of intermarriage, an emphasis on family history and genealogy, and religion.

Villages had populations of up to 300 or 400, which lived by farming and herding and were largely self-sufficient; economic interchange was prevalent. Writing was known and available for recording, even in small sites. The archaeological evidence indicates a society of village-like centres, but with more limited resources and a small population.

Israel and Judah (c.1200–576 BCE)



The Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 describes constant warfare between the Jews and other tribes, including the Philistines
Philistines
Philistines , Pleshet or Peleset, were a people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age . According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with...

, whose capital was Gaza.

Around 930 BCE, the kingdom split into a southern Kingdom of Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

 and a northern Kingdom of Israel.

An alliance between Ahab
Ahab
Ahab or Ach'av or Achab in Douay-Rheims was king of Israel and the son and successor of Omri according to the Hebrew Bible. His wife was Jezebel....

 of Israel and Ben Hadad II of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 managed to repulse the incursions of the Assyrians, with a victory at the Battle of Qarqar
Battle of Qarqar
The Battle of Qarqar was fought in 853 BC when the army of Assyria led by king Shalmaneser III encountered an allied army of 12 kings at Qarqar led by Hadadezer of Damascus and King Ahab of Israel...

 (854 BCE). However, the Kingdom of Israel was eventually destroyed by Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

n king Tiglath-Pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III
Tiglath-Pileser III was a prominent king of Assyria in the eighth century BC and is widely regarded as the founder of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Tiglath-Pileser III seized the Assyrian throne during a civil war and killed the royal family...

 around 750 BCE. The Philistine kingdom was also destroyed. The Assyrians sent most of the northern Israelite kingdom into exile, thus creating the 'Lost Tribes of Israel'. The Samaritan
Samaritan
The Samaritans are an ethnoreligious group of the Levant. Religiously, they are the adherents to Samaritanism, an Abrahamic religion closely related to Judaism...

s claim to be descended from survivors of the Assyrian conquest. An Israelite revolt (724-722 BCE) was crushed after the siege and capture of Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

 by Sargon II
Sargon II
Sargon II was an Assyrian king. Sargon II became co-regent with Shalmaneser V in 722 BC, and became the sole ruler of the kingdom of Assyria in 722 BC after the death of Shalmaneser V. It is not clear whether he was the son of Tiglath-Pileser III or a usurper unrelated to the royal family...

.

Assyrian King, Sennacherib
Sennacherib
Sennacherib |Sîn]] has replaced brothers for me"; Aramaic: ) was the son of Sargon II, whom he succeeded on the throne of Assyria .-Rise to power:...

, tried and failed to conquer Judah. Assyrian records claim he punished Judah and then left (Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 also described the invasion).

Babylonian, Persian and Greek rule (586 BCE – 2nd century BCE)


The Assyrian Empire was overthrown by the Medes
Medes
The MedesThe Medes...

 and the Chaldean
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, or New Babylonian, Empire in 612 BCE. In 586 BCE King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon
Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

 conquered Judah. According to the Hebrew Bible, he destroyed Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount , before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE....

 and exiled the Jews to Babylon.

In 538 BCE, Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon and took over its empire. Cyrus issued a proclamation granting subjugated nations (including the people of Judah) their freedom. According to the Hebrew Bible 50,000 Judeans, led by Zerubabel returned to Judah and rebuilt the temple. A second group of 5000, led by Ezra
Ezra
Ezra , also called Ezra the Scribe and Ezra the Priest in the Book of Ezra. According to the Hebrew Bible he returned from the Babylonian exile and reintroduced the Torah in Jerusalem...

 and Nehemiah
Nehemiah
Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the central figure of the Book of Nehemiah, which describes his work rebuilding Jerusalem and purifying the Jewish community. He was the son of Hachaliah, Nehemiah ]]," Standard Hebrew Nəḥemya, Tiberian Hebrew Nəḥemyāh) is the...

, returned to Judah in 456 BCE although non-Jews wrote to Cyrus to try to prevent their return.

In 333 BCE, Alexander the Great defeated Persia
Achaemenid Empire
The Achaemenid Empire , sometimes known as First Persian Empire and/or Persian Empire, was founded in the 6th century BCE by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation...

 and conquered the region. Sometime thereafter, the first translation of the Hebrew Bible, (the Septuagint), was begun in Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

. After Alexander's death, his generals fought over the territory he had conquered. Judah became the frontier between the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

 and Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt
Ptolemaic Egypt began when Ptolemy I Soter invaded Egypt and declared himself Pharaoh of Egypt in 305 BC and ended with the death of queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and the Roman conquest in 30 BC. The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a powerful Hellenistic state, extending from southern Syria in the east, to...

, eventually becoming part of the Seleucid Empire.

In the 2nd century BCE, Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Antiochus IV Epiphanes ruled the Seleucid Empire from 175 BC until his death in 164 BC. He was a son of King Antiochus III the Great. His original name was Mithridates; he assumed the name Antiochus after he ascended the throne....

 (ruler of the Seleucid Empire) tried to eradicate Judaism in favour of Hellenistic religion
Hellenistic religion
Hellenistic religion is any of the various systems of beliefs and practices of the people who lived under the influence of ancient Greek culture during the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire . There was much continuity in Hellenistic religion: the Greek gods continued to be worshiped, and the...

. This provoked the 174–135 BCE Maccabean Revolt led by Judas Maccabeus
Judas Maccabeus
Judah Maccabee was a Kohen and a son of the Jewish priest Mattathias...

 (whose victory is celebrated in the Jewish festival of Hanukkah
Hanukkah
Hanukkah , also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE...

). The Books of the Maccabees
Books of the Maccabees
The Books of the Maccabees are books concerned with the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid dynasty, or related subjects.The term mostly refers to two deuterocanonical books contained in some canons of the Bible:...

 describe the uprising and the end of Greek rule. A Jewish party called the Hasideans
Hasideans
The Hasideans were a Jewish religious party which commenced to play an important role in political life only during the time of the Maccabean wars, although it had existed for quite some time previous. They are mentioned only three times in the books of the Maccabees.- Account in Maccabees:In I...

 opposed both Hellenism and the revolt but eventually gave their support to the Maccabees.

Hasmonean kingdom (2nd century BCE – 64 BCE)


The Hasmonean
Hasmonean
The Hasmonean dynasty , was the ruling dynasty of Judea and surrounding regions during classical antiquity. Between c. 140 and c. 116 BCE, the dynasty ruled semi-autonomously from the Seleucids in the region of Judea...

 dynasty of priest-kings
Kohen Gadol
The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

 ruled Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

 with the Pharisees
Pharisees
The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty in the wake of...

, Saducees and Essenes
Essenes
The Essenes were a Jewish sect that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE which some scholars claim seceded from the Zadokite priests...

 as the principal social movements. As part of their struggle against Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

, the Pharisees established what may have been the world's first national male (religious) education and literacy program, based around meeting houses
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

. This led to Rabbinical Judaism. Justice was administered by the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

, whose leader was known as the Nasi
Nasi
Nāśī’ is a Hebrew title meaning prince in Biblical Hebrew, Prince in Mishnaic Hebrew, or president in Modern Hebrew.-Genesis and Ancient Israel:...

. The Nasi's religious authority gradually superseded that of the Temple's high priest
Kohen Gadol
The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

 (under the Hasmoneans this was the king).

In 125 BCE the Hasmonean King John Hyrcanus
John Hyrcanus
John Hyrcanus was a Hasmonean leader of the 2nd century BC.-Name:...

 subjugated Edom
Edom
Edom or Idumea was a historical region of the Southern Levant located south of Judea and the Dead Sea. It is mentioned in biblical records as a 1st millennium BC Iron Age kingdom of Edom, and in classical antiquity the cognate name Idumea was used to refer to a smaller area in the same region...

 and forcibly converted the population to Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

. This is the only known case of forced conversion to Judaism.

Pre-Christian Rome (64 BCE – 324 CE)



In 64 BCE the Roman
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 general Pompey conquered Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

. The Jewish Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

 in Jerusalem became the only religious structure in the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 which did not contain an effigy of the emperor.

From 37 BCE to 6 CE, the Herodian dynasty
Herodian Dynasty
The Herodian Dynasty was a Jewish dynasty of Idumean descent, client Kings of Roman Judaea Province between 37 BCE and 92 CE.- Origin :During the time of the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus 134-104 BCE, Israel conquered Edom and forced the Edomites to convert to Judaism.The Edomites were integrated...

, Jewish-Roman client kings, descended from Edom
Edom
Edom or Idumea was a historical region of the Southern Levant located south of Judea and the Dead Sea. It is mentioned in biblical records as a 1st millennium BC Iron Age kingdom of Edom, and in classical antiquity the cognate name Idumea was used to refer to a smaller area in the same region...

, ruled Judea. Herod the Great
Herod the Great
Herod , also known as Herod the Great , was a Roman client king of Judea. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis." He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his...

 considerably enlarged the temple (see Herod's Temple), making it one of the largest religious structures in the world. Despite its fame, it was in this period that Rabbinical Judaism, led by Hillel the Elder
Hillel the Elder
Hillel was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud...

, began to assume popular prominence over the Temple priesthood
Kohen
A Kohen is the Hebrew word for priest. Jewish Kohens are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the Biblical Aaron....

.

In 66 CE, the Jews of Judea rose in revolt, naming their new kingdom "Israel" (see also First Jewish Revolt coinage
First Jewish Revolt coinage
First Jewish Revolt coinage was issued by the Jews after the Zealots captured Jerusalem and the Jewish temple from the Romans in 66 AD at the beginning of the First Jewish Revolt...

). The events were described by the Jewish leader/historian Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

, including the desperate defence of Jotapata, the siege of Jerusalem (69-70 CE) and heroic last stand at Massada under Eleazar ben Yair (72-73 CE). Much of Jerusalem and the Temple lay in ruins.

During the Jewish revolt, most Christians
History of Christianity
The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, its followers and the Church with its various denominations, from the first century to the present. Christianity was founded in the 1st century by the followers of Jesus of Nazareth who they believed to be the Christ or chosen one of God...

, at this time a sub-sect of Judaism, removed themselves from Judea. The rabbinical/Pharisee movement led by Yochanan ben Zakai
Yochanan ben Zakai
Johanan ben Zakai , also known as Johanan B. Zakkai was one of the tannaim, an important Jewish sage in the era of the Second Temple, and a primary contributor to the core text of Rabbinical Judaism, the Mishnah. He is widely regarded as one of the most important Jewish figures of his time...

, who opposed the Sadducee temple priesthood, made peace with Rome and survived.
From 115 to 117, Jews in Libya, Egypt, Cyprus, Kurdistan and Lod
Lod
Lod is a city located on the Sharon Plain southeast of Tel Aviv in the Center District of Israel. At the end of 2010, it had a population of 70,000, roughly 75 percent Jewish and 25 percent Arab.The name is derived from the Biblical city of Lod...

 rose in revolt against Rome
Kitos War
The Kitos War , translation: Rebellion of the exile) is the name given to the second of the Jewish–Roman wars. Major revolts by diasporic Jews in Cyrene , Cyprus, Mesopotamia and Aegyptus spiraled out of control resulting in a widespread slaughter of Roman citizens and others by the Jewish rebels...

. This conflict was accompanied by large-scale massacres of both Romans and Jews. Cyprus was severely depopulated and Jews banned from living there.

In 131, the Emperor Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 renamed Jerusalem "Aelia Capitolina
Aelia Capitolina
Aelia Capitolina was a city built by the emperor Hadrian, and occupied by a Roman colony, on the site of Jerusalem, which was in ruins since 70 AD, leading in part to the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132–136.-Politics:...

" and constructed a Temple of Jupiter on the site of the former Jewish temple. Jews were banned from living in Jerusalem itself (a ban which persisted until the Arab conquest) and the Roman province, until then known as Iudaea Province
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

, was renamed Palaestina, no other revolt led to a province being renamed. The names "Palestine" (in English) and "Filistin" (in Arabic) are derived from this.

From 132 to 136, the Jewish leader Simon Bar Kokhba
Simon bar Kokhba
Simon bar Kokhba was the Jewish leader of what is known as the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 CE, establishing an independent Jewish state of Israel which he ruled for three years as Nasi...

 led another major revolt against the Romans, again renaming the country "Israel", (see Bar Kochba Revolt coinage
Bar Kochba Revolt coinage
Bar Kochba Revolt coinage were coins issued by the Jews during the Bar Kochba revolt against the Roman Empire of 132-135 AD.During the Revolt, large quantities of coins were issued in silver and copper with rebellious inscriptions, all being overstruck over foreign coins, when a file was used to...

). The Bar-Kochba revolt probably caused more trouble for the Romans than the more famous (and better documented) revolt of 70. The Christians refused to participate in the revolt and from this point the Jews regarded Christianity as a separate religion. The revolt was eventually crushed by Emperor Hadrian himself.

Although uncertain, it is widely thought that during the Bar Kokhba revolt, when a rabbinical assembly decided
Council of Jamnia
The Council of Jamnia or Council of Yavne is a hypothetical late 1st-century council at which it is postulated the canon of the Hebrew Bible was finalized....

 which books could be regarded
Development of the Jewish Bible canon
Rabbinic Judaism recognizes the 24 books of the Masoretic Text, commonly called the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as authoritative. Evidence suggests that the process of canonization occurred between 200 BCE and 200 CE. A popular former theory is that the Torah was canonized c. 400 BCE, the Prophets c....

 as part of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, the Jewish apocrypha
Jewish apocrypha
Jewish apocrypha includes texts written in the Jewish religious tradition either in the Intertestamental period or in the early Christian era, but outside the Christian tradition...

 were left out.

After suppressing the Bar Kochba revolt, the Romans permitted a hereditary Rabbinical Patriarch (from the House of Hillel
House of Hillel
The House of Hillel , also known as the Academy of Hillel, founded by the famed Hillel the Elder, is a school of Jewish law and thought that thrived in 1st century B.C.E.Jerusalem. The House of Hillel is most widely known for its hundreds of disputes with the Beit Shammai, founded by Shammai, a...

) to represent the Jews in dealings with the Romans. The most famous of these was Judah haNasi
Judah haNasi
Judah the Prince, or Judah I, also known as Rebbi or Rabbeinu HaKadosh , was a 2nd-century CE rabbi and chief redactor and editor of the Mishnah. He was a key leader of the Jewish community during the Roman occupation of Judea . He was of the Davidic line, the royal line of King David, hence the...

. Jewish seminaries continued to produce scholars and the best of these became members of the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

. The Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

, a major Jewish religious text, was completed in this period.

Before the Bar-Kochba uprising, an estimated 2/3 of the population of Gallilee and 1/3 of the coastal region were Jewish. However, persecution and the economic crisis that affected the Roman empire in the 3rd century led to further Jewish migration from Palestine to the more tolerant Persian Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

, where a prosperous Jewish community existed in the area of Babylon.

Christian Roman and Byzantine rule (324–636)


Early in the 4th century, Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 became the capital of the East Roman Empire and Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 was adopted as the official religion. The name Jerusalem was restored and it became a Christian city. Jews were still banned from living in Jerusalem, but were allowed to visit, and it is in this period that the surviving Western Wall
Western Wall
The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount...

 of the temple became sacred.

In 351-2, there was another Jewish revolt against a corrupt Roman governor. In 362, the last pagan Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate
Julian the Apostate
Julian "the Apostate" , commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer....

, announced plans to rebuild the Jewish Temple
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

. He died whilst fighting the Persians in 363 and the project was discontinued.

The Roman Empire split and the region became part of the East Roman Empire, known as the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. Under the Byzantines, Christianity was dominated by the (Greek) Orthodox Church. In the 5th century, The Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 collapsed leading to Christian migration into Palestine and development of a Christian majority. Jews numbered 10–15% of the population. Judaism was the only non-Christian religion tolerated, but there were bans on Jews building new places of worship, holding public office or owning slaves. There were two Samaritan
Samaritan
The Samaritans are an ethnoreligious group of the Levant. Religiously, they are the adherents to Samaritanism, an Abrahamic religion closely related to Judaism...

 revolts in this period.

Sacred Jewish texts written in Israel at this time are the Gemara
Gemara
The Gemara is the component of the Talmud comprising rabbinical analysis of and commentary on the Mishnah. After the Mishnah was published by Rabbi Judah the Prince The Gemara (also transliterated Gemora or, less commonly, Gemorra; from Aramaic גמרא gamar; literally, "[to] study" or "learning by...

 (400), the Jerusalem Talmud
Jerusalem Talmud
The Jerusalem Talmud, talmud meaning "instruction", "learning", , is a collection of Rabbinic notes on the 2nd-century Mishnah which was compiled in the Land of Israel during the 4th-5th century. The voluminous text is also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud de-Eretz Yisrael...

 (500) and the Passover Haggadah.

According to Procopius
Procopius
Procopius of Caesarea was a prominent Byzantine scholar from Palestine. Accompanying the general Belisarius in the wars of the Emperor Justinian I, he became the principal historian of the 6th century, writing the Wars of Justinian, the Buildings of Justinian and the celebrated Secret History...

, in 533 Byzantine general Belisarius
Belisarius
Flavius Belisarius was a general of the Byzantine Empire. He was instrumental to Emperor Justinian's ambitious project of reconquering much of the Mediterranean territory of the former Western Roman Empire, which had been lost less than a century previously....

 took the treasures of the Jewish temple from Vandals
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

 who had taken them from Rome.

In 611, Sassanid Persia invaded the Byzantine Empire and, after a long siege, Chosroes II captured Jerusalem (614) with Jewish help
Revolt against Heraclius
The Revolt against Heraclius was a Jewish insurrection against the Byzantine Empire across Levant, coming to the aid of the Persian during Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628. The revolt began with the Battle of Antioch , culminating with the conquest of Jerusalem in 614 by Persian and Jewish forces...

, including possibly the Jewish Himyarite Kingdom in Yemen. Jews were left to govern Jerusalem until in 617, when the Persians took over. The Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

, promised to restore Jewish rights and received Jewish help in defeating the Persians, but he soon reneged on the agreement after reconquering Palestine by issuing an edict banning Judaism from the Byzantine Empire. (Egyptian) Coptic Christians took responsibility for this broken pledge and still fast in penance. Jews fleeing Byzantium settled in the Baltic area, where the Khazar nobility and some of the population subsequently converted to Judaism.

Arab rule (636–1096)



According to Muslim tradition, in 620 Muhammed flew from Mecca
Isra and Mi'raj
The Isra and Mi'raj , are the two parts of a Night Journey that, according to Islamic tradition, the Islamic prophet Muhammad took during a single night around the year 621. It has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey...

 to the "farthest mosque", whose location is considered to be the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

, returning the same night. In 634-636 the Arabs conquered Palestine, ending the Byzantine ban on Jews living in Jerusalem. Over the next few centuries, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 replaced Christianity as the dominant religion of the region.

From 636 until the beginning of the Crusades, Palestine was ruled first by Medinah-based Rashidun Caliphs
Rashidun
The Rightly Guided Caliphs or The Righteous Caliphs is a term used in Sunni Islam to refer to the first four Caliphs who established the Rashidun Caliphate. The concept of "Rightly Guided Caliphs" originated with the Abbasid Dynasty...

, then by the Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

-based Umayyad Caliphate and after that the Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

-based Abbasid Caliphs. In 691, Ummayad Caliph Abd al-Malik (685–705) constructed the Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is a shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The structure has been refurbished many times since its initial completion in 691 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik...

 shrine on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

. Jews consider it to contain the Foundation Stone (see also Holy of Holies), which is the holiest site in Judaism. A second building, the Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque
Al-Aqsa Mosque also known as al-Aqsa, is the third holiest site in Sunni Islam and is located in the Old City of Jerusalem...

, was also erected on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

 in 705.

Between the 7th and 11th centuries, Jewish scribes, called the Masoretes
Masoretes
The Masoretes were groups of mostly Karaite scribes and scholars working between the 7th and 11th centuries, based primarily in present-day Israel in the cities of Tiberias and Jerusalem, as well as in Iraq...

 and located in Galilee and Jerusalem, established the Masoretic Text
Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible and is regarded as Judaism's official version of the Tanakh. While the Masoretic Text defines the books of the Jewish canon, it also defines the precise letter-text of these biblical books, with their vocalization and...

, the final text of the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

.

Crusader rule (1099 – 13th century)


During the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

, both Muslims and Jews in Palestine were indiscriminately massacred or sold into slavery. The murder of Jews began during the Crusaders' travels across Europe and continued in the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

. Ashkenazi orthodox Jews still recite a prayer in memory
Av HaRachamim
Av Harachamim or Abh Haraḥamim is a Jewish memorial prayer which was written in the late eleventh or early twelfth century, after the destruction of the Ashkenazi communities around the Rhine River by Christian crusaders during the First Crusade...

 of the death and destruction caused by the Crusades.

