Israel History

By | January 9, 2023

Israel – national flag

Israel National Flag

Israel’s national flag was officially established by the country’s independence in 1948. The flag is formed on the basis of a flag that was displayed in 1897 at the first Zionist Congress in Basel. The basis of the pattern is the Jewish prayer shawl, tallith. In the middle is the belly of David (the Star of David), an ancient Jewish symbol.

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Israel (History)

On biblical times, see the article on Israel. About the time before 1948, see also Palestine (archeology) and Palestine (history).

According to a2zgov, Palestine belonged to the Ottoman Empire from 1517, but was conquered in 1917 by Great Britain. That same year, the British stated in the Balfour Declaration that they would work for a Jewish homeland in the area. At the San Remo Peace Conference in 1920, Palestine became a British Mandate Territory under the League of Nations; Transjordan was separated in 1922.

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The desire for a Jewish homeland in Palestine had been actualized by the anti-Semitism and nationalism that prevailed in Europe in the late 1800’s. The Austrian journalist Theodor Herzl, co-organizer of the first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897, translated the ideas into practical politics and formulated a program for its implementation; is Zionism. In the 1880’s, Jewish immigration to Palestine gradually began, but only from approximately 1905, the so-called 2nd aliya, the move increased. The pioneer generation came predominantly from Eastern Europe and was inspired by socialist ideas and the Bible, and they had a decisive influence on the ideological foundations and institutions of the Jewish state. After Hitler took power in Germany in 1933, immigration increased steadily, though interrupted by World War II. In 1882 about 24,000 Jews lived in Palestine and in 1948 approximately 650,000. Jewish immigration and the political efforts of the national independence movement intensified the antagonism between the area’s Jewish and Arab populations. There were several clashes, and in 1936-39 an Arab uprising was defeated by the British Army. To accommodate Arab wishes, Britain slowed down Jewish immigration. The White Paper of 1939.

The mass extermination of Jews during World War II (see Holocaust) provided fertile ground for great sympathy for the Jewish struggle for a homeland. At the same time, major refugee problems arose as the concentration camps were emptied. Tired of war, under pressure from the United States and trapped in a conflict between incompatible Arab and Jewish views, in 1947 the British left it to the UN to decide on the future of the area. In 1947, the UN proposed dividing Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state.

Establishment of the State of Israel (1948-1967)

The State of Israel was proclaimed May 14, 1948 in Tel Aviv by David Ben-Gurion. The proclamation triggered the 1948-49 War of Independence between Israel and Transjordan (Jordan), Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. In this war, Israel conquered an approximately 50% larger area than it had been allocated by the division plan adopted by the UN General Assembly on 29 November 1947. The rest of the area, which was planned to be a Palestinian state, was annexed by King Abdallah ibn Husayn of Transjordan, while Gaza came under Egyptian control. After the war, Israel and Transjordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria signed ceasefire agreements.

Historical overview
1948 The State of Israel is established 14/5.
1948-49 The War of Independence; Israel is being attacked by troops from Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Mass immigration of Jews from Muslim countries.
1956 Suez Crisis; Israel is attacking Egypt along with France and Britain.
1967 The Six Day War; Israel conquers the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and parts of the Golan Heights.
1973 The October War (or the Yom Kippur War); Egypt and Syria attack Israel.
1977 The Israeli Labor Party loses the election; Likud comes to power. Peace talks with Egypt. Anwar al-Sadat visits Israel.
1978 The Camp David Agreement between Israel and Egypt. Israel is invading southern Lebanon.
1979 The Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement is signed.
1982 Israel invades Lebanon and drives the PLO out of Beirut.
1987-90 The Palestinian uprising Intifada in the Occupied Territories. Mass immigration from former Soviet republics.
1993 Agreement in principle between Israel and the PLO on Palestinian Authority.
1994 Peace agreement with Jordan.
1995 Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.
1996 Likud returns to government power.
2001 The 2nd intifada of the Palestinians begins.
2006 Month-long war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The War of Independence created two major refugee problems: approximately 730,000 Arabs fled or were expelled from the areas controlled by the Jews, and a similar number of Jews living in the Arab countries fled to Israel, often via Europe. The two populations’ sense of being victims of injustice has since contributed to the irreconcilability that characterizes the national conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Within five years of the War of Independence, Israel’s Jewish population doubled. Mass immigration changed the composition of the population and, together with the war, strained Israel’s economy.

