The history of Israel dates to ancient times, even back to 2000 BC. The land has been coveted by many nations and is known as the sacred Promised Land of the Israelites. Since the beginning of Israeli history, conquests have followed one after the other. After the withdrawal of the British Mandate in 1948, several neighboring countries sent their armies to attack the small country, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. Israel is not only a place for hard facts and history, but it contains a legacy of spiritual antiquity. The area's history is intriguing and complicated, and historic facts about Israel include a lengthy series of troubled times.
Historians date God’s promise of this land to the Jewish nation to about the second millennium BC; Israelite kingdoms are dated back to the eleventh century BC. The history of Israel includes the establishment and significance of the holiest sites among the religious followers of Judaism, including the Temple Mount, the holiest of all sites and home to the Western Wall. Jesus traveled through this very land before the crucifixion, and this alone among the holy facts about Israel attracts scores of visitors each year embarking on their own personal spiritual journey.
During those ancient years in Israeli history, before the conquest of the Muslims, several nations claimed domain of the land of Israel, including Assyria, Persia, Babylonia, and the Greek and Roman Empires. During the Roman regime, the Jewish people diminished and were expelled after a failed revolt. Later, empires gave way to nations, with Europe playing a major role in occupation of the Holy Land. At this time, the Jewish people took the opportunity to resettle their beloved Israel. There were several periods throughout the history of Israel when an influx of Jews can be noted; these were known as Aliyahs. The first of these Aliyahs took place in the late nineteenth century, following a series of pogroms, or attacks, against the Jews in Eastern Europe.
The Second Aliyah came after a massacre at Kishinev, also known as Chisinau and now the capital of Moldova, in the early part of the twentieth century. The Balfour Declaration, during World War I, issued by Arthur Balfour, acknowledged a need for the creation of a nation for the Jews in what was then Palestine. The League of Nations granted a mandate over Palestine to the United Kingdom under a similar pretext, ensuring a place for the Jewish people and leading to the third and fourth influx of Jews during the second decade of the twentieth century. The Fifth Aliyah followed the persecution by the Nazis and the Holocaust.
With each change of hands, the Israelites were persecuted and barred from the land. Long had the Jewish nation yearned to return to their homeland, and with the political establishment of Zionism, seeking to create a Jewish nation within the Promised Land, by Theodor Herzl, the question of the matter was brought to an international level, finally allowing for this state to become a reality. The creation of the Jewish state of Israel within the Palestinian territory gave rise to conflict between the two nations, which has continued through the end of the twentieth century and into the 21st. The conflict is deeply spiritual, especially as many of the holiest sites in Islam, such as the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, both on the Temple Mount, are located in Jerusalem.
Today, the history of Palestine and Israel can be found at the multitude of archaeological sites and museums throughout the land. If you happen to be in the area of Jerusalem, Yad Vashem is one of the largest memorials dedicated to one of the most important events in Israeli history, where the victims of the Holocaust are honored, and the Way of the Cross, also known as the Via Dolorosa, that runs through the city to Calvary is a solemn journey that leaves many pilgrims breathless with emotion. Whether you are searching for a spiritual journey or simply some interesting facts about Israel, this is a country chock full of history and information.