Cool facts about Israel

Category: Education

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Israel is 1/8 of 1% of the Middle East

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290 miles long (6-hour drive) 85 miles wide (90-minute drive) 9 miles wide (narrowest point) Israel’s Size

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The Birth of Modern Zionism–1897 Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people who sought to restore their independence in their ancestral homeland. The dream of restoration and return had been at the core of Judaism and Jewish identity for 2,000 years. Zionists integrated this historic dream with modern political ideals.

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Ancient Ties to the Land There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Israelfor over 3,000 years Models of Second Temple, Jerusalem, 540 BCE-70 AD

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Roman Defeat of Jewish State Detail of Rome’s Arch of Titus (completed in 85 AD) commemorating Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 AD

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Zionism Today… Jews and non-Jews around the world support the state of Israel and hope to see the full Zionist vision realized:A safe and thriving Israel living at peace with its neighbors.

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Jews are one of the few ancient peoples who have survived into modern times. Judaism is among the world’s oldest living religions.

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Continuous Identification with Zion, the Jewish Homeland. Jews “prefer being prisoners in Jerusalem to enjoying the freedom they could acquire elsewhere….The love of the Jews for the Holy Land which they lost…is unbelievable.” Jesuit Father Michael Naud on his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, 1674

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The Empires: No Nation Ever Rose to Replace the Jewish State During the 400 years the Ottoman Empire ruled (1517-1918), the general region, Palestine, was fragmented and attached to different provinces. Evolution of the Region

International Support for Zionism–Balfour Declaration, 1917 League of Nations Palestine Mandate, 1920 : 

International Support for Zionism–Balfour Declaration, 1917 League of Nations Palestine Mandate, 1920 History in Maps The Land Included present-day Jordan, Israel,the Territories and the Golan heights.The Guidelines (Article 6 & 7): 1. “Facilitate Jewish immigration.” 2. “Encourage…close settlement by Jews on the land.” 3. “Facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews.”

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Britain Cuts Off Mandate Land1921-1923 77% granted exclusively to Arabs in what became Jordan. Jewish settlement was prohibited. 1% Golan Heights cut off and given to French-controlled Syria.

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Compromise Recommended– UN Partition Plan, 1947 Arab Palestinian State Jewish State Jews accepted the plan. Arab leaders rejected compromise and launched a military invasion to prevent establishment of a Jewish state within any borders.

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Arab States’ Wars Against Israel Change Territorial Boundaries 1949-1967 Jordan annexed area it renamed the “West Bank.” Egypt occupied Gaza. 1967-1979 When Israel defended itself against Arab states in 1967, it captured vital buffer zones: Golan Heights, Sinai, Gaza, and the West Bank. Israel immediately offered to trade land for peace. Arab states rejected the offer.

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Trading Land for Peace 1979-2008 1979–Israel ceded the Sinai for peace with Egypt 1997–Israel withdrew from 80% of Gaza; 40% of West Bank 2000–Israel withdrew from security zone in southern Lebanon 2005–Israel completed a 100% withdrawal from Gaza

Restoring the Jewish Homeland–The Return Begins : 

Restoring the Jewish Homeland–The Return Begins “ In the mid-1800s, a Jewish revival began.By 1870, Jews once again were the majority in Jerusalem. Montefiore’s windmill outside Jerusalem’s walls –built in 1867

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Pre-World War IThe Land Swamps in the Esdraelon Valley, 1920 “The country was…and is now, underdeveloped and under-populated…. Large cultivable areas are left untilled….Miles of sand dunes that could be redeemed, are untouched.” –Interim Report on the Civil Administration of Palestine, June 1921

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Restoring the Land Before and After World War I The Pioneer Zionists Jews bought the land, often for exorbitant prices, and through back-breaking labor, cleared the wastelands and malarial swamps, and reforested the hillsides.

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Pre-World War I Restoring the Land Jewish pioneers built villages and cities. Founding of Tel Aviv, 1909

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Tel Aviv, 1930

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Early Zionists came in waves of “Aliyah”and established “Kibbutzim”–the world’s most successful utopian-socialist communities. First Aliyah–Biluim wearing traditional Arab headdress, the keffiyeh,1882.

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The Zionist Dream–Israel RebornIsrael Becomes an Independent State 1948

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Continuous Terrorism: 1920-2008 Palestinian Leader Mufit Al-Husseini Terrorism against Jews in 1920, 1921,1929, 1936-1939. Collaborated with Hitler during World War II. PLO’s Yasser Arafat Terrorism against Israeli men, women and children in and outside of Israel, 1959-2004 Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and other groups rushed to take credit for terrorist attacks. 99 suicide bombings, 1993-2005.