In October 1951, the Conservative Zionist Party entered into a coalition government with the Mapai Labor Party. This led to the liberalization of restrictive economic policies: food rationing was abolished and investment promotion laws were passed. In 1953, the economy had stabilized, and the following year a period of growth began, spurred on by an agreement with West Germany on war damages.

The new state was strongly centralized, and in 1953 the public budget amounted to approximately 50% of national income with housing and defense as the two most important items. In 1960, 60% of all employees were employed in the public sector in one form or another, and 75% of the population was organized in Histadrut, the cooperating trade unions, which by virtue of its large industrial sector were also the country’s largest employers. The new economic policy encouraged foreign investment, which supplemented the official US aid of 50 million. dollars annually, sales of government bonds abroad as well as contributions from foreign Jews. During the same period, the nature of the agricultural sector changed. Collective drift slipped into the background in favor of cooperative use, and living standards and thus life expectancy began to rise.

The 1956 Suez Crisis, triggered by Egyptian President Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal in July 1956, resulted in a failed British-French-Israeli military operation. However, it became a turning point in the history of Israel; the military alliance with France strengthened the Israeli defense, foreign aid grew steadily, and a new wave of immigrants from communist countries, especially Poland and Romania, meant a well-educated contribution to society.

The immigration of Oriental Jews created social tensions, the existence of which was not recorded by the decision-makers before the so-called “bread and work” demonstrations in July 1959 in Haifa. They were to become a warning of political developments that would bring an end to the political monopoly of the labor movement in 1977.

Consolidation of the State of Israel (1967-77)

In 1967, 20% of Israel’s population lived in housing ready for redevelopment, and 83% of them were of Oriental descent. During these years, the country became self-sufficient in food, but the economy was plagued by inflation, rising unemployment and the balance of payments deficit. The crisis was mainly due to the costs of the defense as well as the large immigration and investment in large-scale construction work.

Israel’s convincing victory over Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War meant that the country, having been a besieged state, became the undisputed military superpower of the Middle East. The Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, the West Bank and parts of the Golan Heights were occupied, and 1 million. Palestinians in the occupied territories came under Israeli control.

The Israeli government decided to evacuate all conquered territories minus Jerusalem towards the conclusion of peace, but an Arab summit on August 29, 1967 in Khartoum (see the Khartoum Agreements) decided in response to the Israeli government’s decision to deny recognition of Israel and peace talks. The Arab no helped to create popular support behind the Israeli settlement policy that was introduced in the occupied territories after the Six-Day War. The war intensified the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 1967, the Israeli parliament decided to annex the Palestinian part of Jerusalem as well as its hinterland.

The pre-war economic downturn of 1967 was replaced by intense economic activity, partly triggered by the defense budget, which was adapted to the new tasks of the military as a result of the new frontiers. The upswing created growing social inequality and put an end to the egalitarian imprint that had characterized the country’s first years. In the late 1960’s, a mix of the Israeli and Palestinian economies also began. Israeli exports to the Palestinian territories were larger than exports for example, West Germany and Great Britain, and 1/4 of the labor force in Israeli industry and agriculture came from the Palestinian territories.

The Israeli boom created excessive self-confidence and arrogance in assessing the Arab world’s ability to recover from the defeat of the Six Day War. Official Israel assumed it would take at least ten years, and that was part of the reason Israel was unprepared when Syria and Egypt attacked the country in October 1973.

1948-52 Chaim Weizmann
1952-63 Yitzhak Ben-Zwi
1963-73 Schneur Zalman Shazar
1973-78 Ephraim Katzir
1978-83 Yitzhak Navon
1983-93 Chaim Herzog
1993-2000 Ezer Weizmann
2000-07 Moshe Katsav
2007-14 Shimon Peres
2014- Reuven Rivlin

The shock of the Yom Kippur War (also known as the October War) in 1973 undermined confidence in the Israeli Workers’ Party, which had ruled Israel since its inception. A generational change was attempted, and the new leadership under Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres won the parliamentary elections in 1973, but lost in 1977 to the right-wing Likud party. Likud leader Menachem Begin understood how to mobilize dissatisfaction with the Labor Party and the growing social frustration of the Oriental population, and his radical rejection of negotiations with the PLO, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, appealed to many voters. The Labor Party had become a middle-class party.