In 1187, the Ayyubid
Ayyubid dynasty
The Ayyubid dynasty was a Muslim dynasty of Kurdish origin, founded by Saladin and centered in Egypt. The dynasty ruled much of the Middle East during the 12th and 13th centuries CE. The Ayyubid family, under the brothers Ayyub and Shirkuh, originally served as soldiers for the Zengids until they...

 Sultan, Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

, defeated the Crusaders in the Battle of Hattin
Battle of Hattin
The Battle of Hattin took place on Saturday, July 4, 1187, between the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the forces of the Ayyubid dynasty....

 (above Tiberias), taking Jerusalem and most of Palestine. A Crusader state centred round Acre
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

 survived in weakened form for another century.

From 1260 to 1291 the area became the frontier between Mongol invaders
Mongol raids into Palestine
Mongol raids into Palestine took place towards the end of the Crusades, as a follow-up to the temporarily successful Mongol invasions of Syria, primarily in 1260 and 1300...

 (occasional Crusader allies
Franco-Mongol alliance
Franco-Mongol relations were established in the 13th century, as attempts were made towards forming a Franco-Mongol alliance between the Christian Crusaders and the Mongol Empire against various Muslim empires. Such an alliance would have seemed a logical choice: the Mongols were sympathetic to...

) and the Mamluks
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt was the final independent Egyptian state prior to the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1805. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid Dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. The sultanate's ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, Arabised...

 of Egypt. The conflict impoverished the country and severely reduced the population. Sultan Qutuz
Qutuz
Saif ad-Din Qutuz, also spelled Kutuz, was the third of the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt in the Turkic line from 1259 until his death in 1260. It was under his leadership that the Mamluks achieved success against the Mongols in the key Battle of Ain Jalut...

 of Egypt eventually defeated the Mongols in the Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut
The Battle of Ain Jalut took place on 3 September 1260 between Mamluks and the Mongols in eastern Galilee, in the Jezreel Valley, not far from Ein Harod....

 (near Ein Harod
Ein Harod
Ein Harod was a kibbutz in Israel. It was located in northern Israel near Mount Gilboa. It is notable for being built near the battlefield of Ayn Jalut , a battle of huge macro-historical importance where the Mongols were defeated for the first time, in 1260.-History:The kibbutz was founded by...

) and his successor (and assassin), Baibars
Baibars
Baibars or Baybars , nicknamed Abu l-Futuh , was a Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. He was one of the commanders of the forces which inflicted a devastating defeat on the Seventh Crusade of King Louis IX of France and he led the vanguard of the Egyptian army at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, which marked...

, eliminated the last Crusader Kingdom of Acre in 1291, thereby ending the Crusades.

Mamluk rule (13th century – 1517)


Egyptian Mamluk Sultan, Baibars
Baibars
Baibars or Baybars , nicknamed Abu l-Futuh , was a Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. He was one of the commanders of the forces which inflicted a devastating defeat on the Seventh Crusade of King Louis IX of France and he led the vanguard of the Egyptian army at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, which marked...

 (1260–1277) conquered Palestine and the Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

s ruled it until 1517. In Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

, Baibars banned Jews from worshiping at the Cave of the Patriarchs
Cave of the Patriarchs
The Cave of the Patriarchs or the Cave of Machpelah , is known by Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham or Ibrahimi Mosque ....

 (the second holiest site in Judaism) until its conquest by Israel 700 years later.

The collapse of the Crusades was followed by increased persecution and expulsions of Jews in Europe. Expulsions began in England
Edict of Expulsion
In 1290, King Edward I issued an edict expelling all Jews from England. Lasting for the rest of the Middle Ages, it would be over 350 years until it was formally overturned in 1656...

 (1290) and were followed by France (1306). In Spain persecution of the highly integrated and successful Jewish community began, including massacres and forced conversions. During the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

, many Jews were murdered after being accused of poisoning wells.

The completion of the Christian reconquest
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 of Spain led to expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492
Alhambra decree
The Alhambra Decree was an edict issued on 31 March 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain ordering the expulsion of Jews from the Kingdom of Spain and its territories and possessions by 31 July of that year.The edict was formally revoked on 16 December 1968, following the Second...

 and Portugal in 1497
History of the Jews in Portugal
The history of the Jews in Portugal reaches back over two thousand years and is directly related to Sephardi history, a Jewish ethnic division that represents communities who have originated in the Iberian Peninsula .-Before Portugal:...

. These were the wealthiest and most integrated Jewish communities in Europe. Many Jews converted to Christianity, however, prejudice against Jewish converts
Marrano
Marranos were Jews living in the Iberian peninsula who converted to Christianity rather than be expelled but continued to observe rabbinic Judaism in secret...

 persisted and led many of these former Jews to move to the New World (see History of the Jews in Latin America
History of the Jews in Latin America
The history of the Jews in Latin America dates, according to some interpretations, back to Christopher Columbus and his first cross-Atlantic voyage on August 3, 1492, when he left Spain and eventually discovered the New World...

). Most of the expelled Spanish Jews moved to North Africa, Poland
History of the Jews in Poland
The history of the Jews in Poland dates back over a millennium. For centuries, Poland was home to the largest and most significant Jewish community in the world. Poland was the centre of Jewish culture thanks to a long period of statutory religious tolerance and social autonomy. This ended with the...

, to the Ottoman Empire and to Israel. In Italy, Jews were required to live in ghetto
Ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

s.

Ottoman Turkish rule (1516–1917)


Palestine was conquered by Turkish Sultan Selim II
Selim II
Selim II Sarkhosh Hashoink , also known as "Selim the Sot " or "Selim the Drunkard"; and as "Sarı Selim" or "Selim the Blond", was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1566 until his death in 1574.-Early years:He was born in Constantinople a son of Suleiman the...

 in 1516-17, becoming a province of Syria
Ottoman Syria
Ottoman Syria is a European reference to the area that during European Renaissance from the late 15th to early 18th century was called the Levant within the early period of the Ottoman Empire, the Orient until the early 19th century, and Greater Syria until 1918...

 for the next four centuries.

In the 1648—1654 Khmelnytsky Uprising
Khmelnytsky Uprising
The Khmelnytsky Uprising, was a Cossack rebellion in the Ukraine between the years 1648–1657 which turned into a Ukrainian war of liberation from Poland...

 in the Ukraine over 100,000 Jews were massacred, leading to some migration to Israel.

There was a massacre of Jews in Palestine during Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Muhammad Ali of Egypt
Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Mas'ud ibn Agha was a commander in the Ottoman army, who became Wāli, and self-declared Khedive of Egypt and Sudan...

's occupation in 1834. In 1844, Jews constituted the largest population group in Jerusalem and by 1890 an absolute majority in the city, but as a whole the Jewish population made up far less than 10% of the region.
By 1890, Palestine was populated mainly by Muslim and Christian Arabs, as well as Jews, Greeks, Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

, Bedouins and other minorities. The small Jewish population was concentrated in the Four Holy Cities
Four Holy Cities
The Four Holy Cities , is the collective term in Jewish tradition applied to the cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias, and Safed: "Since the sixteenth century the holiness of Palestine, especially for burial, has been almost wholly transferred to four cities—Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias, and...

.

The emergence of Zionism



The Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 in Europe led to an 18th and 19th century Jewish enlightenment movement in Europe, called the Haskalah
Haskalah
Haskalah , the Jewish Enlightenment, was a movement among European Jews in the 18th–19th centuries that advocated adopting enlightenment values, pressing for better integration into European society, and increasing education in secular studies, Hebrew language, and Jewish history...

 and to the emancipation of the Jews in Western Europe. In 1791, the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 led France to grant Jews legal equality and civil rights for the first time since antiquity. The Napoleonic Empire spread Jewish equal rights across Europe. Britain gave Jews full equal rights in 1856, Germany in 1871.

The spread of Western liberal ideas among newly emancipated Jews created for the first time a class of secular Jews who absorbed the prevailing ideas of enlightenment, including rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

, romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, and nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

.

Growth of persecution in Eastern Europe



The formation of modern nations and national identities was accompanied by a change in anti-Jewish prejudice. Prejudice that had previously been justified on grounds of religion was now defined in pseudo-scientific, racial "anti-Semitic" terms. While Jews were attaining basic civil rights, other groups saw a decline in their power, including the Russian Tsars and the Church, and these groups were easily persuaded that a Jewish conspiracy was behind their difficulties.

In the 19th century most Jews lived within the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

. Jews were banned from Russia in the 1790s, but as its empire grew it acquired vast areas of Eastern Europe with extensive Jewish populations. Jews were restricted to a Pale of Settlement
Pale of Settlement
The Pale of Settlement was the term given to a region of Imperial Russia, in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed, and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited...

 (some Jews circumvented the regulations).

By 1897 there were 5 million Jews, forming 10% of the population of the Pale. From 1827 -1855, Russian authorities sought to forcibly convert Jews by requiring a six-year education followed by 25 years military service
Cantonist
Cantonists were underage sons of Russian conscripts who from 1721 were educated in special "canton schools" for future military service .-Cantonist schools during the 18th and early 19th centuries:Cantonist...

 for Jewish boys aged 12. From 1881–1917, the May Laws
May Laws
Temporary regulations regarding the Jews were proposed by minister of internal affairs Nikolai Ignatyev and enacted on May 15 , 1882, by Tsar Alexander III of Russia...

 banned Jews from rural communities in the Pale (many were driven out) and restricted the number of Jewish students in universities and high schools to 10% inside the Pale, 5% outside and 3% in major cities. In Tsarist Russia, for different reasons, the state and the Church sought to benefit from setting up the Jew as the enemy. In the early 1880s the government encouraged and organized pogroms
Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire
The term pogrom as a reference to large-scale, targeted, and repeated antisemitic rioting saw its first use in the 19th century.The first pogrom is often considered to be the 1821 Odessa pogroms after the death of the Greek Orthodox patriarch Gregory V in Constantinople, in which 14 Jews were killed...

 (attacks by mobs), blaming Jews for any problems it faced and diverting resentment from the Tsarist regime. Jews were also banned from practising medicine or law.

Anti-Semitism was not confined to eastern Europe, International Anti-Jewish Congresses were held in Germany: Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 in 1882, Chemnitz
Chemnitz
Chemnitz is the third-largest city of the Free State of Saxony, Germany. Chemnitz is an independent city which is not part of any county and seat of the government region Direktionsbezirk Chemnitz. Located in the northern foothills of the Ore Mountains, it is a part of the Saxon triangle...

 in 1883. In France, the Dreyfus Affair
Dreyfus Affair
The Dreyfus affair was a political scandal that divided France in the 1890s and the early 1900s. It involved the conviction for treason in November 1894 of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Alsatian Jewish descent...

 (1894–1906) revealed widespread anti-Semitism in the highest echelons of the French Army and government.

Migration from Eastern Europe



Millions of Jews left eastern Europe in the late 19th century, mainly for the USA, but a small percentage headed for Israel and some Jews began to consider the possibility of re-establishing themselves as an independent nation.

In 1870, an agricultural school, the Mikveh Israel
Mikveh Israel
The name Mikveh Israel may refer to:* Mikveh Israel, agricultural school and village in Israel* Congregation Mikveh Israel, Philadelphia, United States* Congregation Mickve Israel, Savannah, Georgia, United States...

 was founded near Jaffa by the Alliance Israelite Universelle
Alliance Israélite Universelle
The Alliance Israélite Universelle is a Paris-based international Jewish organization founded in 1860 by the French statesman Adolphe Crémieux to safeguard the human rights of Jews around the world...

. The first modern Jewish settlement in Palestine, Petah Tikva
Petah Tikva
Petah Tikva known as Em HaMoshavot , is a city in the Center District of Israel, east of Tel Aviv.According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, at the end of 2009, the city's population stood at 209,600. The population density is approximately...

, was founded in 1878, followed by Rishon LeZion (1882). Other settlements were established by members of the Bilu
Bilu
Bilu was a movement whose goal was the agricultural settlement of the Land of Israel. "Bilu" is an acronym based on a verse from the Book of Isaiah "בית יעקב לכו ונלכה" Beit Ya'akov Lekhu Venelkha...

 and Hovevei Zion
Hovevei Zion
Hovevei Zion , also known as Hibbat Zion , refers to organizations that are now considered the forerunners and foundation-builders of modern Zionism....

 ('Love of Zion') movements. This was accompanied by a revival of the Hebrew language. 'Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

' attracted Jews of all kinds; religious, secular, nationalists and left-wing socialists
Labor Zionism
Labor Zionism can be described as the major stream of the left wing of the Zionist movement. It was, for many years, the most significant tendency among Zionists and Zionist organizational structure...

. Socialists aimed to reclaim the land by becoming labourers and forming collectives
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

. In Zionist history, the different waves of Jewish settlement are known as 'aliyah
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

'. During the First Aliyah
First Aliyah
The First Aliyah was the first modern widespread wave of Zionist aliyah. Jews who migrated to Palestine in this wave came mostly from Eastern Europe and from Yemen. This wave of aliyah began in 1881–82 and lasted until 1903. An estimated 25,000–35,000 Jews immigrated to Ottoman Syria during the...

, between 1882 and 1903, approximately 35,000 Jews moved to Palestine.

Formation of the Zionist movement


For a full account of the emergence of the Zionist movement see the History of Zionism
History of Zionism
Zionism as an organized movement is generally considered to have been fathered by Theodor Herzl in 1897; however the history of Zionism began earlier and related to Judaism and Jewish history...

.

In 1896 Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl , born Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl was an Ashkenazi Jew Austro-Hungarian journalist and the father of modern political Zionism and in effect the State of Israel.-Early life:...

 published "Der Judenstaat
Der Judenstaat
Der Judenstaat is a book written by Theodor Herzl and published in 1896 in Leipzig and Vienna by M. Breitenstein's Verlags-Buchhandlung...

" ('The Jewish State') in which he asserted that the solution to growing antisemitism in Europe (the so-called "Jewish Question
Jewish Question
The Jewish question encompasses the issues and resolutions surrounding the historically unequal civil, legal and national statuses between minority Ashkenazi Jews and non-Jews, particularly in Europe. The first issues discussed and debated by societies, politicians and writers in western and...

") was to establish a Jewish state. In 1897, the Zionist Organisation was founded and the First Zionist Congress
First Zionist Congress
The First Zionist Congress was the inaugural congress of the Zionist Organization held in Basel , Switzerland, from August 29 to August 31, 1897. It was convened and chaired by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionism movement...

 proclaimed its aim "to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine secured under public law." However, Zionism was regarded with suspicion by the Ottoman rulers and was unable to make major progress.

Between 1904 and 1914, around 40,000 Jews settled in Palestine (the Second Aliyah
Second Aliyah
The Second Aliyah was an important and highly influential aliyah that took place between 1904 and 1914, during which approximately 40,000 Jews immigrated into Ottoman Palestine, mostly from the Russian Empire, some from Yemen....

'). In 1908 the Zionist Organisation set up the Palestine Bureau (also known as the 'Eretz Israel Office') in Jaffa and began to adopt a systematic Jewish settlement policy in Palestine. Migrants were mainly from Russia (which then included Poland), escaping persecution. The first kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

, Degania, was founded by Russian socialists in 1909. The first entirely Hebrew-speaking city, Ahuzat Bayit was established in 1909 (later renamed Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

). Hebrew newspapers and books were published, and Jewish political parties and workers organizations were established.

The Balfour Declaration




During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Jews fought on both sides with more than 100,000 Jews serving in the German Army. Jewish and non-Jewish casualties were in almost exactly the same ratio in all the respective countries. In Britain, the government sought and received the support of British Jews for the war effort.

There was already sympathy for the aims of Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 in the British government, including the Prime-Minister Lloyd-George. In late 1917, as the British Army (including a mainly Zionist Jewish Legion
Jewish Legion
The Jewish Legion was the name for five battalions of Jewish volunteers established as the British Army's 38th through 42nd Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers...

) drove the Turks out of Palestine, the British foreign minister, Lord Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild. The letter subsequently became known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It stated that the British Government "view[ed] with favour the establishment in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 of a national home for the Jewish people"..."it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine".

In 1918 Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

, President of the British Zionist Federation, formed a Zionist Commission
Zionist Commission
The Zionist Commission for Palestine was a group chaired by Chaim Weizmann, president of the British Zionist Federation following British promulgation of the pro-Zionist, Balfour Declaration of 1917. The Commission was formed in March 1918 and went to Palestine to study conditions and make their...

 which went to Palestine to promote Zionist objectives there.

British Mandate of Palestine (1917–48)



The British Mandate (in effect, British rule) of Palestine, including the Balfour Declaration, was confirmed by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 in 1922 and came into effect in 1923. The boundaries of Palestine were drawn by the British and included modern Jordan. Britain signed an additional treaty with the USA (which did not join the League of Nations) in which the USA endorsed the terms of the Mandate.

In 1921, the Zionist Commission was granted official status as the Jewish Agency for Palestine in Article 4 of the Mandate. An offer to create a similar Arab Agency was rejected by Arab leaders.

The Mandate permitted the Jewish Agency to oversee Jewish immigration into Palestine and land purchases from the local Arabs. The Jewish Agency soon operated as an arm of the Zionist leadership. It ran schools and hospitals, and later formed a militia, the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

. Chaim Weizmann was the leader of both the Zionist Organisation and the Jewish Agency until 1929. The Jewish Agency distributed entry permits to new immigrants (the number was fixed by the British) and funds donated by Jews abroad.

From 1920, the Va'ad Leumi (or Jewish National Council, or JNC) was the main institution of the Jewish community ('Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

') within the British Mandate of Palestine. It was democratically elected and included non-Zionist Jews. This body functioned as a virtual government for the Jews in Palestine. The Political Department of the JNC was responsible for relations with the Arabs, ties with the Jewish Agency and negotiations with the British. As the Yishuv grew, the JNC adopted more functions, such as education, health care and welfare services, internal defence and security matters.

Most of the revenue raised by the Mandate came from the Jewish minority but was spent on funding the British administration. Therefore, with British permission, the Va'ad raised its own taxes and ran independent services for the Jewish population. Education and health care for Jews in Palestine were in the hands of the major Zionist political parties: the General Zionists
General Zionists
The General Zionists were centrists within the Zionist movement and a political party in Israel. Their political arm is an ancestor of the modern-day Likud.-History:...

, the Mizrahi and the Socialist Zionists, with each operating independent services and (except for Mizrahi) sports organizations funded by local taxes, donations and fees. The Zionist movement also established the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Technion (technological university)in Haifa (both 1925).

During the whole interwar period, the British, appealing to the terms of the Mandate, rejected the principle of majority rule or any other measure that would give the Arab majority control over the government of Palestine.

Jewish immigration and Arab opposition


Between 1919 and 1923, 40,000 Jews arrived in Palestine, mainly escaping the post-revolutionary chaos of Russia (3rd Aliyah
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

). Many of these immigrants became known as 'pioneers' (halutzim), experienced or trained in agriculture and capable of establishing self-sustaining economies. The Jezreel Valley
Jezreel Valley
-Etymology:The Jezreel Valley takes its name from the ancient city of Jezreel which was located on a low hill overlooking the southern edge of the valley, though some scholars think that the name of the city originates from the name of the clan which founded it, and whose existence is mentioned in...

 and the Hefer Plain marshes were drained and converted to agricultural use.

The combination of Jewish immigration and the terms of the Mandate led to Arab rioting in 1920 and 1921. In response, the British authorities enacted a system of immigration quotas. Exceptions were made for Jews with over 1000 Pounds in cash (roughly 100,000 pounds at year 2000 rates), or Jewish professionals with over 500 Pounds. Arab attacks on isolated Jewish settlements and the British failure to protect them led to the creation of the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 ("Defense"), a mainly socialist underground Jewish militia dedicated to defending Jewish settlements.

By 1923 the number of Jews in Palestine had reached 90,000. Between 1924 and 1929, 82,000 more Jews arrived (4th Aliyah), fleeing anti-Semitism in Poland and Hungary and because United States immigration policy
Immigration Act of 1924
The Immigration Act of 1924, or Johnson–Reed Act, including the National Origins Act, and Asian Exclusion Act , was a United States federal law that limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already...

 now kept Jews out. The new arrivals included many middle class families who moved into towns and established small businesses and workshops – although lack of economic opportunities meant that approximately a quarter later left Palestine.

The 1929 Palestine riots
1929 Palestine riots
The 1929 Palestine riots, also known as the Western Wall Uprising, the 1929 Massacres, , or the Buraq Uprising , refers to a series of demonstrations and riots in late August 1929 when a long-running dispute between Muslims and Jews over access to the Western Wall in Jerusalem escalated into violence...

