The Sanctity of Covenant, Moral Justice and Prophetic Blessing


Overview of Israel's Modern History 1947-2013

© 2009, Baker Publishing Group, used by written permission

November 29, 1947. The United Nations (UN) partitions Palestine into two independent states—one Jewish and the other Arab. Arab nations renounce the Jewish State and vow to seize allof Palestine by force.

May 14, 1948. The British Mandate for Palestine expires. A Jewish Declaration of Independence is signed, proclaiming the State of Israel.

May 15, 1948. Arab nations attack Israel, starting the War of Independence.

January 7, 1949. A cease-fire armistice ends Israel’s War of Independence. (However, in an agreement signed July 1949, the Arab League declares itself “in a permanent state of war” with Israel.)

January 25, 1949. The first Knesset (Parliament) meets in Jerusalem and elects Chaim Weizmann Israel’s first president.

May 11, 1949. Israel is admitted as a member nation to the UN.

1948-1951. Knesset enacts the Law of Return which states, “Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an immigrant.” Israel’s population soon doubles with 684,000 new refugees from North Africa and the Middle East.

1952-1956. West Germany signs a reparations agreement to pay the State of Israel $719 million for material losses to Jews under Nazism and $100 million to individuals.

Approximately 3,000 clashes occur between armed Arab forces and Israeli soldiers. Egypt, Syria and Jordan sign a military pact to support one another in the event of war.

October 1956.  Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal and cuts off international shipping through it. Faced with Arab threats of war, Israel strikes preemptively against Egypt in the Sinai Campaign, with support from Britain and France (who fear their shipping will be endangered).

1958-1959. End of first decade as a new state: Jewish population reaches 1.8 million, raises the standard of living and achieves agricultural self-sufficiency.  Israeli Arab and Druse communities share in progress, participate in free elections and have their own representation in the Knesset.

Israel provides technical and scientific assistance to emerging nations in Africa and Latin America. Many of them establish embassies in Jerusalem and support Israel in the UN.

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1964. Pope Paul VI becomes the first Pope to visit Israel, though Israel’s statehood remains unrecognized by the Vatican.

1964. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is founded in Egypt with the expressed goal of destroying Israel through armed struggle. Yasser Arafat  becomes head of the terrorist organization shortly thereafter.

May 14, 1967. Egyptian leader Nasser moves large numbers of troops into Sinai.

May 16-June 4, 1967. Nasser expels UN peacekeeping forces from Sinai, blocks shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aqaba and announces that Egypt is “prepared to wage war on Israel.” Jordan and Iraq place their military forces under Nasser’s command.

June 4, 1967. Six-Day War begins. Israel mobilizes for defense, leaving older men, women and children to maintain essential civilian infrastructure and harvest agricultural crops.

June 5, 1967. Israel bombs airfields of Egypt, crippling its air force. Israeli ground forces move against Egyptian forces in the Sinai. Israel notifies Jordan’s King Hussein that it will not attack Jordan if his troops keep the peace. In response, Jordanian troops open fire on Israel along the armistice line and occupy UN headquarters in Jerusalem.

June 6-7, 1967. Israel counterattacks and wins back all of Jerusalem, including the Old City, for the first time since a.d. 70, as well as Judea and Samaria.

June 9, 1967. Israel drives Syrians from the Golan Heights, penetrates Sinai to the Suez Canal and takes the Gaza Strip.

June 10, 1967. Cease-fire is called after Israel’s world-stunning, six-day victory against overwhelming odds. Israel establishes free access to Christian, Jewish, and Muslim holy sites and removes barriers between East and West Jerusalem. Armistice lines become de facto borders of Israel.

September 5-6, 1972. Palestinian terrorists break into the Munich (Germany) Olympic village, kidnapping and killing 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team in what comes to be known as the “Munich Massacre”.

1973.  Egypt attacks Israel at “low levels” along the Sinai borders, using  Soviet-supplied planes, weapons and troops.

October 6, 1973. Yom Kippur War: Israeli cabinet meets on Yom Kippur and Prime Minister Golda Meir decides not to preemptively strike, despite unmistakable signs of imminent attack. The purpose is to make the responsibility for aggression unmistakably clear.  Arabs attack on two fronts while the Israeli cabinet is meeting.