In the years after the Six-Day War, the Palestinian political leader, Yassir Arafat, had consolidated his position in the Palestinian diaspora, and from 1970, after the so-called Black September conflict in Jordan forced the PLO’s leadership out of Jordan, the Palestinian resistance organizations based in Lebanon a growing role in the Arab-Israeli conflict. After the war in 1973, the Palestinian guerrilla activities escalated, and eventually 100 nations recognized the PLO, whose goal was “the creation of a secular, democratic state throughout Palestine”, ie. dissolution of the State of Israel.

From the Camp David Agreement to the Gulf War (1977-91)

In November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat flew to Israel to continue secret talks on a peace deal, and in September 1978, Sadat and Begin signed the Camp David Accords. It was followed in March 1979 by the signing of an actual Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. On the other hand, negotiations between Israel and Egypt on the future of the conquered Palestinian territories collapsed, not least as a result of Begin’s assertion of the Jewish people’s right to the whole of biblical Palestine and thus also to the occupied territories. After the election victory in 1977, Begin intensified the settlement policy, which now acquired an ideological-religious character in addition to the security policy that had dominated the labor government’s settlement policy.

Economically, the post-war situation in 1973 was a strain on the changing Israeli governments. Soviet arms supplies to Egypt and Syria led to an arms race, and Israel’s defense spending and inflation grew sharply. In the 1981 elections, both the Labor Party and Likud won ground, but Begin formed a government with the support of the country’s small religious parties.

In terms of security policy, there was calm along Israel’s borders except in the north towards the border with Lebanon, where 300,000 Palestinian refugees lived in miserable conditions, ignored by the Christian part of Lebanon’s population, who feared that the Palestinian refugees would change the balance of power in Lebanon.

Towards the end of 1974, relations between the Muslim and Christian populations in Lebanon deteriorated, and the Israeli government sided with the Christians in the burgeoning Lebanese Civil War. The Christian-Israeli alliance was strengthened after Begin’s election victory in 1977, but at the same time intensified Palestinian guerrilla activity targeting the cities and villages of northern Israel.

In 1978, Israel invaded southern Lebanon in a futile attempt to defeat the Palestinian forces, and in 1982, Israeli forces again crossed the border into Lebanon in order to drive the PLO out of the country. This time the venture succeeded, and from August Arafat began evacuating his forces to other Arab countries.

However, Lebanon’s Christian president, Bashir Gemayel, was killed in a bomb attack on September 14, 1982, and the next day, Christian militia units entered two Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Sabra and Shatila, and carried out a massacre of Palestinian civilians. The Israeli forces in charge of the area remained passive, and the revelations of an Israeli Commission of Inquiry forced Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and three generals to leave their posts.

In July 1983, Israel began to withdraw from Lebanon except for an approximately 15 km deep security zone controlled by Lebanese mercenaries, funded by Israel, and by Israeli units. The withdrawal was completed in June 1985 and led to an improvement in the international climate around Israel. In July 1983, Begin retired and was replaced by Yitzhak Shamir.

The Israeli economy took a dive after the invasion of Lebanon, but the country was able to meet the demands it faced after concluding association agreements with the EC in 1975 and 1986 and a free trade agreement with the United States in 1985. Following the July 1984 elections, a coalition government with Peres as prime minister. After 25 months, Shamir was to take over the post. A new economic policy, prompted by Shimon Peres, resulted in in a drastic fall in inflation. Privatization of the public sector was initiated, and public funds were channeled over to basic research and technological development, while Peres reduced investment in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. De approximately 500,000 Jews from former Soviet territories who had emigrated since 1989, many of whom had a high level of education, contributed to the economic growth of approximately 7% pr. year.

In foreign policy, Pere’s rejected negotiations with the PLO and concentrated on secret negotiations with King Hussein of Jordan over the future of the West Bank.

Negotiations between Peres and Hussein were promising, and the draft agreement enjoyed US support, but in 1986 it was rejected by Peres’ successor, Yitzhak Shamir, and by Arafat. Shamir wanted to secure control of the occupied territories, and under his rule, Israeli settlement activity accelerated again.

In December 1987, a Palestinian uprising, the so-called Intifada, broke out in the occupied territories, indirectly leading to the fall of the Israeli unity government and creating divisions among the people between a peace wing and a wing demanding stricter measures against the Palestinians. In July 1988, Hussein announced that Jordan had abandoned any claim to the West Bank and recognized Arafat as the legitimate spokesman for the Palestinians. In December 1988, Arafat stated that he was ready to recognize Israel’s right to exist, ie. a two-state solution to the conflict. It resulted in the restoration of the US-Palestinian dialogue, which had been interrupted in 1975 due to Palestinian terrorist acts.