 (see also the Hebron Massacre
1929 Hebron massacre
The Hebron massacre refers to the killing of sixty-seven Jews on 23 and 24 August 1929 in Hebron, then part of the British Mandate of Palestine, by Arabs incited to violence by rumors that Jews were massacring Arabs in Jerusalem and seizing control of Muslim holy places...

), led Ze'ev Jabotinsky to create a right-wing militia group called the Irgun
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

 Tzvai Leumi (National Military Organization, known in Hebrew by its acronym "Etzel").

Despite Arab opposition, the increased persecution of European Jews in the 1930s led to a marked increase in Jewish immigration. With the emergence of fascist regimes across Europe, Jews reverted to being non-citizens, deprived of all civil and economic rights and subject to arbitrary persecution. As countries came under Nazi rule or became Nazi allies (Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia were Nazi allies) the numbers of those wanting to flee grew more. Between 1929 and 1939, 250,000 Jews arrived in Palestine (5th Aliyah). The majority of these, 174,000, arrived between 1933 and 1936, after which the British increasingly restricted immigration. Migration was again mostly from Europe and included professionals, doctors, lawyers and professors from Germany.

In 1933, the Nazis negotiated the Ha'avara Agreement, under which 50,000 Jews and $100 million of their assets would be moved to Palestine. In Palestine, Jewish immigration helped the economy to flourish. With the completion of the port at Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 and its oil refineries, significant industry was added to the predominantly agricultural Palestinian economy. With the British enforcing quotas and the situation in Europe increasingly desperate, Jews were forced to resort to illegal immigration. Illegal immgration, (Aliyah Bet or 'Ha'apalah') was organized by the Mossad Le'aliyah Bet
Mossad Le'aliyah Bet
The Mossad LeAliyah Bet was a branch of the Haganah in the British Mandate of Palestine that operated to facilitate Jewish immigration to Palestine in violation of unilateral British restrictions. It operated from 1938 until the founding of the State of Israel in 1948...

, and the Irgun. Jewish refugees arrived in secret by sea, or, to a lesser extent, overland through Syria.

Increased Jewish immigration contributed to the large-scale Arab Revolt
Arab Revolt
The Arab Revolt was initiated by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.- Background :...

 in Palestine (1936–1939), a largely nationalist uprising directed at ending British rule. The British responded with the Peel Commission
Peel Commission
The Peel Commission of 1936-1937, formally known as the Palestine Royal Commission, was a British Royal Commission of Inquiry set out to propose changes to the British Mandate of Palestine following the outbreak of the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine...

 (1936–37), which recommended that an exclusively Jewish territory be created in the Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 and along much of the western coast (requiring the expulsion of 200,000 Arabs) the rest becoming an exclusively Arab area. Jewish opinion was divided as to the merits of this scheme, but it was rejected outright by the Palestinian Arabs and, in the absence of strong Jewish support, eventually abandoned by the British as unworkable.

The Woodhead Commission
Woodhead Commission
The Woodhead Commission, properly known as the Palestine Partition Commission, was established in 1938 in the British Mandate of Palestine to investigate the implementation of the Peel Commission's plan for a partition of Palestine....

 (1938) reported that the Peel Commission was unworkable and recommended setting up smaller Arab and Jewish zones, but this plan was rejected by both Arabs and Jews. 20 years later, the Jewish Agency leader, Ben-Gurion wrote: "Had partition [referring to the Peel Commission partition plan] been carried out, the history of our people would have been different and six million Jews in Europe would not have been killed — most of them would be in Israel". Ben-Gurion responded to the Arab Revolt with a policy of "Havlagah
Havlagah
HaHavlagah was a strategic policy used by the Haganah members with regard to actions taken against Arab groups who were attacking the Jewish settlement during the British Mandate of Palestine. Its core principles were fortification and abstention from taking revenge on Arabs by attacking innocent...

" - self-restraint and a refusal to be provoked by Arab attacks in order to prevent polarization. The Etzel group broke off from the Haganah in opposition to this policy.

With war in Europe increasingly likely, the British tried to placate the Arab population of Palestine. The White Paper of 1939
White Paper of 1939
The White Paper of 1939, also known as the MacDonald White Paper after Malcolm MacDonald, the British Colonial Secretary who presided over it, was a policy paper issued by the British government under Neville Chamberlain in which the idea of partitioning the Mandate for Palestine, as recommended in...

, stated that with over 450,000 Jews having now arrived in Palestine, the Balfour Declaration aim of "a national home for the Jewish people" had been achieved. The White Paper recommended an independent Palestine, governed jointly by Arabs and Jews, be established within 10 years. The White Paper agreed to allow 75,000 Jewish immigrants into Palestine over the period 1940–44, after which migration would require (unlikely) Arab approval. Both the Arab and Jewish leadership rejected the White Paper. In March 1940 the British High Commissioner for Palestine issued an edict banning Jews from purchasing land in 95% of Palestine.

The Second World War and the Holocaust (1939–45)


During the 2nd World War, the Jewish Agency worked to establish a Jewish army that would fight alongside the British forces. Churchill supported the plan but British Military and government opposition led to its rejection. The British demanded that the number of Jewish recruits match the number of Palestinian Arab recruits but very few Arabs were willing to fight for Britain and the leader of Palestine's Arabs, Haj Amin al-Husseini, organized a pro-Nazi uprising in Iraq
Farhud
Farhud refers to the pogrom or "violent dispossession" carried out against the Jewish population of Baghdad, Iraq, on June 1-2, 1941 during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. The riots occurred in a power vacuum following the collapse of the pro-Nazi government of Rashid Ali while the city was in a...

 and then joined the Nazi war effort, recruiting for the Waffen SS. The refusal to provide arms to the Jews, even when Rommel's forces were advancing through Egypt in June 1942 (intent on occupying Palestine) and the 1939 White Paper, led to the emergence of a Zionist leadership in Palestine that believed conflict with Britain was inevitable. In the meantime the Jewish Agency called on Palestine's Jewish youth to volunteer for the British Army (both men and women). In June 1944 the British agreed to create a Jewish Brigade
Jewish Brigade
The Jewish Infantry Brigade Group was a military formation of the British Army that served in Europe during the Second World War. The brigade was formed in late 1944, and its personnel fought the Germans in Italy...

, that would fight in Europe.

Over a million Jews served in every branch of the allied armies, mainly in the Soviet and US armies. 200,000 Jews died serving in the Soviet army alone.

A small group (with about 200 activists), dedicated to Jewish resistance to the British administration in Palestine, broke away from the Etzel (which advocated support for Britain) and formed the "Lehi" (Stern Gang), led by Avraham Stern
Avraham Stern
Avraham Stern , alias Yair was a Jewish paramilitary leader who founded and led the militant Zionist organization later known as Lehi .-Early life:Stern was born in Suwałki, Poland...

. In 1943 the USSR released the Revisionist Zionist leader, Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

 from the Gulag and he went to Palestine, taking command of the Etzel organisation with a policy of increased conflict against the British. At about the same time Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

 escaped from the camp in Eritrea
Irgun and Lehi internment in Africa
From 1944 to 1948, Irgun and Lehi men being held without trial at the Latroun concentration camp were deported by the British Mandate of Palestine authorities to internment camps in Africa, located in Sembel , Carthago, Sudan, and Gilgil...

 where the British were holding Lehi activists without trial, taking command of the Lehi (Stern Gang).

Jews in the Middle East were also affected by the war. Most of North Africa came under Nazi control and many Jews were used as slaves. The 1941 pro-Axis coup in Iraq
Farhud
Farhud refers to the pogrom or "violent dispossession" carried out against the Jewish population of Baghdad, Iraq, on June 1-2, 1941 during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. The riots occurred in a power vacuum following the collapse of the pro-Nazi government of Rashid Ali while the city was in a...

 was accompanied by massacres of Jews. The Jewish Agency put together plans for a last stand in the event of Rommel invading Palestine (the Nazis planned to exterminate
Palestine's Jews).

Between 1939 and 1945, 6 million Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe were murdered. Almost a quarter of those killed were children. The Holocaust had an overwhelmingly decisive impact on the Jewish world (and beyond). The Polish and German Jewish communities which had played such an important role in defining the pre-1945 Jewish world, now virtually ceased to exist. In the USA and Palestine, Jews of European origin became disconnected from their families and roots. Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

, who had been a minority, became a much more significant factor in the Jewish world. The Second World War left the surviving remnant of Jews in central Europe as displaced persons (refugees); an Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry
Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry
The Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry was a joint British and American attempt in 1946 to agree upon a policy as regards the admission of Jews to Palestine. The Committee was tasked to consult representative Arabs and Jews on the problems of Palestine, and to make other recommendations 'as may be...

, established to examine the Palestine issue, surveyed their ambitions and found that 97% wanted to migrate to Palestine.

In the Zionist movement the moderate Pro-British (and British citizen) Weizmann, whose son died flying in the RAF, was undermined by Britain's anti-Zionist policies. Leadership of the movement passed to the Jewish Agency in Palestine, now led by the anti-British Socialist-Zionist party (Mapai
Mapai
Mapai was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968...

) and led by David Ben Gurion. In the diaspora, US Jews now dominated the Zionist movement.

The Post-War Years (1945–47)




The British Empire was severely weakened by the war. In the Middle East, the war had made Britain conscious of its dependence on Arab oil and it attached more importance to cordial relations with the Arabs than to helping the Jewish people establish a homeland. Shortly after VE Day, the Labour Party won the general election in Britain. Although Labour Party conferences had for years called for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, the Labour government now decided to maintain the 1939 White Paper restrictions.

Illegal migration (Aliyah Bet) became the main form of Jewish entry into Palestine. Across Europe Bricha ("flight"), an organization of former partisans and ghetto fighters, smuggled Jewish holocaust survivors from Eastern Europe to Italy, where small boats tried to breach the British blockade of Palestine. Meanwhile, Jews from Arab countries began moving into Palestine overland. Despite British efforts to curb immigration, during the 14 years of the Aliyah Bet, over 110,000 Jews secretly entered Palestine.

In an effort to win independence, Zionists now waged a bitter guerilla war against the British. The underground Jewish militias, the Haganah, formed an alliance called the Jewish Resistance Movement
Jewish Resistance Movement
The Jewish Resistance Movement , sometimes called United Resistance Movement , was an umbrella group for Jewish Resistance movements in the British Mandate of Palestine...

 with the Etzel and Stern Gang to fight the British. In June 1946, following instances of Jewish sabotage, the British launched Operation Agatha
Operation Agatha
Operation Agatha sometimes called Black Shabbat or Black Saturday because it began on the Jewish sabbath, was a police and military operation conducted by the British authorities in the British Mandate of Palestine...

, arresting 2700 Jews, including the leadership of the Jewish Agency, whose headquarters were raided. Those arrested were held without trial.

In Poland, the Kielce Pogrom
Kielce pogrom
The Kielce pogrom was an outbreak of violence against the Jewish community in the city of Kielce, Poland on July 4, 1946, perpetrated by a mob of local townsfolk and members of the official government forces of the People's Republic of Poland...

 (July 1946) led to a wave of Holocaust survivors escaping Europe and the British responded by imprisoning the growing numbers of Jews trying to illegally enter Palestine by sea in Cyprus internment camps
Cyprus internment camps
Cyprus internment camps were camps run by the British government for internment of Jews who had immigrated or attempted to immigrate to Mandatory Palestine in violation of British policy...

. Those held were mainly Holocaust survivors, including large numbers of children and orphans. In response to Cypriot fears that the Jews would never leave (since they lacked a state or documentation) the British later allowed the refugees to enter Palestine at a rate of 750 per month.

The unified Jewish resistance movement broke up in July 1946, after Etzel bombed the British Military Headquarters
King David Hotel bombing
The King David Hotel bombing was an attack carried out by themilitant right-wing Zionist underground organization Irgun on the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 22 July 1946...

 in the King David Hotel killing 92 people. In the days following the bombing, Tel Aviv was placed under curfew and over 120,000 Jews, nearly 20% of the Jewish population of Palestine, were questioned by the police. In the US, Congress criticized British handling of the situation and delayed loans which were vital to British post-war recovery. By 1947 the Labour Government was ready to refer the Palestine problem to the United Nations.

United Nations Partition Plan



To decide on how to deal with Palestine the UN appointed a committee, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine
United Nations Special Committee on Palestine
The United Nations Special Committee on Palestine was formed in May 1947 in response to a United Kingdom government request that the General Assembly "make recommendations under article 10 of the Charter, concerning the future government of Palestine"...

 (UNSCOP). In July 1947 the UNSCOP visited Palestine and met with Jewish and Zionist delegations. The Arab Higher Committee
Arab Higher Committee
The Arab Higher Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine. It was established on 25 April 1936, on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and comprised the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans under the mufti's...

 boycotted the meetings. At this time, there was further controversy when the British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin
Ernest Bevin was a British trade union leader and Labour politician. He served as general secretary of the powerful Transport and General Workers' Union from 1922 to 1945, as Minister of Labour in the war-time coalition government, and as Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour Government.-Early...

 ordered an illegal immigrant ship, the Exodus 1947, to be sent back to Europe. The migrants on the ship were forcibly removed by British troops at Hamburg after a long period in prison ships.

The principal non-Zionist Orthodox Jewish (or haredi) party, Agudat Israel
Agudat Israel
Agudat Yisrael began as the original political party representing the ultra-Orthodox population of Israel. It was the umbrella party for almost all ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, and before that in the British Mandate of Palestine...

, recommended to UNSCOP that a Jewish state be set up after reaching a religious status quo agreement with Ben-Gurion regarding the future Jewish state. The agreement granted future exemption of yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

 (religious seminary) students and orthodox women from military service, made the Sabbath the national weekend, promised Kosher food in government institutions and allowed them to maintain a separate education system.

In September 1947, one month after the Partition of India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

, UNSCOP recommended the partition in Palestine, a suggestion ratified by the UN General Assembly on November 29, 1947. The UN resolution stipulated the establishment of two separate states, one Arab and one Jewish, with the city of Jerusalem to be under the direct administration of the United Nations. The date for the proposed British withdrawal was to be 1 October 1948.

The UN resolution called upon Britain to evacuate a seaport and sufficient hinterland to support substantial Jewish migration, by February 1, 1948. Neither Britain nor the UN Security Council acted to implement the resolution and Britain continued detaining Jews attempting to enter Palestine. Concerned that partition would severely damage Anglo-Arab relations, Britain refused to cooperate with the UN, denying the UN access to Palestine during the interim period (a requirement of the partition decision). The British withdrawal was finally completed in May 1948. However, Britain continued to hold Jews of "fighting age" and their families on Cyprus until March 1949.

Civil War, January–May 1948


Fighting between the Arab and Jewish communities of Palestine began soon after the UN decision to partition Palestine in November 1947. Neighbouring Arab states declared that they would greet any attempt to create a Jewish state with war. In January 1948 Arab volunteers from Palestine and from all over the Middle East began to gather in Syria to form the Arab Liberation Army
Arab Liberation Army
The Arab Liberation Army , also translated as Arab Salvation Army, was an army of volunteers from Arab countries led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji...

 (ALA).

Arab-Jewish violence increased in the spring of 1948 as the British gradually withdrew. Britain imposed an arms embargo, which only really affected the Jews as supplies reached the Palestinian Arabs from neighbouring Arab states across the land borders of Palestine.

Palestinian Arab forces consisted of village militias buttressed by the Arab Liberation Army. In contrast, the Yishuv
Yishuv
The Yishuv or Ha-Yishuv is the term referring to the body of Jewish residents in Palestine before the establishment of the State of Israel...

 was highly organised, better educated and prepared under the able leadership of Ben-Gurion. The Jewish Agency had several underground militias, including many World War II veterans and an elite, professional force, several thousand strong called the Palmach
Palmach
The Palmach was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palmach was established on May 15, 1941...

. The Jews had a manpower advantage over the local Arabs among males in the twenty to forty-four age group and a motivational advantage as they believed they faced extermination.

In the north, the Jews were successful in Tiberias, Haifa and Safad. In Haifa, the Arab Higher Committee refusal to allow the Arab population to remain under Jewish control contributing to the departure of the city's Arab population.

Near Jerusalem, the Arabs besieged and captured 4 Jewish settlements in the Kfar Etzion
Kfar Etzion
Kfar Etzion is a religious Israeli settlement and kibbutz located in the Judean Hills between Jerusalem and Hebron in the southern West Bank. It has a population of 400 and falls under the jurisdiction of Gush Etzion Regional Council...

 area and 100,000 Jews (a sixth of the Jewish population) were under siege in Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (1948)
The Battle for Jerusalem occurred from 30 November 1947 to 11 June 1948 when Jewish and Arab population of Mandatory Palestine and later Israeli and Jordanian armies fought for the control of the city....

 as the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road ran through Arab land.

Clashes in and around Jaffa, which was surrounded by large Jewish settlements, resulted in mass evacuation of the Arab population.

In the early stages upto 100,000 Palestinian Arabs, mainly the better-off, fled to neighbouring states. By May 1948, 150,000 more had fled or were evicted.

In late April 1948, the neighbouring Arab states - Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Transjordan began preparations for their invasion of the Jewish areas of Palestine (the British presence prevented their intervention).

Establishment of the State of Israel


On May 14, 1948, the last British forces left Haifa. The Jewish Agency, led by David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, declared the establishment of the State of Israel, in accordance with the 1947 UN Partition Plan
1947 UN Partition Plan
The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was created by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947 to replace the British Mandate for Palestine with "Independent Arab and Jewish States" and a "Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem" administered by the United...

. Ben-Gurion became Prime Minister of the new state. Both superpower
Superpower
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests...

 leaders, U.S. President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, immediately recognized the new state. At this time the Jewish population of Palestine was approximately 650,000, the Arab population around 1.2 million.

Arab invasion (May 14 June 11, 1948)


The Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 members Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq refused to accept the UN partition plan and proclaimed the right of self-determination for the Arabs across the whole of Palestine. They declared war on the new state of Israel and immediately invaded. Saudi-Arabia and Sudan also contributed some troops. UN Secretary General Trygve Lie
Trygve Lie
Trygve Halvdan Lie was a Norwegian politician, labour leader, government official and author. He served as Norwegian Foreign minister during the critical years of the Norwegian government in exile in London from 1940 to 1945. From 1946 to 1952 he was the first Secretary-General of the United...

 described the conflict as
"the first armed aggression which the world had seen since the end of the war".


The new state of Israel had an organised and efficient army, the Haganah, under the command of Israel Galili. It numbered around 30,000 men, including the Palmach under General Yigael Allon. There were also another 30,000 trained men in the Haganah reserve. In addition, each Israeli settlement was protected by well-trained guards. The Etzel with about 3,500 men, and the Stern Gang with 500 men, were nominally under the command of the Haganah.

The Arab forces were of varying quality, but Arab states had heavy military equipment at their disposal. The ALA consisted of about 4,000 poorly trained men in 4 main groups. The Transjordan Arab Legion
Arab Legion
The Arab Legion was the regular army of Transjordan and then Jordan in the early part of the 20th century.-Creation:...

 consisted of less than 10,000 men and were by far the best trained Arab forces with 40 British officers in command. Iraq sent two air squadrons, an armoured battalion and 10,000 men; Egypt sent two air squadrons and about 7.500 men, including some independent units; Syria contributed a tank battalion, an air squadron and 5,000 men; Lebanon sent 2,500 men and some artillery. The Palestinian Arabs had formed 'Army of Salvation' numbering 4,000. There was also an unknown number, probably in excess of 50,000, of armed local Palestinian Arabs who were poorly organised and badly equipped, but who were a continuous threat to the Israelis.

Many Arab Legion forces were already in Palestine when the British left. Arab Legion commanders were high-ranking British officers (who resigned from the British Army in 1948) and the Commander-in-Chief was a British General, John Glubb Pasha. However, the Jordanian forces generally did not invade areas allocated to the Jewish state, focusing instead on occupying the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and East Jerusalem, which Jordan later annexed.

In northern Palestine, the Syrian and Lebanese forces were initially halted close to the frontier. The Iraqis advanced into the Nablus-Jenin area but could get no further. An Israeli attempt to take Jenin
Jenin
Jenin is the largest town in the Northern West Bank, and the third largest city overall. It serves as the administrative center of the Jenin Governorate and is a major agricultural center for the surrounding towns. In 2007, the city had a population of 120,004 not including the adjacent refugee...

 was repulsed (June 1–4). The Syrians and Lebanese renewed their offensive (June 6–10) and, together with the ALA, overrun much of Galilee.

