Part I: The Jewish Prophets and Kings
In 2081 BC, God promises a righteous Mesopotamian shepherd called Avram ben Terach, that Canaan will be his seed's eternal hereditary possession. As part of this Abrahamic Covenant, Avram circumcizes himself and his sons Ishmael (born 2080 BC) and Yitzchak (born 2066 BC). Avram and his wife Sarai are henceforth known as Avraham & Sara. In 2064 BC, Avram expels his illegitimate son Ishmael and his mother to the desert. Ishmael's and Yitzchak's descendants become known as the Arabs and Israelites respectively. In 2054 BC (Akeidat Yitzchak) God tests Avraham's faith in Him by ordering him to sacrifice his only son Yitzchak on Mount Moriah. Avraham passes the test and Yitzchak is spared.
In 2006 BC, Yitzchak's twin sons Ya'akov and Esav are born. The older twin Esav trades his primogeniture for Ya'akov's red pottage in 1978 BC and thus Ya'akov inherits God's promises to Avraham. The heartbroken Esav is instead promised a great, but subservient, nation (i.e. the Edomites). In 1906 BC Ya'akov wrestles with a mysterious man all night, but is then crippled by his mere touch. The stranger turns out to be God and blesses him with the name "Yisrael".
In 1898 BC the favourite son of Ya'akov, Yosef, is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. He ends up in Egypt, and is falsely accused of rape by his owner. While in prison in 1886 BC, Yosef interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh and is made Vizier of Egypt. In 1875 BC, Yosef's brothers collect grain in Egypt and are forgiven by him. The entire family (i.e. some 70 souls), including father Yisrael, is invited to Egypt and given autonomous land (Eretz Goshen). Right before death in 1859 BC, Ya'akov blesses his sons and the Twelve Tribes of Israel are designated: Asher, Naftali, Yisachar, Zvulun, Dan, Gad, Yosef, Reuven, Binyamin, Yehuda, Shimon and Levi. Yosef's sons (Efrayim & Menashe) become separate tribes. Within centuries there are millions of Israelites - culturally Egyptian, but religiously Abrahamic.
In 1570 BC, the Egyptian regime is toppled and a new Pharaoh enslaves the Israelites. When the Israelites start to outnumber ethnic Egyptians, the Pharaoh decrees the drowning of all male Israelite infants. In 1525 BC the Levite Moshe ben Amram is born, hidden in a basket in the Nile, discovered by an Egyptian princess and raised as a prince. In 1446 BC, God appears before Moshe in the shape of a burning bush on Mount Sinai. He promises to liberate Israel and bring them to Canaan, the land promised to their ancestor Abraham. Moshe is sent to the Pharaoh to demand the freedom of his nation, with the help of his brother Aharon.
The Pharaoh refuses and God unleashes the Ten Plagues. The shocked Pharaoh expels all 2 million Israelites with all their cattle (even giving them tons of gold and silver), and during the Exodus they head east and encamp at Succoth. The Pharaoh changes his mind and the royal cavalry is sent after the Israelites. God opens up the Red Sea to allow the Israelites through, and then closes it again - drowning the Egyptian pursuers. The Israelites reach Mount Sinai, where Moshe receives the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. Upon descending the mount after 40 days, Moshe finds all Israel engaged in an orgy and worshipping a golden calf ("Sin of the Calf"): all ten commandments have been violated. Moses breaks the tablets and God threatens to exterminate the stubborn Israelites, but Moshe and his tribe (Levi) execute 3.000 people. Moshe receives new tablets, kept in a chest known as the Ark of the Covenant. The Levites are made a priestly tribe, and put in charge of the Ark.
In 1445 BC, as Israel nears the Promised Land, Twelve Spies from each tribe are sent to investigate. Ten of the twelve spies advise against an invasion due to the strength of the Canaanites, despite God's promise of aid. As punishment, the Israelites have to wander the Sinai desert for 40 more years, so that the current generation will never arrive in Canaan ("Wilderness Wandering"). During this time, Moshe writes the Torah, in which western moral values are first documented - thus founding the Jewish national religion of Yahwism. Shortly before Moshe's death, Israel arrives on the Jordan's east bank, guarded by two giant Amorite kings, Sihon and Og. With the help of God, Israel defeats the giants and the East Bank is awarded to the tribes of Gad and Menashe.
In 1406 BC God temporarily stops the flow of the Jordan River and the Israelites cross it to enter the Promised Land under the lead of Yehoshua ben Nun, one of the twelve spies that was in favor of invasion. Priests carry the Ark of the Covenant in front of the Israelite army. Due to their sinful nature, God demands the extermination and expulsion of the native Canaanites. The Israelites cut off northern and southern Canaan (Battles of Jericho and Ai) and the Canaanite city of Gibeon deceives Israel into an alliance. The five southern Canaanite kings attack the Gibeonites, but an Israelite counter-attack leads to the final conquest of southern Canaan. A northern alliance is then formed against Israel and Gibeon, but during the Battle of Hazor, they, too, are conquered.
While the cities remain in the hand of the native Canaanites, the minority of Israelites establish towns and vassal villages in the dry, mountainous central Hill Country. There, they grow wheat, lentils, garbanzo beans, barley and millet. The Gibeonites are cursed by God into water carriers and woodcutters for Israel. By 1399 BC Canaan is divided and each Hebrew tribe (except Levi) is allotted a piece of land. The city of Shiloh becomes the common sacred site of all tribes, and the location of the Ark of the Covenant. The Israelite tribes living east of the Jordan river demand their own worship center on their side of the river. When the three tribes agree not to use the altar for sacrifice, but rather as a memorial, a civil war is averted.
The Tribe of Levi is selected for religious services instead, thus inheriting God instead of land. Levi provides the other tribes with priests, receiving tithe payments in return. Throughout Israel, 48 cities are designated for the Levites to serve in. The Levites are subdivided into Aaronites, Gershonites, Kohathites and Merarites, each with their own cities. Six of these cities are designated "Cities of Refuge", where manslayers can find refuge from avengers.
Despite his warnings, after Yehoshua's death in 1376 BC the Israelites start refuse to expel the Canaanites and even take over their idolatrous Baal Worship. Over a period of 480 years, Israel constantly gets punished with foreign occupation (Moab, Canaan, Midian, Philistia) - after which it would repent and get liberated by a divine elected Judge of Israel (Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Dvora, Gidon, Avimelech, Tola, Yair, Yifta, Ibsan, Elon, Abdon, Shimshon, Eli, Shmuel). During a short period from 1129 to 1126 BC one Judge, Avimelech ben Gidon, declares himself king after killing his 69 brothers - but only rules for 3 years. The longest ruling occupants (1090 - 1050 BC) were the Philistines, an Aryan people arriving from the Aegian Sea and settling the southwestern coast of Canaan. Thousands of Philistines are singlehandedly killed by Judge Shimshon ben Manoach, but when he violates his Nazirite vow he loses his divine power and is captured. Held prisoner in a temple, he removes the pillars - killing himself and his captors.
At old age the last Judge, Shmuel ben Elkana, makes his sons Yoel & Abia his replacements, but - threatened by Philistia and Ammon - the Israelites demand to become a unified monarchy. The Benjaminite Shaul ben Kish is crowned king of the United Monarchy of Israel, with Hebron as its capital. Shaul enjoys God's favor, until he sins against Him several times. When his music cures him from manic depression temporarily, Shaul adopts Jewish shepherd boy David ben Yishai as his son. David is chosen by God as the new king and he defeats the undefeatable Philistine giant Golyat. When King Shaul finds out David is his replacement, he starts a lifelong hunt for him. David escapes with the help of Shaul's children Yonatan and Michal. The Philistines seize the opportunity, defeating the distracted Israelite forces and killing Shaul's children. Shaul commits suicide. His chief commander Avner makes his surviving son Ishboshet king.
While Ishboshet is king of Israel, David rules over his tribe of Judah. During the Israelite Civil War, Ishboshet is killed by two Israelites and David mourns his opponent. Without any blood on his hands, King David now rules all of Israel. After establishing a centralized government, he conquers the Canaanite exclave of Jebus and builds a new capital city there: Yerushalaim. The Davidic army (1,300,000 men) commanded by Yoab ben Tzruya subdues the Philistines, Moabites, Edomites and Ammonites and turns Israel into an imperium. David wants to build a temple in Yerushalaim, but God forbids this because of his sins (murder, adultery). David’s son, King Shlomo, is divinely bestowed with wisdom, and he builds the Holy Temple planned by David on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, to store the Ark in. Shlomo also builds a naval fleet and fortified cities (i.e. Gezer, Megido, Beth Shean, Hazor) on a winding route along the hills. However, by the time of his death in 931 BC, Shlomo had become an idolator and God punishes him by breaking up his empire a year later.
King Shlomo is succeeded by his son King Rechavam. However, the northern 9.5 tribes refuse to recognize him and designate Ephraimite King Yaravam king instead. The tribes of Yehuda and Binyamin remain loyal to the Davidic line. The United Monarchy splits into the Northern Kingdom of Israel (based in Hebron) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (based in Jerusalem) in 930 BC. In 927 BC, Judah is punished for renewed idolatry with temporary Egyptian vassalage, but in 913 BC King Asa ben Abiyam purges the kingdom of all idolatry. This results in the Judaic Golden Age, which sees many Israelites migrate south to Judah. Judah and Israel are constantly at war with each other - aside from one short period of alliance.
In 722 BC, the Kingdom of Israel - having lost all faith in God - is exterminated. The Assyrians conquer the kingdom and the 9.5 northern tribes (Ten Lost Tribes) are scattered across Mesopotamia, where they are assimilated into the Assyrian population. Assyrian settlers are sent to repopulate Samaria and they mix with remaining Israelites, their offsprings becoming pseudo-Jews known as Samaritans. Judah, as an Assyrian vassal, revolts against its Assyrian overlords under King Hizkiyahu. All of Judah is conquered and Jerusalem besieged - but God intervenes: 185,000 Assyrian soldiers are killed and Sennacharib withdraws, to be killed by his sons afterwards.
After Israel's extermination, God sends prophet Yirmiyahu to warn Judah to repent or face removal from their land as well. The Jews do not listen: they are vassalized by the Babylonian Empire in 607 BC and many Jewish intellectuals are deported to Babylon. 3 years later, King Yehoyakim revolts and is defeated in 597 BC: a further 10,000 prominent Jews are deported. King Tzidkiyahu is installed by Babylon as a vassal, but he too revolts and in 586 BC Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed and the remaining 800 - 1,600 elites are deported. The province of Yehud is established and Edomites repopulate empty Judean lands. As a result of the Babylonian Captivity, the centre of Judaism shifts to Mesopotamia. The Judeans purify their religion in order to regain God's favor - thus transforming monolatric Yahwism into monotheistic Judaism. The Davidic kings continue to rule over their people in Babylon, as Exilarchs.
In 539 BC Achaemenid Persia under King Cyrus the Great conquers most of the Middle East. After a year the Declaration of Cyrus is proclaimed: Jews are allowed to return to Judea and 1/3 does so during the Return to Zion. An autonomous Jewish province, Yahud Medinata, is established with Jerusalem as its administrative centre and with the Davidic exilarchs as governors. By 515 BC, Jewish prophets Hagay & Zecharya have the Second Temple rebuilt. In the western parts of the Persian imperium, Aramaic becomes the lingua franca, and the Jews adopt it as their first language instead of Hebrew. 2/3 of Babylonian Jews choose to stay in Mesopotamia and the Davidic Exilarchs are granted autonomy. Babylonian Jews invent the credit system and banks Murashu and Egibi conquer the Mesopotamian economy. In 525 BC a Jewish military garrison is established by Cyrus on the Nilotic island of Elephantine which flourishes for a few centuries.
In 478 BC the Persian-Jewish girl Hadassah marries King Achashverosh and she becomes Queen of Persia under the name "Ester". In that same year Ester's cousin and adoptive father Mordechai Bilshan, a chief minister, manages to thwart a conspiracy against the royal family. When Mordechai refuses to bow before Persian vizier Haman Ha'agagi, Haman convinces the king (unaware that he married one) to order the Jews' extermination. The king and Haman are invited for two banquets by Esther, during which Ester charms her husband and reveals to him that she is a Jew. The king has Haman hanged. Every year, the Jewish people would celebrate this deliverance from destruction with the festival of Purim.
In the 4th century BC, Greek king Alexander the Great conquers the Middle East and Judean cities become dominated by Hellenized Jews (Mityavdim), practicing hellenophony, epispasm and antinomianism. After Alexander's death, Judea falls to the Egypt-based Ptolemaic Empire in 320 BC and enjoys a period of stability and peace. Many Jews settle in Alexandria, where they form 40% of the population and the nucleus of skilled artisans. King Ptolemy II even has the Torah translated into Greek (Septuagint). However, it is conquered by the Syria-based Seleucid Empire around 200 BC, and under Antochius IV a more violent Hellenization policy is carried out. Jewish refugees led by High Priest Honyo IV settle in the Land of Onias in Egypt and erect a temple there.
Levitic priest Yehuda Hamakabi leads Jewish traditionalist peasants, Maccabees, in a civil war against the Mityavdim. In 164 BC, Jerusalem is reconquered and the Temple rededicated, an event celebrated during the annual festival Hanukkah. In 140 BC, the Hasmonean Kingdom is established and ruled by a Levitic dynasty (Hasmoneans), despite the fact that Levites are not allowed to possess land. The kingdom soon covers all of Israel. Under King Yannai, the Moabites and Edomites are circumcized by force, although the latter maintain their identity.
A supreme court of 70 men and the High Priest, the Great Sanhedrin, is established. Two political parties emerge to dominate it: the Pharisees (traditionalist, democratic sages and scribes adhering to the Oral Torah) and the Sadducees (hellenized, monarchist priests and aristocrats rejecting the Oral Torah). The Pharisees are in charge of religious law, while the Saduccees take care of temple services and sacrifices. A third, tiny but significant, group is the sect of the Essenes, living in segregated communities across Judea. A small group of Essenes lives segregated (with their own High Priest) on Dead Sea plateau Qumran, where they write the Dead Sea Scrolls,
Part II: Roman Oppression and Exile
After more than 100 years of independence, the Hasmonean Kingdom is crushed by Roman troops under Mark Antony and Octavian in 37 BC. The Edomite King Hordus is installed as client king in the new Herodian Kingdom. Under Hordus' rule colossal building projects are undertaken, including the expansion of the Temple (including the Kotel) and the construction of the port city Caesaria Maritima and the fortress at Masada. He also constructs many Roman public facilities (i.e. theaters, hippodromes, amphitheaters, imperial cult temples, roads and water channels) and the Jewish urban life develops a strongly Roman character. In 4 BC Hordus dies and the kingdom is transformed into the Herodian Tetrarchy, with three of his sons ruling as tetrarchs. Tetrarch Antipas founds the city Tiberias, which would grow into one of the holiest Jewish cities.
In 6 AD, Judea is annexed as a Roman province called Iudaea. Under Roman rule, Jewish religious laws and customs are disrespected. Emperor Caligula even places statues of himself in synagogues in 40 AD, in violation of Jewish monotheism. In 66 AD the Great Revolt errupts and the Roman garrisons are expelled from Israel. However, by 70 AD, the Romans breach Jerusalem’s walls and burn down the Second Temple. A final stance at Masada fails (Siege of Masada) and the defendants there commit mass suicide. Over a million Judeans are killed and many more scattered across the empire as slaves. In revenge, exiled Jews in North Africa, Mesopotamia and Cyprus launch the Kitos War in 115 – 117 AD, massacring nearly half a million Romans before defeat. Collective punishment ensues.
Around 3 BC, the Galilean Jew Yeshua ben David is born. Around 30 AD, Yeshua declares himself the Jewish Messiah and preaches the gospel. Fearing his large following and considering him a blasphemer, the Pharisees and Sadducees team up and persuade the Romans to sentence the "Son of God". Eager to silence the self-proclaimed "King of the Jews", the Romans crucify Yeshua. According to believers, he is then resurrected. The resurrected Yeshua calls upon his twelve Jewish Apostles to baptize all the nations. The New Testament is written by them and Christianity turns from a Jewish sect into a universal religion.
