Israel History Timeline


Exploring and learning the history of Israel is vital. We cannot possibly understand the Israel of today without understanding the Israel of yesterday. On a personal level, delving into the timeline of Israeli history connects us to our biblical roots and invites us to discover our own identity and origins in the process. We will find out what it means to establish and sustain a Jewish democracy and balance the needs of all Israelis across the religious and political spectrum.

  • Jewish timeline
  • General timeline


  • 2000 Abraham and Sarah migrate to Canaan.
    1785 Jacob and his family leave Canaan for Egypt.
    1340 The Exodus from Egypt.
    1300 The Israelites begin to conquer the Land of Canaan.


  • 1000 – 931 King David and King Solomon rule the United Kingdom of Israel.
    962 Solomon builds the First Temple in Jerusalem.
    931 Northern tribes refuse to accept Solomon’s successor, Rehoboam. The Kingdom splits into Israel (north) and Judah (south) which includes Jerusalem.
    733 Kingdom of Judah becomes vassal of Assyrian Empire.
    720 Kingdom of Israel conquered by Assyrian Empire. The tribes of the north are gradually “lost”.
    586 Babylonia conquers Jerusalem, destroys the Temple and exiles Jewish population.


  • 539 Cyrus the Great, King of Persia defeats Babylonia and takes control of the Land of Israel.
    539 Cyrus calls for the Temple to be rebuilt and permits Jews to return from exile.
    516 The Second Temple is established.
    445 Final wave of Babylonian exiles returns to Zion.
    350 Jerusalem burned after unsuccessful revolt against Persian Empire.


  • 332 Alexander the Great defeats Persian Empire and takes control of Judea.
    175 Antiochus IV, king of the Greek Seleucid Empire, strengthens attempts to eradicate Judaism.


  • 167 The start of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Greeks.
    164 Judah Maccabee captures Jerusalem, restoring and re-dedicating the Temple – the story of Hanukkah.


  • 63 BCE The Roman general Pompey captures Jerusalem.
    40 Roman Senate appoints Herod “King of the Jews”.
    37 Herod conquers Jerusalem from the Hasmoneans.
    19 Herod expands the Temple Mount and enlarges the Second Temple. The Western Wall is constructed. 30 CE Jesus executed in Jerusalem.


  • 66 The Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans begins.
    70 Jerusalem falls to the Romans, the Second Temple is destroyed. Many Jews are massacred, others flee or are taken into exile.
    70 Rabbinical Judaism begins to center around Yavneh and later Usha, Beit Shearim and Zippori in the Galilee.
    73 Masada, a center of Jewish resistance, falls to Rome.
    135 The Bar Kokhba revolt, the last of the Jewish wars against Rome, is crushed.
    136 Roman Emperor Hadrian reestablishes Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina and bans Jews from the city.
    200 Jewish oral traditions codified into the written Mishnah.


  • 324 Roman Emperor Constantine renames city Jerusalem and begins establishing it as a Christian center. Jews continue to be banned from the city.
    326 Building of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre begins.
    361 Jews allowed to return to Jerusalem but attempts to reestablish the Temple fail.
    380 Christianity declared the official religion of the Roman Empire.
    400 Jerusalem Talmud, a commentary and extension of the Mishnah, codified in Tiberias.
    425 The Sanhedrin, the supreme rabbinical court, based in the Galilee, finally disbanded after persecution by the Byzantines.
    500 Rabbinical Judaism’s major text, the Babylonian Talmud, codified outside the Land of Israel.
    610 Jewish revolt against Byzantine rule begins.
    614 Iran’s Sassanid Empire takes control over Jerusalem from Byzantines, installing Jewish leadership.
    629 Byzantines retake control, crushing the Jewish populations in Jerusalem and Galilee, and ending the last major Jewish attempt to rule Land of Israel until modern times.


  • 621 According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad takes Night Journey to Jerusalem.
    632 Muhammad dies. His follower, Caliph Umar, further expands Islamic rule, conquering much of the Middle East.
    637 Caliph Umar visits Jerusalem and allows Jews to return.
    691 The Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine on the Temple Mount, is completed.
    705 The Al-Aqsa mosque is built on the Temple Mount.


  • 1095 Pope Urban II launches the Crusades to reestablish Christian rule over the Holy Lands.
    1099 Crusaders capture Jerusalem, slaughtering much of the city’s Jewish and Muslim populations.
    1187 Saladin, Sultan of Egypt and Syria, captures Holy Lands from Crusaders. Some Jews return to Jerusalem and Land of Israel.
    1191 Richard the Lionheart establishes Second Crusader Kingdom in Akko.
    1267 Rabbi Moshe Ben Nahman (Nahmanides) begins revival of the Jewish community in Jerusalem.


  • 1291 The Mamluks of Egypt and Syria capture Akko, destroying the last Crusader stronghold.
    1328 Al-Aqsa mosque renovated.
    1347 The Black Death strikes Jerusalem.