General Glubb's Arab Legion occupied much of the Old City of Jerusalem without opposition and then captured and held the eastern and southern parts of New Jerusalem after hard fighting (May 15–25). Helped by local Palestinian Arabs, the Arab Legion then captured and held the Jewish quarter of Old Jerusalem (May 15–28). The Arab Legion also captured Latrun and held it against repeated Israeli attacks to drive them out (May 25–30 and June 9–10). Israeli forces attacked along the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road but failed to break through to Jerusalem. They did, however, building a new road through the mountains farther south. This road was completed on June 10. The Jews eventually destroyed most of the Arab villages along the road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the Egyptians advanced along the coast, through ALA-held Gaza, and advanced to Ashdod (May 29) just 25 miles from Tel Aviv. A small force, mostly ALA, advanced towards Jerusalem. An Israeli attempt to regain Ashdod was repulsed (June 2–3). The Egyptians then advanced inland, took Beersheba
Beersheba
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300....

 (May 20), Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 (May 21) and linked up with the Arab Legion at Bethlehem (May 22).

The invading Arab armies had initially been successful but the Israelis soon recovered from the initial shock of being invaded on all sides. On May 29, 1948 the British initiated United Nations Security Council Resolution 50
United Nations Security Council Resolution 50
United Nations Security Council Resolution 50, adopted on May 29, 1948, called upon all governments and authorities involved in the conflict in Palestine to order a cessation of all acts of armed force of four weeks, to refrain from introducing any fighting personnel into Palestine, Egypt, Iraq,...

 and declared an arms embargo on the region. Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 violated the resolution
Arms shipments from Czechoslovakia to Israel 1947-1949
Between June 1947 and October 31, 1949 the Jewish agency seeking weapons for Operation Balak, made several purchases of weapons in Czechoslovakia, some of them of former German army weapons, captured by the Czechoslovak army on its national territory, or newly produced German weapons from...

 supplying the Jewish state with critical military hardware to match the (mainly British) heavy equipment and planes already owned by the invading Arab states. On May 20, the UN Security Council appointed Count Folke-Bernadotte of Sweden to act as a mediator. On June 11, a month-long UN truce was put into effect. Both sides wanted the opportunity to recover and reorganise.

Following the announcement of independence, the Haganah
Haganah
Haganah was a Jewish paramilitary organization in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1920 to 1948, which later became the core of the Israel Defense Forces.- Origins :...

 became the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 (IDF). The Palmach
Palmach
The Palmach was the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palmach was established on May 15, 1941...

, Etzel
Irgun
The Irgun , or Irgun Zevai Leumi to give it its full title , was a Zionist paramilitary group that operated in Mandate Palestine between 1931 and 1948. It was an offshoot of the earlier and larger Jewish paramilitary organization haHaganah...

 and Lehi
Lehi (group)
Lehi , commonly referred to in English as the Stern Group or Stern Gang, was a militant Zionist group founded by Avraham Stern in the British Mandate of Palestine...

 were required to cease independent operations and join the IDF. During the ceasefire, Etzel attempted to bring in a private arms shipment aboard a ship called "Altalena". When they refused to hand the arms to the government, Ben-Gurion ordered that the ship be sunk. Several Etzel members were killed in the fighting.

Large numbers of Jewish immigrants, many of them World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors now began arriving in the new state of Israel, and many joined the IDF.

"Ten-Day Offensive" (July 9–18, 1948)


An Israeli offensive to drive the Syrians back across the Jordan was repulsed (July 9–14). However, a second offensive extended Israeli control along the coast north of Haifa and swept inland to seize Nazareth (July 12–16). Through fierce fighting, the Israelis captured the towns of Lydda and Ramle (July 9–12), but were again repulsed by the Arab Legion from Jerusalem (July 9–18) and Latrun (July 14–18). Further south, the Israelis kept up probing raids against the Egyptians though no advances were made.

The IDF had seized the initiative and was on the offensive in most of Palestine. By now the Israelis had mobilized an army of 49,000. Their organisation and equipment were improving all the time. Arab supply routes were long and fragile and as the war dragged on they had problems replenishing their supplies.

Second truce (July 18 October 15, 1948)


Both sides were once again keen to rest and regroup. In the recent fighting, the Israelis had met with limited successes, but felt that the tide was turning in their favour and wanted more time to prepare for an offensive. They used the truce to double the strength of the IDF to over 90,000, giving them a large numerical advantage over the Arab forces. The Arabs had been surprised by the strength of Israeli resistance and their ability to launch attacks on all fronts. The Arab states were increasingly anxious to end the war as soon as possible. However, confident of victory, many Israelis now resented the UN mediation efforts, which would prevent further Israeli expansion and try to force them to give up hard-won territory. On September 17, 1948, Count Bernadotte was assassinated by three unidentified men, possibly members of the Stern Gang.

By mid-September the truce was being broken by Israeli and Egyptian forces in the south. Israeli pressure was focused on Faluja
Al-Faluja
al-Faluja was an Arab village in the British Mandate of Palestine, located 30 kilometers northeast of Gaza City. The village and the neighbouring village of Iraq al-Manshiyya formed part of the Faluja pocket, where 4,000 Egyptian troops were besieged for four months by the newly established Israel...

, as they aimed to cut communications between Egyptian forces in the coastal and inland areas.

Renewed fighting (October 6 November 5, 1948)


An ALA attack on the northern border at Manara
Manara, Israel
Menara , also Manara, is a kibbutz located in the Upper Galilee area of northern Israel, adjacent to the Lebanese border and overlooking the Hula Valley. It falls under the jurisdiction of Upper Galilee Regional Council.-History:...

 (October 22) prompted a major Israeli counter-offensive. Manara and the Hula Valley were cleared of Arab fighters and ALA were driven back into Lebanon and the Israelis halted just inside southern Lebanon (October 22–31).

In the central sector, Israeli attacks attempted to widen the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem pocket and to push to the north and south of Jerusalem. However, they were defeated by the Arab Legion at Beit Gubrin.

The Israelis' main effort was in the south, where they concentrated their best forces against the Egyptians (now reinforced to about 15,000). The main offensive against Ashdod and Gaza failed to capture either town and the main Egytian line of communications at Rafah
Rafah
Rafah , also known as Rafiah, is a Palestinian city in the southern Gaza Strip. Located south of Gaza, Rafah's population of 71,003 is overwhelmingly made up of Palestinian refugees. Rafah camp and Tall as-Sultan form separate localities. Rafah is the district capital of the Rafah Governorate...

 remained intact (October 15–19). However, an offensive against Beersheba
Beersheba
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300....

 (October 19–21) was successful in capturing the town and opening the way to the Negev. Huleiqat was captured after heavy fighting (October 19), cutting Egyptian lines of communications and leaving Egyptian forces near Hebron and at Faluja isolated. The Egyptians were forced to withdraw from Ashdod (October 27) and Majdal (November 5) and concentrate their remaining forces in the Gaza area.

At the end of November, tenuous local ceasefires were arranged between the Israelis, Syrians and Lebanese. On December 1, King Abdullah
Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan [‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Husayn] عبد الله الأول بن الحسين born in Mecca, Second Saudi State, was the second of three sons of Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya bint Abdullah...

 announced the union of Transjordan with Arab Palestine west of the Jordan, the new state name being the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He adopted the title 'King of Arab Palestine', much to the disgust of most other Arab states.

Defeat of the Egyptians (November 19, 1948-January 7, 1949)


The Egyptians tried but failed to break through to the Faluja pocket (November 19 December 7). With ceasefires holding on all other fronts, the Israelis were now in a position to launch a major offensive against the Egyptians (December 20). The Israelis surrounded Rafah (December 22), then captured Asluj (December 25) and Auja (December 27). Colonel Allon advanced south into the Sinai, then swung back north to El Arish. Determined Egyptian resistance prevented further eastward movement, so the Israelis swung back northeast to Rafah. As the Israelis were getting ready to attack Rafah, the Egyptians asked the UN Security Council to arrange an armistice which was immediately put into effect (January 7, 1949).

Armistice Agreements (March–July 1949)




Peace talks were held on Rhodes, under the chairmanship of UN mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche. Israel signed armistices with Egypt (February 24), Lebanon (March 23), Jordan (April 3) and Syria (July 20). No actual peace agreements were signed. With permanent ceasefire
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

 coming into effect, Israel's new borders, later known as the Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

, were established. The IDF had overrun Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 and the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

. The Syrians remained in control of a strip of territory along the Sea of Galilee originally allocated to the Jewish state, the Lebanese occupied a tiny area at Rosh Hanikra and the Egyptians retained the Gaza strip and still had some forces surrounded inside Israeli territory. Jordanian forces remained in occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, exactly where the British had stationed them before the war. Jordan annexed the areas it occupied while Egypt kept Gaza as an occupied zone.

Following the ceasefire declaration, Britain released over 2,000 Jewish detainees it was still holding in Cyprus and recognized the state of Israel. On May 11, 1949, Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations. Out of an Israeli population of 650,000, some 6,000 men and women were killed in the fighting, including 4,000 soldiers in the IDF.

According to United Nations figures, 726,000 Palestinians had fled or were evicted by the Israelis between 1947 and 1949. Except in Jordan, the Palestinian refugees were settled in large refugee camps in poor, overcrowded conditions. They were denied citizenship and civil rights by the Arab countries that hosted them. In December 1949, the UN (in response to a British proposal) established an agency (UNRWA) to provide aid to the Palestinian refugees. The agency still operates and is the only UN agency dedicated to a single group of refugees.

Government and politics


A 120-seat parliament, the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

, met first in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv , officially Tel Aviv-Yafo , is the second most populous city in Israel, with a population of 404,400 on a land area of . The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in west-central Israel. It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, with...

 then moved to Jerusalem after the 1949 ceasefire. In January 1949, Israel held its first elections. Mapai won the most seats (but not an outright majority) and its leader, David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 was appointed prime minister. The Knesset elected Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Weizmann
Chaim Azriel Weizmann, , was a Zionist leader, President of the Zionist Organization, and the first President of the State of Israel. He was elected on 1 February 1949, and served until his death in 1952....

 as the first (largely ceremonial) President of Israel
President of Israel
The President of the State of Israel is the head of state of Israel. The position is largely an apolitical ceremonial figurehead role, with the real executive power lying in the hands of the Prime Minister. The current president is Shimon Peres who took office on 15 July 2007...

.

All governments have been coalitions - no party has ever won a a majority in the Knesset. From 1948 until 1977 all governments were led by Mapai
Mapai
Mapai was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968...

 and the Alignment
Alignment (political party)
The Alignment was an alliance of the major left-wing parties in Israel between the 1960s and 1990s. It was established in 1965 as an alliance of Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda but was dissolved three years later when the two parties and Rafi formally merged into the Israeli Labor Party...

, predecessors of the Labour Party.

In these years Labour Zionists
Labor Zionism
Labor Zionism can be described as the major stream of the left wing of the Zionist movement. It was, for many years, the most significant tendency among Zionists and Zionist organizational structure...

, initially led by David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, dominated Israeli politics and the economy was run on primarily socialist lines
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

.

Immigration


Within three years (1948 to 1951), immigration doubled the Jewish population of Israel and left an indelible imprint on Israeli society. Most immigrants were either Holocaust survivors or Jews fleeing Arab lands
Jewish exodus from Arab lands
The Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries was a mass departure, flight and expulsion of Jews, primarily of Sephardi and Mizrahi background, from Arab and Muslim countries, from 1948 until the early 1970s...

; the largest groups (over 100,000 each) were from Iraq, Romania and Poland, although immigrants arrived from all over Europe and the Middle East.

In 1949–1951, 30,000 Jews fled from Libya. In 1950 the Knesset passed the Law of Return
Law of Return
The Law of Return is Israeli legislation, passed on 5 July 1950, that gives Jews the right of return and settlement in Israel and gain citizenship...

 which granted to all Jews and those of Jewish ancestry, and their spouses, the right to settle in Israel and gain citizenship. That year, 50,000 Yemenite Jews (99%) were secretly flown
Operation Magic Carpet (Yemen)
Operation Magic Carpet is a widely-known nickname for Operation On Wings of Eagles , an operation between June 1949 and September 1950 that brought 49,000 Yemenite Jews to the new state of Israel. British and American transport planes made some 380 flights from Aden, in a secret operation that was...

 to Israel. In 1951 Iraqi Jews were granted temporary permission to leave the country and 120,000 (over 90%) opted to move to Israel
Operation Ezra and Nehemiah
From 1950 to 1952, Operation Ezra and Nehemiah airlifted between 120,000 to 130,000 Iraqi Jews to Israel via Iran and Cyprus. The massive emigration of Iraqi Jews was among the most climactic events of Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries. By 1968 only 2,000 Jews remained in Iraq...

. Jews also fled from Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. By the late sixties, about 500,000 Jews had left Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Over the course of twenty years, some 850,000 Jews from Arab countries (almost the entire Jewish population of the Arab lands) re-located to Israel. The land and property left behind the Jews (much of it in Arab city centres) is still a matter of some dispute. Today there are about 9,000 Jews living in Arab states, of whom 75% live in Morocco and 15% in Tunisia.

Between 1948 and 1958, the population of Israel rose from 800,000 to two million. During this period, food, clothes and furniture had to be rationed in what became known as the Austerity Period
Austerity in Israel
From 1949 to 1959, the state of Israel was, to a varying extent, under a regime of austerity , during which rationing and similar measures were enforced.-Rationale:...

 (Tkufat haTsena). Immigrants were mostly refugees with no money or possessions and many were housed in temporary camps known as ma'abarot
Ma'abarot
The Ma'abarot were refugee absorption camps in Israel in the 1950s. The Ma'abarot were meant to provide accommodation for the large influx of Jewish refugees and new Olim arriving to the newly independent State of Israel, replacing the less habitable immigrant camps or tent cities...

.

By 1952, over 200,000 immigrants were living in tents or pre-fabricated shacks built by the government. Israel received financial aid from private donations from outside the country
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is a worldwide Jewish relief organization headquartered in New York. It was established in 1914 and is active in more than 70 countries....

 (mainly the USA). The pressure on the new state's finances led Ben-Gurion to sign a reparations agreement
Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany
The Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany was signed on September 10, 1952, and entered in force on March 27, 1953...

 with West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

. During the Knesset debate some 5,000 demonstrators gathered and riot police had to cordon the building. In the heated debate, the Herut
Herut
Herut was the major right-wing political party in Israel from the 1940s until its formal merger into Likud in 1988, and an adherent of Revisionist Zionism.-History:...

 leader Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

 and Ben-Gurion called each other fascists and Begin branded Ben-Gurion a "hooligan." Israel received several billion marks and in return agreed to open diplomatic relations with Germany. At the end of 1953, Ben Gurion retired to Kibbutz
Kibbutz
A kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture. Today, farming has been partly supplanted by other economic branches, including industrial plants and high-tech enterprises. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism...

 Sde Boker
Sde Boker
Sde Boker is a kibbutz in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Best known as the retirement home of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, it falls under the jurisdiction of Ramat HaNegev Regional Council.-History:...

 in the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

.

Education


In 1949, the new Government passed a law making education free and compulsory for all citizens until the age of 14. The state now funded the existing party-affiliated Zionist education system and a new body created by the Haredi Agudat Israel
Agudat Israel
Agudat Yisrael began as the original political party representing the ultra-Orthodox population of Israel. It was the umbrella party for almost all ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, and before that in the British Mandate of Palestine...

 party. A separate body was created to provide education for the remaining Palestinian-Arab population.

Under the existing system major political parties ran their own education systems and these now competed for immigrants to join them. Fearing that the immigrants lacked sufficient "Zionist motivation", the government banned the existing educational bodies from teaching in the transit camps and instead tried to mandate a unitary secular socialist education. Education came under the control of "camp managers" who also had to provide work, food and housing for the immigrants. There were attempts to force orthodox Yemenite children to adopt a secular life style by teachers, including many instances of Yemenite children having their side-curls
Payot
Payot is the Hebrew word for sidelocks or sidecurls. Payot are worn by some men and boys in the Orthodox Jewish community based on an interpretation of the Biblical injunction against shaving the "corners" of one's head...

 cut by teachers. Immigrants who dissented from political lines sometimes faced discrimination, although no one went hungry and all were eventually housed. This treatment of Orthodox children led to the first Israeli public enquiry (the Fromkin Inquiry). The crisis led to the collapse of the coalition and an election
Israeli legislative election, 1951
Elections for the second Knesset were held in Israel on 30 July 1951. Voter turnout was 75.1%.-Results:¹ Rostam Bastuni, Avraham Berman and Moshe Sneh left Mapam and set up the Left Faction. Bastuni later returned to Mapam whilst Berman and Sneh joined Maki. Hannah Lamdan and David Livschitz left...

 in 1951, with little change in the results from the previous election.

In 1953 the party-affiliated education system was scrapped. The General Zionist and Socialist Zionist education systems were united to become the secular state education system while the Mizrahi became the State Modern-Orthodox system. Agudat Israel were allowed to maintain their existing school system.

Foreign relations


Whilst both the USA and the USSR supported the new state, in its early years Israel sought to maintain a non-aligned position between the super-powers. However, in 1952, an anti-Semitic public trial was staged in Moscow in which a group of Jewish doctors were accused of trying to poison Stalin (the Doctors' plot
Doctors' plot
The Doctors' plot was the most dramatic anti-Jewish episode in the Soviet Union during Joseph Stalin's regime, involving the "unmasking" of a group of prominent Moscow doctors, predominantly Jews, as conspiratorial assassins of Soviet leaders...

), followed by a similar trial in Czechoslovakia (Slánský trial). This, and the failure of Israel to be included in the Bandung Conference (of non-aligned states
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

), effectively ended Israel's pursuit of non-alignment. At this time the United States pursued close relations with the new Arab states, particularly the Egyptian Free Officers Movement
Free Officers Movement
In Egypt, the clandestine revolutionary Free Officers Movement was composed of young junior army officers committed to unseating the Egyptian monarchy and its British advisors...

 and Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia
Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia
King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia was the first monarch of the Third Saudi State known as Saudi Arabia. He was commonly referred to as Ibn Saud....

. Israel's solution to diplomatic isolation was to establish good relations with newly independent states in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and with France, which was engaged in the Algerian War.

Sharett (1954–55)



In January 1954 Moshe Sharett
Moshe Sharett
Moshe Sharett on 15 October 1894, died 7 July 1965) was the second Prime Minister of Israel , serving for a little under two years between David Ben-Gurion's two terms.-Early life:...

 became Prime-Minister of Israel. However, his government was soon brought down by the Lavon Affair
Lavon Affair
The Lavon Affair refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, code named Operation Susannah, conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation, a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence for plans to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and...

, a crude plan to disrupt US-Egyptian relations, involving Israeli agents planting bombs at American sites in Egypt. The plan failed when eleven agents were arrested. Defense Minister Lavon
Pinhas Lavon
Pinhas Lavon was an Israeli politician, minister and labor leader, best known for the Lavon Affair.-Early life:Lavon was born as Pinhas Lubianiker in Kopychyntsi in what was previously Galicia in Austria-Hungary . He studied law at the University of Lviv, where he organized Histadrut organizations...

 was blamed despite his denial of responsibility. The Lavon affair led to Sharett's resignation and Ben-Gurion returned to the post of Prime-Minister winning the 1955 election
Israeli legislative election, 1955
Elections for the third Knesset were held in Israel on 26 July 1955. Voter turnout was 82.8%.-Results:Mapai retained its plurality in the Knesset, although its share of the vote dropped by 5.1 and its share of seats dropped from 47 to 40...

.

Archaeologist and General Yigael Yadin
Yigael Yadin
Yigael Yadin on 21 March 1917, died 28 June 1984) was an Israeli archeologist, politician, and the second Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.-Early life and military career:...

, purchased the Dead Sea Scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

 on behalf of the State of Israel. The entire first batch to be discovered were now owned by Israel and housed in the Shrine of the Book
Shrine of the Book
The Shrine of the Book , a wing of the Israel Museum near Givat Ram in Jerusalem, houses the Dead Sea Scrolls—discovered 1947–56 in 11 caves in and around the Wadi Qumran...

 at the Israel Museum
Israel Museum
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem was founded in 1965 as Israel's national museum. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighborhood of Jerusalem, near the Bible Lands Museum, the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem....

. In 1954 the Uzi submachine gun first entered use by the Israel Defense Forces.