October 7-25, 1973. Israel stops the Arab advance on both fronts within two days, enduring heavy casualties.

October-November 1973. The Oil War begins in response to the cease-fire, with Arab nations dramatically reducing oil supplies to the West.

January 18, 1974. Egypt and Israel sign a disengagement agreement.

May 1974. Syria and Israel sign a disengagement agreement and Israeli forces withdraw from part of the Golan Heights.

September 1975. Israel withdraws from portions of the Sinai, and Egypt reopens the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping for the first time since 1951.

January 1976. Syria takes advantage of a civil war in Lebanon to move troops into Lebanon and join forces with the PLO. With much of southern Lebanon under their control, Syria bombards northern Israel with Soviet-made rockets.

July 1976. Israeli troops rescue more than 100 hostages from Arab terrorists in a hijacked plane in Entebbe Airport, Uganda.

July 1977. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin presents a plan for Middle East peace to U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

November 1977. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visits Jerusalem at the invitation of Prime Minister Begin to start peace talks.

September 1978. Prime Minister Begin, President Sadat and President Carter meet to formulate peace accords.

1979. In response to increasing Israeli civilian casualties, Israel begins preemptive strikes against terrorist bases in southern Lebanon.

March 26, 1979. Israel and Egypt sign a peace treaty known as the “Camp David Accords”. They agree to recognize and respect each other’s right to live in peace within secure and recognized borders and to establish regular diplomatic relations.

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1981. PLO and Syrian forces bombard northern Israel daily, forcing residents, including children, to spend weeks in bomb shelters. Israel responds by bombing PLO headquarters in Beirut.

June 4, 1982. Operation Peace for Galilee begins, an Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon to destroy the PLO weapons cache that is based there.

September 16, 1982. Lebanese Maronite-Christian soldiers enter Palestinian refugee camps in West Beirut and slaughter hundreds.

October 1982. Arafat is exiled from Lebanon to Tunisia, which serves as PLO headquarters until 1993.

November 23, 1983. Israel trades 4,765 terrorists for 6 Israeli soldiers held prisoner by Arafat’s forces.

June 28, 1984. Israel trades 291 Syrian prisoners for 11 Israeli soldiers (5 of them deceased).

January 4, 1985. Operation Moses airlifts approximately 6,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

May 20, 1985. Israel trades 1,150 terrorists for 3 Israeli soldiers held by PLO-related forces.

October 1, 1985. Israel bombs PLO Headquarters in Tunis in response to the murder of Israeli civilians in Cyprus. Arafat escapes unharmed.

December 27, 1985. Seventeen El Al airline passengers are murdered and 109 wounded by PLO attacks at airports in Rome and Vienna.

December 9, 1987. The First Intifada begins. It is an organized Palestinian revolt against Israel’s occupation of Gaza. By the end of December, 21 Palestinians are dead and 179 wounded; 41 Israeli soldiers and 27 civilians are wounded.

March 1988-April 1989. Palestinian terror attacks and Israeli responses continue in a war of attrition.

May 1, 1990. The Jewish Agency reports record numbers of Russian Jews leaving the former Soviet Union. Over the next decade over 820,000 Jews emigrate from the former Soviet Union to Israel.

September 8, 1990. Muslim fears that Jews are building the Third Temple lead to a riot in which thousands of Arabs attack an Israeli police station and beat officers. Twenty-six Jews are injured, 140 Arabs are injured and 21 Arabs are killed.

January-February, 1991. During the US led Operation Desert Storm against Iraq, Saddam Hussein fires 8 Scud missiles into Israel, causing much damage. In all, 39 Scuds are fired. More than 9,000 apartments and hundreds of businesses are damaged, 300 people slightly injured; 1 killed. Israel assents to America’s request not to respond.

May 25, 1991. Operation Solomon brings approximately 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

October 30, 1991. The Madrid International Middle East Peace Committee meets, discussing “land for peace.”

January 24, 1992. Israel and China establish full diplomatic relations.

March 1992. The terrorist group Islamic Jihad bombs the Israeli Embassy in Argentina, killing 22 and injuring 252.

