Contemporary World Issues



 Israel is the biblical holy land. According to the Holy Bible, Abraham, father of the Jewish people founded a Semitic population in the holy land between 1800 and 1500 BC.

The land eventually fell to Roman conquerers. The Jewish population revolted against the Romans in AD 66- 70, and AD 132-135. Once the Romans forced the Jews out of the land, the land was renamed Palestine. This region was conquered by the Arabs in AD 600's.

In the 1800's the Jewish population formed a movement called Zionism. The Jews wanted to establish a Jewish state in Palestine.

In 1947 the United Nations proposed dividing Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. 

In 1948 Israel is founded as a homeland for Jews across the world.

Several Arab-Israeli followed.


Israel Facts:

Capital: Jeruselam

Population: 6,797,000

Official Language: Hebrew, Arabic


Citrus, cotton, eggs, grain, poultry vegetables chemical products, electronic equipment, fertilizer, finished diamonds, paper, plastics, processed foods, scientific and optical instruments, textiles and clothing. They mine: potash, salt, bromine, phosphates.

Money: new shekel.







Israel is a democratic republic. The country of Israel has no written constitution, instead they follow "basic laws". These laws are passes by the knesset, or the Israeli Parliament. The knesset is a one house body made up of 120 members that are elected every 4 years. The knesset passes legislature, national policies and approves budgets and taxes. The government is headed by a prime minister. The president functions as a head of state; he is eleceted for a 7 year term and the majority of his duties are ceremonial.


The population in Israeli is very much a majority. 77% of the population is made up of Jews. The remaining 23% are Arabs. Since its founding in 1948, over 2 3/4 million people have migrated to Israel. Many have migrated to escape religious persacution in their native countries. In 1950, the knesset passed a law proclaiming that any jew, with minor exceptions, had the right to settle in Israel.

The History of Israel

In 1917, during WW1, the United Kingdon issued the Balfour Decleration that stated their support for a homeland for Jews in Palestine. During the 1930's large numbers of Jews relocated to Palestine, to escape the brutality of the Nazis. The Arabs in Palestine revolted, and in 1939 the United Kingdom began to limit the number of Jews that could immigrate to Palestine. During WWII the Nazis killed over 6 million Jews. The genocide led to an incresed need for a Jewish state. On November 29, 1947 the United Nations divided Palestine into an Arab state and a Jewish state. Fighting between the Arabs and Jews broke out almost instantaneously. On May 14, 1948, Israel came into existence under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion. The next day Israel was attacked by Arabs from neighboring countries. Within the next year Israel had defeated the Arabs and acquired half the land set aside for an Arab country. Israel held its first election in 1949, Chaim Weizmann was elected president and Ben-Gurion was appointed prime minister. On October 29, 1956, Israel invaded Egypt. With help from the United Kingdom and France, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Pennisula by November 5. On June 5, 1967, Israel led a surprise attack on Egypt. Israel almost completely destroyed the Arab air forces and overtook their ground forces as well. The war ended 6 days later. Between April 1969 and August 1970 Israel and Egypt fought fiercly in border fights along the Suez Canal. On October 6, 1973 a full scale war erupted between the 2 countries. The attack occured on Yom Kippur, the most sacred of the Jewish holidays. Israel pushed backed the Arab forces and the war ended on October 25. The Yom Kippur war severly hurt the Israeli economy and forced the prime minister, Golda Meir, to resign in April 1974. She was replaced with Yitzhak Rabin in June. Another important result of the war was that Israel now relied heavily on American aid. However tensions between Israel and Egypt subsided due to the war. In November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat made a statement that he was ready to negotiate a peace settlement with Israel. In September 1978, Begin, Sadat, and Jimmy Carter met at Camp David to negotiate the settlement. The peace treaty was signed in March, 1979. In October 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty formally ending the state of war they had been in since 1948. In May, 2000 Israel formally removed their troops from Lebanon. In February, 2005, Sharon and Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, met in Egypt to declare an Israeli-Palestian peace treaty. In 2006, Isreali soldiers were captured by Lebanon and Palestine. Israel responded by bombing both countries, thus ending the forementioned treaties. The conflict cost the countries more than 1,000 lives. 

Works Cited

-          Reich, Bernard. "Israel."World Book 2007. I 10. 2007.

-          Belt, Annie Griffiths. "Israel Photo: Dome of the Rock and Church of the Holy Sepulchre ." National Geogrpahic. 2008. National Geogrphic Society. 3 Dec 2008 <

-           Godfrey, Steve. "What's Israel Got to do With it?." Church in the World. 3 August 2008. 3 Dec 2008 <




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