THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL
The birthplace of the Jewish people is the Land of Israel. There, a significant part of the nation's long history was enacted, of which the first thousand years are recorded in the Bible; there, its cultural, religious and national identity was formed; and there, its physical presence has been maintained unbroken through the centuries, even after the majority was forced into exile. During the long years of dispersion, the Jewish people did not sever or forget its bond with the Land. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence, lost 2,000 years earlier, was renewed.
Archaeology : Archaeology in Israel has provided a valuable link between the country's present and past, with thousands of years of history unearthed at some 3,400 sites. Many finds attest to the long connection of the Jewish people with the Land of Israel, including Solomon's stables at Jezreel Valley, houses of the Israelite period in Jerusalem, ritual baths at Masada, numerous synagogues and the Dead Sea scrolls, containing earliest extant copy of the Book of Isaiah in still-readable Hebrew script. Excavations have also revealed vestiges of other civilizations which left their imprint on the Land over the centuries. All finds are recorded, and historical sites are carefully preserved and marked, for scholar and visitor alike.
HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS :
(BCE - Before the Common Era)
[17th century] The Patriarchs
[13th century] Exodus from Egypt
[13th-12th centuries] Israelite settlement of Land of Israel
 Monarchy established: Saul, first king.
 Jerusalem made capital of David's kingdom.
 First Temple, the national and spiritual center of the Jewish people, built in Jerusalem by King Solomon.
 Kingdom divided in two: Judah and Israel
[722-720] Israel crushed by Assyrians; 10 tribes exiled (the "Ten Lost Tribes").
 Judah conquered by Babylonia; Jerusalem and First Temple destroyed; Jews exiled to Babylonia.
[538-142] Persian and Hellenistic periods
[538-515] First Return from Babylon; Temple rebuilt.
[mid-5th century] Second Return: Ezra and Nehemiah
 Land conquered by Alexander the Great; Hellenistic rule.
[166-160] Maccabean (Hasmonean) Revolt
[142-129] Jewish autonomy under Hasmonean dynasty.
[129-63] Jewish independence in Hasmonean kingdom.
 Pompey at head of Roman army takes Jerusalem.
[63 BCE-313 CE] Roman rule
(CE - The Common Era)
[37 BCE - 4 CE] King Herod
 Jewish revolt against Rome
 Destruction of Jerusalem and Second Temple.
 Last stand of Jews at Masada.
[132-135] Bar Kokhba uprising against Rome.
 Mishnah completed (codification of Oral Law).
[313-636] Byzantine rule
 Completion of Jerusalem Talmud (commentary on the Mishnah).
 Persian invasion
[636-1099] Arab rule
[1099-1291] Crusader domination; Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.
[1291-1516] Mamluk rule
[1517-1917] Ottoman rule
 Publication of Shulhan Arukh (code of Jewish law).
 First neighborhood, Mishkenot Sha'ananim, built outside Jerusalem's walls.
[1882-1903] First Aliya (large-scale immigration) from Russia.
 First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland; Zionist Organization founded.
[1904-14] Second Aliya, mainly from Russia and Poland.
 Degania, first kibbutz, and Tel Aviv, first modern all-Jewish city, founded.
 British end 400 years of Ottoman rule; Balfour Declaration pledges British support for establishment of a "Jewish national home in Palestine".
[1918-48] British rule
[1919-23] Third Aliya, mainly from Russia
 Histadrut (Jewish labor federation), and Haganah, (Jewish defense organization) founded. Arabs mount anti-Jewish riots. Jewish community sets up National Council (Vaad Leumi) to conduct its affairs.
 First moshav, Nahalal, founded
 Britain granted Mandate for Palestine (Land of Israel) by League of Nations and charged with facilitating "Jewish immigration and settlement on the Land". British set up Transjordan east of the Jordan River; Jews barred from settling there Jewish Agency set up to represent Jewish community vis-a-vis Mandate authorities.
 Technion-Israel Institute of Technology opens.
[1924-32] Fourth Aliya, mainly from Poland.
 Hebrew University of Jerusalem opens on Mt.Scopus.
 Hebron Jews massacred by Arab militants.
 Etzel, Jewish underground organization, founded.
[1933-39] Fifth Aliya, mainly from Germany.
[1936-39] Arab militants launch anti-Jewish riots.
 Peel Commission proposes division of country into Jewish and Arab states.
 British White Paper limits Jewish immigration.
[1939-45] World War 11; Holocaust in Europe.
 Lehi underground movement formed, split from Etzel; Palmach, strike force of Haganah, set up.
 Jewish Brigade formed as part of British forces.
 UN proposes the establishment of Arab and Jewish states in the Land.
 British Mandate ends (14 May).
State of Israel proclaimed (14 May).
Israel invaded by five Arab states (15 May).
War of Independence (May 1948-July 1949)
Israel Defense Forces formed.
 Armistice agreements signed with Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon.
First Knesset elected.
Israel admitted to United Nations as 59th member.
[1948-52] Mass immigration from Europe and Arab countries.
 Law of Return
 Sinai Campaign
 Adolf Eichmann tried and executed in Israel for his part in the Holocaust.
 National Water Carrier, bringing water from north to semi-arid south, completed.
 Six-Day War, Jerusalem reunited
[1968-70] War of Attrition
 Yom Kippur War
 Israel becomes associate member of European Common Market.
 Likud comes to power, ending 30 years of Labor rule.
Egyptian President Sadat visits Jerusalem.
 Camp David Accords signed.
 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty signed.
 Memorandum of Understanding signed with United States
Iraq's nuclear reactor destroyed by Israel Air Force.
 Israel's withdrawal from Sinai completed.
Operation Peace for Galilee launched by Israel to put an end to PLO attacks from Lebanon.
 National unity government formed.
 Free Trade Zone Agreement signed with U.S.
 Widespread violent riots (intifada) break out in the areas administered by Israel since 1967.
 Space satellite, Ofek 1, launched.
 Four-point peace initiative proposed by Israel.
Mass immigration of Soviet Jews begins.
 Iraq attacks Israel with ground-to-ground missiles during Gulf war.
Under American and Soviet auspices, Middle East peace conference convenes in Madrid.
 Diplomatic relations established with China and India.
New Government, headed by Yitzhak Rabin of the Labor party.
 Witnessed by the U.S. and Russia, Israel and the PLO sign a Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements for the Palestinians, as a first step towards resolving the dispute between them.
 Israel and the PLO sign an agreement for the implementation of self-government for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area (Cairo, 4 May)
Full diplomatic relations with the Holy See (15 June)
King Hussein of Jordan and Prime Minister Rabin declare an end to the state of war between the two countries (Washington, 28 July)
Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers Judea and Samria to the Palestinians, in the fields of education and culture, health, social welfare, tourism and taxation. (29 August).
Agreements with Morocco and Tunisia to establish interest offices, as a step towards diplomatic relations (Sep-Oct)
Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty signed (26 October)
Rabin, Peres, Arafat awarded Nobel Peace Prize