September 13, 1993. The Oslo Accord (Oslo I) is signed between the PLO and Israel, with U.S. support. This accord is understood as promoting land for peace and expressing the PLO’s desire to solve disputes in a peaceful manner.

July 1, 1994. Arafat arrives from Tunisia to the West Bank.

July 18, 1994. Terrorists detonate a car bomb, blowing up a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Thirty-seven are killed and 59 are missing.

July 26, 1994. Terrorists detonate a car bomb at the Israeli Embassy in London, injuring 13.

October 19, 1994. A Hamas suicide bomber blows up a Tel Aviv bus, killing 22 and injuring 44.

October 26, 1994. Israel and Jordan sign a peace treaty.

December 10, 1994. Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

January 22, 1995. Two Islamic Jihad suicide bombers blow themselves up at Beit Lid junction, killing 21 and injuring 34.

July 24, 1995. Seven Israelis are killed and 32 injured by a suicide bus bomber in Tel Aviv.

August 21, 1995. Five Israelis are killed and 107 injured in a Jerusalem suicide bus bombing.

September 28, 1995. Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Oslo II) is signed between Israel and PLO, defining further Israeli troop withdrawals in exchange for fulfillment of Palestinian obligations set forth in Oslo I, including acceptance of Israel’s existence and cessation of incitement against Israel.

February 25, 1996. Twenty-seven Israelis are killed and 78 are injured by two suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Ashkelon.

March 3, 1996. Eighteen Israelis are killed and dozens injured by a suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem.

March 4, 1996. Fourteen Israelis are killed and 157 injured by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv, on the Feast of Purim.

May 29, 1996. Binyamin Netanyahu becomes Prime Minister of Israel.

September 24, 1996. An archeological tunnel along the Western Wall opens in Jerusalem. Rioting by Muslims spreads with tens of thousands attacking Israeli forces. Forty-one Israeli soldiers and 69 Palestinians are killed.

January 15, 1997. Israel redeploys in Hebron, according to the Oslo Accords.

March 13, 1997. A Jordanian soldier kills 7 Israeli schoolgirls on the Island of Peace, between Jordan and Israel, on the Jordan River.

July 30, 1997. Thirteen Israelis are killed and 120 injured by Hamas suicide bombers in Jerusalem.

October 23, 1998. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Yasser Arafat sign the Wye River Memorandum, consisting of steps to implement Oslo II.  

May 4, 1999. The deadline set forth in Oslo I passes without establishing the permanent status of a Palestinian entity.

September 4, 1999. Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, signed by Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat, extends the deadline for implementation of Oslo I. It also attempts to restart negotiations that have stalled and insure compliance with Oslo I and II, and the Wye Memorandum.  Deadline for implementation is September 13, 2000.

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September 5, 1999 – May 22, 2000. A flurry of diplomatic activity between the Israelis and Palestinians occurs in an attempt to push forward the peace process.

May 2000. Israel withdraws its peace-keeping forces from the strategic military “buffer zone” in Southern Lebanon, resulting in the proliferation of the terrorist group Hezbollah.

July 11- July 25, 2000. During resumed peace negotiations in the US, Barak offers the following: Israeli withdrawal from virtually all of the West Bank and all of Gaza to create a Palestinian state; the removal of isolated Jewish settlements and transfer of vacated settlement lands to Palestinian control; the exchange of other Israeli lands for certain West Bank settlements that would remain under Israeli control; Palestinian control over East Jerusalem, including most of the Old City and the Temple Mount. Barak concedes to approximately 95 percent of Arafat’s demands. Refusing Barak’s offer or any further negotiations, Arafat walks out of the meetings and orders the Second Intifada.

September 28, 2000. West Bank Palestinian police officer working with Israeli police on a joint patrol opens fire and kills his Israeli counterpart. Meanwhile, with permission of Palestinian officials, Ariel Sharon visits the Temple Mount. In a presumed protest of his visit, an uprising of terror begins against Israeli civilians, known as the Al Aqsa (or Second) Intifada. Over 1000 Israelis are killed, and many more injured, in terror attacks during the next five years.

2000-2006. A wave of aliyah from the West occurs. Over 11,000 Jewish immigrants move to Israel from France, nearly 7,000 from the United States and 10,000 from Argentina.