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Eight Major Wars Against Israel in 60 Years 1948–Israel’s War of Independence 1956–Sinai War 1967–1967 War, also known as Six Day War 1967-1970–War of Attrition 1973–Yom Kippur War 1982-1985–First Lebanon War 1991–Persian Gulf War 2006–Lebanon War II or Hezbollah War

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From the Moment Israel Declared Independence in 1948, Arab States Sought to Destroy It Five Arab States invaded Israel hours after it declared independence.

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Jewish and Arab Refugees Rescued From The 1948 War 850,000 Jews lived in Arab/Muslim lands in 1948. Persecuted by nine Arab countries after 1948 and forced to flee, hundreds of thousands found refuge in Israel. 70,000 Jews were forced out of the Mandate land occupied by Jordan, Egypt and Syria in 1948. Map of Arab Refugees Fleeing from Israel in 1948 160,000 Arabs accepted Israel’s offer of citizenship. 472,000-750,000 Arabs sought refuge from the fighting in neighboring Arab countries. Map of Jewish refugeesFleeing from Arab countries

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The Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands After each Arab-Israeli war, increasing persecution forced more Jews to flee. The Jewish population in nine Arab Muslim states dropped from 850,000 in 1948 to less than 10,000 today.

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Palestinian Refugee Camp Typical temporary camps (Ma’abarot) Israel built for flood of Jewish refugees. Israel quickly absorbed Jewish refugees and dismantled the refugee camps. Arab countries, with the exception of Jordan, refused to absorb the Palestinian-Arab refugees. Palestinian camps grew into working-class neighborhoods of adjacent cities. Victims of the Arab War Against Israel Jewish and Arab Refugees

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Distribution of UN-Registered Palestinian Refugees Today The UN set up UNRWA to provide welfare that Arab states would not provide for the Arab refugees created by the war they launched. All the world’s other refugees are cared for by one UN agency (UNHCR). Sixty years after the War in 1948, UNRWA still provides support to Palestinian refugees. They are the only refugee group in the world whose descendents are also designated as refugees. Arab states continue to promise refugees they have the “right of return” to Israel.

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Israel’s Military Administration of the West Bank and Gaza 1967-1993 After the 1967 war, Israel immediately offered to exchange land for peace. The Arab league’s response, known as the “Three Nos”: “No peace with Israel, No recognition of Israel, No negotiations with it.” –Arab League Khartoum Resolution, September 1, 1967

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Israeli Administration of the West Bank and Gaza Freedom of association, press, religion and political parties. Health and welfare soared: medical clinics, health insurance. 7 universities, expansion of elementary schools. Economic prosperity: The territories became the fourth-fastest-growing economy in the world in the 1970s and early 1980s. Mortality rate improved dramatically. Bir Zeit University

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Facts about Israeli Settlements in the Territories Legal but Politically Contentious 1967-1977: Seventy-six Jewish communities were built in the territories on undeveloped land. Most were built to ensure security, but some Israelis, such as the survivors of the Gush Etzion block, returned to rebuild Jewish communities that Arab forces had captured and destroyed in the 1948 War. After 1977, 74 additional communities were built in the territories on unallocated government land. By 2005, the 150 communities included approximately 200,000 Israelis living on less than 2% of the West Bank’s land. Eighty percent of the settlers live in communities close to the Green Line, currently consisting of suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The Jews’ right to settle the land is “a legal right assured by treaty and specifically protected by Article 80 of the U.N. Charter.…The Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there.”—Eugene Rostow, former U.S. Under Secretary of State, 1990

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Israel Transfers Administration of the Territories to the PA 98% of Palestinians under PA governance by 1997 Israel has Legitimate Claims to West Bank Lands • Legal Claims • Historical Claims • Security-Related Claims • Jewish Communities–80% built along the green line

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Evolution of US-Israel Relations From Distant Friend to Close Allies The Deep Ties Between Israel and the U.S. Similar HistoriesPioneering spirit, creating a more perfect society. Similar ValuesLiberty, civil rights, humanitarianism, multiculturalism, education. Post-1967 The U.S. recognized Israel as a valuable strategic ally in the Cold War and a partner in scientific research. Founding Father John Adams wished the “Jews again an independent nation in Judea,” 1819.

