The Roman rulers didn't maintain this lax policy forever and soon began taxing
the people and requiring that which all occupied lands required. This led to Jewish
revolts in 66 AD when the people took the region and named it Israel.
The Romans soon sieged Jerusalem and the city fell in 70 AD. During this time most
of the Christians left the city and the region as a whole, soon after prophesizing
the new religion throughout the Roman Empire.
Conflicts between the Romans and Jews continued over the next couple centuries.
Emperor Hadrian, in 131 AD banned Jews from living in Jerusalem and renamed the
territory Palaestina. This led to another Jewish revolt, which didn't succeed.
Further Roman suppression encouraged more Jews to leave the region, most of whom
went to the Persian Sassanid Empire.
In the 300s the Byzantium Empire rose to prominence and they took control of the
region of Israel. Also in this century they adopted Christianity
as the official language, turning the region of Israel into a Christian stronghold.
Jews were still banned from living in Jerusalem, but were again allowed to visit
As a part of the Byzantium Empire the region of Israel was
heavily Christianized as Jews continued to leave the region. Although the empire
allowed Judaism to exist they were limited in freedoms and the Samaritans regularly
In 614 Israel and Jerusalem fell to the Sassanid
Persians and the Jews again took control of the city, however their rule
only lasted until 617 when the Byzantines took the region once more. This led to
a massive flood of Jews leaving and moving primarily to eastern and northeastern
In 620 the Prophet Mohammed visited the Temple Mount in the region, which is still
sacred in the Muslim faith. Jerusalem is still considered one of the holiest cities
in Islam due to the Prophet ascending to heaven from the city at the time of his
death. In 636 the Arabs took the region and allowed the Jews to again live in Jerusalem.
This also began a slow conversion and migration of people as the Muslims slowly
overtook the Christians as the majority.
From 636 the region was ruled by various people, but all Muslim Caliphs. It was
during these rules that the Dome of the Rock was built, a holy site to the Jews,
Christians, and Muslims. From the 600s until the 1100s the Muslims and Jews lived
together fairly peacefully as the Muslim held a substantial majority in the region.
In the 1100s the Christian kingdoms of Europe decided to
undergo a series of wars to retake the Holy Land, called the Crusades. During this
time many Jews were taken and sold into slavery by the Christian Crusaders and the
region shifted hands from the Christians to the Muslims during the 1100s and 1200s.
These wars escalated in the late 1200s when the Mongols
arrived as did the Mamluks. The Mamluk Muslims though held the region successfully,
fending off the invading people and securing Jerusalem and the region in 1291. These
Egyptians Muslims secured the city and held control of it
Another result of the Crusades was an increasing tension and racism toward Jews
in Europe as numerous countries banned Jews from the country,
including England, France,
and Spain (two centuries later). This led to a massive immigration
of Jews eastward in the early 1300s. The Poles and
Russians both welcomed the Jews, leading to large bulges in their populations
in these regions.
Meanwhile, in the region of Israel the Mamluks fell from
power in 1517 and the Ottomans in Syria took power, maintaining
this power until the mid-1800s. At first, the Ottoman rulers were good to the Jews
and they prospered, but by the mid-1600s this power and influence was declining.
At this same time many Jews were continuously being persecuted as many fled to the
"New World" (the Americas) or continued to move to Jewish-friendly countries,
like Poland and Russia.
In 1831 the Egyptians, led by Muhammad Ali, overtook the Ottomans
in Syria. This rule led to incredible movements of people
in order to try to maintain power and control over both the Jews and Arabs. The
Egyptians send thousands of loyal Egyptians to the region of modern day
Israel when the Jews revolted and were put down. However, this movement
of people also allowed many Jews to return to Jerusalem and by the mid-1800s the
city's largest ethnic group was the Jews.
In 1864 the region moved back to Syrian control, while in
Europe many Jews were being persecuted simply for being Jewish.
Of the surviving victims, many Jews fled to the
United States, while a much smaller group returned to Israel,
again boosting the percentage of Jews in the region compared to other groups, but
still a small minority in the entire region. These immigrations led to the Jewish
population being the majority in Jerusalem by 1890.
