Section of an illuminated late-medieval map of the Tribes of Israel (Courtesy R. Ben-Haim)
זכר ימות עולם בינו שנות דור ודור... - דברים ל"ב:ז
Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations... (Deuteronomy 32:7)
The birthplace of the Jewish people is the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). There, a significant part of the nation's long history was enacted, of which the first thousand years are recorded in the Bible; there, its cultural, religious, and national identity was formed; and there, its physical presence has been maintained through the centuries, even after the majority was forced into exile. During the many years of dispersion, the Jewish people never severed nor forgot its bond with the Land. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence, lost 2,000 years earlier, was renewed.
Archeology in Israel involves the systematic investigation of all the remains of the country's past - from prehistory to the end of Ottoman rule. The profusion of material remains is evidence of the many cultures that have left their imprint on the Land.
Above all archeological research clearly reveals the historical link between the Jewish people, the Bible and the Land of Israel, uncovering the remains of the cultural heritage of the Jewish people in its homeland. These visible remains, buried in the soil, constitute the physical link between the past, the present and the future of the Jewish people in its country.
This unbroken chain of history can be observed at sites all over the country. Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, has been the focus of extensive archeological activity and remains of 5,000 years of history have been revealed.
TIMELINE OF HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS
17th-6th C. BCE
(BCE - Before the Common Era)
Drawings by Noam Nadav
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob - patriarchs of the Jewish people and bearers of a belief in one God - settle in the Land of Israel. Famine forces Israelites to migrate to Egypt.
Exodus from Egypt: Moses leads Israelites from Egypt, followed by 40 years of wandering in the desert. Torah, including the Ten Commandments, received at Mount Sinai.
Histadrut (General Federation of Labor) andHaganah (Jewish defense organization) founded. Vaad Leumi (National Council) set up by Jewish community (Yishuv) to conduct its affairs.
First moshav (cooperative village), Nahalal, founded.
Britain granted Mandate for Palestine (Land of Israel) by League of Nations; Transjordan set up on three-fourths of the area, leaving one fourth for the Jewish national home. Jewish Agency representing Jewish community vis-a-vis Mandate authorities set up.
Technion, first institute of technology, founded in Haifa.
Fourth Aliya, mainly from Poland.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem opened on Mount Scopus.
Hebron Jews massacred by Arab terrorists.
Etzel, Jewish underground organization, founded.
Fifth Aliya, mainly from Germany.
Anti-Jewish riots instigated by Arab terrorists.
Jewish immigration severely limited by British White Paper.
World War II; Holocaust in Europe.
Lehi underground movement formed;Palmach, strike force of Haganah, set up.
Fundamentalist Arab terrorism against Israel escalates. Operation Grapes of Wrath, retaliation for Hizbullah terrorists' attacks on northern Israel. Trade representation offices set up in Omanand Qatar. Likud forms government after Knesset elections. Binyamin Netanyahu elected prime minister. Omani trade representation office opened in Tel Aviv.
Israel launches Operation Defensive Shield in response to massive Palestinian terrorist attacks. Israel begins building the anti-terrorist fence to stop West Bank terrorists from killing Israeli citizens. Prime Minister Sharon disperses the Knesset, calling for new elections to be held on 28 January 2003.