The peace process (1991-2000)

In 1991, the Gulf War broke out, which resulted in Israel being hit by several Iraqi missiles. For the sake of relations with the United States, they did not retaliate against the Iraqi attacks, and this restraint caused circles in the Arab world to begin to consider whether the enemy image of aggressive Israel might be exaggerated. In November 1991, Israeli and Arab delegations met for a peace conference in Madrid, invited by the United States and the Soviet Union, and in concession to Shamir, the Palestinian representatives were camouflaged as members of the Jordanian delegation. Negotiations were transferred to Washington, but soon stalled.

During the negotiations, it was clear that the Palestinian delegates were negotiating on behalf of the PLO, and this led to a government crisis in Israel. Two strongly right-wing smaller parties left Shamir’s coalition, after which he called elections. Rabin was re-appointed leader of the Israeli Labor Party, and in the 1992 election Likud suffered its biggest defeat since Begin came to power in 1977. Rabin became prime minister and Perez foreign minister.

Five Arab members of the Knesset secured Rabin’s majority, which was a reminder of the growing importance of the Arab minority in Israeli politics.

Peace talks continued. Rabin’s government officially refused to meet the Palestinian demands for, among other things. a legislative, self-governing authority in the Occupied Territories. Unofficially, in January 1993, secret negotiations began in Oslo (the Oslo Accords) between representatives of the PLO and Israel. In September 1993, Peres and Arafat signed an agreement in principle on “Palestinian self-government”. In May 1994, negotiations on the first Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and Jericho ended, and in July, Arafat arrived in Gaza. In October 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement in Washington, DC

In March 1995, elections to a Palestinian Legislative Assembly were held; Arafat was elected chairman of the regime. According to the Oslo Accords and the Principle Agreement, negotiations on a permanent solution to the conflict were to end before the end of five years after these elections. At the same time, Israel increasingly had to leave security and administration to the Palestinian Authority. Outstanding issues included the final borders between Israel and the Palestinian Territories, the future of Jerusalem, problems with the Palestinian refugees from the wars of 1948 and 1967, the future status of the Palestinian Territories and the future of the approximately 130,000 Israelis who had settled in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since the Six-Day War, encouraged by shifting Israeli governments.

The Palestinian-Israeli peace process broke down part of the resistance in the Arab world against Israel. At the same time, the peace process radicalized opposition to Israel in extremist circles in the Muslim world and in the Palestinian people. It also aroused opposition among Jews in Israel.

In November 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish terrorist who, for religious reasons, protested against the surrender of biblical land to the Palestinians. In March 1996, Palestinian suicide bombers from the fundamentalist movements directed Islamic Jihad and Hamas attacks on civilian targets in Israel. In May, Lebanese guerrilla units from the Hezbollah movement intensified attacks on Israeli towns and villages in the border area with Lebanon, triggering violent Israeli retaliatory attacks against targets in Lebanon. These events contributed to the Labor Party losing the same year under Shimon Peres. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu formed a government on a national-religious basis, critical of the Treaty of Principles.

During Netanyahu’s 1996-99 reign, efforts continued to settle Israelis on Palestinian land. Among other things, the government decided to build 6,500 homes on Har Homn south of Jerusalem with the intention of blocking connections between Arab East Jerusalem and Bethlehem. However, in January 1997, under strong pressure from the United States, Netanyahu signed the Hebron Agreement with Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat. The agreement evacuated Israeli forces 4/5 of the city, but retained control of the rest of the terms of approximately Security of 500 Israeli settlers.

Developments since 2000

Palestinian terrorist attacks contributed to the Likud government not actively participating in the peace process, and the difficult situation became no less complex when Netanyahu in May 1999 lost the direct election of the new Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who subsequently formed a government. He had gone to the polls on a promise to withdraw Israel from Lebanon, and in May 2000, Israel renounced its presence in the neighboring country. In July 2000, Bill Clinton convened the parties for a meeting in Camp David in an attempt to revive the peace process, but to no avail. Barak then called off elections held in February 2001, in which he lost heavily to Likud, which was now led by Ariel Sharon. During the election campaign, he had made no secret of that he did not intend to bow to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. A visit by Sharon to the Temple Mount in September 2000 had led to the eruption of a new Intifada (the al-Aqsa Intifada), which effectively did away with the peace process. New suicide bombings in 2001 and 2002 led first to a massive Israeli military attack on the regime in Ramallah, a years-long siege of Arafat and his staff, and in March-April 2002 to attacks on cities in the West Bank in an attempt to overthrow the Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad for life. In 2002, the Israeli government began the construction of a security fence, which was eventually replaced by a wall to prevent terrorists from entering Israel. The growing deterioration of relations with the Palestinian Authority was further complicated politically by a severe economic crisis in Israel, which forced the government into austerity measures that primarily affected people with the lowest incomes. In October 2002, the Labor Party withdrew its support for Sharon’s government, and new elections held in January 2003 led to the establishment of a new Likud government.

