History of Israel

History of Israel

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The Land of Israel, also known as the Holy Land or Palestine, is the birthplace of the Jewish people, the place where the final form of the Hebrew Bible is thought to have been compiled, and the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity. It contains sites sacred to Judaism, Samaritanism, Christianity, Islam, Druze and the Baháʼí Faith. The region has come under the sway of various empires and, as a result, has hosted a wide variety of ethnicities. However, the land was predominantly Jewish from roughly 1,000 years before the Common Era until the 3rd century of the Common Era . The adoption of Christianity by the Roman Empire in the 4th century led to a Greco-Roman Christian majority which lasted not just until the 7th century when the area was conquered by the Arab Muslim Empires, but for another full six centuries. It gradually became predominantly Muslim after the end of the Crusader period , during which it was the focal point of conflict between Christianity and Islam. From the 13th century it was mainly Muslim with Arabic as the dominant language and was first part of the Syrian province of the Mamluk Sultanate and after 1516 part of the Ottoman Empire until the British conquest in 1917-18.

A Jewish national movement, Zionism, emerged in the late-19th century , as part of which Aliyah increased. During World War I, the British government publicly committed to create a Jewish National Home and was granted a Mandate to rule Palestine by the League of Nations for this purpose. A rival Arab nationalism also claimed rights over the former Ottoman territories and sought to prevent Jewish migration into Palestine, leading to growing Arab–Jewish tensions. Israeli independence in 1948 was accompanied by an exodus of Arabs from Israel, the Arab–Israeli conflict and a subsequent Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries to Israel. About 43% of the world's Jews live in Israel today, the largest Jewish community in the world.

In 1979, an uneasy Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was signed, based on the Camp David Accords. In 1993, Israel signed Oslo I Accord with the Palestine Liberation Organization, followed by establishment of the Palestinian National Authority and in 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty was signed. Despite efforts to finalize the peace agreement, the conflict continues to play a major role in Israeli and international political, social and economic life.