Meanwhile, the Parthian Empire decentralizes, allowing two Babylonian-Jewish weaver apprentices, Hanilai and Hasinai to escape their master and set up a little state around the Jewish city of Nehardea in 18 AD. After defeating and killing a Parthian general in 33 AD, Hanilai marries his Zoroastrian widow. She kills Hasinai for his religious intolerance, leaving Hanilai on his own. An expansion campaign fails and the Parthians destroy the Jewish state.
A new capital city, Aelia Capitolina, is constructed by Emperor Hadrian on the ruins of Jerusalem and the Temple of Jupiter is built on the Temple Mount. In 132, Shimon bar Kochba leads the Judeans in the Second Judean Revolt. After two years, independent Judea is crushed by twelve Roman auxiliary legions. More than 500,000 Jews die during the war and many more are massacred or expelled afterwards - scattered across the Empire so they will assimilate and disappear. In an attempt to erase all links with the Jews, the province of Judea is renamed after Jewry’s greatest enemies, the Philistines: “Syria Palaestina”. A tiny Jewish community remains only in the Galilee and on the Golan Heights. However, Jewish life becomes unsustainable and many Judeans leave voluntarily for diasporic communities.
While the Jewish city dwellers are expelled to other parts of the Roman Empire, the Jewish peasants are allowed to stay in Palestine in order to supply Rome with grain and olive oil. The cities are repopulated by colonists from Greece and Rome. Whereas the expelled Hebrew city dwellers are the ancestors of many modern-day Jews, the remaining Hebrew peasants are the ancestors of many modern-day Palestinians.
Following the partition of the Roman Empire, Palestine becomes part of the Byzantine Empire in 390 AD. It is reorganized as the provinces of Palaestina Prima & Secunda. Throughout the 5th and 6th centuries many Jewish and Samaritan revolts are launched. Hundreds of thousands of them are butchered or exiled in the aftermath, and the fertile land of Samaria becomes abandoned. In 602, Sasanian Persia invades Palestine and is welcomed by the Jews. In 614, they're annexed into Persia as the Jewish-Sasanian Commonwealth. However, by 625, Byzantine rule is restored. Synagogues are destroyed and Jews are baptized, massacred and expelled. Galilee is resettled by Christians and before long all of Palestine has a Christian majority population: Greek-speaking in the cities and Aramaic-speaking in the country.
In the 5th century AD, Sasanian rulers settled a number of Jewish military colonists in the eastern and northern slopes of Caucasus, to protect Persia against nomadic invaders. The “Mountain Jews”, who speak a hebraized Persian variety called Juhuri, become known for their strong military tradition. In the early 17th century, a predominantly Jewish valley (Jewish Valley) even becomes an independent state with its center in the settlement of Aba-Sava.
The Jewish city dwellers are scattered across the Roman Empire in the hopes that they will assimilate. However, by observing the Bible, they remain distinct groups and excel as artisans, farmers, merchants and winemakers in Greece (Romaniotes), Italy (Italkim) or southern Gaul (Provençal Jews). In North Africa, the already existent Jewish community (Maghrebim) grows massively. The largest group ends up in Iberia (Sephardim), where they are eventually used by the Visigothic ruling minority to oppress the Catholic majority population in exchange for relative freedom. The most significant community of Jews (Ashkenazim) is formed along the Rhine River in the 10th and 11th centuries, in the stable Frankish Empire. They are treated well because of their trading connections with the Orient. The Rhenish cities of Spires, Mentz, Worms become centers of rabbinic scholarship known as "SHUM". The Sephardim adopt the local (Hispanic) dialects and develop the hybrid language Ladino, while the Ashkenazim adopt High German dialects and develop the hybrid language Yiddish.
During the Roman crackdowns, waves of Jewish refugees had fled to their Ismaelite brethren in the south. They become agriculturalists and traders, prestigious professions unknown to the Arab cattle herders. The Yemeni Himyarite Kingdom, already home to descendants of Yirmiyahu's associates (Sanaite Jews) and Roman-Judean troops (Habbani Jews), even converts to Judaism. The largest Jewish tribes are the Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Qurayza and Banu Nadir controlling Yathrib and the Banim Chorath controlling Najran. Eventually Jews become a small minority in Yemen (Temanim) and the rest of the Middle East (Mizrahim).
After the fall of the Roman Empire and the fragmentation of Europe into smaller Germanic kingdoms, the Roman road system is abandoned. However, from the 6th century onwards, Frankish-Jewish merchants (Radhanites) reinvent the Roman trade routes and reestablish trade with the Orient. Moreover, they establish the first trade network extending all the way to East Asia. Western slaves, furs and swords and Jewish glassware and linen fabrics are sold in China, and silk and spices are brought back and sold to the Franks or the Byzantines.
In the 3rd century AD, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi redacts the Jewish oral traditions known as the Mishnah. In the 4th century AD, an unfinished collection of Rabbinic notes on the Mishnah, the Talmud Yerushalmi, is published in Byzantine Palestine. In the 6th century, another collection of Rabbinic notes is published, this time in Babylon: the Talmud Bavli. The Pharisees adopt the Mishnah and Talmud as divine revelations and Rabbinic Judaism develops. The Sadducees continue to recognize only the Bible as the supreme theological authority and Karaite Judaism develops by the 9th century. The old Pharisee-Sadducee feud carries on in the form of a Rabbinic-Karaite feud.
Around the 7th century, a massive Turkic empire collapses and the Khazar Qaganate emerges as its successor in eastern Europe. The Arabs and Byzantines pressure the Khazars to accept Islam and Christianity respectively as their state religion. Instead, by the 10th century, the Khazar royalty and nobility converts to Judaism. Much of the Khazar tribe, living in the fortified capital city of Atil, is converted. However, because of the other tribes’ nomadic lifestyle, judaization efforts end in failure elsewhere. Forced conversion is not adopted and Khazaria becomes multi-confessional. Persecuted Jews emigrate to Khazaria from Byzantium. By the 11th century, Khazaria is conquered by Kievan Rus, and the Jewish Khazars convert to Christianity or intermarry with numerically superior Ashkenazi newcomers.
The last bastion of Semitic polytheism is located in northern and central Arabia. In 610, an Arab pagan from Meccah, Muhammad ibn Abdallah, heavily influenced by Judaism, declares himself a prophet and founds a new religion: Islam. He and his converted tribe are expelled from Meccah and in 627 they conquer the Jewish town of Yathrib/Medina (Battle of the Trench). In 628 all Jews are defeated and forced to hand over half of their produce and pay special taxes (Dhimmitude). The Jewish refusal to embrace Islam causes Muhammad to reform his religion, purging it of all Judaic rites and even introducing anti-Semitism. Soon Jews are merely a minority in the Middle East.
In 694, during the Arab Muslim invasion of North Africa, a confederacy of Jewish and Christian Amazigh tribes declare the pagan priestess Damya Tamza their military leader. Damya Tamza’s forces liberate all of North Africa, but eventually the Muslims play the Jewish and Christian Imazighen off against each other and defeat them. To make things worse, Damya Tamza’s adopted Muslim son defects. Queen Damya Tamza desperately launches a scorched earth campaign, dying in battle alongside nation. Like Arabia, North Africa is soon left with only a minority of Jews (Maghrebim).
In 587 the Visigoths convert to Roman Catholicism and no longer need Jewish middlemen. Jews are segregated from society and forced to baptize. Fortunately, in 711, Muslims conquer the Iberian peninsula, and by 756 an independent country known as Al-Andalus emerges in Iberia. From the 10th century onwards, the Jewish Golden Age occurs: the Sephardim receive autonomy and their intellectual and spiritual life is allowed to flourish. Jewish contributions to botany, geography, medicine, mathematics, poetry and philosophy turn Al-Andalus into the technologically most advanced nation of Europe.
In 636, Muslim Arabs conquer the Levant from the Byzantines and annex it. The Islamic rulers call upon the Aramaic-speaking Christian peasantry to move to the towns and cities, and the agricultural character of Palestine is greatly diminished. In 691, the Dome of the Rock shrine is completed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In 750, the new Arab city of Ramlah becomes the administrative center. In 970, the Judaeo-Christian majority population is segregated from the Muslim ruling minority - to the extent of being barred from wearing shoes or ride horses. The dire situation of the Christians in particular, who are no longer protected by Byzantium, leads to calls in Europe for crusades to liberate them.
In the 9th century, a Karaite sect called Mourners of Zion / Avelei Tzion is founded by the Perso-Jewish scholar Daniel al-Kumisi. The Avelei Tzion stress emigration to Israel as a precondition for redemption. In the 10th and 11th centuries, with the settlement of Persian-Jewish scholars, the western slope of the Kidron Valley of Jerusalem develops into a major centre of Jewish intellect and culture. By this time, Jerusalem was also home to a large number of Ashkenazim who returned from the declining Frankish Empire.
Part III: Crusades and Inquisitions
During the First Crusade, which starts in 1096, Catholic crusaders from Europe invade the Holy Land, inhabited by Oriental Christians but ruled by Muslims. In 1099, they enter Jerusalem through its Jewish quarter and they burn down the synagogue (Massacre of Jerusalem). The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem is established, ruled by a king and a feudal council. Military orders loyal to the Pope, such as the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller, establish themselves on the Temple Mount to protect pilgrims. The Crusaders then capture the coast, although Haifa is bravely defended by its Jewish inhabitants for at least a month (Battle of Haifa). Nearly all Jews in Palestine are slaughtered. In Jerusalem, only a small community of 200 Jews continues to exist under the tower Migdal David. Landless noblemen are given land and build fortresses, and many 'Franks' immigrate to establish rural settlements (Outremer) around them. Soon, the Franks make up a quarter of the total population, and by the 12th century the locally born Franks (Pullani) identify as natives and intermarry.
During the Gezeroth Tateinu in 1096, German and French crusader mobs slay the entire Jewish communities in the Rhenish cities. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Ashkenazim are exempted from many professions and pushed into socially inferior professions such as moneylending. Anti-Semitic Blood Libels emerge: Jews are accused of ritual murder and of well poisoning. Jews are forced to wear distinguishable clothes when exiting their impoverished and crowded ghettos, so they can be singled out for terrorization. Throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, Jews are banned from various Western European countries in order to enrich the crowns. The Ashkenazim flee to Eastern Europe, taking their Yiddish language with them.
By 1260, the Mongols under the Ilkhanid Dynasty control much of the Middle East. An army force of 10,000 Mongol horsemen under Nestorian commander Kitbuqa raid Palestine, massacring Jerusalem's Jews and leaving the city desolate. However, during the Battle of Ain Jalut in late 1260, the Mongols are defeated by the Mameluks. In late 1299, during a new Ilkhanid conquest of Syria, another group of Mongols led by general Mulay reconquer Palestine, but in March 1300 they withdraw back to Syria, taking with them the valuable Shushan Gate of the Jewish Temple.
In 1187, most of Palestine is conquered by the Muslim leader Saladin, and the crusader entity is reduced to a tiny coastal Kingdom of Acre. Saladin invites the Jews to rebuild the desolate city of Jerusalem. Indeed, in 1211, French and English rabbis fled Catholic persecution and settled in Jerusalem during the "Aliyah of the 300 Rabbis". In 1219, the Crusaders temporarily retake Jerusalem during the Fifth Crusade and massacre the rabbis - resettling the survivors in Acre. In 1267, the Sephardic scholar Nachmanides/Ramban makes aliyah and helps rebuild Jerusalem. The Ramban Synagogue is founded on Mount Zion and a thriving Hebrew scholarship reestablished.
In 1291, after the Seventh Crusade, all of Palestine is conquered by the Egypt-based Mamluk Empire. Dhimmitude is reintroduced. Many shrines are built on the countryside and declared burial sites of prophets and martyrs, attracting Muslim pilgrims. In the cities and towns, mosques and Islamic schools are built. As a result of all these islamization policies, Palestine has an Arab-speaking Muslim majority by the 15th century. The minority of Christians, Jews and Samaritans also become Arab-speaking. In 1489, Italian rabbi Obadia of Bartenura arrives in Jerusalem to lead the Jewish community.
In 1516 the Ottoman Empire conquers Palestine. The empire quickly decentralizes and Palestine ends up being administrated by the Arab Muslim Ridwan-Farrukh-Turabay Dynasty throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Jewish immigration is stimulated and Jews from all over Europe settle in Safed: its population triples and it becomes a thriving textile and trade centre. In Safed, the Shulchan Aruch (Sephardic legal code) is authored. In Galilee, Jewish villages even recover and flourish. The golden era ends in the late 17th century with the reassertion of imperial hegemony and the subsequent exploitation of the local populace by Turkish soldiers.
By the 14th century, most of Iberia is reconquered from the Muslims by Christian kingdoms (Reconquista). In 1478, the Spanish Inquisition is established to purify the Catholic faith of converted Jews (Marranos). Out of fear that the unconverted Jews might influence the Marranos to persist in their Jewishness, the Alhambra Decree is issued in 1492: all Spanish Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity (i.e. about 200,000 people) are expelled. In 1536 Portugal follows suit (Portuguese Inquisition). The refugees head to North Africa or the Ottoman Empire. Sephardim become the largest Jewish community of Palestine and the Greek port city of Thessaloniki even becomes a Jewish-majority city.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Marranos from the Iberian peninsula flee to the Dutch Republic, where they can practise Judaism openly - although denied citizenship or guild membership. They establish fledging diamond, tobacco and printing industries. Amsterdam soon becomes Europe's centre of Hebrew printing and known as "Jerusalem of the West". Jews become major shareholders in the chartered companies WIC and VOC and they gain fame all over the Dutch imperium. In the late 19th century the Dutch economy declines and "Chuts", skilled Dutch-Jewish cigar makers, migrate to London.
Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, Spain and Portugal conquer much of the New World. Many Jews from these two countries flee to these new remote colonies. About 10% of Latin America’s Iberian settlers are Sephardic Jews. Most of these Crypto-Jews, who become known as the “Sephardic Bnei Anusim”, settle in Mexico City and Lima to participate in the commerce. However, the Inquisition soon spreads to the New World, and they flee to isolated areas, far away from administrators. Following the disbandment of the Inquisition in the 19th century, a new wave of Moroccan-Jewish immigrants occurs in the 1880s, marrying indigenous people (Amazonian Jews).
On the Crimean peninsula, two Turkic-speaking Jewish communities emerge by the 16th century: the Rabbinic descendants of Khazar converts (Krymchaks) and the Karaite descendants of Jewish settlers (Qarays). Both communities speak hebraized Kipchak dialects. Following the Polish-Lithuanian conquest of the Crimean peninsula, the Qarays spread to Poland and Lithuania proper to found communities and live from usury. As Jews, they suffer heavily from Christian persecution.
During Jerusalem's destructions, many Jews fled to India (Malabarim). They were joined by expelled Sephardim from Iberia (Paradesim). The Paradesim take and convert local slaves (Meshuhrarim). These three Jewish groups form a community called Cochin Jewry. This community is so influential that they are allowed to rule an autonomous country between the 11th and 14th century. Another community known as Bene Israel formed back in the 2nd century BC, when a shipwreck stranded seven Galilean families in India. In the 8th century AD a third community is formed by Baghdadi Jews migrating to Bombay.
In the 10th century, Persian Jews settled in the Chinese capital of Kaifeng. In the 12th century, the Kaifeng Jews buy up abandoned land and build a synagogue. In the 17th century under the Ming Dynasty, there is an increase in secularization and intermarriage. During a peasant rebellion, Kaifeng is flooded and Kaifeng Jewry is decimated by 50%. Under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), non-Chinese religions are suppressed and Jews start hiding their religious identity. In the 19th century Kaifeng Jewry meets a tragic end as a Yellow River flooding destroys their synagogue.
Three waves of Danite immigrants resulted in the formation of a thriving Jewish community in Ethiopia (Falashim). Following the declaration of Christianity as the state religion of Ethiopia in the 4th century AD, the Falashim flee to the Semien Mountains where they establish the Kingdom of Beta Israel. At one point, the Falashim conquer Ethiopia and kill all heirs of the emperors. However, by 1627 the tides have turned and Beta Israel is annexed into Ethiopia. The Falashim are sold into slavery; their lands are confescated; and they are forced to practice socially inferior professions. Many Falashim are forced to baptize, becoming crypto-Jews known as Falash Mura.
