This site offers a basic history of Israel. Of course it wasn't always called "Israel", so the history covers - largely - the territory of the map you see here.
Religion plays a crucial role, not because God's plan is uncovered, but because the religions incubated here, Judaism and Christianity, as well as Islam which grew out of them, played a major role in driving men's actions. The actions of people is more the concern of this sketch. But had there been no Bible, Israel would be a mere footnote in the story of Mesopotamia, Anatolya and Egypt
Eventually this site [when brought up-to-date] hopes to offer a reasonable cover also of current issues -
not news as such, but issues of the week or month. And a small section will deal with the future - predictions by those so predilicted - like the weather report. Hindsight is definitely easier and yet historians will - and do - argue that things are seldom what they seem - they do need to eat, after all; the material here tries to be as uncontroversial - or bland - as possible. It does however provide a quick and easy overview of what transpired in this region.
Historical SketchThis tiny area gave birth, first to Judaism, then to Christianity, and became important to Islam. In antiquity this land was caught up in a tug of war between the superpowers of Egypt to the south-west, and Mesopotamia (Nineveh, Babylon, Persia) or Anatolya (under the Hittites) to the east and north. Alexander the Great (4th century BCE) introduced Greek ways, reinforced by Rome who eventually (135) expelled the Jews, renaming Judea, Palestina. The takeover of the Roman Empire from within by Christianity, turned Palestine from a backwater province into an important center. Shortly after Mohammed's death (about 632), Omar led the Arabs to spread Islam beyond Arabia. Palestine fell in 638. Since then, apart from a European (Crusader) interlude from 1099-1291, up until the mid-20th century, it remained predominantly Arab. Moslem Turkey ruled from 1517 until the British conquered the Middle East in 1917-1918.
The British Mandate instituted law and order which facilitated the growth of a "Jewish National Home" and the Jewish population increased. After the Second World War the UN voted (November 29, 1947) to partition British-created Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. Arab rejection and invasion in 1948 led to war: Palestine was divided between Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
Israel's borders have undergone modification in a series of wars but the western, southern and northern borders appear to be generally recognized. The eastern border is still to be defined.
Israel lies on the sole land link between Africa and Europe at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The Great Rift Valley separates the mountains of today's Jordan from the hills of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah (later Samaria and Judea and today the West Bank). This range separates the Rift Valley from the Coastal Plain.
Terra rosa soil, weathered from limestone, covers most of Israel; in the north-east volcanoes overlaid these with basalt; near the Red Sea, granite, sandstone and limestone create a rich variety of colors.
Rain falls only in winter, from 40" in the north to 1/2" in the south, washing the soil down into the valleys, leaving little on the hills, but creating, particularly in the north, a relatively fertile subsystem.These radical changes in topography and climate result in a startling variety of wildflowers and cultivation, as well as life in the wild.