Israel Old History

By | January 2, 2023

Israel is an independent nation in Western Asia. With the capital city of Jerusalem, Israel 2020 population is estimated at 8,655,546 according to countryaah. After living for nearly two millennia in the tribulation of other peoples, the Jews would once again be given their own homeland. It was the goal of the Zionist movement that emerged in the late 19th century among Jews in Europe. However, the plans to proclaim a Jewish state in what was then Palestine came on a collision course with Arab nationalist dreams after the First World War.

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There were early agricultural crops around the Jordan River. Remains of fortifications from the 8000s before the birth of Christ have been found in Jericho. Jerusalem is mentioned in Egyptian writings from the 15th century BC. In the Old Testament, the area west of the Jordan River is called the land of the Canaan. There were several related Semitic people. The Bible is based on the story that one of them, the Hebrews who came to be called Israelites and later Jews, was promised the land by God. For Israel political system, please check carswers.

In the 13th century BC, the Philistines, believed to have spoken an Indo-European language, settled along the coast to the south. The name Palestine (Pelishtim in Hebrew, Philastin in Arabic) is derived from Philistine.

Unlike the neighboring people, the Jews were monotheists, believing in a single god. The religious law, the Torah, which the Prophet Moses according to the Bible received directly from God, would help the Jews to preserve their particularity through the millennia.

Since the ancient Jewish tribes united under King Saul, his successor David Jerusalem took about 1000 AD BC. David’s son Solomon erected the first Jewish temple.

The kingdom was divided in 930 before Christian times in two: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Since the northern kingdom of the 7th century BC was conquered by Assyrians, the area was called Samaria. Just over a hundred years later, the southern kingdom was conquered by Babylonians. The temple was destroyed, and the leading layers of the Jews were forcibly moved to Babylonia in the years 586-55 BC (“the Babylonian captivity”). Others fled to eg Egypt.

After the Persians crushed Babylonia, the Jews were allowed to return home. However, large groups, the so-called diaspora (the Jews in the “embrace”), lived from this time outside the Jewish core land that was now part of the Persian Empire. The temple in Jerusalem was rebuilt to 515 BC.

Alexander the Great conquered the area 331 before Christian times. The Seleukids, who were successors to one of Alexander’s generals, plundered the temple in 166 BC. The Jews responded with a revolt, led by Judas Mackabeus and his brothers. They maintained their independence until Rome took over the year 64 BC.

During the centuries around the birth of Christ, the Dead Sea Scrolls were written, which in 1947–1956 were found in caves in Qumran near the Dead Sea. The scrolls include text fragments of Bible texts in Hebrew. They are of great interest to research as they are almost a thousand years older than other manuscripts of the Bible.

The Romans invade Jerusalem

Since the death of the Jewish sound king Herod of Rome, his kingdom in 6 years after the birth of Christ became a Roman province, Iudaea. It was subordinate to the province of Syria but ruled by local administrators, procurators. One of these was Pontius Pilate, the governor who, according to the New Testament, made the decision to crucify Jesus, because Jesus was perceived as a savior. When the Jews tried to free themselves, the Romans who punished the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD destroyed only the Western Wall, the “Wailing Wall”, remained.

A Jewish sect recognized Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah – a leader who, promised by God, would have a special mission for the people. The group gradually separated from Judaism and began to be called Christians after Jesus was executed.

After a new Jewish uprising in 132–135, almost all Jews were evicted from the area, which the Romans from now on called Syria Palaestina or Palestine alone. The Romans made sure that non-Jewish colonists moved in.

From the 330s, Palestine was ruled from Christian East Rome (Byzantium). Emperor Constantine had the Church of the Holy Sepulcher erected, where Jesus’ tomb and Calvary, according to tradition, lay. From Europe, Christian pilgrimages went to “the Holy Land.”

Islam arises

A new world religion, Islam, and a new Arab empire saw the light of day when Prophet Muhammad appeared on the Arabian Peninsula. After Muhammad’s death in 632, his followers conquered Palestine, among other things. Jerusalem came under Arab Islamic rule 638. In 691, the Rock Mosque was built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where Solomon’s Temple was located. South of the Rock Mosque, al-Aqsa Mosque was erected. Since that time, Jerusalem is considered Islam’s third holiest place after Mecca and Medina.