In the 6th century BC, a number of Judeans led by a man named Buba fled Jerusalem during the Babylonian invasion, perhaps taking the Aron Habrith with them. They found refuge in Yemen, where they built a thriving city called Senna. They crossed into Africa and some join the Falashim. A splinter group (BaMwenye) settles in Malawi/Kenya. Other groups establish Senna II (in Kenya/Tanzania), Senna III (in Mozambique) and a powerful kingdom (in Chiramba). Farther south, a group (Lemba) helps construct the massive city Great Zimbabwe, but after eating mice, God supposedly disperses them across southern Africa.
As anti-Semitism increases across Europe in the 17th century, Jews flee to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where they are welcomed by the Polish nobility (szlachta) to become financiers and advisors. The "Council of Four Lands", the central body of Jewish authority, receives jurisdiction of its own. The rabbis base their jurisdiction on Talmudic laws, and Talmud studies reach an unprecedented height. The szlachta employs them as lease holders of large estate and tax/revenue farmers in the Ukraine. In 1648 - 1657, during the Chmielnicki Uprising, the Ukrainian Cossacks achieve independence with Russian aid, and more than a hundred thousand Jews are massacred for their role as agents of the szlachta. As a result of a Swedish invasion (Swedish Deluge) in 1655-1660, Poland-Lithuania loses its great power status, blaming and killing tens of thousands of Jews for it. During the Haidamaka Uprisings of the 18th century, Ukrainian Jewry is further decimated: tens of thousands are killed by peasants.
The dire situation in Poland and Ukraine led to a loss of confidence in the future among Jews across Europe. However, their hope for redemption is restored in the mid-17th century, when Greek-Jewish rabbi Sabbatai Zevi declares himself the Messiah and pledges to bring the Jews back to Palestine. His followers, the Sabbateans, reject Jewish law and carry out bizarre sexual rituals. Sabbatai becomes popular, but in 1666 the Ottoman government arrests him in 1666 and he converts to Islam to avoid death. His followers in Turkey (Dönmeh) also convert. Sabbatai is eventually exiled and dies in isolation in 1676. In the 18th century, the Ukrainian-Jewish Sabbatean Jacob Frank claims to be the reincarnation of Sabbatai, and he develops an outgrowth of Sabbateanism: Frankism. Like his predecessor, Frank converts tens of thousands of enthousiastic Jews.
The falsehood of the two Messianic figures results in great disappointment among the Jews. A desperate desire for something to hold on to is satisfied by the rise of Jewish Ultra-Orthodoxy. In 1736, Ukrainian-Jewish Rabbi Baal Shem Tov (Besht) reveals himself as a healer and founds Hasidic Judaism, a faith that (like Rabbinism) promotes mysticism and human sanctification. The Hasidic faith quickly expands across Eastern Europe, replacing ascetism with earthly pleasures. In Lithuania, an opposition movement emerges in 1772: Misnagdic Judaism, which (like Karaitism) denounces mysticism. The rise of secularism in the West eventually leads to a reconciliation between the two groups and their identification as a single group: Hareidim.
Many Hareidim hope to rebuild Jerusalem as the Torah center of the world and hasten the Messiah’s arrival by emigrating there. In 1777 (First Hasidic Aliyah) 300 Hasidim head to Palestine. Between 1808 and 1840, over 500 Mitnagdim (Perushim) head to Palestine. Most Hareidim settle in the Four Holy Cities (Hebron, Jerusalem, Tiberias and Safed). Already in the 1830s, Jews form Jerusalem's largest community and from the 1850s onwards they even constitute an overall majority in the city. From 1860 onwards (Departure from the Walls), Jewish neighborhoods are built outside the Old City walls. Because the communities are located outside the city walls, they are vulnerable to Bedouin raids.
Part IV: Jewish Secularization
In the second half of the 18th century, the German Jew Moses Mendelssohn develops the intellectual movement Haskalah, which emphasizes secular education and the study of the host countries’ languages for the sake of successful assimilation - so the Western countries will accept them. All over Western and Central Europe, Jews exit the ghettos and join society. In 1791, Revolutionary France becomes the first modern country to emancipate its Jewish population. The Napoleonic conquest of much of western and central Europe leads to a distribution of Jewish Emancipation across the Occident.
An unintended result of the Haskalah was the emergence of the Yiddish Renaissance, during which Yiddish is promoted as the language of secular Jewish culture. Between 1870 and 1940 over 18,000 Yiddish titles are published. A secular Yiddish theater and press emerges, world-famous European plays are translated and new world-famous plays (such as Fiddler on the Roof) are written in Yiddish. During the Czernowitz Conference in 1908, Yiddish is declared the Jewish national language with its own high culture.
In response to the Haskalah, German-Jewish Rabbi Abraham Geiger reforms Judaism in 1839, starting Reform Judaism. Reform Judaism relieves Jews from religious restrictions while preventing a full identity loss. The Talmud and Kabbalah are rejected; circumcision and kashrut abandoned; rabbinical vestments modeled after those of Protestant ministers; instrumental accompaniment reintroduced in the synagogues; gender segregation within synagogues abolished; and Hebrew replaced as language of prayer by the languages of host countries. Most Western European and North American Jews adopt Reform Judaism.
Soon, another reform movement is developed by German-Jewish rabbis Hirsch and Hildesheimer: Modern Orthodox Judaism. Within Orthodoxy, halakhah is not given up but instead reformed to allow participation in modern society. To a large extent, Orthodoxy and Religious Zionism become synonymous. A third movement - ideologically in between Reform and Orthodox Judaism - is developed by German-Jewish Rabbi Frankel: Conservative / Masorti Judaism.
The Haskalah and Reformation have a lot of success in Western Europe: Jews exit the ghettos and seek contact with Gentiles. Western Jews secularize, move to the cities and start to play major roles in society – as doctors, lawyers, bankers, industrialists, businessmen, laborers, civil servants and engineers. They forget Yiddish and even Hebrew, instead embracing the national languages of their host countries. In the German states, however, Jewish emancipation is temporarily revoked until 1848 – leading to a mass German-Jewish emigration to the USA. In Galicia, Bohemia, and Lithuania, many Jewish city-dwellers adopt the culture and language of the German elite.
In the late 18th century, most of Poland is conquered by Russia. In 1791 the Pale of Settlement / Techum Hamoshav is formed in the non-ethnic Russian areas in the west – and designated as the only places where a Jewish presence is allowed. Jewish life in the crowded shtetls of the Pale is harsh and poverty-stricken. In 1881-1884 the 1st Wave of Pogroms (i.e. 259 pogroms) occurs within the Pale and in 1903-1906 the 2nd Wave of Pogroms (i.e. 660 pogroms). In 1882 the repressive May Laws are passed, prohibiting the establishment of new Jewish communities. In 1903, the Russian secret service Okhrana even publishes the anti-Semitic hoax The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, describing a Jewish plan for global domination. As pogroms against Russian Jews increase, they embrace socialist Bundism.
In the 18th century, Spiritual Christianity emerges among peasants in Russia, rejecting church hierarchy. Some such sects are known as "Judaizing Christians": they don't identify as Jews, but circumcize their boys; observe sabbath; and eat kosher. Following Russia's conquest of Poland, many Judaizers head to the Pale of Settlement to learn about Judaism, and the alarmed Czar exiles many of them to the Caucasus or Siberia. By the 20th century there are some 20,000 Subbotniks (of which 12,000 observe the Talmud), and 4,000 ethnic Russian Karaites.
Many Eastern European Jews flee to the more liberal countries in the West from the 1880s onwards. These orthodox, Yiddish-speaking, uneducated laborers refuse to assimilate. Autochtonous Jewish communities fear that this might cultivate renewed anti-Semitism and obliterate the rights the they had worked so hard to achieve. The "Eastern Jews" as they are called by the autochtonous Jews, end up settling in crowded and impoverished quarters of the national capital cities. Between 1880 and 1914, 150,000 "Eastern Jews" end up in London; 80,000 in Berlin; and 25,000 in Paris.
At the same time, Jewish life becomes unbearable across the Middle East as well. In 1834, during the Peasants' Revolt against Egypt, Muslim and Druze rebels target Jews in Safed and Egyptian soldiers target Jews in Hebron. Afterwards, 10,000 Palestinian Arabs are deported to Egypt and Palestine is repopulated by thousands of Egyptian-Arabs. In 1838, the Druze target the Jews of Safed again. During the Damascus Affair in 1840, 13 Syrian Jews are falesly accused of murdering a monk and tortured by the Ottoman regime. Meanwhile, Moroccan Jews are forced into "Mellahs", remniscent of European ghetto's.
Attracted by the open culture which allows minority groups to flourish, 2 million Jews from the Russian Empire flee to the United States of America ("Goldene Medina") between 1880 and 1914. More than half of them settle in New York, where largely Jewish neighborhoods such as The Bronx, Borough Park and Lower East Side emerge. New York soon becomes overcrowded with poverty-stricken Jewish immigrants and American-Jewish philanthropist Jacob Schiff starts an immigration assistance program (Galveston Movement) between 1907 and 1914: 10,000 new Jewish immigrants are diverted to the "Wild West". The faith of most American Jews becomes Reform or Conservative Judaism and they quickly integrate into the wider American nation. Jewish immigration ends in 1924.
The prominent American Jew Mordecai Manuel Noah purchases most of Grand Island in the state of New York, and in 1825, establishes "Ararat, City of Refuge". In this American Zion, persecuted European Jews could find a refuge; halakhic theocracy would be imposed; ancient Israelite society would be restored; and the Native Americans would be converted. The project gains no support and Noah becomes a Zionist instead.
In an attempt to cut off British trade, Napoleonic France conquers Egypt and invades Palestine, conquering Jaffa, Haifa and Tyre. In 1799, Napoléon Bonaparte issues a proclamation, offering to establish a Jewish State and inviting Middle Eastern and North African Jews to restore ancient Jerusalem. The British break the siege and by 1801 they conquer Egypt. The plan is abandoned.
In the late 19th century, the Austrian Jew Theodor Herzl develops modern political Zionism, an ideology pleading for the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine, whereto all persecuted Jews could flee. Herzl also organizes Territorialism - according to which such a state could be formed outside of Palestine as well - and considers the fertile but scarcely inhabited parts of Argentina to be suitable alternatives. The First Zionist Congress is convened by Herzl in 1896, and with the Basel Declaration, the World Zionist Organization (WZO) pledges to promote Jewish settlement in Palestine, as well as Jewish national consciousness. The movement finds a lot of support among Russian Jewry, but Western Jewry it, unwilling to abandon their newly attained equality within European urban society for a life of uncertainties in the Palestinian desert. This bubble is bursted in 1896: during the Dreyfus Affair, a French-Jewish artillery officer (Alfred Dreyfus) is falsely imprisoned for spying and evidence of his innocence is covered up by the French government for 10 years. The concept of "Negation of the Diaspora / Shlilat Hagalut" develops: much of Western Jewry rejects the notion that it will ever be accepted by the Gentiles. They, too, start pursuing Zionism as their only true opportunity for redemption.
Herzl tries to gain the support of various powers, including the British Empire. Herzl presents them the El-Arish Scheme in 1902, proposing a Jewish settlement in a region that Herzl calls "Egyptian Palestine", only sparsely settled by Bedouines. The plan receives initial support from the British, as it would provide them with a buffer of grateful, loyal Jews between the strategically vital Suez Canal and the Ottoman Empire. The Egyptians however refuse to cooperate.
The British turn out to be quite willing to use the Russian Jews as “white settlers” in their colonial empire in Africa though. In the early 1900s, Britain presents the Uganda Scheme, offering Russian Jewry a temporary refuge in British East Africa. Herzl declines, under pressure of religious Zionists. The scheme's supporters break with the Zionists and rally within the Jewish Territorial Organization (ITO) led by the British Jew Isaac Zangwill. Zionism and Territorialism become two rivaling movements. The ITO goes on to develop the unsuccessful Aram-Naharaim Plan for Mesopotamia, the Cyrenaica Plan for the Green Mountains of Libya, and the Angola Plan on the Benguela Plateau.
Since Ottoman restrictions on immigration made aliyah difficult, many Jews considered Cyprus a safe interim point. Unsettled, mountainous land on western Cyprus is bought by the ITO and three unsuccessful Russian-Jewish settlements are established: Kouklia-Orides (1883), Kouklia-Famagusta (1885) and Margo (1897). A more succesful settlement is formed in the fertile Mesaoria Plain, but malaria and lack of running water forces them to leave by 1912.
From the 17th century onwards, Ottoman Palestine is neglected: the forests of Galilee and Carmel disappear, leading to topsoil erosion or to absorb rainwater. Deserts and swamps emerge, allowing nomadic Bedouines to move in and settle near oases. Their sheep and goats crop the few remaining pasture lands, further reducing the fertility of Palestine.. The few remaining croplands are leased by absentee Turkish and Arab landlords to impoverished tenant farmers.
Part V: The Return to Zion
Zionist movements buy up uninhabited deserts and swamps from Arab and Turkish landlords, so that Jews can develop the land through Western methods. The First Aliyah (1882 - 1903) occurs, and tens of thousands of Russian-Jewish pioneers and thousands of Subbotniks immigrate to Palestine, establishing various towns, including Petah Tikva (1878), Rishon LeZion (1882), Rehovot (1890) and Hadera (1891). The settlements become collectively known as the Yishuv. The pioneers suffer greatly from malaria and starvation, but they persist. Salt is removed from the soil; large protruding boulders removed by hand; malarial swamps drained; and millions of trees planted on barren hills. The Second Aliyah (1904 - 1914) occurs, and socialist Russian-Jews establish Kibbutzim & Moshavim, as well as the self-defense organization Hashomer. A suburb of Jaffa grows into Tel Aviv in 1909.
Through the revival of Hebrew, engineered by Litvak linguist Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, Modern Hebrew becomes the daily language of Palestinian Jews. It becomes the medium of instruction in all Jewish schools and kindergartens, enabling communication in a neutral language between children from many countries. The Hebrew language still lacked the means for technical education, and therefore the German-Jewish Hilfsverein / Ezra makes German the language of instruction at the first institute of technology “Technikum” (opened in Haifa in 1908). However, Hebrew emerges victorious from the “War of the Languages” (October 1913 - February 1914).
Aside from the Muslim Arab majority, several other groups inhabit Palestine. The Circassians, Muslim Caucasians expelled by Russia, had been settled by the Ottomans in Galilee and the Negev. Speaking Russian as a second language, they enjoy good relations with the Zionists. In Haifa live the Báhá'í, a Muslim sect comprised of converted Persian Jews. Furthermore, in Haifa live followers of the Indian Islamic sect Ahmadiyya. Furthermore, in the 1860s American Protestants set up agricultural schools for Jews to speed up the return of Christ - but they are forced to leave after a massacre by Muslims.
In 1914, World War I errupts between the major powers of Europe. Over a million Russian Jews are suspected of collaborating with the German enemy and deported from the front to inland Russia. Following German military successes, Zionists conceive the Bodenheimer Plan calling for the establishment of a large “League of East European States” ruled by the German royal dynasty and administered by the local Jews – who were, after all, well disposed to Germany by linguistic affinity. However, the plan proves highly unpopular both among Jews and Germans.
In late 1916 the German Military High Command conducts the "Judenzählung" (Jewish census) in order to confirm an alleged underrepresentation of Jews within the army. However, the census proves that the Jews are in fact overrepresented within the army. A growing number of German Jews realize that public anti-Semitism will never disappear even in a western country such as Germany and, as such, subscribe to Zionism.
In 1915, the Zion Mule Corps consisting of Palestinian-Jewish volunteers is formed to participate in the British war against the Ottoman Empire - becoming the first Jewish regular army to take an active part in a war since 2000 years when Russian-Jewish war hero Trumpeldor leads it in the Gallipolli Campaign. In 1917, the Corps is integrated into the British army and becomes known as the Jewish Legion. The Legionnaires help conquer Jerusalem in 1917 and they determine the outcome of the Battle of Megiddo in 1918. The Legion is disbanded in 1919, and all that remains is a single British battalion known as the First Judeans.