The 1956 War (Suez or Sinai War), October 29-November 6, 1956


On May 19, 1950, Egypt announced that the Suez Canal was closed to Israeli ships and commerce. In 1952 a military coup in Egypt brought Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 to power. Between 1953 and 1956, there were intermittent clashes along all of Israel's borders as Arab terrorism and breaches of the ceasefire resulted in Israeli counter-raids. Palestinian "Fedayeen
Fedayeen
Fedayeen is a term used to describe several distinct militant groups and individuals in West Asia at different times in history. It is sometimes used colloquially to refer to suicide squads, especially those who are not bombers.-Overview:...

" attacks, often organized and sponsored by the Egyptians, were made from (Egyptian occupied) Gaza
Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt
The administration of the Gaza Strip by Egypt occurred between 1948 and October 1956, and again from March 1957 to June 1967. Egypt did not annex the Gaza Strip but left it under Egyptian military rule as a temporary arrangement pending the resolution of the Palestine Question.-Background:After...

. Fedayeen attacks led to a growing cycle of violence as Israel launched reprisal attacks
Unit 101
Unit 101 was a special forces unit of the Israeli Defense Forces , founded and commanded by Ariel Sharon on orders from Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion in August 1953...

 against Gaza.

In 1955 the Egyptian government began recruiting former Nazi rocket scientists for a missile program. Rising tensions led to an increase in clashes on Israel's borders and Israeli punitive attacks on Gaza, Jordan and Syria (December 1955-July 1956). Arab states, supported by the USSR, complained to the U.N..

The US decision to withdraw promised aid to Egypt for the Aswan Dam project angered the Egyptian President, General Abdel Nasser and strengthened Egypt's growing ties with the USSR. In retaliation, Nasser announced the nationalization of the (French and British owned) Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 so canal revenues could be used for the Aswan project. Egypt also blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba
The Gulf of Aqaba is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. In pre twentieth-century and modern sources it is often named the Gulf of Eilat, as Eilat is its predominant Israeli city ....

 preventing Israeli access to the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

. Israel made a secret agreement
Protocol of Sèvres
The Protocol of Sèvres was a secret agreement reached between the governments of Israel, France and the United Kingdom during discussions held between 22 and 24 October 1956 at Sèvres, France...

 with the French at Sèvres to coordinate military operations against Egypt. Britain and France had already begun secret preparations for military action. It has been alleged that the French also agreed to build a nuclear plant
Negev Nuclear Research Center
The Negev Nuclear Research Center is an Israeli nuclear installation located in the Negev desert, about thirteen kilometers to the south-east of the city of Dimona. The purpose of Dimona is widely assumed to be the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, and the majority of defense experts have...

 for the Israelis and that by 1968 this was able to produce nuclear weapons
Nuclear weapons and Israel
Israel is widely believed to be the sixth country in the world to have developed nuclear weapons and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty , the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea...

.

Britain and France arranged for Israel to give them a pretext for seizing the Suez Canal. Israel was to attack Egypt, and Britain and France would then call on both sides to withdraw. When, as expected, the Egyptians refused, Anglo-French forces would invade to take control the Canal.

Israeli forces, under General Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

, attacked Egypt on October 29, 1956. On October 30, Britain and France made their pre-arranged call for both sides to stop fighting and withdraw from the Canal area and for them to be allowed to take up positions at key points on the Canal. Egypt refused and the allies commenced air strikes on October 31 aimed at neutralizing the Egyptian air force.

By November 5 the Israelis had overrun the Sinai. The Anglo-French invasion began that day. There was uproar in the UN, with the USA and USSR for once in agreement in denouncing the actions of Israel, Britain and France. A demand for a ceasefire was reluctantly accepted on November 7.

At Egypt's request, the UN sent the UN Emergency Force
United Nations Emergency Force
The first United Nations Emergency Force was established by United Nations General Assembly to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis with resolution 1001 on November 7, 1956. The force was developed in large measure as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and a proposal...

 (UNEF), consisting of 6,000 peacekeeping troops from 10 nations to supervise the ceasefire. From November 15, the UN troops marked out a zone across the Sinai to separate the Israeli and Egyptian forces. Upon receiving US guarantees of Israeli access to the Canal, freedom of access out of the Gulf of Aqaba and Egyptian action to stop Palestinian raids from Gaza, the Israelis withdrew to the Negev. In practice the Suez Canal remained closed to Israeli shipping.

In combat with the Israelis, the Egyptians lost around 1,000 killed, 4,000 wounded and 6,000 captured (Israel claimed 3,000 Egyptian dead and 7,000 prisoners taken). The Israelis lost 189 killed, 899 wounded and 4 captured. Israel lost 15 aircraft to 8 Egyptian. Some $50 million worth of Egyptian equipment, vehicles and supplies fell into Israeli hands. The Israeli offensive had been greatly helped in by the element of surprise and by the Anglo-French destruction of 200 Egyptian aircraft before they could get off the ground.

Ben-Gurion II (1956–63)


Rudolph Kastner, a minor political functionary, was accused of collaborating with the Nazis and sued his accuser. Kastner lost the trial and was assassinated two years later. In 1958 the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Israel
The Supreme Court is at the head of the court system and highest judicial instance in Israel. The Supreme Court sits in Jerusalem.The area of its jurisdiction is all of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. A ruling of the Supreme Court is binding upon every court, other than the Supreme...

 exonerated him.

In October 1957 a deranged man threw a handgrenade inside the Knesset wounding Ben-Gurion. Ben-Gurion was once again victorious in the 1959 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1959
Elections for the fourth Knesset were held in Israel on 3 November 1959. Voter turnout was 81.5%.-Results:¹ The General Zionists and the Progressive Party merged to form the Liberal Party....

.

In 1959, there were renewed skirmishes along Israel's borders which continued throughout the early 1960s. The Arab League continued to maintain an economic boycott and there was a dispute over water rights in the River Jordan basin. With Soviet backing, the Arab states, particularly Egypt, were continuing to build up their forces. Israel's main military hardware supplier was France
France–Israel relations
France–Israel relations refers to the bilateral foreign relations between France and Israel. France has an embassy in Tel Aviv and a consulate-general in Jerusalem...

.

In May 1960 the Mossad
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 located Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Eichmann
Adolf Otto Eichmann was a German Nazi and SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust...

, one of the chief administrators of the Nazi Holocaust, in Argentina and kidnapped him to Israel. In 1961 he was put on trial and after several months found guilty and sentenced to death. He was hanged in 1962 and is the only person ever sentenced to death by an Israeli court. Testimonies by Holocaust survivors at the trial and the extensive publicity which surrounded it has led the trial to be considered a turning point in public awareness of the Holocaust.

In 1961 a Herut
Herut
Herut was the major right-wing political party in Israel from the 1940s until its formal merger into Likud in 1988, and an adherent of Revisionist Zionism.-History:...

 non-confidence motion over the Lavon affair led to Ben-Gurion's resignation.
Ben-Gurion declared that he would only accept office if Lavon was fired from the position of the head of Histadrut
Histadrut
HaHistadrut HaKlalit shel HaOvdim B'Eretz Yisrael , known as the Histadrut, is Israel's organization of trade unions. Established in December 1920 during the British Mandate for Palestine, it became one of the most powerful institutions of the State of Israel.-History:The Histadrut was founded in...

, Israel's labor union organization (due to his role in the Lavon Affair
Lavon Affair
The Lavon Affair refers to a failed Israeli covert operation, code named Operation Susannah, conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation, a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence for plans to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and...

). His demands were accepted and he won the 1961 election
Israeli legislative election, 1961
Elections for the fifth Knesset were held in Israel on 15 August 1961. Voter turnout was 81.6%.-Results:¹ Eight MKs broke away from Mapai to establish Rafi² Herut and the Liberal Party merged to form Gahal...

.

In 1962 the Mossad
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 began assassinating German rocket scientists working in Egypt after one of them reported the missile program was designed to carry chemical warheads. This action was condemned by Ben-Gurion and led to the Mossad director, Isser Harel
Isser Harel
Isser Harel was spymaster of the intelligence and the security services of Israel and the Director of the Mossad . In his capacity as Mossad director he oversaw the abduction, and secret transport to Israel, of Holocaust organizer Adolph Eichmann....

's resignation.

In 1963 Ben-Gurion quit again over the Lavon scandal. His attempts to make his party Mapai
Mapai
Mapai was a left-wing political party in Israel, and was the dominant force in Israeli politics until its merger into the Israeli Labor Party in 1968...

 support him over the issue failed, and Ben-Gurion left the party to form Rafi. Levi Eshkol
Levi Eshkol
' served as the third Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 until his death from a heart attack in 1969. He was the first Israeli Prime Minister to die in office.-Biography:...

 became leader of Mapai and the new Prime-Minister.

Eshkol (1963–69)



In 1963 Yigael Yadin
Yigael Yadin
Yigael Yadin on 21 March 1917, died 28 June 1984) was an Israeli archeologist, politician, and the second Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.-Early life and military career:...

 began excavating Massada. In 1964, Egypt, Jordan and Syria developed a unified military command. Israel completed work on a national water carrier
National Water Carrier of Israel
The National Water Carrier of Israel is the largest water project in Israel. Its main task is to transfer water from the Sea of Galilee in the north of the country to the highly populated center and arid south and to enable efficient use of water and regulation of the water supply in the country...

, a huge engineering project designed to transfer Israel's allocation of the Jordan river's waters towards the south of the country in realization of Ben-Gurion's dream of mass Jewish settlement of the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 desert. The Arabs responded by trying to divert the headwaters of the Jordan and this led to growing conflict between Israel and Syria.

In 1964, Israeli Rabbinical authorities accepted that the Bene Israel
Bene Israel
The Bene Israel are a group of Jews who migrated in the 19th century from villages in the Konkan area to the nearby Indian cities, primarily Mumbai, but also to Pune, and Ahmedabad. Prior to these waves of emigrations and to this day, the Bene Israel formed the largest sector of the subcontinent's...

 of India were indeed Jewish and most of the remaining Indian Jews
Indian Jews
The history of the Jews in India reaches back to ancient times.Indian Jews are a religious minority of India. Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India in recorded history. The better-established ancient communities have assimilated a large number of local traditions through...

 migrated to Israel. The 2000 strong Jewish community of Cochin
Cochin Jews
Cochin Jews, also called Malabar Jews , are the oldest group of Jews in India, with roots claimed to date to the time of King Solomon, though historically attested migration dates from the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Historically, they lived in the Kingdom of Cochin in South India, now part of the...

 had already migrated in 1954.

As part of an agreement between West Germany and Israel in January 1965, including West German recognition of Israel, Israel began to receive some $80 million worth of weapons, tanks, helicopters and other equipment from West Germany. The shipments were only halted after Arab states had broken off relations with the West Germans, and threatened to recognise communist East Germany. In the 1965 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1965
Elections for the sixth Knesset were held in Israel on 1 November 1965. Voter turnout was 85.9%.-Background:Prior to the elections, two major alliances were formed; Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda united to form the Alignment, whilst Herut and the Liberal Party had formed the Gahal alliance towards the end...

 Levi Eshkol
Levi Eshkol
' served as the third Prime Minister of Israel from 1963 until his death from a heart attack in 1969. He was the first Israeli Prime Minister to die in office.-Biography:...

 was victorious. Until 1966, Israel's principal arms supplier was France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, however in 1966, following the withdrawal from Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, Charles de Gaulle announced France would cease supplying Israel with arms (and refused to refund money paid for 50 warplanes). On February 5, 1966 the USA announced that it was taking over the former French and West German obligations, to maintain military "stabilisation" in the Middle East. Included in the military hardware would be over 200 M48 tanks. In May of that year the USA also agreed to provide A-4 Skyhawk
A-4 Skyhawk
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft designed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D...

 tactical aircraft to Israel. In 1966 security restrictions placed on Palestinians were eased and efforts made to integrate them into Israeli life. Black and white TV broadcasts began.
On May 15, 1967 the first public performance of Naomi Shemer
Naomi Shemer
Naomi Shemer was a leading Israeli songwriter hailed as the "first lady of Israeli song and poetry."-Biography:Naomi Sapir was born on Kvutzat Kinneret, a kibbutz her parents had helped found, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. In the 1950s she served in the Israeli Defense Force's Nahal...

's classic song "Jerusalem of Gold" took place and over the next few weeks it dominated the Israeli airwaves.
Two days later Syria, Egypt and Jordan amassed troops along the Israeli borders and Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran
Straits of Tiran
The Straits of Tiran , are the narrow sea passages, about wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea...

 to Israeli shipping. Nasser demanded that the UNEF
United Nations Emergency Force
The first United Nations Emergency Force was established by United Nations General Assembly to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis with resolution 1001 on November 7, 1956. The force was developed in large measure as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and a proposal...

 leave Sinai, threatening escalation to a full war. Egyptian radio broadcasts talked of a coming genocide. Israel responded by calling up its civilian reserves, bringing much of the Israeli economy to a halt. The Israelis set up a national unity coalition, including for the first time Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

's party, Herut
Herut
Herut was the major right-wing political party in Israel from the 1940s until its formal merger into Likud in 1988, and an adherent of Revisionist Zionism.-History:...

 in a coalition. During a national radio broadcast, Prime-Minister Levi Eshkol stammered, causing widespread fear in Israel. To calm public concern Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 (Chief of Staff during the Sinai war) was appointed defense minister.
On the morning before Dayan was sworn in, June 5, 1967, the Israeli air force launched pre-emptive attacks destroying first the Egyptian air force and then later the same day destroying the air forces of Jordan and Syria. Israel then defeated (almost successively) Egypt, Jordan and Syria. By June 11 the Arab forces were routed and all parties had accepted the cease-fire called for by UN Security Council Resolutions 235 and 236.

Israel gained control of the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

, the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

, the Golan Heights, and the formerly Jordanian-controlled West Bank of the Jordan River. East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem refer to the parts of Jerusalem captured and annexed by Jordan in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and then captured and annexed by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War...

 was immediately arguably annexed by Israel and its population granted Israeli citizenship. Other areas occupied remained under military rule (Israeli civil law did not apply to them) pending a final settlement. The Golan was also annexed in 1981.

On November 22, 1967, the Security Council adopted Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967, in the aftermath of the Six Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VIof the United Nations Charter...

, 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 resolution was accepted by both sides, though with different interpretations, and has been the basis of all subsequent peace negotiations.

For the first time since the end of the British Mandate, Jews could visit the Old City of Jerusalem and pray at the Western Wall
Western Wall
The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount...

 (the holiest site in modern Judaism) to which they had been denied access by the Jordanians in contravention of the 1949 Armistice agreement. The four meter wide public alley which formed the Wall was expanded into a massive plaza and worshippers were allowed to sit, or use other furniture, for the first time in centuries. In Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

, Jews gained access to the Cave of the Patriarchs
Cave of the Patriarchs
The Cave of the Patriarchs or the Cave of Machpelah , is known by Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham or Ibrahimi Mosque ....

 (the second most holy site in Judaism) for the first time since the 14th century (previously Jews were only allowed to pray at the entrance). A third Jewish holy site, Rachel's Tomb
Rachel's Tomb
Rachel's Tomb , also known as the Dome of Rachel, , is an ancient structure believed to be the burial place of the biblical matriarch Rachel. It is located on the outskirts of Bethlehem, a Palestinian city just south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank...

, in Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

, also became accessible. Sinai oil fields
Energy in Egypt
Energy in Egypt describes energy and electricity production, consumption and import in Egypt. Energy policy of Egypt describes the energy policy in the politics of Egypt more in detail.- Overview :...

 made Israel self-sufficient in energy.

After 1967 the USA began supplying Israel with aircraft and the Soviet block (except Romania) broke off relations with Israel. Anti-Semitic purges led to the final migration of the last Polish Jews to Israel.

In 1968 Moshe Levinger
Moshe Levinger
Rabbi Moshe Levinger is an Israeli Religious Zionist who since 1967 has been a leading figure in the movement to settle Jews in the territories occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War...

 led a group of Religious Zionists who created the first Jewish settlement, a town near Hebron called Kiryat Arba
Kiryat Arba
Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba , lit. "Town of the Four," is an Israeli settlement in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank on the edge of Hebron. Its settlers consist of a mix of Russian immigrants, American immigrants, and native-born Israelis numbering close to 10,000...

. There were no other religious settlements until after 1974.

In 1968, compulsory education was extended until the age of 16 for all citizens (it had been 14) and the government embarked on an extensive program of integration
Social integration
Social integration, in sociology and other social sciences, is the movement of minority groups such as ethnic minorities, refugees and underprivileged sections of a society into the mainstream of societies...

 in education. In the major cities children from mainly Sephardi/Mizrahi neighbourhoods were bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

ed to newly established middle school
Middle school
Middle School and Junior High School are levels of schooling between elementary and high schools. Most school systems use one term or the other, not both. The terms are not interchangeable...

s in better areas. The system remained in place until after 2000.

In March 1968, Israeli forces attacked the Palestinian militia, Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 at its base in the Jordanian town of Karameh
Battle of Karameh
The Battle of Karameh was fought on March 21, 1968 in the town of Karameh, Jordan, between the Israel Defense Forces and combined forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Jordanian Army...

. The attack, in response to land mines placed on Israeli roads, was badly planned and vehicles got stuck in heavy mud. The Israelis retreated with 29 dead. The failure, so soon after the Six Day war, made Fatah and the PLO (of which it formed part) famous across the Arab world.

In early 1969, fighting broke out between Egypt and Israel along the Suez Canal. In retaliation for repeated Egyptian shelling of Israeli positions along the Suez Canal, Israeli planes made deep strikes into Egypt in the 1969–1970 "War of Attrition
War of Attrition
The international community and both countries attempted to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The Jarring Mission of the United Nations was supposed to ensure that the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 would be observed, but by late 1970 it was clear that this mission had been...

". The United States helped end these hostilities in August 1970, but subsequent U.S. efforts to negotiate an interim agreement to open the Suez Canal and achieve the disengagement of forces were unsuccessful.

In 1969 some 50 of the remaining Iraqi Jews were executed, 11 were publicly executed after show trials and several hundred thousand Iraqis marched past the bodies amid a carnival-like atmosphere.

In late 1969, Levi Eshkol died in office, of a heart attack, and was succeeded by Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

.

Meir (1969–74)



In the 1969 election
Israeli legislative election, 1969
Elections for the seventh Knesset were held in Israel on 28 October 1969. Voter turnout was 81.7%.-Results:¹ Meir Avizohar defected from the National List to the Alignment² Avner Shaki left the National Religious Party and remained a single MK...

, Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

 became Prime Minister with the largest percentage of the vote ever won by an Israeli party. Meir was the first female prime minister of Israel and is the only woman to have headed a Middle Eastern state in modern times.

In December 1969, Israeli naval commandos took five missile boats
Cherbourg Project
The Boats of Cherbourg was an Israeli military operation which took place on 24 December 1969, and involved the escape of five class 3 missile boats from the French port of Cherbourg. The boats had been paid for by the Israeli government but had not been delivered due to the French arms embargo...

 during the night from Cherbourg Harbour in France. Israel had paid for the boats but the French had refused to supply them.

In September 1970
Black September in Jordan
September 1970 is known as the Black September in Arab history and sometimes is referred to as the "era of regrettable events." It was a month when Hashemite King Hussein of Jordan moved to quash the militancy of Palestinian organizations and restore his monarchy's rule over the country. The...

 King Hussein of Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 drove the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 out of his country. On 18 September 1970 Syrian tanks invaded Jordan, intending to aid the PLO. At the request of the USA, Israel moved troops to the border and threatened Syria, causing the Syrians to withdraw. The center of PLO activity then shifted to Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, where the 1969 Cairo agreement
Cairo agreement
The Cairo agreement or Cairo accord was an agreement reached on 2 November 1969 during talks between Yassir Arafat and the Lebanese army commander General Emile Bustani...

 gave the Palestinians autonomy within the south of the country. The area controlled by the PLO became known by the international press and locals as "Fatahland" and contributed to the 1975–1990 Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

. The event also led to Hafez al-Assad
Hafez al-Assad
Hafez ibn 'Ali ibn Sulayman al-Assad or more commonly Hafez al-Assad was the President of Syria for three decades. Assad's rule consolidated the power of the central government after decades of coups and counter-coups, such as Operation Wappen in 1957 conducted by the Eisenhower administration and...

 taking power in Syria. Egyptian President Nasser died immediately after and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

.

