Madaba MapSome of the rhetoric espoused today implies that the Jewish people arrived suddenly in Palestine in the early twentieth century and displaced an ancient people who were living there previously. This could not be farther from the truth. Historical sources, both Jewish and non-Jewish, prove conclusively that the Land of Israel was inhabited by Jews from biblical times until today, without cessation. There were, of course, periods in which the Jewish population was large and others in which only a handful of small communities maintained a presence in the land. But the Jewish people never abandoned the Land of Israel. From the destruction of the Second Temple, through centuries of exile, Jews who lived in the land and those who did not continued to pray and hope for a redemption and a return to the Jewish homeland.

The Land of Israel is strategically located along the spice route, connecting the Middle East to Africa. This small piece of land was coveted by every major empire and changed hands many times over the centuries. Arabs, Crusaders and Ottomans all imprinted their heritage on the land and alternately discriminated against or protected the Jewish population they found already living there.

At the same time, Jewish communities flourished in the land. The Jerusalem Talmud, a collection of Jewish laws and teachings, was compiled around 400 AD. Famous Medieval Jewish scholars such as Maimonides, Nachamanides and Rabbi Judah HaLevi visited or settled in the Land of Israel. Jewish mysticism reached its peak as a movement in 16th century Safed. The Zionist movement and anti-Semitism around the world encouraged Jews to seek refuge in the Land of Israel and convinced the British government that it must act to create a Jewish homeland.

The process of moving from a theoretical Jewish homeland to an actual State of Israel was difficult and bloody. While the British struggled to remain objective, Arabs and Jews fought for domination in the land, with the Arabs refusing to accept any kind of compromise. When the State of Israel declared independence in 1948, the declaration served to infuriate the Arab world further and led to a bloody war which is, in some ways, still being fought today.

Israel’s struggle for a homeland and refuge for all Jews has not come to an end. Terrorism plagues Israel at every turn and attempts at discrediting the state in international media continue unabated. One of the methods used to discredit Israel is to deny the historical connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. This section is dedicated to providing the historical sources which demonstrate that Jewish ties to Israel are not a modern invention, but rather an ancient right.

  1. First Century BC – First Century AD: Construction and Destruction
  2. 100-200 AD: Revolt
  3. 200-300 AD: Talmudic Evidence
  4. 300-400: Christianity Becomes the Official Religion of the Roman Empire
  5. 400-500: Protection and Rejection
  6. 500-600: Decrees against “Heretics”
  7. 600-1000: The Arab Conquest
  8. 1000-1100: The Crusades
  9. 1100-1200: Records of Travelers
  10. 1200-1300: Mamluks and Synagogues
  11. 1300-1400: Pilgrimages
  12. 1400-1500: Expulsion from Spain
  13. 1500-1600: Mysticism in Safed
  14. 1600-1700: Destruction of Tiberias
  15. 1700-1800: Muslim Oppression
  16. 1800-1900: The Awakening of Zionism
  17. 1900-1920: Jewish Homeland
  18. 1920-1940: Jewish Immigration and Arab Terror
  19. 1940-1947: War
  20. 1948: Independence
  21. 1949-1951: The Young State