The British government issues the Balfour Declaration in 1917, supporting the establishment of a Jewish National Home in freshly conquered Palestine. This way, they hope to rally the support of German and American Jews in the war against Germany. In exchange for their assistance, the Hashemites are promised authority over the conquered Arab territories during the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence. The Faisal-Weizmann Agreement is signed in early 1919 between the Hashemites and the Zionists: in exchange for Zionist assistance in the development of the pan-Arabic nation state, the Arab government would support Jewish settlement in Palestine.
In 1922, the British Mandate for Palestine is established, but the part east of the Jordan river is given to the Arabs as a vassal under Hashemite rule (Emirate of Transjordan), reducing the territory marked for Jewish settlement by 77%. The territory west of the Jordan river (Cisjordan) remains known as Mandatory Palestine. The British make Hebrew an official language and promise to prepare the Palestinian Jews for self-rule. Not having achieved their own goals (i.e. the acquisition of all Arab territories), the Hashemites withdraw their promises of cooperation with the Zionist movement.
In the rapidly urbanizing Mandate of Palestine, a High Commissioner is installed to represent the United Kingdom. Under Lord Herbert Samuel (1920 - 1925) electricity is produced and distributed in Palestine. Although a Jewish Zionist, he tries to win Arab confidence by slowing Jewish immigration, even making staunch anti-Semite Hajj Amin al-Husseini Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Samuel's government is dominated by anti-Semites and his police force consists predominantly of Arabs. Samuel is succeeded by Lord Samuel Plumer (1925 - 1928), who carries out a pro-Zionist policy but ironically provides impoverished Bedouine land owners with substantial loans - so that they don't sell land to Jews.
In March 1920, Syrian Arab irregulars attack the Jewish village Tel Hai in Northern Galilee (Battle of Tel Hai) and the Jewish war hero Joseph Trumpeldor leads Jewish ex-Legionnares in a defensive campaign - during which he and 8 other Jews are killed. The British play the Jews and Arabs off against each other, to make both dependent on British mediation. Encouraged by the British, Mufti al-Husseini organizes bands of Palestinian-Arab terrorists (Fedayin). During the Nebi Musa Pogrom in 1920, British soldiers and police officers temporarily leave Jerusalem, allowing Arab mobs to target Jewish shops and people. Throughout 1921, Husseini instigates further riots across Palestine. In 1922, the British, fearing a large Arab revolt, issue the Churchill White Paper, which calls for a binational Palestine - a demand that is at odds with the earlier Balfour Declaration.
The Arab Jews of Palestine (Old Yishuv), living there since 3,000 years, refuse to accept the Haganah's protection and - taking advantage of their trust - Arab Muslims massacre and expel the entire Arab-Jewish communities in Hebron, Gaza and Safed during the 1929 Massacres. The Shaw Commission is sent by the British to investigate the causes of the "disturbances" and in early 1930 it reports that thanks to the Zionist development of Palestine, Palestinian Arabs had an employment rate of 96%. Nevertheless, in late 1930, the Hope Simpson Enquiry and Passfield White Paper limit Jewish immigration.
The Zionist Vladimir Jabotinsky founds the Beitar Movement in 1923 in order to advocate Revisionist Zionism, an ideology in favor of a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan river. By the 1930s, Levantinism develops and they begin to view the resurging Italian Empire as a living example of a fellow ancient Mediterranean civilization reclaiming its hegemony. In 1934, the Beitar Naval Academy is established in Civitavecchia, Italy. The academy trains European Jews in naval warfare, and thus provides the basis for the future Israeli Navy. In 1937 the Jewish ship Sarah I sails to Haifa. However, in 1938, Beitar breaks with Italy over its invasion of Abyssinia.
As a result of the Third Aliyah (1919 – 1923) and the Fourth Aliyah (1924 – 1929), during which a total of over a hundred thousand Eastern European Jews enter Mandatory Palestine, a rapid urban development occurs in Tel Aviv and many new roads are built throughout the country. The Jezreel Valley and the Hefer Plain marshes are drained and converted to agricultural use. Hashomer transforms into the more efficient Haganah and the trade unions' organization (Histadrut) is formed. The Histadrut establishes the national bank Bank Hapoalim. Between 1926 and 1927 an economic crisis occurs in Palestine, and as a result many Jews leave the country. During the two aliyoth, various new towns emerge, such as Ramat Gan (1921), Herzliya (1924), Netanya (1928) and Holon (1930).
By the 1940s, the Canaanite Movement is formed, with its many followers mandating the disassociation of Palestinian Jewry from Judaism and the adoption of a secular identity, so that the Jews of Palestine will constitute a Hebrew Nation rather than simply a religious group. The Canaanites also unsuccessfully seek a Romanization of Hebrew in order to better integrate into the fabric of secular nations. Similarly, in Eastern Europe the Jewish Qarays under Seraya Shapsal stress their Khazar origin, revive their ancient pagan religion and purge their language of Hebrew loanwords.
Soon enough, the question emerges, whether Yiddish or Hebrew ought to become the national language of Palestine. Secular Palestinians consider Yiddish a ghetto-languge and Hebrew a perfect symbol for Jewish continuity in Israel. The religious Zionists however opposed the normalization of Hebrew, as it would lose its holy status. The greatest battle of this language war is fought in the newly opened Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1927. Through the campaign "Daber Ivrit", the establishment of a Yiddish literature chair is prevented and various Yiddish publications are illegalized by the British authorities. The status of Hebrew as the national language of Palestine is consolidated.
In response to the 1929 attacks, the "N-Shape Settlement" scheme is carried out: from then on, Jews would only purchase and settle lands located in the already pre-dominantly Jewish valleys of Sharon, Jezreel, Hula, Harod, Carmel and Beit Shean in order to connect the already existant settlements and lay the outline for a future, homogenous Jewish state. There was enough room: after all, the majority of the Arab population lived either in the Palestinian cities or in scattered villages across the central hill country and the Negev desert, and these territories were home to but a few pockets of Jewish settlements.
Meanwhile, impoverished laborers and farmers start the Russian Revolution. In 1918 the Jewish Yevsektsiya of the Soviet Communist Party is formed in order to carry the revolution to the Jewish masses. Large numbers of Jews support the revolution against the anti-Semitic monarchists. After 1922, the Pale of Settlement is abolished and many Jews move to the ethnic Russian cities. The organization Gezerd / OZET settles many Jews on farmlands in the Crimea - so they can train for future aliyah - where they prove to be productive and loyal citizens. In 1923, the Soviet Politburo even temporarily considers establishing a Jewish SSR on the Crimean peninsula.
The Jews are categorized as a Soviet nationality in order to eliminate their “rootless cosmopolitanism.” According to dictator Joseph Stalin, each nationality requires a common language, culture and homeland. The Zionist movement is outlawed and instead, in 1934, a Jewish Autonomous Oblast is established in the Russian Far East to function as a common homeland. Yiddish is made the official language and Jewish proletarian socialist literature is to replace Judaism as the core of the nationality’s culture.
During the Prohibition of 1920-1933, various American Jews - subject to a highly discriminatory milieu that prevented their upwards mobility - see a tremendous business opportunity in the illegal distribution of alcohol. Highly successful Jewish mobster gangs, known collectively as the Kosher Mafia, compete with Italian and Irish gangs for control of New York City's underworld. In the early 1930s, the Italian-American Mafia joins the Kosher Mafia to form the National Crime Syndicate.
Part VI: The Shoah
In the newly independent countries of Eastern Europe, anti-Semitism rises. Pseudo-fascist Poland and its ally France (which fears a massive influx of Polish Jews) develop the plan “Madagascar” and in 1937 they send a commission to Madagascar to investigate the possibility of sending Poland’s 3 million Jews there. However, it turns out that the island could only accommodate 15,000 – 22,000 people, and that sustaining them would be too costly.
The German population held a grudge against the Versailles Treaty of 1919, which dictated humiliating terms of surrender upon them. The Stab-in-the-back Myth is widespread, maintaining that Germany’s humiliating capitulation was orchestrated by World Jewry. The anti-Semite Adolf Hitler is brought to power in 1933 and he sets up segregation laws (Nuremberg Laws), aimed at removing assimilated Jews from the German society to maintain racial purity, and begins encouraging a mass emigration of German Jews. Nearly all Jews are dispossessed and displaced.
In 1936, Russian Jewish Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky grows deeply concerned with the situation of Eastern European Jewry, and presents the “Evacuation Plan”, i.e. the evacuation of all Jews over a ten-year period. The three countries’ governments endorse the plan, but the Jewish communities themselves do not. Jabotinsky's paramilitary group Irgun immediately starts facilitating an illegal immigration of thousands of European Jews to Palestine - codenamed Aliyah Beth / Ha'apalah. Some 40 thousand Jews are smuggled into Palestine in 1934-1945.
An Irgun-Polish Alliance is established and the Polish government helps Irgun prepare for an all-out rebellion against the British occupiers - training its commanders in guerrilla warfare, military tactics and laying land mines. Also, Jewish guerrillas and Polish surplus arms are smuggled into Palestine. Irgun even prepares for a seaborne invasion of Palestine from Poland. The outbreak of WWII ends these plans as well as the cooperation.
The Haavara Abkommen, a "transmission agreement", is reached between the Jewish Agency and Germany allowing many German, Austrian and Bohemian Jews to escape to Palestine. As a result, the Yishuv is joined by western doctors, lawyers, professionals, and professors during the Fifth Aliyah (1929 - 1939). The port, railways, power station and oil refineries at Haifa are completed, adding significant industry to the economy of Palestine. The newcomers (Yeckes) all settle in the cities, refusing to assimilate.
As the number of Jewish refugees from Europe increase, the western nations discuss the issue during the Évian Conference in July 1938, but nearly all countries refuse to take in any Jews. Plans for mass resettlement of Jews to Guyana (Plan-Mussert, British Guyana Scheme), Albania (Albania Scheme), Alaska (Slattery Report), northern Australia (Kimberley Plan) and Cyprus (Cyprus Scheme) all fail. Following a massive German pogrom (Reichskristallnacht) in November 1938, anti-Semitic violence intensifies. In the early 1940s, much of Europe is conquered by Germany and more than 6 million Jews end up stateless and segregated. With the Western world as well as the Jewish National Home closed to refugees, there is little hope for these Jews.
Hoping to benefit from the supposed economic prowess of Jewry, the Japanese Empire gives tens of thousands of Jewish refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe refuge in the newly-created Shanghai Ghetto. The Imperial Japanese Army, eager to expand its hold on China, even engineers the “Fugu Plan” to give Jews autonomy in in Manchukuo. However, Japan’s alliance with Germany and Italy renders it impossible.
German-supported Arab Muslims, led by Mufti Al-Husseini, start attacking British soldiers and innocent Jewish civilians during the Arab Revolt of 1936 – 1939. In 1936, the Jewish Settlement Police (JSP) and the Jewish Supernumerary Police (Ghafir) are formed to provide the British with a shield. In that same year, British intelligence officer Orde Wingate - a Christian Zionist - is transferred to Palestine to staff the British occupation force. He teaches the JSP and Ghafir the in guerilla warfare and organizes the "Special Night Squads" (SNS). In 1939 Wingate is barred from Palestine because of his philo-Semitism. However, his military doctrine would form the basis for the future Israeli army, staffed by officers personally trained by him.
All over Palestine, Tegart Forts are constructed by the British police forces. Made of reinforced concrete and equipped with water systems, they'd allow the British police forces to withstand an Arab siege of up to a month. In order to keep Syrian and Lebanese militants from joining the revolt, the British erect a barbed wire fence (Tegart's Wall) along the northern border.
During the revolt, in 1937, a British inquiry proposes a solution: the Peel Commission Partition Plan, i.e. a partition of Palestine into a large Arab country and a tiny Jewish country, with Nazareth and Jerusalem remaining under British control. The Jews accept the proposal, whereas the Arabs refuse to negotiate. The more detailed Woodhead Commission Plans in 1938 is also rejected by the Arabs. Instead, a minority status for Jews is promised to the Arabs. The White Paper of 1939 is issued, limiting immigration of Jews. In opposition, the Zionist movement finally sets an official ultimate aim during the Biltmore Conference in 1942: full independence and unrestricted immigration.
Since most purchased land is unpopulated, the settlement method “Tower and Stockade / Choma Umigdal” is developed in order to avoid land loss during a partition of Palestine. Basically, a group of settlers (usually Yeckes) head to a remote hilltop at night and dig ditches; erect a wooden stockade and tower on the first day; and build agricultural settlements on the second day. The British approve of it as a means of countering Arab terror. Between 1936 and 1939, some 57 Jewish settlements emerge, mainly in the Sharon Plain and Lower Galilee.
In the 1930s, the German Templer youth studies at universities in the Reich and suffer indoctrination. In Templer Palestine, NSDAP-Landesgruppe Palästina penetrates all spheres of community life, including the educational system. Jews are no longer welcome at German schools, and a boycott is launched on Jewish products. Anti-Semitic literature is distributed in Arabic throughout Palestine, and the Templers actively aid the Arab revolt. The British authorities deport all Templers to Australia as enemy aliens - never to return again. During late WWII, the British exchange 1000 Templers for 550 Jews with Germany.
Despite the White Paper, the nationalist Irgun paramilitary supports the British war efforts against the Axis. Their support for the British authorities results in a split in 1940, when the unpopular militant group Lehi / Stern Gang is formed by militants who enjoyed pre-war Polish and Italian training. Lehi calls for a nationalist and totalitarian Jewish state and, considering Britain to be a greater evil, attempts to form an alliance with the Axis. The offer is ignored. Britain and the Irgun successfully crack down on Lehi, even killing its leadership.
The Haganah continues to fight the British armed forces by sabotaging attempts at deporting Jews. When the German Afrikakorps under its commander Erwin Rommel marches towards Palestine (200 Days of Dread), the British plead for the Haganah's cooperation. The British help them train the new Palmach elite commando section in guerilla tactics and sabotage. The British also establish the Jewish Palestine Regiment, and sends it to Egypt. Following the defeat of Rommel’s forces at El Alamein in 1942, the British unsuccessfully attempt to disarm Haganah and Palmach. As a replacement, they create a Jewish unit in the British Army: the Jewish Brigade Group, with tens of thousands of troops. It is deployed in North Africa and in southern Italy during the liberation of Europe.
Following the German invasion of the USSR in 1941, Stalin releases 10,000s of Polish POWs and grants amnesty to Polish citizens of the USSR. These Poles are drafted into a military force (Anders' Army) of 3 infantry divisions. The army is transferred via the Persian Corridor to the Middle East, where they join the British High Command. On the way, Jewish soldiers pick up Persian-Jewish war orphans known as the "Tehran Children". Anders' Army is sent to Palestine, where 4,000 Jewish soldiers desert to join the Jewish settlements (along with the Tehran Children) during the "Anders Aliyah" in 1942.
Throughout 1940, the Italian airforce bombs Palestinian refineries and population centres several times, killing at least 222 civilians. Also, Arab-language leaflets are dropped, promising the extermination of Jewry. A bombardment by the Luftwaffe in June 1941 kills 13 civilians in Tel Aviv. By 1943, a total of 28 raids are carried out against Palestine, killing 225 people.
In 1943, during Operation Amsterdam, the Jewish Agency drops 37 in Yugoslavia from whence Tito's partisans help them enter other countries. The Slovak unit rescues 50 Allied POWs and takes part in the Slovak National Uprising in 1944. The Romanian unit rescues hundreds of Allied POWs. The missions of the Bulgarian, Hungarian, Italian and Yugoslav units fail. 12 of the 37 paratroopers are captured and tortured, and 7 are executed.
The Axis powers develop many plans to solve what they call their “Jewish Problems”. In 1940 the German authorities develop the Madagascar Plan, proposing the mass deportation of all European Jews to the island of Madagascar. There, they were to be given autonomy, but become subject to an SS military government. An important motive is holding the European Jews hostage on a prison island for use as leverage against American Jewry. After the unsuccessful Battle of Britain, it becomes obvious that the Royal Navy would remain in control of the oceans and the plan is scrapped.