Under Arab rule, Christians and Jews lived as protectionists under Islamic supremacy. Even in the 9th century, Arabic-speaking Christians were the largest ethnic group in Palestine. Through Islamic mission and immigration, the Muslims gained the majority in the 11th century.

In the 12th and 13th centuries, Palestine was a scene of war for crusaders, Turkish cellars and Mongols. Through the crusades, which originated in Europe, the Roman Catholic Church sought to restore Christian control. The first crusade was preceded by an Arab ruler in 1009 destroying the holiest site of Christianity, the burial church in Jerusalem. The news that the church was destroyed triggered mass hysteria and bloody Jewish persecution in Europe, where Jews were identified as accomplices. In 1099, Jerusalem was conquered by Crusaders, mainly French, who bloodied Muslims and Jews. The city became the center of the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem.

In 1187, the Crusaders were defeated by Saladin, a Kurdish ruler who became the hunger of Egypt and Syria. Saladin gave Christians access to the Holy Sepulcher. In 1291, Egyptian Mamluks, slave soldiers, expelled the last Crusaders from Palestine.

The Ottoman Empire becomes a force of power

In 1517, Palestine was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. Living conditions improved, but the four centuries of Ottoman rule that followed became a period of stagnation. “The Holy Land” was part of geographical Greater Syria. The Turks entrusted much of the administration to the local Arab elite, often landowners living in the cities.

At the end of the 19th century, Zionism emerged as a movement among Jews in Europe. The nationalist revival that spread throughout Europe at this time inspired the founder of Zionism Theodor Herzl to the idea that the Jews should once again have their own land. Zionism was also a reaction to growing anti-Semitism and bloody Jewish persecution, pogroms, especially in Russia. The first World Zionist Congress was held in Basel in 1897. The goal was to establish a Jewish “national home” in Palestine.

Before Palestine, fewer than 25,000 Jews lived in Palestine before 1880. The first Jewish wave of immigration came in the late 1800s. During the second (1904-1914) a Jewish social life was built alongside the Arab. Kibbutz, the collective agriculture, became a symbol of Zionism and the idealistic socialism of the pioneers.

During World War I, 1914-1918, Ottoman Turkey joined Germany and Austria-Hungary. By promising independence for the Arabs in the disintegrating Ottoman Empire, British and French sought Arab support against the Turks. But the British’s promises to the Arabs were soaring.

British support for national homes

In 1916, the British and French signed an agreement, the Sykes-Picot agreement, to divide the region. Greater Syria and Iraq were divided into French and British spheres of influence, while Palestine would be placed under international administration. In 1917, the British conquered Palestine from the Turks. In the Balfour Declaration the same year, Britain pledged to assist the Zionist movement in establishing a Jewish national home in Palestine. The United Kingdom thus pursued conflicting policies.

The Balfour declaration aroused strong reactions among the Arabs of Palestine. Palestinian nationalism began to emerge, first among the land-owning elite. The dominant view was initially that Palestine would be part of a major Syrian state formation.

In 1922, Palestine became a British mandate under the United Nations’ forerunner, the League of Nations. The mandate included what is currently Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and a larger area east of the Jordan River. This area was separated from the mandate in 1921 and proclaimed to the emirate of Transjordan (later Jordan).

Jewish immigration continued and accelerated in connection with Hitler-Germany’s persecution of Jews in the 1930s. In Palestine, tensions between Jews and Arabs increased.

The Arab discontent resulted in an Islamic-inspired rebellion in 1936–1939. The British fought the revolt with hard methods. Immigration declined for a time and Jewish land purchases were limited, but unrest intensified with violence from both sides. Terror was also directed at the British mandate regime.

Gradually two economies were built up, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jewish community building had active support in the British administration. When the Second World War ended in 1945, the Jewish community in Palestine was already a form of state formation with control over the economy, health care, education and its own military organization, Haganah.

Israel Old History