Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Mary Han, Vanessa Ratten and Isabell M. Welpe
Liora Katzenstein, Eli Gimmon, Eyal Benjamin and Itay Friedberg Introduction Israel is a unique phenomenon among the world’s nations, as it is a country built on an ideology and a religion. The country has its origins in the times of the Bible, some 3000 years ago. The ‘Jewish Temple’ in the land of the Bible has been destroyed several times over and its inhabitants were sent to exile in neighboring countries, from where they emigrated worldwide, creating today’s ‘Jewish Diaspora’. In the 1880s Jews, seeking escape from persecution in Eastern Europe, began migrating back to their homeland, then an Arabic-speaking part of the Ottoman Empire. Following World War I (WWI), Britain replaced the Ottoman Empire as the ruler of Palestine. In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, stating support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Following the end of WWI, Zionist immigration increased, confronting increased violence from local Arab communities. As a result of the Holocaust in World War II (WWII), pressure grew for the international recognition of a Jewish state, and in 1947 the United Nations (UN) proposed the partition of the Palestine Mandate into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Arab states rejected partition and invaded Palestine as soon as the British withdrew, in 1948. Following the war of independence (the first of seven more wars that plagued the country on average once a decade), the modern state of Israel was declared on 14 May 1948. This very small country, of about 20 000 square kilometers,...
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