When the Madagascar Plan becomes impossible to carry out, the German leadership adopts the Nisko-Lublin Plan: 95,000 Jews are deported to a concentration camp complex (Lublin Reservation). In late 1941, Jews are forced to wear yellow badges in the shape of the Star of David (Judensterne) and 273 ghetto's are established throughout occupied Poland for the purpose of segregation and exploitation. Living conditions are horrible: the ghettos are walled off and attempted escape is punished by death; there is sanitation or piped water; each small room has to be shared with 15-30 other people; and a starvation diet of 253 calories / 1,060 kJ a day is imposed.
During the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup of 1942 more than 11,000 Parisian Jews are rounded up by the Germans in the internment camps of Drancy, Pithiviers and Beaune-la-Rolande. Many Parisian Jews flee to the un-occupied south of France. However, French authorities pass discriminatory segregation laws, "Jewish Statutes", on their own accord: Jews in the southern zone are deported north and also rounded up in the internment camps. In the end, more than 80,000 French Jews are sent to Auschwitz and gassed. In French North Africa, all Jewish property is confiscated and Jews lose their French citizenship.
In various ghettos, Jewish armed resistance movements carry out guerilla attacks against the Nazi occupiers. Two such movements are the Jewish Combat Organization & Jewish Military Union, which lead the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, in opposition to deportations to extermination camps. The Polish and Israeli flags are raised and remain visible from the Warsaw streets for 4 days. The revolters are given little to no support from the Polish Resistance outside the ghetto walls. Following the German liquidation of the ghettos, various Jews escape into the forests and continue to carry out guerilla attacks against the Nazis.
Adolf Hitler establishes the Arab-Nazi Alliance with his long time friend and leader of the Palestinian Arabs, Mutfi Al-Husseini. The Mufti raises an SS division ("Handschar") consisting of nearly 20,000 Muslims. Throughout the Middle East and North Africa, Islamic movements come to the aid of Nazi Germany in its war against British imperialism. In early April 1941, a pro-German regime emerges in Iraq and during the Jewish holiday Shavuot in 1941, Al-Husseini instigates a violent pogrom known as “Farhud” against Iraqi Jews - with more than a thousand Jews killed. Shortly afterwards, the British manage to regain control.
During the German invasion of the USSR, massive pogroms are carried out against the Jews by local collaborators. Whenever a territory was conquered, German (Einsatzgruppen) or local death squads (Schutzmannschaften) would cleanse it of Jews and other "undesirables". Jews are forced to dig their own graves, after which they are shot. Single mass executions include Babi Yar (34,000 Jewish deaths) and Rumbula (25,000 Jewish deaths). A total of 1.5 million Baltic and Ukrainian Jewish men, women and children are murdered by the Einsatzgruppen. Among Soviet POWs, Jews are also identified (Aussonderungsaktionen) and executed. Eventually, the German authorities decide that a cheaper plan for the liquidation of Jewry has to be found.
Together, Grand Mufti Al-Husseini and the German authorities develop plans for a “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”. A definitive policy is formulated at the Wannsee Conference in early 1942. All Jews are deported to a series of 15,000 concentration camps in Eastern Europe. Here, they are to work under horrible circumstances, with the goal of death through exhaustion, disease and starvation. In the tiny overfilled sleeping barracks, huge typhus epidemics break out. Medical experiments are carried out on prisoners of all ages, including unanaesthetised organ removal and leprosy or malaria injections.
By late 1943 almost 2 million Jews deemed unfit to work, often little children and elderly people, are sent to death camps Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor during Aktion Reinhardt. Here, suffocated by the use of cyanide gas. The bodies are then burned in incineration furnaces. During the Soviet advance into Poland in the winter of 1944/45, 250,000 Jewish concentration camp prisoners are forced to go on a march of death westward (Todesmärsche). By the end of the war in 1945, a total of at least 6 million Jews have been murdered (Shoah) by Germany through starvation, gassing, execution, disease or death marches.
Part VII: The State of Israel
Most of the appr. 500,000 Jews liberated from the concentration camps (“Sherit Hapleita”) are classified as “not repatriable” and placed in DP camps across Germany. A ship carrying Jewish Holocaust survivors off to Palestine, SS Exodus 1947, is seized by the Royal Navy and the refugees are deported back to the German DP camps. New pogroms break out against Jewish Holocaust survivors in Poland: the Kraków Pogrom (1945) and Kielce Pogrom (1946). However, Jews are not permitted to leave Europe. During “Bricha” (1946-1948) 60,000 homeless European Jews are smuggled into Palestine by the newly formed Palmach naval force Palyam - despite British complaints.
The Americans immediately demand the admission of 100,000 displaced Jews into Palestine and the admission of the remaining 400,000 Jews into western countries. An Anglo-American Inquiry is formed to determine the region's future, proposing two plans for an Anglo-American trusteeship with autonomous Jewish and Arab provinces. The British refuse and instead propose Germany as a permanent home for Jewry - including a proposal for a Jewish State in East Prussia within the Soviet sphere of influence.
In 1945, Jewish Holocaust survivors in Palestine are incarcerated by the British and in late 1945 Palmach frees them (Atlit Prison Break). From then onwards, all new Jewish immigrants are interned on Cyprus, far away from the Zionists' reach. At the end of World War II, in 1944, the Irgun declares war and assassinates British politician Lord Moyne. During the Hunting Season (late 1944 - early 1945), the Haganah helps the British combat Irgun and Lehi. But by late 1945, the Haganah, Irgun and Lehi join forces and form the Hebrew Rebellion Movement. During the Night of the Trains in 1945, the Palmach blows up British guard boats and sabotages train networks. During the Night of the Bridges in 1946, Haganah detonates eight bridges. In response, the British launch Operation Agatha, imposing a curfew on all Jews and arresting thousands.
In turn, Irgun retaliates in 1946, during the King David Hotel Bombing, by bombing the British administrative headquarters - killing 91 people of various nationalities. After the British lash an Irgun POW with whips, armed squads abduct British soldiers and whip them during the Night of the Beatings in late 1946. In 1947, during the Acre Prison Break, Irgun frees 28 imprisoned Jewish militants. During the Sergeants Affair in 1947, Irgun captures and executes two British sergeants in response to British executions The Jewish actions are answered in late 1947 with British Pogroms in Leeds, Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester. Unable to control the situation, the British hand over the responsibility over the fate of Palestine to the United Nations.
The murder of 6 million of their people causes many Jews to seek revenge against Germany. A collection of militia groups led by Abba Kovner, known as “Nokmim”, is formed amongst surviving Lithuanian partisans. The most extremist group is the Hanakam Group, which intends to kill 6 million Germans. Plan A is quickly scrapped, and Plan B is carried out instead: in 1946, nearly 1900 German POWs are poisoned by Hanakam and up to 400 of them die. In Palestine, Tilhas Tizig Gesheften (TTG) is formed by Jewish UK soldiers and kills hundreds of Axis war criminals.
In 1946, the Territorialist "Freeland League" develops the Saramacca Project, requesting the Dutch government to allow the emigration of at least 30,000 Jewish displaced persons to the scarcely populated Saramacca district in the colony of Surinam. The Dutch government, while initially positive towards the scheme, fears the entry of communist infiltrants into its colony and eventually the plan is abandoned.
Following the Shoah, the Western countries realize the necessity of establishing a Jewish state. A Special Committee (UNSCOP) prepares a report and presents the “United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine”, which divides Palestine along ethnic lines and puts Jerusalem under international jurisdiction. The plan is accepted by the Jews but declined by the Arabs. The majority of the member states of the United Nations adopt Resolution 181 in late 1947, accepting the partition plan. The British prepare for a termination of the Mandate and a withdrawal from Palestine.
In late 1947, Palestinian Arabs start the Jerusalem Blockade, hoping to starve the Jewish quarter by isolating them from supplies from the coastal cities. The British admit the Syrian-armed Arab Salvation Army (led by Wehrmacht colonel Fawzi al-Qawuqji) into Palestine in January 1948, and it joins forces with the Holy War Army (led by Waffen-SS commando Hasan Salama). The Palestinian Civil War errupts between the Palestinian Jews and Arabs. In March 1948, a provisionary Jewish government is proclaimed in Tel Aviv, and the Haganah starts carrying out Plan Daled, i.e. the conquest of all territories assigned by the international community to the Jewish State.
David Ben-Gurion declares the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948 and becomes the first PM. The Jewish state is immediately invaded by the armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq and the Israeli Independence War starts. The Jewish forces are outnumbered by 301 to 1. The Arab forces are armed and supplied by the British, while the West imposes an arms embargo on Israel. Israel carries out Operation Balak to smuggle arms from Europe into Israel. Tons of leftover malfunctioning Wehrmacht arms and Luftwaffe airplanes are thus imported from Czechoslovakia.
Immediately, some 4,000 Christian and Jewish WWII veterans from the USA, Canada and Great Britain rush to the aid of the embattled Jewish State, and they are organized into the foreign legion Machal. They provide the necessary experience for the Israelis to set up the Israeli Air Force (IAF), where these foreign volunteers make up 2/3 of the personnel. The IAF uses mostly donated civilian aircraft and surplus Luftwaffe and RAF aircraft purchased from Czechoslovakia. Furthermore, some Spitfires are built from the junk left behind by the British or shot down / captured from the Arabs.
The Arabs conquer much of Palestine. Jerusalem's Old City is taken by the Transjordanian Legion, which is staffed by British officers, The Jewish Quarter is ridded of its 2,000 inhabitants (Ethnic Cleansing of Jerusalem). The 1,300 women and children are sent to Israel, and the 700 men to a prison camp in Transjordan. More than 150 Jewish peasants are killed by the Transjordanians (Kfar Etzion Massacre) and almost 80 Jewish medical relief workers are killed (Hadassah Medical Convoy Massacre).
The Haganah and the Palmach are transformed into the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The IDF launches a counter-offensive against the Egyptian advance on Tel Aviv, pushing the frontline back to Gaza by June 1948. In the same month, the IDF stops the Iraqi, Lebanese and Syrian advances. A temporary ceasefire is signed. During the Altalena Affair, a French weapons shipment arrives for the Irgun. The IDF seizes the weapons, and a confrontation occurs in Tel Aviv. By the start of July, the Irgun and Lehi are absorbed into the IDF – greatly strengthening Israeli war efforts.
The First Bernadotte Plan is proposed by the UN’s Swedish mediator Count Folke Bernadotte, calling for a Palestinian Arab state in the Negev and Jerusalem; and the forming of a union between Transjordan and Israel. The ridiculous plan is declined by both sides. It is followed by the Second Bernadotte Plan, calling for the reduction of Israel’s territory to include only the Galilee and the coastal plains; and a seperate treatment for Jerusalem. It is also rejected by both sides.
In July 1948, the Egyptians violate the truce with a surprise attack against Israel. During Operation Dani, the IDF breaks the Transjordanian siege of Jerusalem. In October 1948 (Operation Hiram), Syro-Lebanese forces are expelled from the Galilee. During Operation Horev (late 1948 - early 1949), the IDF conquers Gaza and enters the Sinai, taking El-Arish. The British, hoping to secure the Negev for Transjordan, send planes to stop the Israelis. The planes are shot down, but Israel withdraws from Gaza and Sinai. In March 1949 (Operations Itzuv and Uvda), the IDF completes its conquest of the eastern Negev from Transjordanian forces. An armistice is signed, marking the end of the war. The Gaza Strip is now under Egyptian and the centrall hill country (including East Jerusalem) under Transjordanian control. Judea & Samaria are annexed by Jordan in 1950 and renamed the "West Bank". The new borders between Israel and its neighbors become known as the "Green Line".
The Arab League, an organization of Arab countries, announces a boycott against the "Zionist Entity" as well as all non-Israeli Jewish institutions, in order to isolate the young Jewish state. They also establish the All-Palestine Government. Mufti Husseini proclaims the Palestine National Council in Gaza, with the support of Egypt. Basically, two rivaling Palestinian-Arab governments are established, but neither of them is given authority over any of the Arab-controlled territories in Palestine.
The new State of Israel is the Middle East's first liberal democracy. The British model of democracy is adopted by the young state. Every 4 years, parliamentary elections are held for the unicameral, 120-member "Knesset". The President, elected by the Knesset, serves as a ceremonial figurehead. The elected Prime Minister has his own cabinet with ministers. The constitution (Basic Laws of Israel) guarantee freedom of worship for all religious communities. Israel has an elected Chief Rabbinate, with a separate Ashkenazi and Sephardi Chief Rabbi to take care of religious affairs for the Jewish community.
As a result of the counter-offensives against the Arab invaders, Israel ended up in control of the whole (largely uninhabited) Negev Desert, including its southern tip along the Gulf of Aqaba. On this location, the town of Eilat is built between 1949 and 1958, hosting a port, an airport and a pipeline ("Tipline") transporting crude oil from Persia to Europe. 13,000 sq km of undeveloped and uninhabited land separate Eilat from other population centres - but a road is built to connect them. Owing to an Arab blockade of all land routes, Eilat provides the only access to the Indian Ocean.
During the Nakba, about half a million Palestinian Arabs follow the advise of the invading Arab armies, and head for the neighboring Arab states - with the intent of returning after the Jews' expulsion. After Israel wins, they are unable to return however. The Arab states deny them citizenship and put them in refugee camps. The United Nations establishes a separate relief agency (UNRWA) for the Palestinian-Arab refugees - a privilege enjoyed by no other refugee group. Unlike any other refugee group's refugee status, that of the Palestinian-Arab refugees becomes inheritable by children and grandchildren - making them "eternal refugees."
The minority of 156,000 Palestinian Arabs who decide to remain in Israel (Israeli Arabs) receive citizenship and full equal rights following a period of integration (1948-1966). They are mainly concentrated in the "Meshulash", a tiny area in western Israel. Already in 1948, Arabic is made the second official language of Israel, and it becomes mandatory in most Jewish schools. The largest Arab cities in Israel are Nazareth, Umm al-Fahm, Tayibe and Shefa-'Amr. Israel become the only Middle Eastern country where all Arabs have full access to private property and welfare aid, and with a free Arab press and voting rights for all Arab women. Thanks to the great health services and economic activity in Israel, Israeli Arabs increase seven-fold to over a million within six decades.
Living segregated from Israeli society, the 11,000 remaining Negev Bedouin (belonging to the Tiaha, Tarabin and Azazmeh tribes) generally don’t officially register their land. As per the Ottoman 1858 Land Code that Israel relies on, unregistered privately owned land is considered state land and used accordingly. In order to prevent land erosion, the Black Goat Law is passed in 1950 – prohibiting the grazing of goats outside of a region called Siyagh (i.e. 10% of the Negev). In the 1960s and 1970s, Israel carries out a sedentarization policy, building seven townships for the Bedouin in the Siyagh, including the world's only Bedouin city: Rahat. By the 21st century, there are 200,000 Negev Bedouin, of which more than half live urban lives.
In 1957, the Israeli Druze - concentrated in the Galilee and on Mount Carmel (and after its annexation, the Golan Heights) - are recognized as an official ethnicity in Israel. Being discriminated all over the Arab world for their religious beliefs, the Druze become loyal citizens of the democratic Jewish State, where they enjoy unprecedented freedom. Druze become very prominent in the army and government of Israel - in fact, the number of Druze parliamentarians usually exceeds their proportion in the national population. Many Druze speak of a Blood Covenant / Brit Damim with the Jewish nation. Their number reaches 100,000 by the 21st century.
Part VIII: The Israeli Wirtschaftswunder
As a result of decolonization, Arab/Muslim countries reintroduce dhimmitude. Massive pogroms are carried out against Arab Jews. Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad carries out several operations to secretly emigrate Jews (mainly children) to Israel: Operation Goshen (1949-1953) in Egypt, Operation Magic Carpet (1950) in Yemen, Operation Ezra and Nehemia (1950-2) in Iraq, Operation Cyrus (1953-1978) in Iran and Operations Mural and Yachin (1961-4) in Morocco. In the end, about a million illiterate and impoverished Jews are expelled or saved from the Arab countries and Iran, with the majority ending up in Israel and a minority in France and the US.