Increased Soviet antisemitism
Zionology
Soviet Anti-Zionism was a doctrine promulgated in the Soviet Union during the course of the Cold War, and intensified after the 1967 Six Day War. It was officially sponsored by the Department of propaganda of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and by the KGB. It alleged that Zionism was a form...

 and enthusiasm generated by the 1967 victory led to a wave of Jews applying to emigrate
Aliyah from the Soviet Union in the 1970s
In the 1970s a major immigration wave of Soviet Union Jews went to Israel.-Background:A mass emigration was politically undesirable for the Soviet regime. In the wake of Israel's victory in the Six-Day War in 1967, the USSR broke off the diplomatic relations with the Jewish state...

 to Israel. Those who left could only take two suitcases. Most Jews were refused exit visas
Refusenik
Refusenik originally referred to citizens of the former Soviet Union who were refused permission to emigrate.Refusenik or refusnik may also refer to:*An Israeli conscientious objector, see Refusal to serve in the Israeli military...

 and persecuted by the authorities. Some were arrested and sent to Gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 camps, becoming known as Prisoners of Zion.

During 1971, violent demonstrations by the Israeli Black Panthers
Israeli Black Panthers
The Black Panthers were an Israeli protest movement of second-generation Jewish immigrants from Middle Eastern countries. They were one of the first organizations in Israel with the mission of working for social justice for the Mizrahi Jews...

, made the Israeli public aware of resentment among Mizrahi Jews at ongoing discrimination and social gaps.

In 1972 the US Jewish Mafia leader, Meyer Lansky
Meyer Lansky
Meyer Lansky , known as the "Mob's Accountant", was a Polish-born American organized crime figure who, along with his associate Charles "Lucky" Luciano, was instrumental in the development of the "National Crime Syndicate" in the United States...

, who had taken refuge in Israel, was deported to the USA. At the Munich Olympics, 11 members of the Israeli team were taken hostage by Palestinian terrorists
Black September (group)
The Black September Organization was a Palestinian paramilitary group, founded in 1970. It was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of eleven Israeli athletes and officials, and fatal shooting of a West German policeman, during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, their most publicized event...

. A botched German rescue attempt led to the death
Munich massacre
The Munich massacre is an informal name for events that occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Bavaria in southern West Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September. Members of Black September...

 of all 11 Israeli athletes and coaches. Five of the terrorists were shot and three survived unharmed. The three surviving Palestinians were released without charge
One Day in September
One Day in September is a 1999 documentary film directed by Kevin Macdonald examining the 5 September 1972 murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany...

 by the German authorities a month later. The Israeli government responded with an assassination campaign
Operation Wrath of God
Operation Wrath of God ,This title was an invention of later writers, and was most likely not used by the Mossad itself. also called Operation Bayonet, was a covert operation directed by Israel and the Mossad to assassinate individuals alleged to have been directly or indirectly involved in the...

 against the organizers and a raid on the PLO headquarters in Lebanon (led by Ehud Barak).
In 1971 the new Egyptian President Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

 had shown willingness to sign a peace treaty with Israel in return for the Sinai territories Israel captured in the 1967 war, but Israel refused the offer. In 1972 Sadat publicly announced that Egypt was "committed to going to war with Israel" and was willing to "sacrifice one million Egyptian soldiers". The 1972 expulsion of Soviet advisors by Sadat, and frequent invasion simulations by Egypt and Syria, led to Israeli complacency about the military threat, despite warnings of an impending attack.

The Yom Kippur War (also known as the October War) began on October 6, 1973 (the Jewish Day of Atonement
Yom Kippur
Yom Kippur , also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue...

), the holiest day in the Jewish calendar and a day when adult Jews are required to fast. The Syrian and Egyptian armies launched a well-planned surprise attack against the unprepared Israeli Defense Forces. For the first few days there was a great deal of uncertainty about Israel's capacity to repel the invaders. Both the Soviets and the Americans (at the orders of Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

) rushed arms to their allies
Operation Nickel Grass
Operation Nickel Grass was an overt strategic airlift operation conducted by the United States to deliver weapons and supplies to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. The Military Airlift Command of the U.S...

. The Syrians were repulsed by the tiny remnant of the Israeli tank force on the Golan and, although the Egyptians captured a strip of territory in Sinai, Israeli forces crossed the Suez Canal
Battle of Ismailia
The Battle of Ismailia took place between the Egyptian Army and the Israeli Defense Forces during the last stages of the Yom Kippur War during October 18–22, 1973, south of the city of Ismailia, on the west bank of the Suez Canal in Egypt...

, trapping the Egyptian Third Army in Sinai and were 100 kilometres from Cairo.
The war cost over 2,000 dead, resulted in a heavy arms bill (for both sides) and made Israelis more aware of their vulnerability. It also led to heightened superpower tension
DEFCON
A defense readiness condition is an alert posture used by the United States Armed Forces. The DEFCON system was developed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and unified and specified combatant commands. It prescribes five graduated levels of readiness for the U.S...

. Following the war, both Israelis and Egyptians showed greater willingness to negotiate. On January 18, 1974, extensive diplomacy by US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

, led to a Disengagement of Forces agreement with the Egyptian government and on May 31 with the Syrian government.

The war led the Saudi Government to initiate the 1973 oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

, an oil embargo in conjunction with OPEC
OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

, against countries trading with Israel. Severe shortages led to massive increases in the price of oil, and as a result, many countries broke off relations with Israel or downgraded relations and Israel was banned from participation in the Asian Games
Asian Games
The Asian Games, officially known as Asiad, is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation from the first Games in New Delhi, India, until the 1978 Games. Since the 1982 Games they have been organised by the...

 and other Asian sporting events.
In May 1974, Palestinians attacked a school in Ma'alot
Ma'alot massacre
The Ma'alot massacre was a terrorist attack which included a two-day hostage-taking of 115 people which ended in the deaths of over 25 hostages. It began when three armed Palestinian terrorists of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine entered Israel from Lebanon...

, holding 102 children hostage. Twenty-two children were killed. In November 1974 the PLO was granted observer status at the UN and Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

 addressed the General Assembly. Later that year the Agranat Commission
Agranat Commission
The Agranat Commission was a National Commision of Inquiry set up to investigate failings in the Israel Defense Forces in the prelude to the Yom Kippur War, when Israel was found unprepared for the Egyptian attack against the Bar Lev Line and a simultaneous attack by Syria in the Golan — the first...

, appointed to assess responsibility for Israel's lack of preparedness for the war, exonerated the government of responsibility and held the Chief of Staff
David Elazar
David "Dado" Elazar was the ninth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, serving in that capacity from 1972 to 1974. He was forced to resign in the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War.-Early life:...

 and head of military intelligence
Eli Zeira
Eli Zeira is a former Major General in the Israel Defense Forces. He was director of Aman, Israel's military intelligence, during the 1973 Yom Kippur War...

 responsible. Despite the report, public anger at the Government led to Golda Meir
Golda Meir
Golda Meir ; May 3, 1898 – December 8, 1978) was a teacher, kibbutznik and politician who became the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel....

's resignation.

Rabin I (1974–76)


Following Meir's resignation, Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

 (Chief of Staff during the Six Day War) became prime minister.

Modern Orthodox Jews (Religious Zionist followers of the teachings of Rabbi Kook
Abraham Isaac Kook
Abraham Isaac Kook was the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of the British Mandate for Palestine, the founder of the Religious Zionist Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, Jewish thinker, Halachist, Kabbalist and a renowned Torah scholar...

), formed the Gush Emunim
Gush Emunim
Gush Emunim was an Israeli messianic and political movement committed to establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank. While not formally established as an organization until 1974 in the wake of the Yom Kippur War, Gush Emunim sprang out of the conquests of the Six-Day War in 1967, encouraging...

 movement and began an organized drive to settle the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 Strip.

In November 1975 the United Nations General Assembly, under the guidance of Austrian Secretary General Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Josef Waldheim was an Austrian diplomat and politician. Waldheim was the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and the ninth President of Austria, from 1986 to 1992...

, adopted Resolution 3379
UN General Assembly Resolution 3379
-The Israeli response:In his address to the United Nations General Assembly the same day, 10. November 1975, Israeli Ambassador Chaim Herzog stated: In his response he also said that the resolution was:...

 which asserted Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 to be a form of racism. The General Assembly rescinded this resolution in December 1991 with Resolution 46/86.

In March 1976 there was a massive strike by Israeli-Arabs
Land Day
Land Day , March 30, is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the events of that date in 1976. In response to the Israeli government's announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for "security and settlement purposes", a general strike and marches were organized...

 in protest at a government plan to expropriate land in the Gallillee.

In July 1976, an Air France
Air France
Air France , stylised as AIRFRANCE, is the French flag carrier headquartered in Tremblay-en-France, , and is one of the world's largest airlines. It is a subsidiary of the Air France-KLM Group and a founding member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance...

 plane carrying 260 people was hijacked by Palestinian
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - External Operations
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - External Operations or Special Operations or Special Operations Group were organizational names used by Palestinian radical Wadie Haddad when engaging in international attacks, that were regarded as terrorism, and were not sanctioned by the...

 and German
Revolutionary Cells (RZ)
Revolutionary Cells was a German left-wing political militancy of self-described "urban guerillas" who were active from 1973 to 1993. According to the office of the German Federal Prosecutor, the RZ claimed responsibility for 186 attacks, of which 40 were committed in West Berlin...

 terrorists and flown to Uganda, then ruled by Idi Amin Dada. There, the Germans separated the Jewish passengers from the Non-Jewish passengers, releasing the non-Jews. The hijackers threatened to kill the remaining, 100-odd Jewish passengers (and the French crew who had refused to leave). Despite the distances involved, Rabin ordered a daring rescue operation
Operation Entebbe
Operation Entebbe was a counter-terrorist hostage-rescue mission carried out by the Special Forces of the Israel Defense Forces at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. A week earlier, on 27 June, an Air France plane with 248 passengers was hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists and...

 in which the kidnapped Jews were freed.

UN Secretary General Waldheim described the raid as "a serious violation of the national sovereignty of a United Nations member state" (meaning Uganda). Waldheim was a former Nazi and suspected war criminal, with a record of offending Jewish sensibilities.

In 1976, the ongoing Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

 led Israel to allow South Lebanese to cross the border
Good Fence
The Good Fence is a popular term for Israel's northern border with Lebanon during the period following the Lebanese Civil War and the 1978 South Lebanon conflict during which southern Lebanon was controlled by the Maronite Christians and the South Lebanon Army, friendly to Israel.From the 1948...

 and work in Israel.

Rabin resigned in late 1976 after it emerged that his wife maintained a dollar account in the United States (illegal at the time), which had been opened while Rabin was Israeli ambassador. The incident became known as the Dollar Account affair
Dollar Account affair
The Dollar Account affair was a political scandal in Israel in 1977, following the exposure of an illegal US Dollar bank account held by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and his wife Leah...

.

Peres I (1976–77)


Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 replaced him as prime minister, leading the Alignment
Alignment (political party)
The Alignment was an alliance of the major left-wing parties in Israel between the 1960s and 1990s. It was established in 1965 as an alliance of Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda but was dissolved three years later when the two parties and Rafi formally merged into the Israeli Labor Party...

 in the subsequent elections
Israeli legislative election, 1977
The Elections for the ninth Knesset were held on 17 May 1977. For the first time in Israeli political history, the right-wing, led by Likud, won the election, ending almost 30 years of rule by the left-wing Alignment and its predecessor, Mapai...

. In January 1977, French authorities arrested Abu Daoud
Abu Daoud
Mohammad Daoud Oudeh , commonly known by his nom de guerre Abu Daoud or Abu Dawud was a Palestinian militant known as the planner, architect and mastermind of the Munich massacre...

, the planner of the Munich massacre, releasing him a few days later. In March 1977 Anatoly Sharansky, a prominent Refusenik
Refusenik
Refusenik originally referred to citizens of the former Soviet Union who were refused permission to emigrate.Refusenik or refusnik may also refer to:*An Israeli conscientious objector, see Refusal to serve in the Israeli military...

 and spokesman for the Moscow Helsinki Group
Moscow Helsinki Group
The Moscow Helsinki Group is an influential human rights monitoring non-governmental organization, originally established in what was then the Soviet Union; it still operates in Russia....

, was sentenced to 13 years' hard labour.

Begin (1977–82)


In a surprise result, the Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 led by Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

 won the 1977
Israeli legislative election, 1977
The Elections for the ninth Knesset were held on 17 May 1977. For the first time in Israeli political history, the right-wing, led by Likud, won the election, ending almost 30 years of rule by the left-wing Alignment and its predecessor, Mapai...

 elections. This was the first time in Israeli history that the government was not led by the left. A key reason for the victory was anger among Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews
Mizrahi Jews or Mizrahiyim, , also referred to as Adot HaMizrach are Jews descended from the Jewish communities of the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus...

 at discrimination, which was to play an important role in Israeli politics for many years. Talented small town Mizrahi social activists, unable to advance in the Labour party, were readily embraced by Begin. Moroccan-born David Levy
David Levy (Israeli politician)
David Levy is an Israeli politician who served as a member of the Knesset between 1969 and 2006, as well as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Minister of Housing & Construction and as a Minister without Portfolio...

 and Iranian-born Moshe Katzav were part of a group who won Mizrahi support for Begin.

Many Labour voters voted for the Democratic Movement for Change
Democratic Movement for Change
The Democratic Movement for Change , commonly known by its Hebrew acronym Dash was a short-lived and initially highly-successful centrist political party in Israel...

 in protest at high-profile corruption cases. The party joined in coalition with Begin and disappeared at the next election.

In addition to starting a process of healing the Mizrahi-Ashkenazi
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

 divide, Begin's government included Ultra-Orthodox Jews
Agudat Israel
Agudat Yisrael began as the original political party representing the ultra-Orthodox population of Israel. It was the umbrella party for almost all ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, and before that in the British Mandate of Palestine...

 and was instrumental in healing the Zionist – Ultra-Orthodox rift. Begin's liberalization of the economy led to hyper-inflation but enabled Israel to begin receiving US financial aid. Begin actively supported Gush Emunim
Gush Emunim
Gush Emunim was an Israeli messianic and political movement committed to establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank. While not formally established as an organization until 1974 in the wake of the Yom Kippur War, Gush Emunim sprang out of the conquests of the Six-Day War in 1967, encouraging...

's efforts to settle the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and Jewish settlements began in the occupied territories received government support, thus laying the grounds for intense conflict with the Palestinian population of the occupied territories.

Begin had been tortured by the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 as a young man and one of his first acts was to instruct the Israeli secret service to "use wisdom rather than violence" in interrogations.

In November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

 broke 30 years of hostility with Israel by visiting Jerusalem at the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

. Sadat's two-day visit included a speech before the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

, and was a turning point in the history of the conflict. The Egyptian leader created a new psychological climate in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 in which peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours seemed possible. Sadat recognized Israel's right to exist and established the basis for direct negotiations between Egypt and Israel.

Following Sadat's visit, 350 Yom Kippur War veterans organized the Peace Now movement to encourage Israeli governments to make peace with the Arabs.

In March 1978, eleven armed Lebanese-Palestinians reached Israel in boats and hijacked a bus
Coastal Road massacre
The Coastal Road massacre of 1978 was an attack involving the hijacking of a bus on Israel's Coastal Highway in which 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children, were killed, and 71 were wounded. The attack was planned by Abu Jihad and carried out by the PLO faction Fatah...

 carrying families on a day outing, killing 35 people, including 13 children. The attackers opposed the Egyptian-Israeli peace process. Three days later, Israeli forces crossed into Lebanon beginning Operation Litani
Operation Litani
The 1978 South Lebanon conflict was an invasion in Lebanon up to the Litani River carried out by the Israel Defense Forces in 1978. It was a military success for the Israeli Defense Forces, as PLO forces were pushed north of the river...

. After passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 425
United Nations Security Council Resolution 425
United Nations Security Council Resolution 425, adopted on March 19, 1978, five days after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, called on Israel to withdraw immediately its forces from Lebanon and established the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon...

, calling for Israeli withdrawal and the creation of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, was created by the United Nations, with the adoption of Security Council Resolution 425 and 426 on 19 March 1978, to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon which Israel had invaded five days prior, restore international peace and security,...

 (UNIFIL) peace-keeping force, Israel withdrew its troops.
In September 1978, U.S. President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 invited President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to meet with him at Camp David
Camp David
Camp David is the country retreat of the President of the United States and his guests. It is located in low wooded hills about 60 mi north-northwest of Washington, D.C., on the property of Catoctin Mountain Park in unincorporated Frederick County, Maryland, near Thurmont, at an elevation of...

, and on September 11 they agreed on a framework for peace between Israel and Egypt and a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. It set out broad principles to guide negotiations between Israel and the Arab states. It also established guidelines for a West Bank-Gaza transitional regime of full autonomy for the Palestinians residing in these territories and for a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel
Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty
The 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on the 26th of March 1979, following the 1978 Camp David Accords, which were signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and were witnessed by United States President Jimmy Carter.The peace...

. The treaty was signed on March 26, 1979, by Begin and Sadat, with President Carter signing as witness. Under the treaty, Israel returned the Sinai peninsula to Egypt in April 1982. The final piece of territory to be repatriated was Taba
Taba (Egypt)
Taba is a small Egyptian town near the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba. Taba is the location of Egypt's busiest border crossing with neighboring Israel. Little more than a bus depot and a luxury hotel , Taba is a frequent vacation spot for Egyptians and tourists, especially those from Israel on...

, adjacent to Eilat, returned in 1989. The Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 reacted to the peace treaty by suspending Egypt from the organisation and moving its headquarters from Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 to Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

.

Sadat
Sadat
- See also :* Anwar Sadat, former President of Egypt* Sadat * Saadat* Sadat. Term also used for the descendents of Holy Prophet Muhammad through Imam Ali and Bibi Fatima progeny....

 was assassinated in 1981 by Islamic fundamentalist members of the Egyptian army who opposed peace with Israel. Following the agreement Israel and Egypt became the two largest recipients of US military and financial aid
United States Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas...

 (Iraq and Afghanistan have now overtaken them
Financial cost of the Iraq War
The following is a partial accounting of financial costs of the 2003 Iraq War by the United States and the United Kingdom, the two largest non Iraqi participants of the multinational force in Iraq.-Direct costs:...

).

In December 1978 the Israeli Merkava
Merkava
The Merkava is a main battle tank used by the Israel Defense Forces. The tank began development in 1974 and was first introduced in 1978. Four main versions of the tank have been deployed. It was first used extensively in the 1982 Lebanon War...

 battle tank entered use with the IDF. In 1979, over 40,000 Iranian Jews migrated to Israel, escaping the Islamic Revolution there.

On 30 June 1981, the Israeli air-force destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor
Operation Opera
Operation Babylon was a surprise Israeli air strike carried out on June 7, 1981, that destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction 17 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, Iraq....

 that France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 was building for Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. Three weeks later, Begin won yet again, in the 1981 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1981
Elections for the tenth Knesset were held in Israel on 30 June 1981. Despite last minute polls suggesting a victory for Shimon Peres's Alignment, Menachem Begin's Likud won by just one seat...

 (48 seats Likud, 47 Labour). Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 was made defense minister. The new government annexed the Golan Heights and banned El Al
El Al
El Al Israel Airlines Ltd , trading as El Al , is the flag carrier of Israel. It operates scheduled domestic and international services and cargo flights to Europe, North America, Africa and the Far East from its main base in Ben Gurion International Airport...

 from flying on the Sabbath.
In the decades following the 1948 war, Israel's border with Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 was quiet compared to its borders with other neighbours. But the 1969 Cairo agreement
Cairo agreement
The Cairo agreement or Cairo accord was an agreement reached on 2 November 1969 during talks between Yassir Arafat and the Lebanese army commander General Emile Bustani...

 gave the PLO a free hand to attack Israel from South Lebanon. The area was governed by the PLO independently of the Lebanese Government and became known as "Fatahland" (Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 was the largest faction in the PLO). Palestinian irregulars constantly shelled the Israeli north, especially the town of Kiryat Shmona
Kiryat Shmona
Kiryat Shmona is a city located in the North District of Israel on the western slopes of the Hula Valley on the Lebanese border. The city was named for the eight people, including Joseph Trumpeldor, who died in 1920 defending Tel Hai....

, which was a Likud stronghold inhabited primarily by Jews who had fled the Arab world. Lack of control over Palestinian areas was an important factor in causing civil war in Lebanon
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

.

In June 1982, the attempted assassination of Shlomo Argov
Shlomo Argov
Shlomo Argov was a prominent Israeli diplomat. He was the Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom whose attempted assassination led to the 1982 Lebanon War.-Attempted assassination:...

, the ambassador to Britain, was used as a pretext for an Israeli invasion aiming to drive the PLO out of the southern half of Lebanon. Sharon agreed with Chief of Staff
Chief of Staff
The title, chief of staff, identifies the leader of a complex organization, institution, or body of persons and it also may identify a Principal Staff Officer , who is the coordinator of the supporting staff or a primary aide to an important individual, such as a president.In general, a chief of...