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The crew of Columbia shuttle flight STS-107. Seated from left are Rick D. Husband, mission commander; Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; and William C. McCool, pilot. Standing from left are David M. Brown, Laurel B. Clark, Michael P. Anderson, all mission specialists; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist from the Israeli Space Agency. Israel Participated in the International Space Mission in 2003

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U.S. Policy–Helping Both Israel and Friendly Arab Regimes The U.S. has been a principal backer of Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf States. U.S. Aid 1946-1971: To Israel–$60 million per year To Arab States–$170 million per year The U.S. has given Egypt $2 billion per year since 1979. The U.S. has regularly sold state-of-the-art military equipment to Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. financed almost 2/3 of the UNRWA budget for Palestinians until recently. It now finances over 1/3 of the UNRWA budget. The U.S. consistently sought to be a peace broker between Arab states and Israel.

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Israel’s Search for Peace Israel has sought peace through territorial compromise Israel accepted territorial compromise in 1937, 1947, 1979 and 2000. 1979–Peace with Egypt. Israel returned the Sinai. 1994–Peace with Jordan. Since 1937

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Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts The Oslo process brought high hopes for Palestinian-Israeli peace, 1993 The PLO’s Yasser Arafat renounced terrorism and agreed to a Palestinian government in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel agreed to give administrative control to the newly created Palestinian Authority and to progressively withdraw from disputed territory. “Final Status” issues, includingfinal borders, refugees, Jerusalemsettlements and security, were to be negotiated at the end of the peace process.

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Hopes for Peace Lost Hopeful Steps PA created as Palestinian civil government. Yasser Arafat claims to renounce terror and is elected as President of PA. 98% of Palestinians governed by PA. Israeli withdrawals from 80% of Gaza, 40% of West Bank. Disappointments Terrorism escalates– 1993-2000: 282 Israelis killed 1978-1993: 216 Israelis killed Anti-Israel incitement mounts in Palestinian media, schools and mosques. Israel delays withdrawals. No agreements on borders. Israeli communities expand in disputed territories.

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Camp David Negotiations FailJuly 2000 The Offer 100% of Gaza, 97% of West Bank with land swap for extra 3%. Uprooting Israeli settlements within new PA borders. Shared capital of Jerusalem. $30 billion in refugee resettlement fund.

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Arafat’s Response: Arafat did not accept the offer. He made no counteroffer.He walked away from negotiations. Two months later, he launched the Second Intifada – the terrorist war against Israel.

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Terrorism, Sept. 28, 2000-Dec. 31, 2005– 147 suicide bombings (causing 47% of all deaths). 1,084 killed. 7,454 injured/crippled. 82% of dead and wounded were civilians. Targets: restaurants, dance clubs, buses, religious events, shopping malls, civilians in cars Arafat’s Terrorist War Targeted Israeli Civilians

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HAMAS Islamic Resistance Movement PLO Palestine Liberation Organization PIJPalestinian Islamic Jihad HEZBOLLAHParty of God (Lebanon/Iran) Terrorist Organizations A variety of terrorist organizations promoted terrorism and destruction of Israel during the Intifada FATAHMovement for the National Liberation of Palestine (Affiliate of PLO and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade) PFLPPopular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

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Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts Post-IntifadaFailed Peace Efforts June 2003 Road map to peace August 2005 Israel uproots all Israeli communities in Gaza January 2006Hamas elected in Gaza June 2007Hamas coup against Fatah in Gaza Israeli Greenhouses Palestinians destroy greenhouses.

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Hezbollah War Hezbollah launches unprovoked act of war against Israel 3,699 rockets launched into northern Israel in 34 days of war. 1,000,000 Israelis forced to live in bomb shelters for 34 days.300,000-500,000 Israelis displaced. 162 Israelis killed; 4,262 wounded. 6,000 homes hit by Hezbollah rockets. Two Israeli soldiers kidnapped Ehud Goldwasser Rocket damage–Nahariya EldadRegev

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War Crimes Hezbollah War Crimes- use of Human Shields An Anti-Israel Propaganda War with Occasional Media Complicity Hezbollah rocket launchers dressed in civilian clothing and militants hid among civilian population. Undamaged photos supposedly found at site Israel bombed. Journalists did not question accuracy. Infamous doctored photo exaggerating fires and smoke from Israeli operations.

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Israel’s Self-Defense Balancing Self-Defense and Humanitarian Values Security Fence Intelligence Gathering Checkpoints Bypass Roads Destroying Terrorist-Smuggling Tunnels

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The Security Fence2002 96-97% chain link fence.3-4% wall–protection from sniper fire. Success of counterterrorism measures: 93% drop in total Israeli fatalities–2002-2006.

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Small Country Israel–at the world’s forefront in innovation Israel invests in education and “brain power.” Israel invests more of its GDP in research and development than any other nation. Israel is at the forefront of high-tech and biomedical innovation. Israel is at the forefront of environmentally friendly innovations. World’s fourth-largest high-tech economy.

