Israel - officially the State of Israel , is a country in Western Asia located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan in the east, and Egypt on the southwest, and contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Also adjacent are the West Bank to the east and Gaza Strip to the southwest. Israel is the world's only predominantly Jewish state with a population of about 7.5 million people, of whom approximately 5.62 million are Jewish. The largest ethnic minority group is the segment denominated as Arab citizens of Israel, while minority religious groups include Muslims, Christians, Druze, Samaritans and others, most of which are found within the Arab segment.
The modern state of Israel has its historical and religious roots in the Biblical Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael), a concept central to Judaism since ancient times, and the heartland of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Following the birth of political Zionism in 1897 and the Balfour Declaration, the League of Nations granted the United Kingdom the British Mandate of Palestine after World War I, with responsibility for establishing "...such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home, as laid down in the preamble, and the development of self-governing institutions, and also for safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion..."
In November 1947 the United Nations decided on partition of Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a UN-administered Jerusalem. Partition was accepted by Zionist leaders but rejected by Arab leaders leading to the 1947â€“1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine. Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948 and neighboring Arab states attacked the next day. Since then, Israel has fought a series of wars with neighboring Arab states, and in consequence, Israel controls territories beyond those delineated in the 1949 Armistice Agreements. Some international borders remain in dispute, however Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, though efforts to resolve conflict with the Palestinians have so far only met with limited success.
Birth Of Israel
The 50 Years War - Israel And The Arabs
Critically-acclaimed PBS documentary on the Israeli-Arab war, which aired in 1999.
Leading statesmen, generals, terrorists and others who made the headlines in one of history's most bitter and enduring struggles tell the story of the Arab-Israeli conflict in The 50 Years War: Israel and the Arabs. Opening with the U.N decision to partition Palestine in 1947, the program charts the ensuing half-century of enmity, warfare, mediation and negotiation.
Among the current and former heads of state and prime ministers interviewed or featured in the series are Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir of Israel; King Hussein of Jordan; Yasir Arafat of the Palestine Authority; Hafez al-Assad of Syria; Jafaar Numeiry of Sudan; and U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Jimmy Carter. Also appearing are foreign ministers, defence ministers, commanders in the field, heads of intelligence and guerrilla leaders, as well as high-ranking officials in the United States and the former Soviet Union.
The conflict in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbours is given comprehensive treatment in this two-video set produced by PBS. Using archival footage and extensive interviews with participants, the production begins by explaining conditions in Palestine at the end of World War II and the crisis created by the exodus of European Jews who went to the Middle East after the Holocaust. The withdrawal of the British, who had controlled Palestine for decades, is detailed, as is the creation of the state of Israel. Much of the region's history is complex, with the local struggles being conducted at times as a part of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, but these videos do an admirable job of explaining the complexities of the situation. The segment on the Six Day War, for example, is masterful, with the scenes shifting from Israel to Egypt to Washington to Moscow, the story developing before the viewer's eyes. The 50 Years War is often a tale of mistrust and betrayal, but this production strives to present a balanced view of history, and is not only impressive for its command of the facts but for its skilful and often dramatic presentation of history.
Line Of Fire - The Six Day War
A Journey Through Time
History of Israel Documentary.