Why is a visit to Israel historic?

Israel is a country with a unique history, where biblical myths and historical facts go hand in hand. The modern state of Israel is considered the only democracy in the Middle East and is burdened by numerous conflicts.

  • The modern one State of Israel was founded on May 14, 1948.
  • The country looks back thousands of years history back.
  • The three world religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam meet in Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv - Israel is a divided country in many ways. On the one hand, there is the ongoing conflict between the Israeli and the Arab-Palestinian population embossed. But even inside, opposites collide in the form of the ultra-modern, cosmopolitan Tel Aviv and the conservative-religious Jerusalem.

Israel: The Early History

The early one history the region around Israel is difficult to separate from biblical myths. It is historically proven that in the early days the Philistines founded the five city-states Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gat and Ekron, which were known as Pentapolis. In Hebrew they were called "Peleschet", from which the word Palestine originated.

In the centuries that followed, Israel was conquered several times, including by Babylonians, Alexander the great and finally by the Romans. Although these granted religious freedom to the Jewish people, there were numerous uprisings in Judea, which led to open war in AD 66. In this the victorious Romans conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. The war was finally ended with the capture of the mountain fortress Masada on the Dead Sea, today one of the most famous sights in the country.

About a third of the Jewish population lost his life in the war, many more Jews fell into slavery. Only the western outer wall of the temple remained, today's Western Wall in the old city of Jerusalem. Emperor Hadrian left the country in 135 BC In Palestine to erase the memory of the Jewish people.

Israel and the Crusades

From 636 onwards, Palestine was conquered by the Arabs who drove out the Christians of the Eastern Roman Empire. In the 8th century it came under Caliph Umar II. for the oppression and persecution of Jews and Christians. With Christians making pilgrimages to Jerusalem, these reports came to Europe and triggered the Crusades to recapture the Holy Land. The motivation of the crusaders remains in the dark. Many were probably driven by a sense of adventure and the hope of rich booty, while others may be forgiven for their sins. The initially victorious crusaders erected four States, including the Kingdom of Jerusalem, but all Christian territories were lost again by the end of the 13th century. Today's Israel became part of the Syrian Caliphate of the Mamluks and then of the Ottoman Empire in the following centuries.

Israel and Zionism

Since the suppression of the uprising against the Romans, the Jews lived as a diaspora all over the world. The Jewish people were repeatedly confronted with discrimination and persecution. Already during the Babylonian exile in the 6th century BC The term "Zion" as the name for the Temple Mount of Jerusalem became the popular word for the return to Israel (Aliyah). In the late 19th century, the term and the idea behind it experienced a renaissance under the impact of the pogroms in Eastern Europe. Written in Germany Theodor Herzl 1896 the book "Der Judenstaat", in which he developed the idea of ​​an organized settlement in a new one Country propagated. This resulted in the World Zionist Organization, in which Zionist associations from all over the world came together.

Israel: birth of a state

Even before the First World War, the Jewish population in Israel grew to around 85,000 people, mostly from Eastern Europe. In 1917 the Jews' claim to a national homeland in Palestine was matched by the British Balfour Declaration approved. However, this declaration did not meet with approval from the Arabs living in Palestine. The fertile breeding ground for the Middle East conflict, which continues to this day, was prepared.

Due to the Nazi persecution of Jews in Europe, the influx of Jewish emigrants to Israel increased enormously. On November 29, 1947, the U.N. the partition plan for Palestine, which was supposed to solve the problem: Jews and Arabs each got half of the land, while Jerusalem was to remain under international control. On May 14, 1948, the British mandate for the region and the first Israeli Prime Minister ended David Ben Gurion called the Jewish one Country Israel from.

Israel and the Middle East Conflict

Just a few hours after the declaration of independence, the Palestinian war began between Israel and six neighboring Arab countries. Israel was able to win this war and at the same time enlarge its territory. Around 750,000 Arab Palestinians were made from the now Jewish Country expelled. Conversely, about the same number of Jews had to leave Arab countries. The Six Day War followed in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Within the country's borders, the first intifada occurred in 1987 and the second intifada in 2000: violent unrest and attacks by the Palestinians.

Tender attempts at relaxation usually did not last long. This is how the Israeli prime minister, who was fighting for reconciliation, became Yitzchak Rabin Murdered by a right-wing extremist Jewish settler shortly after the Oslo Accords were signed in 1994. Due to Israeli military actions in the Palestinian territories and the Israeli settlement policy on the one hand and suicide bombings and attacks by Palestinian extremists on the other, the Middle East conflict has remained deadlocked to this day.

Israel: politics

Israel is often referred to as the only free democracy in the Middle East. The head of state is the president, who primarily fulfills a representative function. Dressed since 2014 Reuven Rivlin this office. The real one politics is operated by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, which preside over the Parliament (Knesset).

He has held the office of Prime Minister since 2009 Benjamin Netanyahu from the conservative Likud-Political party. Since the parliamentary elections in April 2020, Likud has governed in a grand coalition with the party Chosen LeJisrae‘el of Benny Gantz. After a year and a half, he is to take over the office of Prime Minister in rotation.

Israel: population and language

Since the founding of the state in 1948, the population of Israel increased greatly. Again and again there were strong waves of immigration from foreign Jews, most recently in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In addition, the high birth rate among ultra-Orthodox Jews and Muslims is driving up the population. In 2000, 6,289,000 people were still living in the Country, in 2020 there were already 9,250,000. All people, regardless of their religion, who have Israeli citizenship are referred to as Israelis. They are divided as follows:

groupResidentsPercentage of the population
Jews6.84 million74
Arabs1.95 million21

A distinction is made between different groups within the Jewish population:

  • Ashkenazim (immigrants from Europe and America)
  • Sephardim (immigrants from the Iberian Peninsula)
  • Misrachim (immigrants from the Orient and North Africa)
  • Beta Israel (immigrants from Ethiopia)

Jews born in Israel who do not directly belong to any of the groups are known as Tzabar. Today they make up 75 percent of the Jewish population.

Only 15 percent of Jews describe themselves as Orthodox and 7 percent as ultra-Orthodox. In a poll, 65 percent of Israel's Jewish residents said they were non-religious or atheist.

Only official language in the state is Hebrew. Arabic has a special status.

Israel: geography and cities

The geography Israel is dominated by barren desert and fertile plains. The Dead Sea is 418 meters below sea level, making it the lowest point in the country and the world. The coastal strip is particularly densely populated.

The biggest Cities from Israel (as of 2016):

1Jerusalem *882.652
2Tel Aviv-Jaffa438.818
4Rishon LeZion247.323
5Petach Tikva236.169

* The number for Jerusalem includes East Jerusalem, although the Israeli annexation has not been recognized under international law.

More than 3 million people live in the metropolitan area of ​​Tel Aviv-Jaffa (Gush Dan). The modern, liberal city of Tel Aviv is the country's economic and social center, while Jerusalem is home to a particularly large number of conservative Orthodox Jews. The Country Israel declared Jerusalem its capital in 1980 and moved the main government buildings there. However, this was recognized internationally by only four countries. All others still have their embassies and consulates in Tel Aviv.