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Julie Brown

on 26 March 2013

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Transcript of Israel

Israel Israel's history includes the
ancient Hebrews and the
creation of the nation of Israel. In Israel today, Jewish culture is a major part of daily life. The Palestinian Territories are areas within Israel controlled partly by Palestinian Arabs. Israel and the Palestinian Territories are home to Jews and Arabs who continue to struggle over the region's land. Did you know that Israel is often referred to as the Holy Land? Some people call Israel the Holy Land because it is home to sacred sites for three of the world's major religions---Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. According to the Bible, many events in Jewish history and in the life of Jesus happened in Israel. The Hebrews (or Israelites), the ancestors of the Jews, first established the kingdom of Israel about 3,000 years ago. It covered roughly the same area as the modern state of Israel. In the 60s BC the Roman Empire conquered the region, which was called Judea. After several Jewish revolts, the Romans forced many Jews to leave the region and renamed it Palestine in AD 135. This scattering of the Jewish population is known as the Diaspora. History The Holy Land Muslims conquered Palestine in the mid-600s. However, from the late 1000s to the late 1200s, Christians from Europe launched a series of invasions of Palestine called the Crusades. The Crusaders captured the city of Jerusalem in 1099. In time the Crusaders were pushed out of the area. Palestine then became part of the Ottoman Empire. After World War I, it came under British control. Creation of Israel Zionism, a nationalist movement calling for Jews to establish a Jewish state in their ancient homeland, began in Europe in the late 1800s. Tens of thousands of Jews from around the world began moving to the region. In 1947 the United Nations voted to divide Palestine, then under British control, into Jewish and Arab states. While Arab countries rejected this plan, the Jews accepted it, and a year later created the State of Israel. Arab armies then invaded Israel. In a very short war, the Israelis defeated the Arabs. After Israel's victory, many Palestinians fled to neighboring Arab countries. Israel and Arab countries have fought each other in several wars since then. Disputes between the two sides continue today. Jews from all over the world, including many who fled from Arab lands, have settled in Israel hoping to find peace and stability. Yet, they have faced continual conflicts with neighboring countries. In spite of these problems, Israelis have built a modern, democratic country. Israel Today Israel’s economy is modern and diverse. Items like high-technology equipment and cut diamonds are important exports. Israel has increased food production by irrigating farmland. Israel’s economy also benefits from the millions of visitors who come to Israel to see the country’s historic sites. Cities, Diversity, and Languages Most of Israel’s population lives in cities. Jerusalem, the capital and largest city, has 763,600 people. Tel Aviv is Israel's second largest city with 393,900 people. Tel Aviv is located on the Mediterranean coast while Palestine is located inland.
About 80 percent of Israel’s population is Jewish. The rest of the country’s people are mostly Arab. About three-fourths of Israeli Arabs are Muslim, but some are Christian. Israel’s Jewish population includes Jews from all parts of the world. Many arrive not knowing Hebrew, one of Israel’s official languages. To assist these new citizens, the government provides language classes. Israeli Arabs speak Arabic, Israel’s other official language. Jews from all over the world have settled in Israel. The graph above shows the percentages of Jews who migrated from different places. Non-Jews in Israel include Arabs, Christians, and Druze. This photo shows a Jewish teenager celebrating his bar mitzvaha ceremony that acknowledges 13-year-old Jewish boys as adults in the Jewish community. Culture and Rural Settlements Israeli Jewish culture is rich in holidays and special foods. For Jews, the Sabbath, from sunset Friday until sundown Saturday, is a holy day. Yom Kippur, a very important Jewish holiday, is celebrated in the fall. Passover, in the spring, celebrates the Hebrews’ escape from captivity in ancient Egypt. Because Judaism is a way of life, religious laws address every aspect of daily life, including what Jews should eat. These laws are ancient and appear in the Hebrew Bible. Kosher, which means “proper” in Hebrew, is the term used to refer to Jewish dietary laws. Jews eating a kosher diet do not eat pork or shellfish. They also do not mix meat and milk products. About 100,000 Israeli Jews live in rural settlements. Each settlement, or kibbutz (ki-BOOHTS), is a large farm where people share everything in common. Israeli Jews live in more than 250 kibbutzim. The Palestinian Territories In 1967 during the Six-Day War, Israel captured areas from Jordan and Egypt inhabited by Palestinian Arabs—Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. Since then, Jews and Arabs have fought over the right to live in these areas. Gaza is a small, crowded piece of coastal land where more than a million Palestinians live. The area has almost no resources. However, citrus fruit is grown in irrigated fields. Unemployment is a problem for the Palestinians living in Gaza. Many travel to Israel each day to work. The West Bank is much larger than Gaza and has a population of about 2.4 million. It is mostly rural, but the territory has three large cities—Nablus, Hebron, and Ramallah. The West Bank’s economy is mostly based on agriculture. Farmers rely on irrigation to grow their crops.
Since Israel took control of the West Bank, tens of thousands of Jews have moved into settlements there. However, the Palestinians consider the Jewish settlements an invasion of their land. This conflict over land causes the greatest tension and violence between Arabs and Israelis. Other disputed land includes Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. Control of Jerusalem is a difficult and often emotional question for Jews, Muslims, and Christians. The city contains sites that are holy to all three religions. Areas of the old city are divided into Jewish, Muslim, and Christian neighborhoods.
Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as their capital. However, Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1980. Even before this, the Israeli government had moved its capital to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Most foreign countries have chosen not to recognize this transfer. In the 1990s Israel agreed to turn over parts of the territories to the Palestinians. In return, the Palestinian Authority agreed to recognize Israel and renounce terrorism. In 2005 Israelis transferred Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. Israeli Teens for Peace Peace between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs has not been easy in the past. Moreover, some believe peace in the region might be impossible ever to accomplish. But don’t tell that to a group of 200 Jewish and Arab teenagers who are making a difference in Israel. These teens belong to an organization called Seeds of Peace. To learn more about each other’s cultures and thus understand each other better, these teens meet regularly. For example, Jews teach Arabs Hebrew and Arabs teach Jews Arabic. They also participate in community service projects. By bridging the gap between their two cultures, these teens hope they can one day live peacefully together. A Palestinian boy in the group expressed his hope for the future. He explained, “I realize that peace is not a dream when you truly get to know who you are making peace with.” The future of the peace process is uncertain. Some Palestinian groups have continued to commit acts of terrorism. Jewish Israelis fear they would be open to attack if they withdrew from the territories. Building Background Modern Israel was formed in 1948. Since then, immigrants from many parts of the world have made the population of Israel diverse. Many Jews emigrated to Israel from Russia and Eastern European countries Government and Economy Israel has a prime minister and a parliament---the Knesset. There are two major political parties and many smaller parties.
Israel's government has built a strong military. At age 18 most Israeli men and women must serve at least one year.
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