In the early 1900s this migration to Israel continued, most
commonly from Russia, which was persecuting the Jews during
this time. With World War I, most Jews supported Germany
due to recent Russian persecutions. At the end of the war the
British gained control over the region of Palestine/Israel. This new British
region included modern day Israel and Jordan (Jordan was
removed during World War II).
Through the 1920s and 1930s the British encouraged
Jewish settlement in Israel and numerous Jews arrived from
Europe and Syria. This however led
to great tension among the Arab majority and conflicts between the two groups began
almost immediately. This led to the Jews forming armed soldiers to protect their
new towns, but also led to over population and few jobs, encouraging many of these
newly arrived Jews to soon leave.
In 1936 the Arabs fought British control over the
region. This led to discussions on how to divide the land between the two groups,
but no solution seemed acceptable to either side.
In 1939 World War II (WWII) began as did the Holocaust. This event, led by Nazi
German was intended to kill every Jew in the world. This
was undertaken by massive death camps, which killed thousands of Jews every day
at the peak of the Holocaust. In total, the Nazis killed about 6 million Jews with
no distinguishing between men, women, or children. This also led to a shift in the
center of the culturally Jewish world from Poland to both
New York, United States and Jerusalem.
After the war, numerous Jews moved to the present country of Israel
and soon after began a war with the United Kingdom
to gain independence. In 1947 the British turned
the situation over to the United Nations to solve. The UN decided to create an Arab
state, a Jewish state, and the city of Jerusalem which would fall under the direct
supervision of the UN. In 1948 Britain withdrew from the region.
This resolution and Britain's withdrawal led
to fighting between the two groups. This led to international division as the United States supported the Jewish population
and the UN resolution, while the United Kingdom began to support the annexation
of the Arab region into the country of Jordan.
In 1948 the Jews formally declared an independent state as the war with the Arabs
escalated. Egypt, Jordan,
Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq didn't
accept the UN resolution and assisted the Arabs in the region in fighting the Jews.
After initial Arab victories, the Israelis fought back and
defeated the Egyptians in early 1949, shortly after which the war ended.
In the 1950s mass immigration expanded the Jewish population as hundreds of thousands
of Arabs fled the region and settled in neighboring areas, including
Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.
Many of the Jewish immigrants credit their move to Israel to "Zionism,"
which is the essentially the vision of creating a Jewish state in Israel. This vision
encouraged Jews from all nations and all parts of the world to immigrate to Israel
despite the violence and conflict. On the international stage, both the
United States and the Soviet Union supported the new state and sought their
allegiance in the Cold War, to which the Israelis essentially
chose the United States.
In 1956 another war with Egypt broke out over the use of the
Suez Canal, which the Egyptians had banned Israel from using.
This led to an Israeli attack and western intervention. In the 1960s Israel's
militarization continued and in 1967 they attacked Egypt, Jordan,
and Syria. This gave Israel control over the Sinai Peninsula,
Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights.
Tensions continued when, in 1972 at the Munich Summer Olympics, eleven members of
the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage by Palestinian
terrorists and all hostages were later killed. The following year the
Egyptians and Syrians launched an attack on Israel
on Yom Kippur. At first the Israeli forces were pushed back, but they later took
back most of their losses. Small wars, battles, and hostage situations regularly
occurred from this point until 1977.
In 1977 the Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat visited
Israel upon the government's request, which began a thawing in relations
between the two nations and between Israel and the Arab world. This peace was finalized
in 1982 when the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt. It was at this time that
Egypt recognized Israel's right to exist. However this only settled conflict
with Egypt; the Lebanese and Syrians
were still at war as Egypt was removed from the Arab League.
The 1980s were still filled with war, first with Lebanon,
but also with small Arab groups. The 1990s saw renewed peace as Iraq
attacked the country, but the Israelis failed to fight back.
Additionally, they guaranteed the safety of both Jews and Arabs during the war.
In 1993 Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed a peace treaty,
with each side recognizing the other. This led to greater communication, but also
a magnification of extreme Arab groups seeking independence.
Since the mid-1990s Israel's relations with recognized
governments has greatly improved, although numerous Arab terrorist organizations
continue to exist (primarily in Syria), including Hamas, and
continue to fight Israel, primarily in the form of suicide bombers and other small
attacks. However, since 2005, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took power in
Iran, relations with that nation have been severely strained as Ahmadinejad
has sworn to remove Israel from the map.