In the early 1950s Arab Jews arriving in Israel are housed in absorption camps known as Ma'abarot in the undeveloped areas of central Galilee and the northern Negev, which are gradually transformed into Development Towns. A few such towns, eventually becoming cities are Beit Shemesh, Nazareth Illit, Dimona, Netivot, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Shmona and Sderot. By 1960 every Israeli has their own house and every new immigrant is also assigned a permanent home.
After the first elections in 1949, a coalition led by the left-wing socialist Mapai Party is formed. The party remains in power for 30 years through fair elections until 1977. The Law of Return is passed by the Knesset in 1950, allowing every Jew in the world to automatically obtain Israeli citizenship. As a result, the Israeli population is doubled within 3 years. To protect the uneducated newcomers, Israel is forced to oversee the distribution of necessary resources and enforces a regime of austerity (Tzena) in the early 1950s.
Israel immediately develops the Periphery Doctrine (Klil), which calls for close cooperation with fellow non-Arab Middle Eastern states, so as to encircle the Arab countries. A common fear for Soviet-funded pan-Arabism sparks interest among Turkey, Abyssinia and Persia, and they develop close military cooperation with Israel. From 1950 onwards, Turkey and Persia were to remain the only two states with Muslim majorities to have recognized Israel for many decennia.
In 1952, the monarchy in Egypt is overthrown and a nationalist republic proclaimed. Israeli intelligence wishes to prevent a British withdrawal from the Suez Canal, as it guarantees a buffer between Israel and the strongest Arab state. But with the expulsion of most Egyptian Jews, Mossad's sources of information in Egypt had dried up. However, the young Egyptian Jew Moshe Marzouk establishes an Israeli spy ring in Alexandria and Cairo. During Operation Susannah in 1954, Israeli-trained Egyptian Jews blow up post offices and libraries in Cairo and Alexandria, to demonstrate the regime's governing incapability. The spy ring is captured, tortured and executed. The responsible minister in Israel is forced to resign.
With Israel aligning with the West, Soviet leadership fears dual loyalty among Jewish party members and citizens. Zionism is thus branded an “ideological enemy” and a tool of Western imperialism. During the "Black Years" (1948 - 1953), all Jewish institutions in the USSR are abolished. During the Night of Murdered Poets in 1952, thirteen prominent Soviet Jews falsely accused of espionage are executed. During the Doctors’ Plot in 1952-1953, a group of prominent Jewish doctors are falsely accused of an assassination conspriacy. The USSR starts actively siding with the Arabs at the UNSC from late 1953 onwards. Stalin dies just in time, right before his planned mass expulsion of 2 – 4 million Jews from Moscow to gulags in Siberia.
Egyptian ruler Gamal Nasser aligns with the USSR and nationalizes the Suez Canal, owned by an Anglo-French company. Israeli ships are prohibited from using the Canal, and Egypt starts blockading Eilat, effectively blocking Israel from the Indian Ocean. Worse yet, Egyptian-trained fedayeen are sent across the border to attack Israeli civilians. A temporary Anglo-French-Israeli Coalition is formed. Initiating the Suez War in 1956, Israeli forces invade and conquer the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula - dismantling all fedayeen training camps there - while British marines storm the beaches of Port Said and Anglo-French air forces bomb Egyptian cities. Under American and Soviet pressure, a ceasefire is signed and Anglo-French troops leave Egypt. Israeli troops slowly withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula as soon as a neutral force, the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), enters to take their place.
In 1954, a war against French occupation starts in Algeria, and as a result of a mutual opposition to pan-Arabism, a robust Franco-Israeli Alliance emerged. The alliance is deepened by their allegiance during the Suez War. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, France helps Israel build nuclear weapons and supplies them with advanced military aircraft. The alliance lasts until 1967, when France sides with the Arab aggressors against Israel to sign oil deals.
The Soviet-Egyptian alliance causes fear in the Kingdom of Morocco, and secret intelligence cooperation is started with Israel. Mossad establishes Misgeret HQ in Casablanca to recruit agents from the about 150,000 remaining Moroccan Jews and Morocco's royal bodyguards and intelligence services are trained by them. In 1965, Mossad helps Morocco trace the revolutionary Mehdi Ben Barka and in 1972 Mossad manages to stop a coup attempt against the royal house by General Mohamed Oufkir.
In 1960, Adolf Eichmann, a chief orchestrator of the Shoah, living under the false identity "Ricardo Klement", is captured by the Mossad in Argentina and brought to Israel. His trial starts in 1961 and it is broadcasted live across the country. He is indicted on crimes against humanity and sentenced to death and in 1962 he is hanged. This marks the only case of death penalty in the modern State of Israel.
In Jordan, the population still calls itself "Palestinians" and considers the Hashemite monarchy an illegitimate British imposition. Since both countries are claimed as "Palestine", from 1963 onwards, Jordan and Israel occasionally meet concerning security. Palestinian terrorist raids from the West Bank draw Israeli Reprisal Operations on the West Bank in the 1950s and 1960s. During Operation Shredder in 1966, the IDF carries out the largest operation thus far. In order to prevent a massive Palestinian revolt, King Hussein ends his cooperation with Israel and rejoins the anti-Israel bloc.
Following WWII, many Nazi war criminals converted to Islam and went to Egypt, at the invitation of President Nasser, where they continued propagating anti-Semitism. German scientists and technicians are employed at a military site: Factory 333. They set up a nuclear program with the goal of atomic warfare against Israel; produce missiles with radioactive fallout; and propose dropping packages of Strontium-90 over Israeli civilian centres. In late 1962, the Mossad carries out the covert operation Operation Damocles, terrorizing the German scientists and their families. By 1963, most Germans had left Egypt.
An Egyptian-Israeli of Syrian origin, Eli Cohen is sent to infiltrate Syria and acquire intelligence in 1962. Within only a few years he gains the trust of most of the Syrian military and government, including the President. During an excursion in the Golan Heights he suggests planting eucalyptus trees at every underground bunker and mortar position to fight the heat – so that the Israeli Air Force is able to map them with ease. Soviet intelligence finds out about his allegiance to Israel and the Syrians execute him on live television in 1965. Eli Cohen is remembered as “Israel’s Greatest Spy”.
In the early 1950s, over 100,000 Iraqi Jews arrived in Israel and became ambassadors of the Kurdish cause. With no Jews left in Iraq to recruit as agents – as was done in Egypt and Syria – Mossad and the IDF approach Kurdistan. They send advisors to Barazani's headquarters; train Kurdish commanders in Jerusalem in open warfare; set up field hospitals in Kurdistan; and send anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. Thanks to Israeli training, armaments and battle plans, the Peshmerga defeats the Iraqi forces during both Kurdish-Iraqi Wars in the 1960s and 1970s respectively. Unfortunately, Iraqi-Iranian reconciliation in 1975 prevents Israel from accessing Iraq through Iran. Without Israeli help, Kurds lose confidence, abandon their rebellion and are defeated.
The Arab boycott, overwhelming refugee waves and investments in security result in unemployment and hyperinflation. To save Israel from disaster, American Jews invest in large construction projects and make massive private donations. In 1950 Israel launched State of Israel Bonds, allowing wealthy American and Canadian Jews to invest in the economy. The proceeds are used to cover immigrant absorption, agricultural development and industrialization. Agricultural production increases ten-fold within two decennia and the early 1950s see the rise of industries such as the potash plant Dead Sea Works as well as a cross-country public transportation network called Egged.
In 1952 the Luxembourg Agreement is signed between Israel and West Germany, and Israel is compensated for Nazi slave labor, confiscated property and persecution. The payments (capital goods such as high quality machinery, ships and railway materials) boost the struggling economy of Israel and by 1959, the austerity regime is abolished. By the 1960s, Israel had transformed itself into an average, developed western economy and a model welfare state - with electricity networks, running water, highway networks, etc. Despite the regional boycott and the lack of natural resources, Israel becomes a major exporter of technological products, textiles, polished diamonds and pharmaceuticals - and becomes known as the "Switzerland of the Middle East" for that reason. Poverty was almost non-existent until 1965.
Unfortunately, none of Israel's Western trading partners have a need for high quality technological products. In Africa, however, the newly independent countries suffer from underdevelopment and are reluctant to trade with their former European oppressors – making them a perfect outlet for Israel. Diplomatic and trade relations are set up with 33 African countries throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Jewish technocrats are sent to help develop the struggling economies and schooling opportunities are offered in Israel to young Africans from the 1950s until the 1970s.
Since its independence, 6 new universities are established throughout the country from 1955 until 1982. Thanks to the high level of education, 12 Nobel Prizes are won by Israelis since independence. Soon, Israel boasts the largest number of scientific papers, startup companies, university degrees, museums and scientists per capita. Israeli inventions include the cellphone, the USB-stick, drip irrigation, the pillcam, voice mail, instant messaging, the epilator, firewalls and the anti-virus. Israel becomes the world leader in the fields of agricultural innovation and renewable energy.
Despite the Jewish quotas set by schools, American Jews become well established in public school teaching, law, medicine, pharmacy and librarianship in the interwar years. Following the decline of public discrimination after WWII, American Jewry managed to build up a small-business-based middle class in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. Towards the end of the 20th century, American Jews (2% of the US population) have the highest income of any US major ethnic group. Eventually, the US Census starts including Middle Eastern people within the White Race Category, and Jews receive a rather limited form of "white privilege".
During both the first and second Asian Cups in 1956 and 1960, the Israeli national soccer team (Hanivheret) achieved second place. The third cup, the 1964 AFC Asian Cup is hosted in and won by Israel. During the fourth cup in 1968, Israel becomes third. In 1974, the Arab states band together and kick Israel out of the Asian Football Confederation.
In the early 1950s, problems over water distribution rise. In 1955 the US develops the Jordan Valley Unified Water Plan, proposing a fair distribution of the Jordan-Yarmuk water between Jordan, Syria and Israel. The plan is accepted by both Israel and the Arab League, but the latter changes its mind. Nevertheless, Israel and Jordan stick to it and complete the National Water Carrier (1964) and the East Ghor Main Canal (1966) respectively. Syria and Lebanon try diverting Israel's share of water to Arab territories to dehydrate the Israeli population (Headwater Diversion Plan). This War over Water, starting with border skirmishes in 1964 and ending with Israeli bombers destroying Syrian diversion equipment in 1967. The plan to steal Israeli water fails, but the Arab countries prepare for war and send their armies towards Israel's border.
Part IX: The Wars for Survival
In 1967, Egyptian ruler Nasser again closes the Straits of Tiran closed to Israeli shipping. Nasser then expels the UNEF and sends troops to Israel's western border - publicly calling for Israel's destruction and aligning with Jordan. Initiating the Six Day War in 1967, Israel launches a large-scale pre-emptive air strike against Egypt, Syria and Jordan and immediately achieves air supremacy. Under the command of Moshe Dayan, the IDF wins a decisive land war within six days and occupies the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, Judea & Samaria and the Golan Heights.
Judea & Samaria, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights are to be governed by an Israeli Military Governorate. Jerusalem becomes a united city once more, as East Jerusalem is annexed. Also annexed are several former DMZ's: 3 along Syria's former border; the al-Auja Zone along the Sinai; and Ajalon Valle & Latrun Salient on the West Bank. The Latrun Interchange, a key road interchange of Highway 1 connecting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is reopened. With the conquest and annexation of East Jerusalem, the Western Wall / Kotel - the only remainder of the ancient Second Temple - is in Jewish hands again. Also, the Israeli exclave of Mount Scopus is now accessible, allowing the Hebrew University to resume activities there. However, the holiest site in Judaism, the Temple Mount, is given to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, which forbids Jews from praying there.
In the non-annexed territories, Nahal Settlements are established on sparsely settled lands to function as IDF outposts - and they soon become civilian settlements. Through the introduction of sprinkle & trickle irrigation and greenhouses, North Sinai's sand dunes and Golan's hilltops are transformed into blossoming agricultural fields. The settlements in Gaza are mostly clustered in a bloc called Gush Katif and the ones in North Sinai in one called the Yamit Region. A few smaller settlements are established in South Sinai, in a bloc called Mifratz Shlomo - where an airport called Ophira International Airport is built. On the outskirts of Hebron, cleansed of its Jewish population by the Jordanians, a Jewish suburb called Kiryat Arba is formed.
France, Israel's major supplier of arms, sides with the Arabs and condemns Israel's pre-emptive strikes. Israel is forced to set up its own Defense Industry. Israeli defense industries such as Elbit, RAFAEL, Meprolight, Soltam, ELTA and Arotech, design and produce high-quality military equipment, security systems and combat aircraft and vehicles. By the 1980s, Israel even becomes one of the world's largest arms exporters - with most Western armed forces making use of Israeli military innovations.
Following Israel's swift victory against the attacking Arab armies, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff set up a report (JCSM-373-67) on new secure boundaries for Israel. It is agreed that most of the West Bank and the entire Golan Heights should be retained for use as commanding terrain to defend the coastal metropoles; and the Gaza Strip should be retained to reduce the length of hostile border in the southwest. Furthermore, the report proposes the retainment of the southern tip of Sinai to protect its use of the Tiran Straits; as well as a retainment of some territory west of Eilat, to reduce the port's vulnerability to Egyptian attacks.
Humiliated by their failure to eradicate Israel, the Arab League issues the “Three No’s” policy at Khartoum in September 1967 – i.e. no peace with, no recognition of and no negotiation with Israel. The UN's Jarring Mission reaches an empasse by 1969, as Egypt and Jordan continue the fight a War of Attrition (1967-1970), hoping to exhaust the Israelis into a withdrawal. The Nixon administration proposes the Rogers Plan for peace in 1969: an Israeli withdrawal; the return of many Palestinian refugees; and a collaborative Jordanian-Israeli administration for Jerusalem. Both sides decline and the fighting continues. Israel starts building expensive defensive fortification lines in 1971, including the Bar Lev Line along the Suez Canal.
With no intentions of permanent occupation in the West Bank, the Israeli authorities consider the "Jordanian Option" (i.e. returning it to Jordan) and the "Palestinian Option" (i.e. an independent state) instead. The so-called Allon Plan is drafted, proposing to annex the Jordan Valley, Gush Etzion and 2/3 of the Gaza Strip and to establish a neutral Druze buffer state on the Golan Heights. Sinai would then be tranferred to Egypt; and most of the West Bank and 1/3 of the Gaza Strip to Jordan. In late 1968 the plan is presented to Jordan King Hussein declines the offer, and prepares for a rematch instead.
In an unsuccessful attempt to oust the traditional pro-Jordanian elites in favor of younger less radical ones, Israel makes great efforts to spread Israel's great life standards to the Palestinians. Through systematic inoculation, infant diseases such as polio and measles are eradicated. Between 1970 and 1990, mortality rates decrease by 70% and life expectancy increases by 24 years. Privileges enjoyed by a tiny minority (5-15%) in 1967 become realities for a majority (85-95%) of Palestinians by 1980, such as: running water; gas cooking ranges; refrigerators; televisions; and automobiles. In the 1970s the West Bank and Gaza constitute the 4th fastest-growing economy in the world, substantially ahead of Israel itself.
In 1964, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was created by the Arab League to represent the Palestinians. In 1968, prominent terrorist Yasser Arafat becomes the PLO leader. PLO attempts to assassinate King Hussein and hijacks five planes in Jordan during the Dawson’s Field Hijackings in 1970. The Jordanian city of Irbid is declared independent and King Hussein attacks the PLO during “Black September”, expelling it from Jordan to Lebanon. In Lebanon, the PLOadopts the Ten Point Program in 1974, i.e. advancing a two-state solution through diplomacy to improve positions for attacking Israel.