 Raphael Eitan to expand the invasion deep into Lebanon even though the cabinet had only authorized a 40 kilometer deep invasion. The invasion became known as the 1982 Lebanon War
1982 Lebanon War
The 1982 Lebanon War , , called Operation Peace for Galilee by Israel, and later known in Israel as the Lebanon War and First Lebanon War, began on 6 June 1982, when the Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon...

 and the Israeli army occupied Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, the only time an Arab capital has been occupied by Israel. Some of the Shia
Amal Movement
Amal Movement is short for the Lebanese Resistance Detachments the acronym for which, in Arabic, is "amal", meaning "hope."Amal was founded in 1975 as the militia wing of the Movement of the Disinherited, a Shi'a political movement founded by Musa...

 and Christian population of South Lebanon welcomed the Israelis, as PLO forces had maltreated them, but Lebanese resentment of Israeli occupation grew over time and the Shia became gradually radicalized
Musa al-Sadr
For the Twelver Shī‘ah Imām, see Mūsá al-KāżimMūsá aṣ-Ṣadr , also Musā-ye Sader and Moussa Sadr), was an Iranian-Lebanese philosopher and Shī‘ah religious leader who disappeared in August 1978...

 under Iranian guidance. Constant casualties among Israeli soldiers and Lebanese civilians led to growing opposition to the war in Israel.

In August 1982, the PLO withdrew its forces from Lebanon (moving to Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

). Israel helped engineer the election of a new Lebanese president, Bashir Gemayel, who agreed to recognize Israel and sign a peace treaty. Gemayal was assassinated before an agreement could be signed, and one day later Phalangist Christian forces led by Elie Hobeika
Elie Hobeika
Elie Hobeika was a Lebanese Phalangist and Lebanese Forces militia commander during the Lebanese Civil War, and former MP...

 entered two Palestinian refugee camps and massacred
Sabra and Shatila massacre
The Sabra and Shatila massacre took place in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon between September 16 and September 18, 1982, during the Lebanese civil war. Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were massacred in the camps by Christian Lebanese Phalangists while the camp...

 the occupants. The massacres led to the biggest demonstration ever in Israel against the war, with as many as 400,000 people (almost 10% of the population) gathering in Tel Aviv. In 1983, an Israeli public inquiry
Kahan Commission
The Kahan Commission , formally known as the Commission of Inquiry into the Events at the Refugee Camps in Beirut, was established by the Israeli government on 28 September 1982, to investigate the Sabra and Shatila Massacre . The Kahan Commission was chaired by the President of the Supreme Court,...

 found that Israel's defense minister, Sharon, was indirectly but personally responsible for the massacres. It also recommended that he never again be allowed to hold the post (it did not forbid him from being Prime Minister).

Shamir (1983–91)


In September 1983, Begin resigned and was succeeded by Yitzhak Shamir
Yitzhak Shamir
' is a former Israeli politician, the seventh Prime Minister of Israel, in 1983–84 and 1986–92.-Biography:Icchak Jeziernicky was born in Ruzhany , Russian Empire . He studied at a Hebrew High School in Białystok, Poland. As a youth he joined Betar, the Revisionist Zionist youth movement...

 as prime minister.
The 1984 election
Israeli legislative election, 1984
Elections for the eleventh Knesset were held in Israel on 23 July 1984. Voter turnout was 78.8%. The results saw the Alignment return to being the largest party in the Knesset, a status it had lost in 1977...

 was inconclusive and led to a power sharing agreement between Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 of the Alignment (44 seats) and Shamir of Likud (41 seats). Peres was prime minister from 1984 to 1986 and Shamir from 1986 to 1988. In 1984, continual discrimination against Sephardi ultra-orthodox Jews by the Ashkenazi ultra-orthodox establishment led political activist Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri is an Israeli politician, and former leader of Israel's Shas Party.-Biography:After Deri was convicted of taking $155,000 in bribes while serving as Interior Minister and given a three-year jail sentence in 2000, he was replaced by Eli Yishai...

 to leave the Agudat Israel
Agudat Israel
Agudat Yisrael began as the original political party representing the ultra-Orthodox population of Israel. It was the umbrella party for almost all ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, and before that in the British Mandate of Palestine...

 party and join former chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in forming Shas
Shas
Shas is an ultra-orthodox religious political party in Israel, primarily representing Sephardic and Mizrahi Haredi Judaism.Shas was founded in 1984 by dissident members of the Ashkenazi dominated Agudat Israel, to represent the interests of religiously observant Sephardic and Mizrahi ...

, a new party aimed at the non-Ashkenazi Ultra-Orthodox vote. The party won 4 seats in the first election it contested and over the next twenty years was the third largest party in the Knesset. Shas established a nationwide network of free Sephardi orthodox schools. In 1984, during a severe famine in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, 8,000 Ethiopian Jews
Beta Israel
Beta Israel Israel, Ge'ez: ቤተ እስራኤል - Bēta 'Isrā'ēl, modern Bēte 'Isrā'ēl, EAE: "Betä Ǝsraʾel", "Community of Israel" also known as Ethiopian Jews , are the names of Jewish communities which lived in the area of Aksumite and Ethiopian Empires , nowadays divided between Amhara and Tigray...

 were secretly transported
Operation Moses
Operation Moses refers to the covert evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan during a famine in 1984...

 to Israel. In 1986 Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky
Natan Sharansky was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on 20 January 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against...

, a famous Russian human rights activist and Zionist refusenik
Refusenik
Refusenik originally referred to citizens of the former Soviet Union who were refused permission to emigrate.Refusenik or refusnik may also refer to:*An Israeli conscientious objector, see Refusal to serve in the Israeli military...

 (denied an exit visa) was released from the Gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 in return for two Soviet spies.

In June 1985, Israel withdrew most of its troops from Lebanon, leaving a residual Israeli force and an Israeli-supported militia
South Lebanon Army
The South Lebanon Army , also "South Lebanese Army," was a Lebanese militia during the Lebanese Civil War. After 1979, the militia operated in southern Lebanon under the authority of Saad Haddad's Government of Free Lebanon...

 in southern Lebanon as a "security zone
Israeli Security Zone
The Israeli Security Zone in southern Lebanon was a strip of territory of varying width, , from the Israeli border and the Golan Heights, occupied by Israeli forces from 1985 to 2000. Additional regions controlled by the South Lebanon Army are sometimes included under the term...

" and buffer against attacks on its northern territory. By July 1985 Israel's inflation, buttressed by complex index linking of salaries, had reached 480% per annum and was the highest in the world. Peres introduced emergency control of prices and cut government expenditure successfully bringing inflation under control. The currency (known as the Israeli lira until 1980) was replaced and renamed the Israeli new shekel. In August 1987, the Israeli government cancelled the IAI Lavi
IAI Lavi
The IAI Lavi was a combat aircraft developed in Israel in the 1980s. It was a multi-billion dollar fighter aircraft project that was disbanded when the Israeli government concluded it could not finance production on its own, could not achieve a consensus on the Lavi's cost-effectiveness and...

 project, an attempt to develop an independent Israeli fighter aircraft. The Israelis found themselves unable to sustain the huge development costs and faced US opposition to a project that threatened US influence in Israel and US global military ascendancy. In September 1988, Israel launched an Ofeq
Ofeq
Ofeq, also spelled Offek or Ofek is the designation of a series of Israeli reconnaissance satellites first launched in 1988. All Ofeq satellites have been carried on top of Shavit rockets from Palmachim Airbase in Israel, on the Mediterranean coast. The Low Earth Orbit satellites complete one...

 reconsaissance satellite into orbit, using a Shavit
Shavit
Shavit is a space launch vehicle produced by Israel to launch small satellites into low earth orbit. It was first launched on September 19, 1988 , making Israel the eighth country to have a space launch capability after the USSR, United States, France, Japan, People's Republic of China, United...

 rocket, thus becoming one of only eight countries possessing a capacity to independently launch satellites into space (two more have since developed this ability).

Growing Israeli settlement and continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, led to the first Palestinian Intifada
First Intifada
The First Intifada was a Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The uprising began in the Jabalia refugee camp and quickly spread throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem....

 (uprising) in 1987 which lasted until the Madrid Conference of 1991
Madrid Conference of 1991
The Madrid Conference was hosted by the government of Spain and co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR. It convened on October 30, 1991 and lasted for three days. It was an early attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinians...

, despite Israeli attempts to suppress it. Human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 abuses by Israeli troops led a group of Israelis to form B'Tselem
B'Tselem
B'Tselem is an Israeli non-governmental organization . It calls itself "The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories"...

, an organization devoted to improving awareness and compliance with human rights requirements in Israel.

The Alignment and Likud remained neck and neck in the 1988 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1988
Elections for the twelfth Knesset were held in Israel on 1 November 1988. Voter turnout was 79.7%.-Results:1 Five members of the Likud left to form the Party for the Advancement of the Zionist Idea; after two returned, the party was renamed the New Liberal Party...

 (39:40 seats). Shamir successfully formed a national unity coalition with the Labour Alignment
Alignment (political party)
The Alignment was an alliance of the major left-wing parties in Israel between the 1960s and 1990s. It was established in 1965 as an alliance of Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda but was dissolved three years later when the two parties and Rafi formally merged into the Israeli Labor Party...

.

In March 1990, Alignment leader Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 engineered a defeat of the government in a non-confidence vote and then tried to form a new government. He failed
The dirty trick (Israel)
The dirty trick refers to a political scandal that erupted in Israel in 1990. It consisted of an attempt by Shimon Peres to form a narrow government made up of the left-wing factions and the ultra-orthodox parties...

 and Shamir became Prime-Minister at the head of a right-wing coalition.

In 1990, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 finally permitted free emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel
Aliyah from the Commonwealth of Independent States in the 1990s
Russian Jewish immigration to Israel began en masse in the 1990s when the liberal government of Mikhail Gorbachev opened the borders of the USSR and allowed Jews to leave the country for Israel.-History:...

. Prior to this, Jews trying to leave the USSR faced persecution
Refusenik (Soviet Union)
Refusenik was an unofficial term for individuals, typically but not exclusively, Soviet Jews, who were denied permission to emigrate abroad by the authorities of the former Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern bloc...

; those who succeeded arrived as refugees. Over the next few years some one million Soviet citizens migrated to Israel. Although there was concern that some of the new immigrants had only a very tenuous connection to Judaism, and many were accompanied by non-Jewish relatives, this massive wave of migration slowly transformed Israel, bringing large numbers of highly educated Soviet Jews and creating a powerful Russian culture in Israel.
In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, triggering the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

 between Iraq and a large allied force, led by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Iraq attacked Israel with 39 Scud missiles. Israel did not retaliate. Israel provided gas masks for both the Palestinian population and Israeli citizens. In May 1991, during a 36 hour period, 15,000 Beta Israel
Beta Israel
Beta Israel Israel, Ge'ez: ቤተ እስራኤል - Bēta 'Isrā'ēl, modern Bēte 'Isrā'ēl, EAE: "Betä Ǝsraʾel", "Community of Israel" also known as Ethiopian Jews , are the names of Jewish communities which lived in the area of Aksumite and Ethiopian Empires , nowadays divided between Amhara and Tigray...

 (Ethiopian Jews) were secretly airlifted
Operation Solomon
Operation Solomon was a 1991 covert Israeli military operation to take Ethiopian Jews to Israel.In 1991, the sitting Ethiopian government of Mengistu Haile Mariam was close to being toppled with the recent military successes of Eritrean and Tigrean rebels, threatening Ethiopia with dangerous...

 to Israel. The coalition's victory in the Gulf War opened new possibilities for regional peace, and in October 1991 the U.S. President, George H.W. Bush and Soviet Union Premier, Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

, jointly convened a historic meeting in Madrid
Madrid Conference of 1991
The Madrid Conference was hosted by the government of Spain and co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR. It convened on October 30, 1991 and lasted for three days. It was an early attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinians...

 of Israeli, Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian, and Palestinian leaders. Shamir opposed the idea but agreed in return for loan guarantees to help with absorption of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. His participation in the conference led to the collapse of his (right-wing) coalition.

Rabin II (1992–95)




In the 1992 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1992
Elections for the thirteenth Knesset were held in Israel on 23 June 1992. The result was a victory for the left, led by Yitzhak Rabin's Labor Party, though their win was at least partially due to several small right-wing parties narrowly failing to cross the electoral threshold and thus effectively...

, the Labour Party, led by Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

, won a significant victory (44 seats) promising to pursue peace while promoting Rabin as a "tough general" and pledging not to deal with the PLO in any way. The pro-peace Zionist party Meretz won 12 seats and the Arab and communist parties a further 5 meaning that parties supporting a peace treaty had a full (albeit small) majority in the Knesset.

On September 13, 1993, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 (PLO) signed the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 (a Declaration of Principles) on the South Lawn of the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

. The principles established objectives relating to a transfer of authority from Israel to an interim Palestinian authority, as a prelude to a final treaty establishing a Palestinian state. The DOP established May 1999 as the date by which a permanent status agreement for the West Bank and Gaza Strip would take effect. In February 1994, a follower of the Kach
Kach and Kahane Chai
Kach was a far-right political party in Israel. Founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane in the early 1970s, and following his Jewish nationalist ideology , the party entered the Knesset in 1984 after several electoral failures...

 movement killed 25 Palestinian-Arabs at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron (Cave of the Patriarchs massacre
Cave of the Patriarchs massacre
The Cave of the Patriarchs massacre was a terrorist attack that occurred when Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli settler and member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement, opened fire on unarmed Palestinian Muslims praying inside the Ibrahim Mosque at the Cave of the Patriarchs site in Hebron in the...

). Kach had been barred from participation in the 1992 elections (on the grounds that the movement was racist). It was subsequently made illegal. Israel and the PLO signed the Gaza-Jericho Agreement
Gaza-Jericho Agreement
The Gaza–Jericho Agreement of 4 May 1994 was a follow-up treaty to the Oslo Accords in which the details of Palestinian autonomy were concluded....

 in May 1994, and the Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities in August, which began the process of transferring authority from Israel to the Palestinians. On July 18, 1994, a Jewish day centre in Argentina was blown up, killing 85 people. Argentine investigators concluded the attack was by Lebanese Hezbollah with Iranian assistance.

On July 25, 1994 Jordan and Israel signed the Washington Declaration which formally ended the state of war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

 that had existed between them since 1948 and on October 26 the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace
Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace
The Israel–Jordan Treaty of Peace was signed in 1994. The treaty normalized relations between the two countries and resolved territorial disputes. The conflict had cost roughly US$18.3 billion...

, witnessed by US President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

 and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

 signed the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on September 28, 1995, in Washington. The agreement was witnessed by President Bill Clinton on behalf of the United States and by Russia, Egypt, Norway and the European Union and incorporates and supersedes the previous agreements, marking the conclusion of the first stage of negotiations between Israel and the PLO.
The agreement allowed the PLO leadership to relocate to the occupied territories and granted autonomy to the Palestinians with talks to follow regarding final status. In return the Palestinians promised to abstain from use of terror and changed the Palestinian National Covenant
Palestinian National Covenant
The Palestinian National Covenant or Palestinian National Charter is the charter or constitution of the Palestine Liberation Organization ....

 which had called for the expulsion of all Jews who migrated after 1917 and the elimination of Israel.

The agreement was opposed by Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 and other Palestinian factions which launched suicide bomber attacks at Israel. Rabin had a barrier
Israeli Gaza Strip barrier
The Israel and Egypt − Gaza Strip barrier is a separation barrier first constructed by Israel in 1994 between the Gaza Strip and Israel. An addition to the barrier was finished in 2005 to separate the Gaza Strip and Egypt....

 constructed around Gaza to prevent attacks. The growing separation between Israel and the "Palestinian Territories" led to a labour shortage in Israel, mainly in the construction industry. Israeli firms began importing labourers from the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

; some of these labourers stayed on without visas. In addition, a growing number of Africans began illegally migrating to Israel. Tensions in Israel arising from the continuation of terrorism led to the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin
Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin
The assassination of Yitzhak Rabin took place on November 4, 1995 at 21:30, at the end of a rally in support of the Oslo Accords at the Kings of Israel Square in Tel Aviv...

 by a right-wing Jewish radical on November 4, 1995.

Direct elections 1996–2005


In 1992 the Israeli electoral system was changed to allow for direct election of the prime minister. It was hoped this would reduce the power of small parties to extract concessions in return for coalition agreements. The new system had the opposite effect; voters could split their vote for prime-minister from their (interest based) party vote and as a result larger parties won fewer votes and smaller parties becoming more attractive to voters. It thus increased the power of the smaller parties. By the 2006 election the system was abandoned.

Netanyahu I (1996–99)


In February 1996 Rabin's successor, Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

, called early elections. The May 1996 elections
Israeli legislative election, 1996
Elections for the fourteenth Knesset were held in Israel on 29 May 1996. Voter turnout was 79.3%.The 1996 elections included two new changes, both designed to increase the stability of the Knesset. First, the Prime Minister was to be elected on a separate ballot from the remaining members of the...

 were the first featuring direct election of the prime minister
Israeli prime ministerial election, 1996
The first ever election for Prime Minister was held in Israel on 29 May 1996 alongside simultaneous Knesset elections. There were only two candidates: Shimon Peres of the Labour Party and Binyamin Netanyahu of Likud. The result was a surprise win for Netanyahu by a margin of 29,457 votes, less than...

 and resulted in a narrow election victory for Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

 leader Binyamin Netanyahu. A spate of suicide bombings reinforced the Likud position for security. Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 claimed responsibility for most of the bombings. Despite his stated differences with the Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

, Prime Minister Netanyahu continued their implementation, but his Prime Ministership saw a marked slow-down in the Peace Process. Netanyahu also pledged to gradually reduce US aid to Israel.

In January 1997 Netanyahu signed the Hebron Protocol with the Palestinian Authority, resulting in the redeployment of Israeli forces in Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

 and the turnover of civilian authority in much of the area to the Palestinian Authority.

Barak (1999–2001)


In the election of July 1999, Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak is an Israeli politician who served as Prime Minister from 1999 until 2001. He was leader of the Labor Party until January 2011 and holds the posts of Minister of Defense and Deputy Prime Minister in Binyamin Netanyahu's government....

 of the Labour Party became Prime Minister. His party was the largest in the Knesset with 26 seats. On March 21, 2000 Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

 arrived in Israel for a historic visit. In 2000, Israel unilaterally withdrew its remaining forces from the "security zone" in southern Lebanon. Several thousand members of the South Lebanon Army
South Lebanon Army
The South Lebanon Army , also "South Lebanese Army," was a Lebanese militia during the Lebanese Civil War. After 1979, the militia operated in southern Lebanon under the authority of Saad Haddad's Government of Free Lebanon...

 (and their families) left with the Israelis. The UN Secretary-General concluded that, as of June 16, 2000, Israel had withdrawn its forces from Lebanon in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425. Lebanon claims that Israel continues to occupy Lebanese territory called "Sheba'a Farms" (however this area was governed by Syria until 1967 when Israel took control). The Sheba'a Farms provide Hezbollah with a ruse to maintain warfare with Israel. The Lebanese government did not assert sovereignty in the area (in contravention of the UN resolution) which came under the control of Hezbollah.
In the Fall of 2000, talks were held at Camp David to reach a final agreement on the Israel/Palestine conflict. Ehud Barak offered to meet most of the Palestinian teams requests for territory and political concessions, including Arab parts of east Jerusalem; however, Arafat abandoned the talks without making a counterproposal.

On September 28, 2000, Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 visited the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

, the following day the Palestinians launched the al-Aqsa Intifada
Al-Aqsa Intifada
The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada and the Oslo War, was the second Palestinian uprising, a period of intensified Palestinian-Israeli violence, which began in late September 2000...

. Both Palestinian and Israeli sources allege the uprising was planned much earlier.

In October 2000, Palestinians destroyed Joseph's Tomb
Joseph's Tomb
Joseph's Tomb is a funerary monument located at the eastern entrance to the valley that separates Mounts Gerizim and Ebal, 325 yards northwest of Jacob's Well, on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus, near Tell Balāṭa, the site of biblical Shechem...

, a Jewish shrine in Nablus
Nablus
Nablus is a Palestinian city in the northern West Bank, approximately north of Jerusalem, with a population of 126,132. Located in a strategic position between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, it is the capital of the Nablus Governorate and a Palestinian commercial and cultural center.Founded by the...

