History of Israel Timeline

Timeline of Historical Highlights

“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations…   “(Deuteronomy 32:7)

The birthplace of the Jewish people is the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). There, a significant part of the nation’s long history was enacted, of which the first thousand years are recorded in the Bible; there, its cultural, religious, and national identity was formed; and there, its physical presence has been maintained through the centuries, even after the majority was forced into exile. During the many years of dispersion, the Jewish people never severed nor forgot its bond with the Land. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence, l​ost 2,000 years earlier, was renewed.

Archeology in Israel  involves the systematic investigation of all the remains of the country’s past – from prehistory to the end of Ottoman rule. The profusion of material remains is evidence of the many cultures that have left their imprint on the Land.

Above all archeological research clearly reveals the historical link between the Jewish people, the Bible and the Land of Israel, uncovering the remains of the cultural heritage of the Jewish people in its homeland. These visible remains, buried in the soil, constitute the physical link between the past, the present and the future of the Jewish people in its country.
This unbroken chain of history can be observed at sites all over the country. Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, has been the focus of extensive archeological activity and remains of 5,000 years of history have been revealed.


(BCE – Before the Common Era)

c.17th century

Drawings by
Noam Nadav

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob – patriarchs of the Jewish people and bearers of a belief in one God – settle in the Land of Israel.
Famine forces Israelites to migrate to Egypt.
c.13th centuryExodus from Egypt: Moses leads Israelites from Egypt, followed by 40 years of wandering in the desert.
Torah, including the Ten Commandments, received at Mount Sinai.
Israelites settle in the Land of Israel
c.1020Jewish monarchy established; Saul, first king.
c.1000Jerusalem made capital of David’s kingdom.
c.960First Temple, the national and spiritual center of the Jewish people, built in Jerusalem by King Solomon.
c. 930Divided kingdom: Judah and Israel
722-720Israel crushed by Assyrians; 10 tribes exiled (Ten Lost Tribes).
586Judah conquered by Babylonia; Jerusalem and First Temple destroyed; most Jews exiled.

538-142Persian and Hellenistic periods
538-515Many Jews return from Babylonia; Temple rebuilt.
332Land conquered by Alexander the Great; Hellenistic rule.
166-160Maccabean (Hasmonean) revolt against restrictions on practice of Judaism and desecration of the Temple
142-129Jewish autonomy under Hasmoneans.
129-63Jewish independence under Hasmonean monarchy.
63Jerusalem captured by Roman general, Pompey.
63 BCE-313
Roman rule
63-4 BCEHerod, Roman vassal king, rules the Land of Israel;
Temple in Jerusalem refurbished

(CE – The Common Era)
c. 20-33Ministry of Jesus of Nazareth
66Jewish revolt against the Romans
70Destruction of Jerusalem and Second Temple.
73Last stand of Jews at Masada.
132-135Bar Kokhba uprising against Rome.
c. 210Codification of Jewish oral law (Mishna) completed.
313-636Byzantine rule
c. 390Commentary on the Mishna (Jerusalem Talmud) completed.
614Persian invasion
636-1099Arab rule
691On site of First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock built by Caliph Abd el-Malik.
1099-1291Crusader domination
(Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem)
1291-1516Mamluk rule
1517-1917Ottoman rule
1564Code of Jewish law (Shulhan Arukh) published.
1860First neighborhood built outside walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.
1882-1903First Aliya (large-scale immigration), mainly from Russia.
1897First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland; Zionist Organization founded.
1904-14Second Aliya, mainly from Russia and Poland.
1909First kibbutz, Degania, and first modern all-Jewish city, Tel Aviv, founded.
1917400 years of Ottoman rule ended by British conquest;
British Foreign Minister Balfour pledges support for establishment of a “Jewish national home in Palestine”
1918-48British rule
1919-23Third Aliya, mainly from Russia
1920Histadrut (General Federation of Labor) and Haganah (Jewish defense organization) founded.
Vaad Leumi (National Council) set up by Jewish community (Yishuv) to conduct its affairs.
1921First moshav (cooperative village), Nahalal, founded.
1922Britain granted Mandate for Palestine (Land of Israel) by League of Nations; Transjordan set up on three-fourths of the area, leaving one fourth for the Jewish national home.
Jewish Agency representing Jewish community vis-a-vis Mandate authorities set up.
1924Technion, first institute of technology, founded in Haifa.
1924-32Fourth Aliya, mainly from Poland.
1925Hebrew University of Jerusalem opened on Mount Scopus.
1929Hebron Jews massacred by Arab terrorists.
1931Etzel, Jewish underground organization, founded.
1933-39Fifth Aliya, mainly from Germany.
1936-39Anti-Jewish riots instigated by Arab terrorists.
1939Jewish immigration severely limited by British White Paper.
1939-45World War II; Holocaust in Europe.
1941Lehi underground movement formed; Palmach, strike force of Haganah, set up.
1944Jewish Brigade formed as part of British forces.
1947UN proposes the establishment of Arab and Jewish states in the Land.
1948End of British Mandate (14 May)
State of Israel proclaimed (14 May).
Israel invaded by five Arab states (15 May).
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) established.
War of Independence (May 1948-July 1949).

Israeli Independence Day 1948