Israeli intelligence becomes aware of Arab invasion plans, but under American pressure, Israeli PM Golda Meir dismisses an Arab invasion as unlikely after their previous defeat. As such, a nationwide alert, early mobilisation and pre-emptive strike do not take place. In 1973, a Soviet-backed surprise joint attack is launched against Israel by Syria and Egypt on the holiest of the Jewish holidays, initiating the Yom-Kippur War. The Syrians lose all their tanks and aircraft and are pushed back - but receive replacement armaments from East Germany (Secret Operation Aleppo). The Egyptian forces manage to destroy the Bar Lev Line, forcing the IDF to retreat. The Jewish people faces the possibility of a second Holocaust and PM Meir prepares to commit suicide.
With the help of American and Dutch deliveries of weapons and supplies (Operation Nickel Grass), the IDF repels the Egyptians and maintains control over the Sinai Peninsula. Israeli troops penetrate a gap between the Egyptian armies, cross the Suez Canal and surround the Egyptian Third Army. Under US pressure, the Israelis spare the 45.000 encircled Egyptians and agree to a ceasefire. Israel donates 5% of the Golan Heights to a UN demilitarized buffer zone, where the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) is deployed.
After 30 years of uninterrupted left-wing rule, the right-wing Likud Party is elected to power in 1977 (a transition known as "Mahapach"). The Histadrut's monopoly on employment is terminated and the private sector is strengthened. In 1956, an underground railway (Carmelit) is finished in Haifa. In 1965, Israel's first skyscraper and the Mideast's tallest building is finished: Shalom Meir Tower in Tel Aviv. The third Israeli port, the Port of Ashdod, is opened in 1965. Between 1962 and 1964 the Dimona Nuclear Reactor becomes operational. In 1983 the Israeli Space Agency (ISA) is established and in 1988 Israel becomes the second country outside of the G6 with a space launch capability.
In response to the American and Dutch deliveries to Israel, the Arabs launch an oil embargo against the major Western powers – initiating the 1973 Oil Crisis. This prompts the Ford Administration to negotiate an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights - and the embargo is lifted in 1974. In 1979, the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty is signed, in which Israel agrees to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for Egyptian recognition of Israel. All Jewish settlements in the Sinai are demolished and thousands of Jews become homeless.
Meanwhile, the USSR breaks off diplomatic relations with Israel. Soviet anti-Zionism (Zionology) is accompanied by systematic discrimination of Jews, causing an increased russification of Soviet Jewry. Many Soviet Jews, known as Refuseniks, apply for exit visas but are refused - in order to prevent a brain drain. During the First Leningrad Trial in 1970, 16 refuseniks unsuccessfully attempt to hijack a Soviet civilian aircraft and fly it to the West. The event draws international attention, and international condemnation forces the USSR to allow an emigration of 250,000 Jews to Israel and the US in the 1970s.
After 1973, the African states seeked trading ties with the oil-rich Arabs and abandon Israel. In communist Ethiopia, Jews are even persecuted. In the 1980s, famines and war further devastate the community, forcing many of them to flee to refugee camps in Sudan. During a famine in these refugee camps in 1984 – 1985, the IDF and the CIA bring thousands of them to safety in Israel (Operations Moses and Joshua). In the early 1990s, Ethiopia allows for the emigration of 6,000 Jews. In 1991, the Ethiopian dictatorship starts to collapse and the IDF carries out Operation Solomon, evacuating most of the remaining Ethiopian Jews to Israel. The last Ethiopian Jews are rescued during Operation Wings of the Dove in 2013.
In early 1981, Ronald Reagan is elected as POTUS and he emphasizes Israel's importance in defending American interests in the Mid-East against communism. An era of close strategic cooperation starts between US and Israel. In 1987, US Congress designates Israel as a "major non-NATO ally" – effectively establishing a US-Israel Alliance. The US starts sending an annual $1.8 billion in military assistance and $1.2 billion in economic aid to Israel. Israel develops into the most reliable American ally, granting the US Army unlimited access to its ports, hospitals, training areas and bombing ranges. In exchange the USA uses itspermanent membership in the United Nations Security Council to veto and block resolutions targetting Israel.
Apartheid South Africa also suffers from diplomatic alienation. Israel realizes that it needs an ally on the African continent and is too isolated to be too selective. While Israel continues to denounce the racist policies of South Africa, the two countries become major military and economic allies following the secret Israel-South Africa Agreement (ISSA) in 1975. Israeli and South African generals gave each other unlimited access to each other's battlefields, military tactics and even classified information.
Aside from South Africa, several other internationally isolated nations (South Korea, Chile, Taiwan and Singapore) build up extensive security ties with the Jewish State – forming the so-called Pariah Club - encompassing exchange of intelligence and technology.
By 1975 the United Nations consisted of various small voting blocs. A united Muslim-Communist Voting Bloc is formed in order to outnumber the Western voting bloc. As a result, the communists are able to push through biased anti-US resolutions and the Muslims biased anti-Israel resolutions. In November 1975, the Muslim-Communist voting bloc pushes through the anti-Semitic UNGA Resolution 3379, which declares Zionism to be a form of racism. Only in 1991, thanks to the fall of the communist nations, Israel and the Western nations manage to revoke the resolution though.
Part X: The War on Terror
During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, the “Munich Massacre” occurs: 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team are taken hostage and murdered by the Palestinian terrorist organization Black September Organization and the German terrorist organization Red Army Faction. Israel responds with “Operation Wrath of God” (1972 – 1988) during which the Mossad tracks down and kills all of the Palestinian-Arab terrorists responsible for the massacre.
In 1976, Air France Flight 139 (carrying more than 100 Jewish passengers) is hijacked in Athens by the Palestinian-Arab terrorist organization PFLP-EO and the German terrorist organization Revolutionary Cells. The hijackers divert the flight to Entebbe Airport in Uganda, where they are reinforced by the forces of fascist dictator Idi Amin. The terrorists demand the release of 40 Palestinian terrorists, or they would kill the Jewish hostages. During Operation Entebbe, Israeli commandos successfully rescue 102 of the 106 hostages, but the unit commander Yonatan Netanyahu is killed in action.
In the 1970s, Saddam Hussein becomes dictator of Iraq, buys a nuclear reactor from France and publicly calls for the destruction of Israel. During Operation Opera in 1981, less than a month before the reactor would’ve gone critical, Israel carries out a preventive strike and successfully destroys it. Despite international condemnation of the act, Israel issues the Begin Doctrine - bravely committing itself to the destruction of any future nuclear facilities in nearby anti-Zionist countries.
Following the expulsion of the PLO from Jordan to Lebanon, Maronite Christians are kidnapped and slaughtered by the Palestinians. The Lebanese Civil War soon breaks out between Lebanese Christians and Muslims. In 1976 Syria occupies most of Lebanon. After years of constant PLO terror attacks from Lebanon, Israel invades southern Lebanon up to the Litani River during Operation Litani in 1978, successfully removing the PLO from the border. Under UN pressure, Israel withdraws but turns over border positions to their ally: the South Lebanon Army (SLA) under Major Haddad. The peacekeeping force United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is sent to occupy a buffer zone.
In 1968, American-Jewish nationalist rabbi Meir Kahane forms the militant organizations Jewish Defense League (JDL) and Terror Neged Terror, which target neo-Nazi and Islamist activists. In 1971, Kahane makes aliyah and forms the Kach Party which fails to make it to the Knesset. The ideology of Kahanism calls for a large, theocratic and homogeneous Israel. Kahane is assassinated in 1990 and the Kahane Chai Party breaks away from Kach. Israel designates Kach and Kahane Chai as terrorist organizations. JDL is outlawed in most Western countries, except France.
As the PLO's terror attacks against Israel are resumed, Israel launches Operation Peace for Galilee in 1982. The Christian SLA, Phalangists and Lebanese Forces coordinate their war efforts with the Israeli liberators. They conquer Beirut and expel the PLO from southern to northern Lebanon. However, in late 1982, Phalangists slaughter thousands of Palestinians (Sabra & Shatila Massacre) and the alliance collapses. Under US pressure, Israeli and Lebanese forces withdraw from Beirut to the South Lebanon Security Belt - which functions as a PLO-free buffer zone - in 1983. The PLO relocates to Tunisia - but their HQ there is destroyed by Israel in 1985 (Operation Wooden Leg) after the hijacking of an Israeli yacht.
In the early 1980s, with the support of Syria and Iran, Lebanese Shia militias form the anti-Semitic terrorist group Hezbollah. Hezbollah launches rockets against Israel and in response, the IDF and SLA carry out Operation Accountability (1993) and Operation Grapes of Wrath (1996) - destroying much of Hezbollah's infrastructure and killing terrorists. Under UN pressure, the IDF withdraws from Lebanon in 2000, and UNIFIL reestablishes its buffer zone. Some 10,000 Maronites flee to Galilee, where they receive Israeli citizenship. Hezbollah uses the next 6 years to build up an arsenal of an estimated 40,000 rockets and mortar shells.
In the 1970s the Israeli government realizes that the Palestinians are not interested in negotiating, and thus accepts the "Drobles Plans" for the Jewish resettlement of the empty lands of Judea & Samaria. Water, modern irrigation techniques, industry, modern infrastructure and electricity are brought to the barren hilltops of Judea & Samaria, and various new thriving towns are established in previously uninhabited territories on the West Bank - including two secular cities: Ma'ale Adumim and Ariel. The Yesha Council is established in the 1970s to represent the various settlement blocks in Gaza and Judea & Samaria.
In 1980, the Jerusalem Law is passed: East Jerusalem is declared an integral part of the Israeli capital. Since its reconquest, East Jerusalem had been growing and many Jewish suburbs (Ring Neighborhoods / Shechunoth Hataba'at) had emerged. In 1981, through the Golan Heights Law, the largely re-judaized Golan Heights are annexed into Israel's North District. All Arabs in the annexed lands are offered citizenship, but most refuse and become permanent residents instead.
Many of the so-called “West Bank settlers” are religious-nationalist settlers from the Anglosphere, who are – unlike Israeli citizens and Russian olim – well acquainted with the small-scale organic agriculture that the soil requires. The religious-nationalist settlers live primarily on agricultural settlements outside the West Bank's towns and cities. Living beyond the internationally recognized borders of Israel, the “settlers” are not protected by the IDF, making them prime targets of Palestinian terrorism. They start carrying guns to protect themselves.
In 1984, Sephardi chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef forms the ultra-orthodox political party Shas, which stands up for poverty-stricken Sephardi and Mizrahi refugees – resulting in a massive conversion to ultra-orthodoxy among them. Ashkenazi Haredim flock to Israel in the 1990s. Thanks to immigration, conversion and especially high birthrates they grow to represent 10% of the population. The Israeli Haredim are concentrated in the cities of Jerusalem, Elad and Bnei Brak.
Overpopulation forces many Haredim to seek new lives outside of Jerusalem. Preferring to live in segregated and homogeneous communities, many of them buy cheap houses on settlements right outside the Green Line. By the 21st centuries, West Bank Haredim make up a quarter of all settlers. Various Hareidi settlements emerge throughout the 1980s and 1990s, among them two cities: Beitar Illit and Modi'in Illit.
In Judea & Samaria, the semi-independent Civil Administration is established by the Defense Ministry to govern the Jews and Arabs alike. Under the Civil Administration, Arabs enjoy a high rate of autonomy - in preparation for eventual independence. As part of the Village Leagues Plan of 1978, a network of local councils staffed by notable conservative (pro-Jordanian) Palestinians from rural areas are formed to counter the growing PLO nationalist influence from the cities. The Israelis agree to provide financial resources for development projects enacted by the village leagues. The village leagues are unable to gain popular support and in 1983 they are abolished.
In 1990, Saddam Hussein's Iraq invades and overruns Kuwait, but the Coalition responds by invading Iraq. In response, Iraq fires 39 Scud missiles at Israeli civilian population centers, damaging 3,300 apartments and displacing 1,150 civilians. Following the Coalition's 1991 victory, Israel plans to retaliate through Operation Bramble Bush (i.e. the assassination of Saddam Hussein by Mossad), but following a training incident the plan is scrapped. In 1998, Operation Bramble Bush II was to be carried out, but scrapped due to Operation Desert Fox.
In the collapsing USSR, emigration restrictions are abolished. Nearly a million Soviet Jews (plus some 300,000 affined gentile Russians) migrate to Israel, and more than half a million to the United States and Germany. The aliyoth greatly boost the Israeli economy, as 1/3 of the Russian olim is an engineer, scientist or technician. Thanks to communist religious persecution, the Soviet Jews had become largely secular and russified. As such, many refuse to learn Hebrew, keep Russian names and sell non-kosher meat. The secular right-wing party Yisrael Beiteinu is established to represent the Russian Israelis.
Part XI: The Intifadas and Jihads
In between 1987 and 1993, Palestinians led by the PLO launch a massive pogrom against the Jewish people, known as the First Intifada: all over the country, innocent Jews are hit with stones and Molotov cocktails and suicide attacks are carried out in buses. A total of 160 Jews are murdered in cold blood. As a result, Israel sets up roadblocks and army checkpoints all over Judea & Samaria - limiting the freedom of movement for Palestinians.
In 1991, the Madrid Framework for peace between Israel and the Arab States is developed at an international conference. The Israel-Palestine section of the framework is implemented and the First Intifada ended, as Israel and the PLO sign the Oslo I Accord (1993) and the Oslo II Accord (1995). 90% of the Arab-populated territories of the West Bank becomes known as Areas A and B and they are - along with nearly the entire Gaza Strip - handed over to the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Arafat. Area C, consisting of all Jewish settlements and scarcely settled territories, stays under Israeli administration. In exchange for the autonomy, Yasser Arafat recognizes Israel independence and pledges to reject violence in the Letters of Mutual Recognition.
As part of the Oslo Accord arrangements, Arafat establishes the 6 different rivaling security mechanisms in 1993. The CIA, IDF and Shin Bet train the Palestinian security and police forces in anti-terror tactics, allowing them to guard IDF checkpoints and man joint patrols in order to save Israeli manpower. A fledging Security Coordination occurs between Israel and the PA to eliminate terror cells, greatly reducing Israeli military and civilian casualties.
Some Arab countries appreciate Israel's peace efforts. In 1994, the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty is signed: Jordan recognizes Israel’s independence and abandons its claims on Judea & Samaria. In 1996, the Gulf States (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait) end their participation in the Arab League boycott against Jewish businesses. Industrial parks known as Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs) are designated by the US throughout Jordan (1998) and Egypt (2004). QIZs' produce requires a small portion of Israeli input and receive direct unrestricted access to US markets. This greatly promotes normalization between the now friendly countries.
Due to the oil crisis, hyperinflation occurred in Israel (Lost Decade) from 1973 until 1985. In 1985, the Economic Stabilization Law is passed and a Israel turns from a social-democratic market to a liberal-capitalist one. Israel’s high-tech industry develops as Israeli-American entrepreneurs return in the 1980s and Soviet scientists arrive in the 1990s. The Silicon Wadi emerges on the coastal plains and becomes a favorite location for international companies to operate R&E centres. In the early 21st century, even more high-tech hubs emerge: in Jerusalem and Yokneam Illit - the latter even becoming known as the "Startup Village".
The IDF differs from all other national armies through its democratic organizational structure, which promotes teambuilding, constructive criticism and consensus-reaching. Educational programs (for bachelor degrees) are offered within elite units, training talented soldiers in technologic leadership (Talpiot Program), military intelligence (Havatzalot Program), electronic engineering (Psagot Program) and mechanical engineering (Brakim Program). Soldiers who don't attain key military positions enter the private sector, establishing start-ups and turning Israel into the Startup Nation.
In February 1994, Palestinian Arabs gather inside the Cave of Machpelah at Hebron, chanting genocidal slogans, but the IDF does not step in. American-Jewish immigrant Baruch Goldstein takes matters into his own hands. On the next day, during the "Cave of Machpelah Massacre", he opens fire on unarmed Palestinian Arabs praying inside a mosque at the cave, killing 29. Survivors then beat him to death. The Israeli government condemns the attack and describes Goldstein as "a degenerate murderer".
A final status settlement was to be reached within 5 years after the 2nd Oslo Accord. Indeed, the Camp David Summit meeting is held by Israel, the US and the PA in 2000. However, Arafat refuses to sign an agreement, even when most of his aspirations are met by Israel. By the end of 2000, the Clinton Peace Plan is proposed in a last ditch effort to revive the peace process: the annexation of most settlement blocs; Palestinian-Arab authority over the rest of the West Bank and over the Gaza Strip; and a minor Israeli presence on the Jordanian border as part of an international force. Israel accepts, but the Palestinian Arabs reject the deal.
