Israel

Israel

The modern State of Israel was declared in 1948, and traces its historical and religious roots to the Biblical Land of Israel, also known as Zion, a concept central to Judaism since ancient times.  Political Zionism took shape in the late-19th century Europe under Theodor Herzl, and the Balfour Declaration of 1917 formalized British policy preferring the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people. Following World War I, the League of Nations granted Great Britain the Mandate for Palestine, which included responsibility for securing “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.  In November 1947, the United Nations voted in favor of the partition of Palestine, proposing the creation of a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a UN-administered Jerusalem.  Partition was accepted by the Zionist leadership but rejected by Arab leaders, and a civil war began. Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948 and neighboring Arab states invaded the next day. Since then, Israel has fought a series of wars with neighboring Arab states,  and has occupied territories, including the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, beyond those delineated in the 1949 Armistice Agreements. The border between Israel and the neighboring West Bank is not formally defined by the Israeli government,  as a result of a complex and unresolved political situation. Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but efforts by elements within both parties to diplomatically solve the problem have so far only met with limited success.

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