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maanantai 13. heinäkuuta 2015

Israel, Cool Facts #48

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1. Israel's name and flag

Flag: In 1891 a Zionist group gathered in Boston and they created a flag derived from the talith prayer mantle and placed the star of David in it. They adopted this flag as their symbol.

Name: The name Israel comes from the Bible. Jacob got the name Israel in the Book Genesis. The Jewish tribes are descendants of Jacob's twelve sons.

Book of Genesis 32:28

Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome."

Jew wearing talith prayer mantle

2. Proposals for a Jewish Homeland

In the  beginning of the 1800s Israel was a remote village in the Ottoman Empire, which had mostly Arabs and a small Jewish minority of 50,000 people. The Jewish organized themselves as the Zionist movement and started pursuing the creation of a Jewish state. Here are some of the proposals before they chose Palestine, their ancient home as their new homeland.

Argentina: Andinia plan 19th century
USA: in 1820 it was suggested to create Ararat City in Niagara River
British Uganda: proposal made in 1903 by British Colonial Secretary
Soviet Union: in the 1920s and 1930s
Madagascar: Nazi Germany proposed this opportunity
British Guiana: a proposal in 1940
Australia: Critchley Parker proposed a Jewish settlement in southwest Tasmania

There were many proposals from many parties, from the Jews themselves, from anti-Jews and so on. In total tens of proposals were considered before establishing Israel in Palestine.

3. Creation of Israel 

1100 BC Kingdom of Israel is established
70 Romans destroy Jerusalem and the Western Wall is the only remnant of the temple built by the Kingdom of Israel
132 Emperor Hadrianus renames the country Palestine and after a rebellion prohibits the Jews to live in Judea under a threat of death penalty
638 Arabs spread Islam to Palestine
1100s Christian crusaders take the country from the Moslems
1187 Saladin conquers Jerusalem from the Christians
1291 Kingdom of Jerusalem collapses definitively
1500s The Ottoman Empire keeps Palestine under control the following 400 years
1920 Palestine becomes a territory governed by the UK, soon 3/4 of the country is separated as Transjordan 
1947 UN proposes to divide the area in two states, Jewish and Arab
1948 The British withdraw and Israel becomes independent, the Arab countries start a war against Israel

During the World War I the British promised a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. The British also supported the Arab rebellions against the Ottoman Empire promising the Arabs independence. 
So practically Great Britain promised the land of the Ottoman Empire to the Arabs and to the Jews.

After WW I Britain took over the power in Palestine and only 10% of the population were Jews. In the end of WW II there were already 33%, 600,000 Jews.

Then the British withdrew from the area in 1948 and since then the area of Palestine/Israel has had conflicts constantly. USA has helped Israel a lot since the creation of the modern-day Israel. Since the year 1972 USA has vetoed 42 times for Israel in the UN. 

Map of Israel and Palestine

4. Jerusalem, Holy City of the Jews, Moslems and Christians

Jerusalem is the Holy City for three religions, the Jews, Moslems and Christians. Here are the reasons why they are holy.

Jerusalem is the place where Jesus walked, preached and ate his last supper before he was captured and crucified, resurrected and ascended to heaven.

Jerusalem is considered to be the place where prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven after his Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem. The Al-Aqsa Mosque was built on that location and also the Dome of the Rock. Jerusalem is the third holiest city for Islam therefore.

Jerusalem is holy for the Jews because the Kingdom of Israel was established there. King Solomon built the temple which was later destroyed, rebuilt and destroyed again. These remains are estimated to lie exactly under the moslem site.

All these three holy sites of three different religions are located very close to each others inside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Al-Aqsa Mosque 

5. Israeli army

Only country where military service is compulsory for women
Only country in the Middle East with a nuclear weapon (Israel has refused to co-operate with the IAEA about their nuclear weapon program)
USA supports yearly Israel with 3 billion dollars, of which 2 billion is for military use
Israel uses 25% of its budget to defense and over 10% of its GDP

Oath: the Israeli soldiers swear an oath in Mount Masada, which was the location of the temple of king Herodes. It was the last fortification which the Romans conquered in the year 72 from the Jews. There the soldiers swear" Never again !" in front of one of the world's biggest flag which weighs 5,2 tons and is 660m x 100m of size.

Mount Masada 


4000 year ago Semitic people inhabit the area
1100-900 BC The Kingdom of Israel is established and flourished in the area
950 BC Solomon builds his temple in Jerusalem
721 BC The Assyrians conquer Jerusalem
586 BC The Babylonians conquer Jerusalem and destroy Solomon's temple
520 BC The Jews return from Babylonia and rebuild their temple
330 BC Alexander the Great conquers Israel
63 The Romans conquer the land
70 The Romans destroy Jerusalem and the Western Wall is the only remnant of the temple
132 The Jews were prohibited to live in Judea, emperor Hadrianus names the land Palestine
628 The Arabs conquer Palestine spreading Islam
1100-1200s The European crusaders retake the holy land from the Moslems by the orders given by the Pope
1187 Saladin conquers Jerusalem from the Christians after the Battle of Hattin
1291 Kingdom of Jerusalem becomes ruled by the Mamluk Egypt
1500s The Ottoman Empire conquers Palestine and Middle East
1891 Zionist group in Boston takes a flag with David's star as their symbol
1897 First Zionist Congress is held in Basel
1920 Palestine becomes a mandate area of the League of Nations, which is governed by Great Britain
1947 UN proposes to split the area in an Arab nation and a Jew Nation
1948 Israel becomes independent which starts the war as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq invade Israel but get defeated
1956 Israel conquers Sinai and Gaza from Egypt during the Suez crisis but returned them after international pressure
1967 Israel conquers areas from Jordan, Syria and Egypt
1973 Jom Kippur war between Israel and the Arab countries
1979 Egypt gets Sinai back as they recognize Israel as the first Arab state
1982 Israel attacks Lebanon
1986 Israel withdraws from Lebanon
1987 Palestinean uprising, intifada, a couple of thousand Palestinian protests are killed
1993 Israel and PLO into peace about establishing autonomy in Jericho and Gaza
2002 Israel started building the 640 kilometers long wall to isolate Palestinian areas from Israel
2006 Operation Summer Rains by Israel to free its own soldiers in Gaza
2008-2009 Gaza War 


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