August – September, 2001 UN Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa, advocates international boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

October 2, 2001. US President George W. Bush calls for a Palestinian State, stating “The idea of a Palestinian State has always been part of the vision.”

January 3, 2002. In Operation Noah’s Ark, Israel intercepts the cargo freighter Karine A carrying 50 tons of weapons shipped from Iran to the Palestinian Authority for terror against Israel.

March 27, 2002. Suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya during a Passover observance kills dozens of Israelis and injures many more.

March, 2002. Records are discovered implicating Arafat in sponsoring terror, including weapons found on Karine A. Blaming Arafat for ongoing terror, Israel confines him to his headquarters in Ramallah.

April 1-18, 2002 Israel conducts Operation Shield of David to neutralize terror nests in the West Bank settlement of Jenin.

June 24, 2002. President Bush declares there can never be a Palestinian state while Arafat is leader of the Palestinians. Bush no longer considers him a partner for peace.

January, 2003. Prime Minister Sharon wins a landslide re-election on a platform that includes condemnation of any Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

April 30, 2003. The United States, in cooperation with Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations (the Quartet), presents their Roadmap to Peace to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The plan is performance-based and goal-driven, with clear phases, timelines, and benchmarks. It involves reciprocal steps by the two parties in the political, national security, economic, and humanitarian spheres. The goal is creation of a Palestinian state, based on the belief this will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

November 11, 2004. Yasser Arafat dies in France from an undisclosed illness.

January 9, 2005. Mahmoud Abbas is elected President of the Palestinian Authority.

August 12, 2005September 15, 2005. At Prime Minister Sharon’s directive, Israel unilaterally withdraws from Gaza, forcibly evicting Jewish citizens who fail to leave voluntarily. Shortly thereafter, rockets are launched in terror attacks from Gaza into Southern Israel, particularly Sderot. At this writing, the attacks have not ceased.

September 2, 2005. The International Atomic Energy Agency announces that Iran has been concealing development of nuclear technology.

January 4, 2006. Prime Minister Sharon suffers a severe stroke, leaving him in a coma that has lasted to this writing.

January 25, 2006. The terrorist group Hamas is elected to govern Gaza.

April 24, 2006 - 2013.  Iranian President Ahmadinejad announces to the world that “Israel cannot continue to exist” and will be “wiped off the map.”

June 25, 2006. Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is kidnapped in Gaza by Hamas.

June 28 – November 26, 2006. Israel Defense Forces intermittently strike Hamas in Gaza as a result of increased Palestinian rocket fire into Israel.

July 12 – August 14, 2006. Lebanon II War begins when Hezbollah attacks Northern Israel, killing 3 Israeli soldiers and kidnapping 2 others. The UN forces a cease-fire, promising to disarm Hezbollah in exchange for Israeli withdrawal. Israel withdraws but Hezbollah is not disarmed.

June 7 – June 15, 2007. Hamas wins military and political control over Gaza through a civil war with the Fatah party of President Abbas. As a result, Abbas loses control over Gaza. Islamic sharia law is established in Gaza.

November 27, 2007. US President Bush convenes a summit in Annapolis, Maryland to jumpstart the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.

January 1, 2008 – June 18, 2008. Over 2000 rocket and mortar attacks are launched from Gaza into Southern Israel. Negotiations between the governments of Israel and the Palestinian Authority continue.

March 6, 2008 A Palestinian from East Jerusalem opens fire on students in a school in Jerusalem, killing 8.

April, 2008. Prime Minister Olmert announces his intent to divide Jerusalem and concede governmental control over much of the city to Palestinians or an international peace-keeping force.

May 28, 2008. Prime Minister Olmert is implicated in an international financial scandal that forces him to leave office four months later.

June 2008. Indirect peace negotiations begin between Israel and Syria in Turkey. Included are discussions of Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

July 2, 2008. A Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem drives a bulldozer into cars, buses, and pedestrians on one of Jerusalem’s busiest streets, killing 3 and wounding 45 Israelis.

November 2008. Rocket fire from Gaza escalates into southern Israel.

December 27, 2008 - January 17, 2009. Israel conducts Operation Cast Lead, consisting of air and naval strikes, and a ground assault on Hamas military targets in Gaza.