. The Arrow missile, a missile designed to destroy ballistic missile
Ballistic missile
A ballistic missile is a missile that follows a sub-orbital ballistic flightpath with the objective of delivering one or more warheads to a predetermined target. The missile is only guided during the relatively brief initial powered phase of flight and its course is subsequently governed by the...

s, including Scud missiles, was first deployed by Israel. In 2001, with the Peace Process increasingly in disarray, Ehud Barak called a special election for Prime Minister. Barak hoped a victory would give him renewed authority in negotiations with the Palestinians. Instead opposition leader Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 was elected PM. After this election, the system of directly electing the Premier was abandoned.

Sharon (2001–06)



The failure of the peace process, increased Palestinian terror, and occasional attacks by Hezbollah from Lebanon led much of the Israeli public and political leadership to lose confidence in the Palestinian Authority as a peace partner. Most felt that many Palestinians viewed the peace treaty with Israel as a temporary measure only. Many Israelis were thus anxious to disengage from the Palestinians.

In response to a wave of suicide bomb attacks, culminating in the "Passover massacre
Passover massacre
The Passover massacre was a suicide bombing carried out by Hamas at the Park Hotel in Netanya, Israel on March 27, 2002, during a Passover seder. Thirty civilians were killed in the attack and 140 were injured...

" (see List of Israeli civilian casualties in the Second Intifada), Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield
Operation Defensive Shield
Operation Defensive Shield was a large-scale military operation conducted by the Israel Defense Forces in 2002, during the course of the Second Intifada. It was the largest military operation in the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War. The operation was an attempt by the Israeli army to stop the...

, and Sharon began construction of a barrier
Israeli West Bank barrier
The Israeli West Bank barrier is a separation barrier being constructed by the State of Israel along and within the West Bank. Upon completion, the barrier’s total length will be approximately...

 around the West Bank. In January 2003 separate elections were held for the Knesset. Likud won the most seats (27). An anti-religion party, Shinui
Shinui
Shinui is a Zionist, secular and anti-clerical free market liberal party and political movement in Israel. The party twice became the third largest in the Knesset, but both occasions were followed by a split and collapse; in 1977 the party won 15 seats as part of the Democratic Movement for...

, won 15 seats on a secularist platform, making it the third largest party (ahead of orthodox Shas
Shas
Shas is an ultra-orthodox religious political party in Israel, primarily representing Sephardic and Mizrahi Haredi Judaism.Shas was founded in 1984 by dissident members of the Ashkenazi dominated Agudat Israel, to represent the interests of religiously observant Sephardic and Mizrahi ...

). Internal fighting led to Shinui's demise at the next election. In December 2003, Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 announced he would consider a unilateral withdrawal
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

 from parts of the occupied territories. This crystallized as a plan for total withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

In 2004, the Black Hebrews were granted permanent residency in Israel. The group had begun migrating to Israel 25 years earlier from the United States, but had not been recognized as Jews by the state and hence not granted citizenship under Israel's Law of Return
Law of Return
The Law of Return is Israeli legislation, passed on 5 July 1950, that gives Jews the right of return and settlement in Israel and gain citizenship...

. They had settled in Israel without official status. From 2004 onwards, they received citizen's rights. In 2005, all Jewish settlers were evacuated from Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 (some forcibly) and their homes demolished. Disengagement from the Gaza Strip
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan
Israel's unilateral disengagement plan , also known as the "Disengagement plan", "Gaza expulsion plan", and "Hitnatkut", was a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005, to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from...

 was completed on September 12, 2005. Military disengagement from the northern West Bank was completed ten days later. Following the withdrawal, the Israeli town of Sderot
Sderot
Sderot is a western Negev city in the Southern District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a total population of 20,700. The city has been an ongoing target of Qassam rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip...

 and other Israeli communities near the frontier became subject to constant shelling
Qassam rocket
The Qassam rocket is a simple steel artillery rocket developed and deployed by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas. Three models have been produced and used between 2001 and 2011....

 and mortar bomb attacks from Gaza. In 2005 Sharon left the Likud and formed a new party called Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

, which accepted that the peace process would lead to creation of a Palestinian state. He was joined by many leading figures from both Likud and Labour. The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was interpreted by the Palestinians as a Hamas victory and the January Palestinian legislative election, 2006
Palestinian legislative election, 2006
On January 25, 2006, elections were held for the Palestinian Legislative Council , the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority . Notwithstanding the 2005 municipal elections and the January 9, 2005 presidential election, this was the first election to the PLC since 1996; subsequent...

 was won by Hamas, which rejected all agreements signed with Israel, refused to recognize Israel's right to exist, and claimed the Holocaust was a Jewish conspiracy. On April 14, 2006, Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 was incapacitated by a severe hemorrhagic stroke, and Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 became Acting Prime Minister.

Olmert (2006–08)


Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009, as a Cabinet Minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006, and as Mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003....

 was elected Prime Minister after his party, Kadima
Kadima
Kadima is a centrist and liberal political party in Israel. It was established on 24 November 2005 by moderates from Likud largely to support the issue of Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan, and was soon joined by like-minded Labor politicians...

, won the most seats (29) in the Israeli legislative election, 2006.
In 2005 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was officially elected president of Iran; since then, Iranian policy towards Israel has grown more confrontational. Israeli analysts believe Ahmadinejad has worked to undermine the peace process with arms supplies and aid to Hezbullah in South Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza and is developing nuclear weapons
Iran and weapons of mass destruction
Iran is not known to currently possess weapons of mass destruction and has signed treaties repudiating the possession of weapons of mass destruction including the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

, possibly for use against Israel. Iranian support for Hizbullah and its nuclear arms program are in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions 1559
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, adopted on September 2, 2004, after recalling resolutions 425 , 426 , 520 and 1553 on the situation in Lebanon, the Council supported free and fair presidential elections in Lebanon and called upon remaining foreign forces to withdraw from the...

 and 1747
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747 was a United Nations Security Council resolution that tightened the sanctions imposed on Iran in connection with the Iranian nuclear program...

. Iran also encourages Holocaust denial
International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust
The International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust was a two-day conference that opened on December 11, 2006, in Tehran, Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the conference sought "neither to deny nor prove the Holocaust.....

. Following the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, Hizbullah had mounted periodic attacks on Israel which did not lead to Israeli retaliation. Similarly, the withdrawal from Gaza led to incessant shelling of towns around the Gaza area with only minimal Israeli response. The failure to react led to criticism from the Israeli right and undermined the government.

On June 25, 2006, a Hamas force crossed the border from Gaza and attacked a tank, capturing wounded Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit
Gilad Shalit
Gilad Shalit is an Israeli – French citizen and Israel Defense Forces soldier. On 25 June 2006, he was captured inside Israel by Hamas militants in a cross-border raid via underground tunnels near the border with Gaza. The Hamas militants held him for over five years, until he was released on...

. On July 12, Hezbollah attacked Israel
Zar'it-Shtula incident
The 2006 Hezbollah cross-border raid was a cross-border attack committed by Lebanon-based Hezbollah militants on an Israeli military patrol on 12 July 2006 on Israeli territory....

 from Lebanon, shelled Israeli towns and attacked a border patrol, taking two dead or badly wounded Israeli soldiers. These incidents led Israel to initiate the Second Lebanon War, which lasted through August 2006. The Israeli army proved unable to prevent Hizbullah from shelling the north of Israel, and the military failure led to a public inquiry
Winograd Commission
The Winograd Commission is an Israeli government-appointed commission of inquiry, chaired by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, which investigated and drew lessons from the Israel-Hezbollah War...

.

In 2007 education was made compulsory until the age of 18 for all citizens (it had been 16). Refugees from the genocide in Darfur
War in Darfur
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

, mostly Moslem, arrived in Israel illegally, with some given Asylum. Illegal immigrants arrived mainly from Africa in addition to foreign workers overstaying their visas. The numbers of such migrants are not known and estimates vary between 30,000 and over 100,000.

Olmert also came under investigation for corruption and this ultimately led him to announce, on July 30, 2008, that he would be stepping down as Prime Minister following election of a new leader of the Kadimah party in September 2008. Tzippi Livni won the election, but was unable to form a coalition and he remained in office until the general election.

On December 27, 2008, following the collapse of an unofficial cease-fire between Israel and Gaza and resumption of shelling of southern Israeli towns from Gaza, Israeli forces mounted a three-week campaign
2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict
The Gaza War, known as Operation Cast Lead in Israel and as the Gaza Massacre in the Arab world, was a three-week bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel, and hundreds of rocket attacks on south of Israel which...

 in Gaza, leading to widespread international protests.

Netanyahu II



In the 2009 legislative election
Israeli legislative election, 2009
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government...

 Likud won 27 seats and Kadima 28; however, the right-wing camp won a majority of seats, and President Shimon Peres called on Netanyahu to form the government. Russian immigrant-dominated Yisrael Beiteinu came third with 15 seats, and Labour was reduced to fourth place with 13 seats.

On 25 November 2009, Israel imposed a 10-month construction freeze on all of its settlements in the West Bank. Israel's decision was widely seen as due to pressure from the Obama administration, which urged the sides to seize the opportunity to resume talks. In his announcement Netanyahu called the move "a painful step that will encourage the peace process" and urged the Palestinians to respond. However, the Palestinians rejected the call and refused to enter negotiations, despite Israeli appeals to do so. Eventually, on September 2, United States launched direct negotiations between Israel and the PA in Washington
Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in 2010
Direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority have been taking place since September 2010, between United States President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and ended when Netanyahu refused to extend...

. Nevertheless, soon afterwards, when Israeli partial moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank was about to expire, the Palestinian leadership announced that they plan to leave the negotiations if the moratorium is not renewed. Israel state that it would not renew this gesture of goodwill and urged the Palestinian leadership to continue the negotiations. Later on Israel offered to renew the moratorium in exchange for a PA recognition of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people. This request was rejected by the Palestinians leadership.

In 2009 Israeli billionaire, Yitzhak Tshuva announced the discovery of huge natural gas reserves
Tamar gas field
The Tamar gas field is a natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel, discovered in 2009. The gas field is located roughly west of Haifa in waters deep.-History:...

 off the coast of Israel.

On 14 July 2011 the largest social protest in the history of Israel began in which hundreds of thousands of protesters from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds in Israel protested against the continuing rise in the cost of living (particularly housing) and the deterioration of public services in the country (such as health and education). The peak of the demonstrations took place on September 3 2011 in which about 400,000 people demonstrated across the country.

As a defensive countermeasure to the rocket threat against Israel's civilian population, at the end of March 2011 Israel began to operate the advanced mobile air defense system "Iron Dome
Iron Dome
Iron Dome is a mobile air defense system in development by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems designed to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells. The system was created as a defensive countermeasure to the rocket threat against Israel's civilian population on its northern and southern...

" in the southern region of Israel and along the border with the Gaza Strip. On April 7, 2011, the system successfully intercepted a Grad rocket launched from Gaza
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 for the first time.

In October 2011, a deal was reached
Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange
The Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange followed an agreement between Israel and Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, though among the prisoners released there was also a Ukrainian prisoner, a Jordanian prisoner, and a...

 between Israel and Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

, by which the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit
Gilad Shalit
Gilad Shalit is an Israeli – French citizen and Israel Defense Forces soldier. On 25 June 2006, he was captured inside Israel by Hamas militants in a cross-border raid via underground tunnels near the border with Gaza. The Hamas militants held him for over five years, until he was released on...

 would be released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinians and Arab-Israeli prisoners, of them 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various terror attacks against Israeli targets. The military Hamas
Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

 leader Ahmed Jabari was quoted later as confirming that the prisoners released as part of the deal were collectively responsible for the killing of 569 Israeli civilians.
Development of Israel by decade
1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
Population (millions) 1.4 2.1 3 3.9 4.8 6 7.5
% of world's Jews 7% 20% 25% 30% 39% 42%
GDP per capita 2005 NIS 17,000 27,000 45,000 58,000 65,000 77.000 90,000 (2006)

See also


  • 1949 Armistice Agreements
    1949 Armistice Agreements
    The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

  • 2000 Camp David Summit
  • Archaeological sites in Israel
    Archaeological sites in Israel
    The modern State of Israel covers a land area that in ancient times formed the only navigable land route connecting the two regions of the great Empires of the Ancient Western World....

  • Culture of Israel
    Culture of Israel
    The culture of Israel developed long before the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948 and combines the heritage of secular and religious lives. Much of the diversity in Israel's culture comes from the diversity of its population...

  • Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty
  • Faisal–Weizmann Agreement
  • History of Asia
    History of Asia
    The history of Asia can be seen as the collective history of several distinct peripheral coastal regions such as, East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East linked by the interior mass of the Eurasian steppe....

  • History of Egypt
    History of Egypt
    Egyptian history can be roughly divided into the following periods:*Prehistoric Egypt*Ancient Egypt**Early Dynastic Period of Egypt: 31st to 27th centuries BC**Old Kingdom of Egypt: 27th to 22nd centuries BC...

  • History of Lebanon
    History of Lebanon
    This article deals with the history of Lebanon, and the nations previously occupying its territory.-Phoenicia:The coastal plain of Lebanon is the historic home of a string of coastal trading cities of Semitic culture, which the Greeks termed Phoenicia, whose maritime culture flourished there for...

  • History of the Middle East
    History of the Middle East
    This article is a general overview of the history of the Middle East. For more detailed information, see articles on the histories of individual countries and regions...

  • History of the Levant
    History of the Levant
    The Levant is a geographical term that refers to a large area in Southwest Asia, south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea in the west, the Arabian Desert in the south, and the Zagros Mountains in the east. It stretches 400 miles north to south from the Taurus Mountains to the...

  • History of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
  • History of the Jews in the Land of Israel
    History of the Jews in the Land of Israel
    The history of the Jews in the land of Israel can be traced from the first appearance of the name "Israel" in the historic record, an Egyptian inscription of c.1200 BCE where it refers to an ethnic group apparently located in the northern part of the central highlands between the Mediterranean and...

  • History of Jordan
    History of Jordan
    The History of Jordan starts with evidence of human activity in Transjordan in the Paleolithic period , continues with the Muslim empires starting in the19th century, the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, the Great Arab Revolt and the British mandate of Transjordan in the early 20th century, and...

  • History of Syria
    History of Syria
    The history of Syria:*Prehistory and Ancient Near East: see Pre-history of the Southern Levant, Fertile Crescent, Ebla, Mitanni*Antiquity: see Syro-Hittite states, Greater Syria, Roman Syria...

  • International law and the Arab–Israeli conflict
  • Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

  • Israel–Jordan peace treaty
  • Israeli literature
    Israeli literature
    Israeli literature is literature written in the State of Israel by Israelis. Most works classed as Israeli literature are written in the Hebrew language, although some Israeli authors write in Yiddish, English, Arabic and Russian...

  • List of Middle East peace proposals
  • List of Presidents of Israel
  • List of Prime Ministers of Israel
  • Madrid Conference of 1991
    Madrid Conference of 1991
    The Madrid Conference was hosted by the government of Spain and co-sponsored by the USA and the USSR. It convened on October 30, 1991 and lasted for three days. It was an early attempt by the international community to start a peace process through negotiations involving Israel and the Palestinians...

  • Music of Israel
    Music of Israel
    The music of Israel is a combination of Jewish and non-Jewish music traditions that have come together over the course of a century to create a distinctive musical culture. For more than 100 years, musicians have sought original stylistic elements that would define the emerging national spirit...

  • Paris Peace Conference, 1919
    Paris Peace Conference, 1919
    The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

  • Peace process in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
  • Politics of Israel
    Politics of Israel
    The Israeli system of government is based on parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of government and leader of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the Knesset. The Judiciary is independent of the executive...

  • Projects working for peace among Arabs and Israelis
  • Timeline of Israeli history
    Timeline of Israeli history
    This is a timeline of Israeli history. To read about the background to these events, see History of Israel.This timeline is incomplete; some important events may be missing...

  • Years in Israel
    Years in Israel
    This is a list of years in the State of Israel.* 2010s: 201020112012* 2000s: 2000200120022003200420052006200720082009* 1990s: 1990199119921993199419951996199719981999* 1980s: 1980198119821983198419851986198719881989...


Further reading

  • Berger, Earl The Covenant and the Sword: Arab-Israeli Relations, 1948–56, London, Routledge K. Paul, 1965.
  • Bregman, Ahron A History of Israel, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002 ISBN 0-333-67632-7.
  • Butler, L.J. Britain and Empire: Adjusting to a Post-Imperial World I.B. Tauris 2002 ISBN 1-86064-449-X
  • Darwin, John Britain and Decolonisation: The Retreat from Empire in the Post-War World Palgrave Macmillan 1988 ISBN 0-333-29258-8
  • Davis, John, The Evasive Peace: a Study of the Zionist-Arab Problem, London: J. Murray, 1968.
  • Eytan, Walter
    Walter Eytan
    Walter Eytan , born 1910, Munich. Died ?. Israeli diplomat. Settled in Palestine in 1946. Director General of Foreign Ministry 1948-1959. Ambassador to France 1959-1970....

     The First Ten Years: a Diplomatic History of Israel, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1958
  • Gilbert, Martin
    Martin Gilbert
    Sir Martin John Gilbert, CBE, PC is a British historian and Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford. He is the author of over eighty books, including works on the Holocaust and Jewish history...

     Israel: A History, New York: Morrow, 1998 ISBN 0-688-12362-7.
  • Horrox, James A Living Revolution: Anarchism in the Kibbutz Movement, Oakland: AK Press, 2009
  • Herzog, Haim The Arab-Israeli Wars: War and Peace in the Middle East from the War of Independence to Lebanon, London: Arms and Armour; Tel Aviv, Israel: Steimatzky, 1984 ISBN 0-85368-613-0.
  • Israel Office of Information Israel’s Struggle for Peace, New York, 1960.
  • Laqueur, Walter
    Walter Laqueur
    Walter Zeev Laqueur is an American historian and political commentator. He was born in Breslau, Germany , to a Jewish family. In 1938, Laqueur left Germany for the British Mandate of Palestine. His parents, who were unable to leave, became victims of the Holocaust...

     Confrontation: the Middle-East War and World Politics, London: Wildwood House, 1974, ISBN 0-7045-0096-5.
  • Lucas, Noah The Modern History of Israel, New York: Praeger, 1975.
  • Morris, Benny 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War, Yale University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-300-12696-9.
  • O’Brian, Conor Cruise
    Conor Cruise O'Brien
    Conor Cruise O'Brien often nicknamed "The Cruiser", was an Irish politician, writer, historian and academic. Although his opinion on the role of Britain in Northern Ireland changed over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, he always acknowledge values of, as he saw, the two irreconcilable traditions...

     The Siege: the Saga of Israel and Zionism, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1986 ISBN 0-671-60044-3.
  • Oren, Michael
    Michael Oren
    Michael B. Oren is an American-born Israeli historian and author and the Israeli ambassador to the United States...

     Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002 ISBN 0-19-515174-7.
  • The Peel Commission Report, (July 1937) http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/peel1.html
  • Rubinstein, Alvin Z. (editor) The Arab-Israeli Conflict: Perspectives, New York: Praeger, 1984 ISBN 0-03-068778-0.
  • Lord Russell of Liverpool, If I Forget Thee; the Story of a Nation’s Rebirth, London, Cassell 1960.
  • Sachar, Howard M. A History of Israel, New York: Knopf, 1976 ISBN 0-394-48564-5.
  • Samuel, Rinna A History of Israel: the Birth, Growth and Development of Today’s Jewish State, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989 ISBN 0-297-79329-2.
  • Schultz, Joseph & Klausner, Carla From Destruction to Rebirth: The Holocaust and the State of Israel, Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1978 ISBN 0-8191-0574-0.
  • Segev, Tom
    Tom Segev
    Tom Segev is an Israeli historian, author and journalist. He is associated with Israel's so-called New Historians, a group challenging many of the country's traditional narratives.-Early life:Segev was born in Jerusalem in 1945...

     The Seventh Million: the Israelis and the Holocaust, New York: Hill and Wang, 1993 ISBN 0-8090-8563-1.
  • Shlaim, Avi
    Avi Shlaim
    Avi Shlaim FBA is a British/Israeli historian. He is a professor of International Relations at the University of Oxford and a fellow of the British Academy.Shlaim is especially well known as a historian of the Arab-Israeli conflict...

    , The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (2001)
  • Talmon, Jacob L.
    Jacob Talmon
    Jacob Leib Talmon was Professor of Modern History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem...

     Israel Among the Nations, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1970 ISBN 0-297-00227-9.
  • Wolffsohn, Michael
    Michael Wolffsohn
    Michael Wolffsohn is an Israeli-born German historian. Wolffsohn was born in Tel Aviv, in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine and today is Israel. His parents were German Jews who fled in 1939....

     Eternal Guilt?: Forty years of German-Jewish-Israeli Relations, New York: Columbia University Press, 1993 ISBN 0-231-08274-6.

External links