Prime Minister
1948-53 David Ben-Gurion
1953-55 Moshe Sharett
1955-63 David Ben-Gurion
1963-69 Levi Eshkol
1969-74 Golda Meir
1974-77 Yitzhak Rabin
1977-83 Menachem Begin
1983-84 Yitzhak Shamir
1984-86 Shimon Peres
1986-92 Yitzhak Shamir
1992-95 Yitzhak Rabin
1995-96 Shimon Peres
1996-99 Benjamin Netanyahu
1999-2001 Ehud Barak
2001-06 Ariel Sharon
2006-09 Ehud Olmert
2009- Benjamin Netanyahu

Following the US-led invasion of Iraq, the US government, in cooperation with the UN, Russia and the EU, launched a plan for a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, acceded to by Sharon in May. In June, Sharon met with new Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and President Bush in Aqaba, Jordan, in an attempt to promote a diplomatic solution during a period in which Palestinian President Yassir Arafat was effectively sidelined. The meeting ended without result, nor did Arafat’s death in November 2004 lead to significant changes in the deadlock.

In the run-up to the 2003 election, the Labor Party had proposed a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Sharon took over the idea and it was implemented in August-September 2005. Sharon’s efforts met strong opposition in Likud; he left the party and subsequently formed the Kadima party, which was launched as a center party ahead of the spring 2006 elections. Shortly before the election, Sharon suffered a violent stroke which ended his political career. Kadima, now headed by Ehud Olmert, emerged victorious in the April 2006 election and formed a subsequent government with the Labor Party. In relation to the occupied West Bank, the situation remained frozen. In the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Assembly in January 2006, Hamas won, and a government led by the movement was installed, but both the Israeli government and parts of the international community refused to cooperate with the new government before Hamas formally recognized Israeli law. to exist. In June 2006, the Israeli army again moved into parts of Gaza as punishment for firing rockets at targets in Israel from the Gaza Strip. The following month, Israel launched a major offensive in Lebanon in response to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Shiite militia Hezbollah. After a good month of fighting,

The war against Hezbollah was generally considered a failure in Israel, and the government was severely criticized. In addition, there were accusations against Ehud Olmert about corruption, which in 2008 led him to resign as leader of Kadima and announce that he would resign as head of government as soon as a new leader of Kadima was appointed. Kadima’s new leader was Tzipi Livni, but she failed to gather a parliamentary majority for a new government, so elections had to be called.

During the autumn of 2008, the situation around Gaza escalated sharply. Militant Palestinians belonging to Hamas fired a large number of primitive missiles at Israel from Gaza, and on December 27, 2008, heavy Israeli bombardment of Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip began. A few days later, Israel invaded and, according to its own statement, destroyed a large part of Hamas’ opportunities for aggression against Israel. However, fighting was fought in densely populated areas, and Palestinian civilian casualties and the destruction of Palestinian property were extensive. It is estimated that about 1300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis perished.

In the February 2009 election, Kadima became the largest party, but Likud under Benjamin Netanyahu still managed to form a coalition government with the participation of both strongly right-wing and religious parties and the Labor Party.

In May 2010, ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists attempted to break the blockade of Gaza and seize supplies. Israeli soldiers stormed the ships and nine Turkish activists were killed. The episode led to a cooling of relations with Turkey, which had otherwise been one of Israel’s allies in the region.

Internally in Israel, rising cost of living led to widespread protests against the government in the summer and fall of 2011. A government intervention led to increased competition in food prices.

In the summer of 2014, the abduction and murder of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank led to a sharp increase in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, not least Hamas, which Israel was accused of being behind. The tension was unleashed in violent bombings and fierce fighting in Gaza, in which more than 2,200 were killed, including the vast majority of Palestinians.

Internal disagreement within the government over tax cuts as well as a controversial addition to the constitution, further establishing Israel’s status as a Jewish state, led Netanyahu in the fall of 2014 to dismiss several members of the government and call elections to be held in March 2015.