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Israel trained 200,000 people from 130 countries in desert agriculture, water management, emergency and disaster medicine, and refugee absorption. Save A Child’s Heart (SACH) is Israel’s program offering free heart surgery for children from emerging countries. From 1996-2007, Israel treated 1,848 children from the Congo to the PA and Zimbabwe. Humanitarian Programs Since 1948, Israel has been at the forefront of the world’s medical and disaster aid around the world.

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Israel’s Government Parliamentary Democracy in Action Every citizen over 18 has right to vote. Multi-party system with as many as 18 parties.

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Israel’s Government The President Executive Branch:Prime Minister Judical Branch: The Courts Legislative Branch: The Knesset

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Israel’s MulticulturalismFacts about Israeli Arabs Israeli-Arabs make up almost 20% of Israel’s population and have full and equal political and civil rights. Israeli-Arabs were elected to the first Knesset in 1949 and have won as many as 12 of the 120 Knesset seats in a single election. All Arab municipalities receive government funding for education and infrastructure Many Israeli-Arabs hold high-level positions in society. Rana Raslan Miss Israel 1999 Salim Joubran Supreme Court Judge Ali Yahya-Ambassador Ismail Khalidi Ambassador Yosef Mishlav Major General

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Many Faces of Israel Israel–A Diverse and Vibrant Multicultural Society 80% of Israelis are Jews of different ethnicities and races who have come from over 80 countries around the globe. Israel officially recognizes over 15 religions, from Islam and Christian denominations to the Baha’I Faith. Refugees from Muslim countries and their descendents make up about half of Israel’s Jewish population. 20% of Israelis are non-Jews, including Druze, Bedouin, Muslims, and Christian Arabs.

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Hot TopicsAbout Modern Israel Jews: Indigenous to Israel, with 3,000-year continuous presence in the land. Jews were Jerusalem’s majority population since 1870. American-style civil liberties and human rights for all, including non-Jewish minorities, all ethnic groups, women and gays. A pluralistic society with 15 recognized religions, 18% Arab population, and 80% Jewish population that includes Jewish returnees from 80 countries in the middle east, Africa, north and south America, Europe and Asia. Full civil and political rights for Israeli Arabs who have five political parties, hold seats in the Knesset and are elected or appointed to high-level positions.

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Hot TopicsFalse Claims Against Israel Apartheid: Nothing in Israel resembles South Africa’s legal system of racial segregation and oppression. A democracy like the U.S., Israel legally enforces equal rights, liberties, and protections for all. Divestment & boycotts: These campaigns try to punish Israel by blaming it alone for the conflict through historical distortions and misrepresentations of Israel’s counterterrorism measures. Checkpoints & security fence: Incessant terrorism forced Israel to find ways to prevent terrorists from easily reaching Israeli civilians. These nonviolent measures inconvenience Israelis and Palestinians alike, but have reduced the number of terrorist and of murder victims by over 95%. War crimes: Terrorist groups use human shields and intentionally attack Israel from densely populated civilian centers. Israel has struggled to balance humanitarian ethics with the urgent need to protect its citizens, often sacrificing its own soldiers or safety to avoid harming innocent Palestinians.

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Hot TopicsFinancial Aid Palestinians: Received “the highest per capita aid transfer in the history of foreign aid anywhere.”–2004 World Bank report. The U.S. has been the single largest donor to Palestinian refugees since 1949 and, in addition, assisted the PA with over $1.5 billion between 1993 and 2006. Israelis: U.S. policy has been to assist both Israel and friendly Arab states such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco. Since 1979, the U.S. has given $2 billion per year to Egypt and $3 billion per year to Israel. As its economy soared, Israel reduced its requests for U.S. economic aid, which dropped to zero dollars in 2008. Israel still gets military aid. U.S.-Israel partnerships have produced breakthroughs in technological, biomedical, environmental and agricultural fields, saving the U.S. substantial funds in research and development.

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Hot TopicsWhen Criticism of Israel is Anti-Semitic Criticism of Israeli policies is not anti-Semitism. Israelis regularly have blistering debates about their country’s policies. Criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism when the “Three Ds” are present: Delegitimization–The Jewish State has no right to exist. Double Standards–Israel is condemned harshly for measures or social problems that are accepted when judging other nations. Demonization–Distortions and lies used to depict Israel as the world’s most evil country. The Link–Anti-Semitism demonizes Jews and their way of life and behavior. Anti-Zionism demonizes Israel, the modern center of Jewish life and continuity.

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