  • 1517 Ottomans defeat Mamluks and assume control over a huge empire, ruling Palestine as part of Ottoman Syria.
    1538 Rebuilding of Jerusalem’s city walls completed by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
    1663 Sabbatai Zevi, claimed Jewish Messiah, visits Land of Israel.
    1799 Napoleon abandons attempt to conquer Jerusalem after defeat at Akko.
    1860 First Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem established outside the Old City walls.
    1881 Jewish immigration to Land of Israel increases with the “First Aliyah.”
    1881 Eliezer Ben-Yehuda moves to Jerusalem and begins revival of Hebrew as a modern language.
    1897 Theodor Herzl chairs the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland.
    1904 A new wave of Jewish immigration, the “Second Aliyah”, begins.
    1909 City of Tel Aviv is officially established.


  • 1917 Balfour Declaration pledges British support for the establishment of a Jewish “national home” in Palestine.
    1917 General Allenby and British forces enter Jerusalem.
    1918 Ottoman Empire surrenders, British conquest of Palestine complete.
    1919 The “Third Aliyah” of Jewish immigration begins.
    1929 Dispute over Western Wall escalates into large-scale Arab riots.
    1936 Arab revolt against British rule and Zionism begins.
    1947 United Nations recommends the partition of Palestine.
    1947 Civil war between Jewish and Arab communities of Palestine begins.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL: 1948 onwards

  • 14 May 1948 British Mandate ends, the State of Israel declared.
    15 May 1948 Egypt, Jordan and Syria, backed by Iraq, invade the new state.
    The Arab-Israeli war (the War of Independence) begins.
    1949 Armistices establish the State of Israel’s borders. West Jerusalem part of Israel, East Jerusalem and Old City under Jordanian control.
    1956 Israel invades Egypt during Suez Crisis (the Sinai War).
    1967 The Six-Day War. Israel takes control of Jerusalem’s Old City and East Jerusalem, as well as Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), the Golan Heights, Gaza and the Sinai.
    1973 Yom Kippur War with Syria and Egypt.
    1977 Left-wing parties lose power in Israel for first time following electoral triumph of Likud.
    1978 Peace treaty with Egypt signed with Sinai returning to Egyptian control.
    1982 Start of Israel’s war in Lebanon.
    1984 Operation Moses begins Ethiopian Jewish migration to Israel.
    1985 Israel begins gradual withdrawal from Lebanon.
    1987 First Palestinian intifada against Israeli rule in West Bank and Gaza breaks out.
    1989 Massive migration from Soviet Union to Israel begins.
    1991 During the First Gulf War, Iraq fires missiles into Israel.
    1993 Oslo Accords begin peace process between Israel and the PLO. The Palestinian Authority is granted limited self-rule over parts of West Bank and Gaza.
    1994 Israel-Jordan peace agreement signed.
    1995 Assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
    1996 Operation Grapes of Wrath launched against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
    2000 Israeli-Palestinian peace process collapses after Camp David summit between Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat fails to reach agreement.
    2000 Beginning of the Second Palestinian Intifada.
    2005 Disengagement from Gaza as the Israeli Army withdraws and Jewish settlements dismantled.
    2006 Second Lebanon War.
    2007 Hamas-Fatah clashes split the Palestinian Authority and lead to Hamas taking control in Gaza.
    2008-9 Clashes between Israel and Hamas lead to war in Gaza (Operation Cast Lead).
    2011 Large-scale social justice protests in Israel.
    2014 Further conflict in Gaza with Operation Protective Edge.
    2016 Death of former prime minister and president Shimon Peres.
    2018 The United States moves its embassy to Jerusalem.  


The land which is today the State of Israel is the world’s first Jewish state in two millennia. The land is also sacred to other religions, such as Christianity. In 2000 BC, God promised the land of Israel to Abraham, whose descendants became the Jewish people. Around 1000 BC, the kingdom of Israel emerged and was ruled by great kings such as David and Solomon. The next 1,000 years plus saw various empires – such as the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine – attempt to seize control of the land. In the 7th century, the land was conquered by the Muslims and subsequently changed hands a few times until the Ottoman Empire took control in 1517 and maintained power until the 1900s.

During that time period, the Jews dispersed throughout the world and faced persecution and expulsion in the Diaspora, which culminated in the Holocaust during World War II, when millions of Jews were annihilated in concentration camps. Following World War II, the United Nations divided up Israel between Arab and Jewish states. The Arabs rejected this division. On May 14, 1948, the Jewish people in the area proclaimed independence, naming their country Israel. Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon immediately attacked and the 1948 Arab-Israeli War began. After a year of fighting a ceasefire was declared and temporary borders were established.

Hostilities continued between the Arabs and the Israelis in a series of wars including the Yom Kippur War in 1973 – and continue to this day.







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