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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Israel

The name "Israel"originally referred to the patriarch Jacob, The Book of Genesis tells us he was given the moniker meaning, "one who strives with God," after he successfully wrestled with the angel of the Lord. Jacob's twelve sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel or Children of Israel.

The earliest known archaeological artifact to mention the word "Israel" is the Merneptah Stele of ancient Egypt (dated to the late 13th century BC.

In 586 BCE King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon conquered Judah and exiled the Jews to Babylon.

The first Christian writer to mention the term "holy land" was Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho (c. 160). Justin was explaining that the land God promised to Abraham would be inherited by Christians when Christ returned and built a new Jerusalem.

The concept of the return to the Holy Land was first developed in Jewish history during the Babylonian exile in the sixth century BC.

From the early 18th century, German Pietists had promoted the view that the Jews were "God's time-piece" and that the conversion of the "Jewish nation" was key to the evangelization of the world. These ideas found fertile soil in England, during the early 19th century as British evangelicals became fascinated with the Jews.

Large-scale immigration to Palestine began in 1882 beginning with the arrival of Jews from Russia. Between 1882 and 1903, approximately 35,000 Jews immigrated to the southwestern area of Syria, then a province of the Ottoman Empire. The majority came from the Russian Empire with a smaller number arriving from Yemen.

Tel Aviv was founded on April 11, 1909 by Jewish immigrants on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa. It was planned as an independent Hebrew city with wide streets and boulevards, running water at each house and street lights. It is the second most populous Israeli city after Jerusalem.

Sarona, Tel Aviv

The British general Edmund Allenby retook Jerusalem from the Turks in 1917. In the resulting November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, (Arthur Balfour being the British Foreign Secretary), Britain pledged itself to use her best endeavors to facilitate in Palestine a national home for the Jewish people.

The United Nations unanimously confirmed in 1922 the Balfour Declaration as a mandate and Great Britain was temporarily entrusted with administrating Palestine on behalf of its Arab and Jewish inhabitants.

Portrait of Lord Balfour, along with his famous declaration

The United Nations General assembly adopted the UN Resolution to divide Western Palestine between the Jews and the Arabs in 1947. The Arabs rejected this plan out of hand refusing to accept an independent Palestinian Jewish state and declaring their intention to "drive the Jews into the sea" once the British Mandatory powers left.

The Jewish state of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948. The day after the British left Palestine, six Arab armies attacked the fledgling nation. Contrary to every expectation the Jews were victorious and threw back the attacking Arab armies.

Declaration of State of Israel 1948

The rebirth of the Jewish state was a unique event in history. Never before has a nation been resurrected two thousand years after being destroyed with its people dispersed and its land occupied by others.

An ardent supporter of Zionism, Winston Churchill was instrumental in setting up the Jewish homeland and consequently some Jews believed he was the promised Messiah.

In 1952 Albert Einstein was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel. He declined, saying that as a scientist trained to deal with objective facts, he lacked the aptitude and experience to deal with people.

In the 1967 Six-Day War Arab armies again attacked Israel but they were repelled to the line of the Jordan River and Israel occupied Judea and Samaria. The Israelis found  themselves back in control of the Old City of Jerusalem thus fulfilling the prophecy in Luke 21 v 24 that the "times of the Gentiles" would end.

The 1973 Yom Kippur War began, as the name suggests, on the Jewish High Holy Day (October 6, 1973). A coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack, assuming that the Israeli army's defenses would be down. They made quick gains in the disputed Palestinian regions but within a couple of days Israel launched smashing counter-attacks that negated Arab progress.

Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and US President Jimmy Carter signed the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in Washington, D.C on March 26, 1979, ending three decades of hostilities.


Israel admitted in 1985 that it has been secretly resettling Ethiopian Jews in Israel since 1977. Over the previous eight years more than 10,000 Ethiopians had been escaping the country's communist regime and the recent famine by being secretly airlifted to Israel. It is claimed Ethiopian Jews are descendants of the tribe of Dan.

Russian is spoken in Israel by about 20% of the total population.

Israel has almost no fresh water of their own. Only the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River that comes out of it. They need it from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Israel is the only first world country that has enough children to replace its own population.

The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.

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