The oldest stone tools found outside of Africa were discovered at Yiron in northern Israel. In the Carmel Mountain Range at el-Tabun and Es Skhul, the skeleton of a Neanderthal woman was uncovered and is considered to be one of the most important human fossils ever found. Between 10,000-8,000 BC, the people who inhabited modern-day Israel switched from their hunter-gatherer lifestyles to a more agrarian style with domesticated animals. Egyptian Pharaohs were the first to conquer the land and in 1800 BC, Abraham led tribes from Mesopotamia to the Judaean hills. Abraham’s descendants were eventually forced to move back to Egypt, however, in around 1250 BC, Moses brought them back. Despite clashes with Assyrians and Philistines, the local populations managed to maintain much of Palestine until the 4th century BC when Alexander the Great arrived.
Arabs came to rule the territory in the 7th century and remained in charge until the First Crusade (1096-1100). Both Muslim and Jewish populations were massacred or sold into slavery during the Crusades. Christian sites were established including the Kingdom of Jerusalem. After the Crusades, Jewish populations faced persecution, as a result, many groups continued to spread across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Israel came under the Ottoman Empire and remained there until the 19th century when a Zionist movement began to emerge.
The goal of this movement was to establish a separate Jewish nation in Palestine to unite scattered Jewish populations. The League of Nations mandate of 1920 put Britain in charge of the territory. Britain struggled to uphold commitments to Jewish inhabitants as well as follow through with similar promises made to the Arabs. After the Second World War, the United Nations showed support for the creation of two states, one Arab and one Jewish in Palestine to accommodate the Jews that had moved there during the war. Arabs refused, yet in 1947, Britain gave up its mandate and on 15 May 1948, the foundation of the State of Israel was declared.
The 1960s witnessed the creation of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation as well as the Six Days War of 1967 in which Israel launched a ‘pre-emptive strike’ against Arab troops, gaining control of the West Bank. In 1979, relations between Egypt and Israel improved when Egyptian president Anwar Sadat signed a mutual respect pact and Israel returned the Sinai territory. Early in the 1980s, Jewish settlements were established on Palestinian land in the West Bank causing Palestinians to launch the intifada (a popular uprising) against Israeli occupation in 1987.
Recent decades have experienced much upheaval and tragedy on both sides, as well as attempts at peace. A constant in world news cycles, people from around the globe wait and hope for a successful peace agreement in the Arab-Israeli conflict. People from around the globe also continue to travel to Israel in large numbers annually. Common misconceptions paint Israel as a war-torn country, but there is so much more to this ancient land. Visitors get to experience historic sites and relics and then retire to fully modern and excellent hotels. For a journey to Israel, an open mind is essential, and so too is a sense of adventure and an appreciation of the past. It is best to leave preconceived notions at the door, and instead allow first-hand experiences to make up one’s mind about this incredible country.
Israel Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Israel.
Learn about the history and culture of Israel, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Israel's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, and 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Israel for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Israel tours today!
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