History Israel - a Brief Overview

Israel or Eretz Yisrael - the land of the Jewish people.

How should I start writing about Israel? Shall I write about its History, Israel culture or about Israel today? My personal thirst and longing to Israel brings up my emotion to the peak. Oh, how I crave to the land of Israel. I visit her twice or three times a year, and I never stop thinking about her.

Well, why did I start with my personal feelings about Israel, when you as a reader want to read about facts on Israeli history? The answer is simple. These feelings reflect the feeling of every Jew to Israel. This is a central part of its history. Israel is a part of every Jewish heart.

The Midrash states that the reason G-d started the Torah with world creation, and not with commandments, is because G-d wanted to show the world that he created the world and gave Israel to the Jewish people.

Till Israel today, in the modern state of Israel, the national anthem includes the following: "As long as deep within the heart, the Jewish soul is warm.. our hope is not yet lost, the hope of two thousand years, to be a free people in our own land". Yes, in our own land.

The Israel history starts from word creation. According to ancient Hebrew text, G-d started the world creation from Israel (see Midrash Vayikra 20:4). The Zohar (Pekudei 445) states that the earth creation had three phases. First the temple mount and Jerusalem, the second phase was the land of Israel, and then came the creation of the rest of the world. This reflects the tribute G-d gives for the land of Israel. Going so far, that Israel was the center of the earth by world creation.

The verse in Deuteronomy (11:12) states the following on the land of Israel: "the eyes of G-d are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year". The Torah is full of many more verses of G-ds love to the Jewish holy land. How G-d rests in the holy land, how he yearns for all the Jewish people to return to his homeland and how he loves this holy land.

Israel also has a special place in Jewish law. There are fifteen commandments in the Torah that are related to farm work, that apply only in Israel. These laws are related to land of Israel, and are besides the laws related to the temple mount. G-d created the head of the first man of the universe, Adam, from sand of the land of Israel. Adam and Eve together with his children Kayin and Hevel also lived in Israel, and at the end Adam and Eve were buried in Hebron, Israel.

History Israel

The history of the Jews in Israel dates back to the very beginning days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They all lived and settled in the land of Israel. G-ds prophecy to Abraham was that the Jewish people will be slaves in Egypt for four hundred years and later return to the promised land of Israel. In many places the Torah relates to Israel as "the land G-d promised to our forefathers".

The Jewish people first settled in the land of Israel as a nation in year 1422 BCE, when Joshua led the Jewish people through the Jordan River and conquered the land of Israel from the Canaanites. The Jewish people continued living in Israel till the destruction of the first temple. In this period the Jews lived comfortable under the ruling of great kings and leaders as Solomon the wise.

The Jewish people lived in peace and prosperity in this era until they were exiled to Babylonia in year 423 BCE. The Jews were exiled from their homeland for a period of close to seventy years.

Continuation of History - Israel returns

Although the Jews started returning to Israel in year 370 BCE, their full return wasn't complete till 353 BCE, when Darius the Persian permitted Jews to rebuild the Temple. The Jews lived in their homeland under Persian, Egyptian and Roman rule till the destruction of the second temple in year 68 CE. There was a small period (165 BCE - 63 BCE) that the Jewish people had their own rule in the land under the Hasmoneans, (this is the period of the miracle of Chanukah), but it was also mixed with constant wars with their enemies. This left little room for self-governance in peace.

Israel history of foreign rule

After the destruction of the second temple, Israel kept on being ruled by foreign conquerors. Byzantine Rule (313-636); Arab Rule (636-1099); The Crusaders (1099-1291); Mamluk Rule; (1291-1516) Ottoman Rule (1517-1917); and British Rule (1918-1948). While some Jews lived in Israel in some those times, they were little in number and very poor. They were constantly exiled and persecuted. And there were political and economic upheavals, plagues, locusts, and devastating earthquakes.

A History - Israel returns to its homeland

It was from the end of the Ottoman Empire through the times of British rule that the Jewish people started returning in masses to their holy land. While facing government opposition, the Jews kept on flocking to Israel by all means. All over the Jewish diaspora, the Jewish people started talking and dreaming of returning to their homeland. The Zionist movement developed, grew in into a massive political movement, the Hebrew language was recreated to adapt to modern times.

Israel History of creation of a State

After many deliberations, and after gaining the worlds empathy for the great Jewish suffering of the Holocaust, it was on May 14 1948, when the British Mandate came to an end. David Ben Gurion, declared the Independence of the Jewish state - Israel, and became the first Israeli prime minister. The Jewish population in the Land numbered over 650,000, with an organized community with excellent -developed political, social and economic institutions.

It is self-understood that it is impossible in the realm of one page to teach the full history of Israel. I just tried to cover the basics quickly, emphasizing the Jewish connection to the Holy Land.

Tours to Israel

Conservative, reform, secular and Orthodox Jews alike constantly visit Israel. It is very normal to hear in an Orthodox Jewish family that a large family picked themselves up and just moved to Israel! Jews visit and tour Israel whenever possible! Israel will be the first vacation area for Jews. So, keep on reading about Israel and don't hesitate to visit and tour Israel. So, now you know about History Israel! Browse our site and find out many more on customs and lifestyles of Orthodox Jews.

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