Medinat Yisra'el is a republic in southwestern Asia and is located on the eastern
shore of the Mediterranean Sea. In Christian times after the Romans took control and forced the people into captivity, the area was re-named Palestine. This was done in an effort to injure the inhabitants by referring to the Phillistines who were an old enemy that had been destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadrezzar II from Iraq.
The country is bounded on the north by Lebanon,
on the northeast by Syria, on the east by Jordan, and on the southwest by Egypt. Its southernmost tip extends to the Gulf of Aqaba, an arm of the
Red Sea. The republic was established in 1948. It covers an area of about 21,596
sq km (about 8338 sq mi).
Agriculture consists of mixed farming under irrigation, dry farming, and grazing of animals, most of the area giving returns if properly irrigated. Industry is carried on in several ways - by communal settlements, cooperatives and villages where each settler owns his own property. Products include grain, cotton, grapes, bananas and especially citrus fruits which form the chief item of export.
Travel & Tourism is also a very important industry. Many of the famous religious sites may be visited.
Manufacturing includes: chemicals, building materials, textiles, glass and ceramics, tobacco products, leather goods, precision instruments and electrical goods. Electric power is distributed from Tiberias, Haifa and Tel Aviv.
The Hebrews are a Semite people that migrated in small tribal groups between the 15th and 12th centuries BC that settled in Hebron beginning with Abram.
During these times a great famine occured and the man known as Jacob and his sons migrated to Egypt with their families under the provisions and protection granted them as a result of the blessings bestowed upon his son Joseph.
In later years, these folks were then forced into bondage for 430 years which resulted in a mass migration out of Egypt by the hand of Moses and his Brother Aaron where they carried away all the wealth of Egypt.
They were then given laws and commandments and sojourned in the wilderness for 40 years prior to returning.
Under the leadership of Joshua, the Israelites crossed the Jordan River and quickly conquered seven nations more powerful than themselves that included the Jebusites, Hivites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Amorites, Girgashites, as well as the Hittites.
The spoils taken by the conquest were eventually divided by lot according to the commandment of the LORD.
The inhabitants soon came into conflict with other powerful enemies in particular the Philistines. After a century long battle with them, they triumphed through the leadership of King David sometime around 1000 BC.
This resulted in a United Kingdom, which held many national traditions, one of which is the direct decent from a common ancestor named Abraham and his descendants through his son Isaac who was born to his wife Sarah.
These truths are found written in the Book of Genesis.
Prior to his death, David proclaimed his son Solomon would follow in his stead and he was consequently anointed as Ruler.
Immediately after building a Temple on Mount Moriah, King Solomon quickly began abusing his good fortune that he inherited from his Father and began transgressing the Law by rebelling against the Most High and establishing idolatrous worship which resulted in him misleading the citizens into foreign practices.
His ability to misguide the masses in this way was a direct result of the everyone witnessing fire come down from heaven upon the dedication of the Temple which is also described in the New Testament book of Revelation.
This abuse of power then led to him marrying women of many nations that worshiped false gods and his lust for riches began to deprive him of wisdom and he fell like lightning as a result.
These errors stemmed from Solomon's willingness to re-introduce heathen religion that was abolished after they left bondage in Egypt while sojourning in the Wilderness after crossing the Red Sea.
These events are known to biblical scholars as the breaking of the head of Leviathan that is written in the Psalms.
Several prophetic books of the Holy Bible also describe these events in beautiful poetic language that warns to stay away from such evil practices.
When he was old and nearing the end of his rule, the Most High spoke to Solomon and told him he would rend much of the Kingdom out of his son's hand as a result of his wickedness. This indeed did in fact take place after his death.
During the early reign of Rehoboam his son, ten of the 12 tribes revolted from his rule sometime around 932 BC and quickly established what has become known as the Northern Kingdom and made their capital in Samaria.
These events established a new monarchy under the leadership of King Jeroboam.
The Northern Kingdom became quite powerful and lasted until about 722 BC when Assyria destroyed their capital and deported a considerable number and forced them into captivity.
These groups soon became known as the Ten Lost Tribes.
The Southern Kingdom of Judah endured until it and the Temple were destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Many of these folks were taken captive and forced to live in Mesopotamia, while others escaped into Egypt.
During which time Nebuchadnezzar also came up against Egypt and conquered it for rebelling against his sovereign rule and made those inhabitants subject to his power as well.
Seventy years later under the reign of Cyrus of Persia, many captives were permitted to return and later was allowed under Governor Nehemiah of Judah to re-build the Temple. However, it is very important to note that only some among the captivity actually returned in comparison to the overall population that existed at that time, while many others eventually dispersed to other areas.
From this time forward those living here were considered as vassals of Persia which was then followed by Alexander the Great, Egypt and Syria. During these times there was great oppression.
In the year 166 BC the citizens revolted against Syria under the leadership of the Maccabees and against tremendous odds regained independence and set up their own kings that became known as the Asmonean dynasty.
This situation however was short lived and ended when Pompey conquered Syria in 63 BC. As a result, the region became vassals to the Roman Empire.
It is during these most troublesome times that Jesus of Nazareth was born and began establishing his teachings among his loyal disciples.
In the year 70 AD the Romans under Titus captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple built by King Herod, and subsequently massacred thousands and sold many into slavery throughout the world.
During the next two centuries those remaining in Judea began publishing an extensive legal code called the Mishna.
About 330 the Palestinian Talmud was introduced, and at nearly the same time Constantine closed the great rabbinical schools.
As a result of these events, the center of religious life was transferred to Babylon mainly because of the population that remained there after the captivity, and it was there that the Babylonian Talmud was published sometime around 550.
When Islam began to be a rising power in the East, the center of religious life gradually shifted to Europe, and in particular to Spain, where some folks attained great influence in both education and commerce.
Occasionally some even became Royal Counselors to the European monarchs.
In southern Russia during the 7th century the entire Tatar kingdom of the Chazars was converted to Judaism. At this time many scholars translated much of Arabic literature into European languages and these acts granted Arabic science and philosophy to Europe.
During the later crusader period, much bigotry was heaped on folks and increasing oppression was the result.
At this time Jews were banished from England, France, Spain, Portugal and many of the German provinces.
Poland, Turkey, and especially Holland granted many refuge.
Later in the early 17th century many sought refuge in North America to escape European persecution.
Many of these folks traveled to New Amsterdam sometime around 1654 while that colony was under Dutch rule.
There were also settlements in other colonies prior to the American Revolution which eventually led to quite a large population in the USA.
It is our hope that those that trace their roots to Israel will have the good fortune to find that vital bit of information that is needed to assist them in their quest.
The capital and largest city is Jerusalem, its status
has been claimed since 1949. The
eastern half lies in the West Bank. Other major towns include
Tel Aviv-Yafo, an industrial center; Haifa, the country’s busiest seaport; and Holon and Ramat Gan, both manufacturing hubs.
The most widely
spoken language is Hebrew, but Arabic is used frequently in schools, legal
affairs, and the legislature. Many residents speak English,
Yiddish, Russian, or any of a number of other European languages.
Map of the Area
The affairs of the three major faiths, Judaism, Islam, and
Christianity, are overseen by the ministry of religious affairs through
councils established by the various organizations.
Holy days and the
weekly Sabbath are, by law, observed throughout the country, and only
kosher food is served in the army, hospitals, and other official
institutions. About 82 percent of Arab citizens are Muslim, and most of
the rest are Christian.