April 2009. UN Durban II is held in Switzerland. Keynote speaker Iranian President Ahmadinejad denounces Israel and questions the validity of the Holocaust.

June 4, 2009. US President Obama delivers a speech in Cairo, Egypt in which he announces, “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” He calls for settlement building to stop.

June 14, 2009. Israel PM Netanyahu delivers his reply to Obama’s speech at Bar Ilan University. He endorsed a demilitarized Palestinian state if the Palestinians gave up their demands to a “right of return” to Israel and East Jerusalem as their capital. He calls for continued natural growth in existing Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

July 12, 2009. Palestinian Authority President Abbas rejects Netanyahu’s proposals.

September 2009. The UN Human Rights Council releases a report accusing Israel of violating international human rights laws and committing war crimes, including crimes against humanity during Operation Cast Lead. The author of the report, Judge Goldstone, later repudiates key findings in April, 2011.

September 2009. Netanyahu and Abbas meet in New York and agree to relaunch peace discussions.

November 2009. Israel concedes to Palestinian demands to freeze all settlement construction in an effort to restart peace talks. Construction is stopped but Palestinians refuse to enter negotiations.

March 10, 2010. Israel announces construction plans for 1600 apartment units in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem. This sparks a diplomatic crisis between Israel and the US.

May 31, 2010. A Gaza-bound flotilla consisting of six Turkish ships attempts to break the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza. So-called “peace activists” attempts aboard the Mavi Marmara attack Israeli naval troops and a battle follows in which nine activists are killed.

September – October 2010. Palestinians demands that Israel extend its 10 month-long settlement construction freeze before peace negotiations resume. Israel refuses, then says that it will comply if the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians refuse.

December 2010. Arab Spring begins in Tunisia, with riots and unrest spreading throughout the Arab world.

January 2011. President Mubarak of Egypt resigns. In the next six months governments are attacked in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Tunisia, Oman, Yemen, and Bahrain. By the end of 2011, Ghadafi is overthrown in Libya and Morsi becomes president of Egypt. Syria erupts into civil war which persists at the time of this writing.

April 2011. Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas sign a unity agreement and announce plans to form a joint government. The agreement collapses.

May 2011. President Obama declares that the 1949 Armistice lines in effect before the Six Day War of 1967 war should constitute the borders for a new Palestinian state.

August 2011. Terrorists from Gaza kill 8 Israelis in Eilat.

September 2011. President Abbas submits an application for Palestinian admission to the UN with 1967 borders despite US threats to veto. Their application dies in the Security Council and never comes to a vote.

October 2011. Israeli hostage prisoner Gilad Shalit is released by Hamas in exchange for almost 1000 Arab prisoners in Israel.

September-November 2012. Rocket fire from Gaza escalates dramatically in southern Israel and reaches Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

November 14, 2012. Israel launches Operation Pillar of Defense (Cloud) to neutralize Hamas weapons stores with air strikes. A cease-fire is reached after eight days. By 2013, Gazans launch in excess of 12,000 rockets into Israel.

November 29, 2012. The UN General Assembly grants to the Palestinian Authority its request to upgrade to non-member observer status.

May 2013. With pinpoint airstrikes, Israel preemptively destroys unconventional weapons of mass destruction in Syria being transferred to terrorist groups threatening to use them against Israel.

July 2013. Under US mediation, Israelis agree to release 104 convicted Palestinian terrorist murderers from jail; in return, Palestinians agree to resume peace negotiations.

May 2014. US-sponsered peace negotiations between Israel and the PA collapse when the PA and Hamas, the terror organization governing Gaza, enter into a unity pact. Hamas continues to call for the annihilation of a Jewish state and the PA seeks recognition for Palestine as an independent state in international venues.

Following the release of Why Still Care About Israel? in September 2013, only critical events will be added to this Timeline.

This overview of Israeli history is taken in part from James Goll, The Coming Israel Awakening, Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2009, and is used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without written permission from Baker Publishing Group. It was developed from information compiled and provided by Avner Boskey; Kerry Teplinsky; James Goll; and Derek Prince, The Last Word On the Middle East, Chosen Books, 1982.