The Palestinians end negotiations and launch a new pogrom in 2000: the Second Intifada. Nearly a thousand innocent Jews all over Israel are massacred by Palestinian suicide bombers in restaurants, at train stations and in buses. During the Taba Summit of 2001, Israel offers about 95% of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, but Arafat declines the offer. In 2002, during Operations Defensive Shield and Determined Path, the IDF launches incursions into the PA and places Arafat under siege, before pulling out. In 2002, the Quartet on the Middle East (a foursome of Russia, the US, the EU and the UN) is formed to mediate between Israel and Palestine, but to no avail. In 2002, the Arab Peace Initiative is presented by the Arab League, offering diplomatic relations in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. However, Israel's positive response is ignored.
In 2002, Israel starts constructing the Security Fence / Geder Hahafrada, a 700 km-long fence with trenches along the Jewish settlement blocs - and, indeed, attacks against Jews reduce by more than 90%. The territory in between the Green Line and the Security Fence (appr. 8.5% of the West Bank) becomes known as the Seam Zone / Merchav Hatefer. Palestinians can apply for a personal permit known as "Tazrih", the possession of which means permanent residency. in the Seam Zone.
In 2002, the Bush II Administration publishes the Roadmap for Peace to restart peace negotiations, and demands the replacement of Arafat. Abu Mazen is elected president for life. Under US and Israeli pressure, the PA leadership starts a reform plan in 2003, integrating its 14 security services into three main security bodies (overseen by the National Security Council / NSC). The Roadmap reaches deadlock in late 2003, when the PA refuses to end the Second Intifada.
The Gazans launch Qasam rockets on southern Israel and in 2004, Operations Rainbow, Forward Shield and Days of Penitence are launched by the IDF in Gaza: high-profile terrorists are taken out; missile launches prevented; bombs disarmed; and smuggling tunnels destroyed. During "Hahitnatkut" in 2005, Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip and hands the whole territory over to the PA. All 8,800 Gazan Jews (clustered in the settlement bloc Gush Katif) are forcibly removed. All public buildings, factories and greenhouses are left intact for use by the Palestinian Arabs, but they are destroyed by Arab civilians. With the disengagement from Gaza, the Second Intifada comes to an end.
Total control over most of the Coastal Aquifer as well as all Israeli water processing facilities is handed over to the PA. They are, however, neglected and within 2 years they are contaminated beyond repair. Israel decides to supply more than 4 MCM annually to the Gaza Strip for free, to keep its population from dehydrating. The situation proves to Israel that the Palestinians can't be trusted to take care of the West Bank's Mountain Aquifer, the principal source of Israeli drinking water.
In 2006, the genocidal terrorist organization Hamas is brought to power in the Gaza Strip during free elections. In 2007, the Battle of Gaza leads to the defeat of Fatah and Hamas assumes full control over the Gaza Strip. Israel and Egypt impose a blockade on terrorist Gaza. Israel does, however, continue to provide the Gazans with free electricity, food, medicine, internet, fuel and water - as they produce none on their own.
Hamas carries out a terror campaign against Israel from their new homebase in Gaza. A large underground tunnel network is built under Israel, and in mid-2006 they kidnap a wounded soldier, Gilad Shalit. In late 2006, the IDF carries out Operations Summer Rains and Autumn Clouds to secure his release but fails. Israel starts negotiating and in late 2011, Gilad Shalit is returned to Israel in exchange for the release of 1,027 Palestinian terrorists.
After re-emerging from its defeat in the Cold War, Russia seeks to find a new political bloc to lead. In the early 21st century, President Putin starts aiding anti-Zionist dictatorships in Syria and Iran militarily, diplomatically and technically. The Moscow-Damascus-Tehran Bloc starts a proxy war against Israel by arming Hezbollah and Hamas. In 2003 Iraq falls into their sphere. Russia starts funding the Iranian Nuclear Program and Iran threatens to nuke Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
In 1995, a Jewish-American US Navy intelligence analyst, Jonathan Pollard, is sentenced to life imprisonment by the US government on charges of selling classified material to Israel. However, the information he stole was data on chemical and nuclear weapons in Syria and Iran. In 1995 Pollard is granted Israeli citizenship, but the US refuses to release him until 2015 and then denies him an exit visa. Israel was right to suspect Syria: during Operation Orchard in late 2007, Israel launches an airstrike on a nuclear facility in eastern Syria.
Between 2007 and 2008, Hamas fires around 700 rockets and 820 mortar bombs at Israeli population centers in the Gaza Belt / Otef Aza. There, the government builds thousands of bomb shelters and Sderot even becomes known as the "Bomb Shelter Capital of the World". In late 2008, during Operation Cast Lead, the IDF carries out air strikes on Gazan weapons caches and rocket firing teams. Hamas hides weapons and fighters in mosques, hospitals and schoolyards - forcing the IDF to warn them first at the cost of their tactical advantage. A humanitarian crisis occurs when Hamas refuses to allow civilians to flee.
In July 2006, Hezbollah militants carry out a cross-border raid on an Israeli military patrol, while diverting attention with rocketfire on Israeli towns. Within 2 hours, the IDF launches a ground invasion (Second Lebanon War), bombing communications and military targets throughout July. In August, during Operation Change of Direction 11, the IDF attempts but fails to surround Hezbollah forces in South Lebanon. Finding itself scattered across 16 different isolated pockets behind enemy lines, Israel accepts a UN-mediated peacefire and withdraws.
Part XII: Isolation and Boycotts
In 2008, Israel offers the detailed Olmert Peace Proposal, proposing to hand over 93.7% of the West Bank and 5.8% of Israeli territory to the PA. East Jerusalem would become the Palestinian capital and the holy sites would be overseen by a five nation committee. A secure, demilitarized corridor would be formed on Israeli national territory between Gaza and the West Bank by way of a tunnel. Israel would also absorb 5,000 Palestinian refugees. 75% of the settlers live in the territory that would be annexed so only 25% of the settlers would have to be evacuated. The US even proposes to fund new settlements in the Negev and Galilee for them. The PLO declines.
Throughout the 21st century, fishing vessels are sent by Iran to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas. They are usually seized by the Shayetet 13 naval special forces unit. In 2010, a Turkish flotilla carrying construction material (MV Mavi Marmara) is sent to the Gaza Strip. On its way, Shayetet 13 boards the ship in order to guide it to Ashdod for investigation before proceeding. Suddenly the passengers attack the Israeli soldiers with iron bars and knives. The ship turns out to be carrying construction materials.
Since the start of the UN, Israel was the only country omitted from its regional group, meaning it couldn't be elected to leadership positions on UN bodies. After roughly 55 years, Israel is finally allowed to join the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in 2000. With a rise in anti-Semitic UN resolutions, the Bush II Administration adopts the Negroponte Doctrine in 2002, pledging to veto all UNSC resolutions denouncing Israel without mention of terrorist groups.
The Magen David Adom volunteer organization, Israel’s national ambulance, disaster and blood bank service had been denied membership in the International Red Cross Movement. From 2002 onwards, the American Red Cross withdraws all of its annual contributions, demanding the recognition of Magen David Adom. In 2006, Magen David Adom is finally allowed entry – under the condition that it offers no services on the West Bank.
Israeli tourism minister Rabbi Binyamin Elon proposes the “Israeli Initiative” peace plan, advocating the formal annexation of Gaza and the West Bank by Israel; the granting of Jordanian citizenship to Palestinian Arabs; the transformation of Jordan into a republican Palestinian state and the absorption of Palestinian refugees into their host countries. The Olmert administration shows no interest, preferring a two-state solution.
In early 2011, Israel completes the construction of the Iron Dome / Kippat Barzel air defense system. Through radar detection, impact estimation and missile interception, the system is to destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from the Gaza Strip. Within a year, Kippat Barzel proves to have a success rate of 85%. By 2014 six batteries have been deployed. The IDF calculates that a total of 20 batteries are necessary to protect all of Israel.
Between early 2009 and late 2012, over 4,000 rocket launches and mortar strikes are carried out against Israeli cities by Hamas. In early 2012, during Operation Returning Echo, the IDF takes out a considerable number of militants. In late 2012, Operation Pillar of Defense is launched: 1,500 rocket launchpads, weapon depots, government facilities and apartment blocks are striked by the IDF. Again, Hamas uses civilians as human shields and the IDF sacrifices its tactical advantage by warning the civilian population before every single bombardment.
From July until November 2014, an average of 165 attacks a day are carried out against Jews by Arab terrorists in Jerusalem (Silent Intifada). The pogrom is instigated by Abu Mazen. In September 2014, the Knesset passes a law outlawing the Hamas-funded groups Morabiton & Morabitat, which harass Jewish and Christian visitors on the Temple Mount. Also, the use of sniper rifles against stonethrowers is now permitted.
Furthermore, after being unable to participate in cups for 20 years, in 1994 Israel's national football team is allowed to join the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) - but sadly its quality is slightly below that of the European teams. Similarly, after 12 years of being banned from continental games, in 1982 Israel is finally allowed to join the European Olympic Committees (EOC). The only international event where Israel's representation is consistently protected since 1973 is the Eurovision - where it wins 3 times.
The PA develops the Palestine 194 campaign: an infiltration into international organizations in order to battle Israel there, shortcutting direct negotiations. Between 2011 and 2015 the PA is admitted as a member state of UNESCO, as an observer state at the UNGA and as a member state of the ICC. At the ICC, they falsely accuses Israel of war crimes there - leading to an investigation. In mid-2015 the Palestinian national football team calls for a vote to expel Israel from FIFA - but withdraw the demand under pressure by western national teams.
Throughout the 21st century, strong Muslim lobbies emerge within Europe. The EU promulgates a directive (European Commission Notice 2013/C 205/05) in July 2013 that forbids its 28 member states from doing business with Israeli companies operating outside of the Green Line. In early 2016 they start labeling Israeli produce from Judea & Samaria. The traditional alliance between Israel and the fellow democracies in Europe collapses.
To appease European Muslims, Israeli companies are boycotted by many Western universities, student organizations, churches, pension funds, unions, supermarket chains and banks (Second Jewish Boycott). Ironically, 85% of the West Bank’s Arabs are opposed to divestment because they rely on Israeli companies for employment, insurance, medical treatment and other services that are unavailable in the PA.
In 2010, POTUS Obama launches the First Round of Direct Negotiations for a final status settlement between Israel and the PA. However, the PA refuses to recognize Israel and the negotiations break down. Following reelection, Obama ends nuclear sanctions against Iran and presses Israel to compromise its security. The US-Israeli alliance effectively collapses. In 2013, the Second Round of Direct Negotiations start. Knowing that Palestine is the least cooperative party, Kerry tries hard to appease them to Israel's detriment. Israel plays along, releasing 78 Palestinian-Arab terrorists. Abbas senses Kerry’s weakness and exploits it by refusing to make anymore concessions. Negotiations freeze.
In the 21st century, Muslim anti-Semitic violence in France (home to half a million Jews) reaches a climax, with more than 7,700 anti-Semitic incidents recorded by 2013. In the major cities of France, the French chapter of the Jewish Defense League ("Ligue de Défense Juive" or LDJ) actively defends Jewish civilians and carries out reprisals to antisemitic attacks. France has become the leading country for Jewish emigration to Israel, providing Israel with over 30,000 olim within but 15 years
After the Egyptian deposure of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas seeks a new power base. In 2014, Fatah and Hamas agree to a reconciliation deal, forming a Unity Government. The new Palestinian government is recognized and embraced by the international community, despite the fact that Hamas is viewed as a terrorist organization by most Western countries. Negotiations break down, and Israel implements economic sanctions against the PA.
Hamas murders 3 Jewish teens in 2014, and Fatah praises it. In revenge, Jewish individuals kill a Palestinian teen a day after the burial. Israel condemns all four murders. The number of rocket attacks increase dramatically, with 80 rockets fired on 7 July. 5,000 – 8,000 Israelis flee southern Israel. On 8 July 2014, Israel carries out a ground offensive (Operation Protective Edge), demolishing 31 combat tunnels and eliminating 3 Hamas commanders.
Part XIII: Pluriformic Society
As per the 1948 Torato Omanuto arrangement, the tiny minority of Israeli Haredim receive exemptions from military service so as to devote their lives to Torah studies. However, their proportion of the Israeli population increases to 10% by the 21st century and Israel's secular majority complains over an uneven distribution of defensive and economic burden. In March 2014 the Knesset introduces universal conscription for Haredim. The halakhically observant "Netzah Yehuda Battalion" is formed.
In the early 21st century, a number of Muslim refugees from Sudan & Eritrea illegally enter Israel through Egypt during the “Infiltration”. Unwilling to send them back to Africa, Israel grants them residence and work permits. 60% of them end up in southern Tel Aviv and over 20% in Eilat, where they work in hotels and receive welfare and free education for their children. By 2012 they number over 50,000 people. By 2013 construction of the “Hourglass Fence” along the Egyptian border is completed, curbing illegal immigration.
As more and more Israelis moved from unskilled labor to white-collar jobs in 1967-2000, Palestinians became the main source for low-skilled cheap labor. However, this ends after the Intifadas, leading to a labor shortage in the 1990s. From 1993 onwards, Israel brings in hundreds of thousands of temporary Foreign Workers from less developed countries: 31,000 Filipino & 10,000 Indian caregivers ; 25,000 Thai & 10,000 West African farm workers; and 60,000 Romanian & 22,000 Turkish construction workers. By the 21st century, the number of foreign workers stands at 300,000 – of which only 1/3 is authorized.
In 2013, Arab Christians form the political party “Sons of the New Testament”, encouraging full integration into Israeli society. After all, Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where Christians are not persecuted. In 2014 the Aramaean-Israelis are recognized as an official ethnicity by the Israeli government, making up 127,000 people. The Arameans are one of the most educated groups in Israel, with a rate of success in the education system nearly as high as that of the Jews and much higher than that of the Arabs.
Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where same-sex couples are allowed to adopt children and where public health insurance covers sex reassignment. Even among Western countries, Israel was the one of the first to decriminalize sodomy (1963) and emancipate gays in the army (1983). The city of Tel Aviv, hosting the biggest gay pride celebration on continental Asia (i.e. Tel Aviv Pride), is often branded the “Gay Capital of the Middle East”. By the 21st century, more than a quarter of Tel Aviv's population as well as more than 1/10 of Israel's national population is openly LBGT.
Many African slaves in North America identified with the ancient Hebrew slaves. The Black Hebrew Movement was organized in the late 19th century, claiming Israelite descent and practicing elements of Judaism within black churches. In the second half of the 20th century, over 630 Black Hebrews head to the State of Israel and receive permanent residence.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Messianic Judaism movement emerged among Jews, accepting Yeshua as the Messiah, but often rejecting Hellenistic Christian doctrine - thus maintaining their Jewish identity, lifestyle and culture. By 2012 Messianic Jews make up 350,000 people around the world – including about 15,000 in Israel.
With the loss of its traditional allies in the West, Israel proceeds to form an alliance with the emerging Japan-China-India Axis. Export of Israeli medical, agricultural, security and military equipment to the Asian markets increases. The fellow technocratic democracies India and Japan start a massive cooperation with Israel in the fields of technological innovation and cyber-defense. China and Israel establish several joint research centers, and China starts many huge construction projects in Israel.
The Nile River in Egypt contains organic matter, which deposits in the Mediterranean Sea, where it drifts to Israel's coast and creates gas reserves - often termed the "Gift of the Nile". The American gas company Noble Energy Inc. starts exploring the Israeli coast for gas fields, leading to the first offshore discovery of a gas field (Mari-B) in 1999. By mid-2013 at least nine more gas fields are discovered, including Leviathan and Tamar. In 2004, gas production starts in Israel and in 2015 a joint gas extraction project, Energy Triangle, starts between Israel, Greece and Cyprus. The discovery of these rich hydrocarbon areas have the potential to turn Israel into a major energy player in the Middle East.