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The Essential Israel Timeline - 

History of the Land of Israel

Dates are approximate. (BCE is Before Common Era). Some sites where you can see these time periods are mentioned in the timeline.

Biblical Times: Patriarchs, Judges/Prophets, First Temple

17th century BCE: The Patriarchs--Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Binding of Isaac on Mt. Moriah which later becomes the site of the Temple. Famine forces Israelites to migrate to Egypt.
13th century BCE: Slavery and Exodus from Egypt: Torah (Five Books of Moses), including the Ten Commandments, received at Mount Sinai.
13th-12th centuries BCE Israelites settle the Land of Israel, first led by Joshua
1000 BCE King David moves capital from Hebron to Jerusalem – establishes the “City of David”
960 BCE First Temple built in Jerusalem by King Solomon
930 BCE Kingdom divided into Israel and Judea
732 Tiglat Pilleser III attacks Northern Kingdom followed by further attacks of Shalmanezer. This period of attacks by various Asyrian rules is referred to by Rabbis as exile of 10 tribes of Israel.
701 BCE Prophet Isaiah, King Hezekiah builds Broad Wall and water tunnel (in the City of David) – City spans area from bottom of City of David to today’s Jewish Quarter. Senacharib attacks Jerusalem and army is miraculously defeated.
586 BCE Destruction of the First Temple, Prophet Jeremiah, Babylonian Exile (remains of Jerusalem from this period excavated in City of David)

2nd Temple and Destruction
Persian, Hellenistic, Roman Rule

538-444 BCE Return to Zion, 2nd Temple Period begins: Zerubabel, Ezra (458), Nehemiah (454), Prophets: Hagi, Zechariah, and Malachi, Books of Bible codified by Anshei Knesset Hagedola, The Great Assembly (Nehemiah’s Wall seen in City of David)
332 BCE Land conquered by Alexander the Great; Hellenistic rule
166 BCE Hasmonean Dynasty rededicate Temple (Chanukah) and rule
63 BCE Jerusalem captured by Roman general, Pompey.
19 BCE King Herod, Jewish client king of the Romans, renovates 2nd Temple, expands Temple Mount (Temple Institute, Herodian Quarter Mansions)

30-33 CE Jesus' Ministry, Entry to Jerusalem and Last Week, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. (Sites in the Galilee, Mt. of Olives, Jerusalem)

66 CE Jewish revolt vs. the Romans 

69CE Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai escapes Jerusalem to establish Yavne

70 CE Destruction of Jerusalem and 2nd Temple (evidence in a few sites: Southern Excavations, Burnt House, City of David Drainage Tunnel)
73 CE Last stand of Jews at Masada
132-135 CE Bar Kokhba uprising against Rome (Caves, coins and letters)
210 CE Codification of Jewish oral law, Mishnah, completed

Christian and Muslim Rule


324-636 Byzantine Rule (Name given later to Roman Empire when it became Christian) Cardo in Jerusalem.
390 The Jerusalem Talmud, commentary on the Mishnah, Tiberias
614-628 Persians take control from Byzantines for a short period. Byzantine Heraclius retakes control and is later defeated by Muslims.
632 Mohammad becomes known as the Last Prophet. Islam spreads. 638-1099 Moslem Conquest and Rule of the Land of Israel
691 Dome of the Rock and Al Aksa (simple wood building) built on Temple Mount
1099-1291 Crusader Rule, called First and Second Kingdoms of Jerusalem (During this time also have Muslim rule in some areas/times, notably Saladin)
1267 Ramban renews Jewish community, establishes synagogue (Jewish Quarter)
1291-1516 Mamluk Muslim Rule
1517-1917 Ottoman Rule including Suleiman the Magnificent who rebuilds the walls that stand today around the Old City of Jerusalem.
16th Century Golden Age Tzfat
1917 British Conquest of Palestine by General Allenby, British Mandate Period until May 1948 (Photo: Allenby entering through Jaffa Gate)

Pre-State Zionism

1700 Rabbi Yehuda HaHasid brings first large group on aliyah to Israel. Build synagogue, which becomes the Hurva (meaning the destruction because it was destroyed twice, rebuilt in 2010.)
1800s Proto-Zionists: Rabbi’s Alkalai, Kalischer and Hess write about returning to the Land of Israel
1858 Montifiore Windmill and first neighborhood, 1860 Mishkenot Sha'ananim, built outside Jerusalem's walls.
1868 Mahane Yisrael, 2nd neighborhood outside walls founded. Today, restaurant called 1868 marks the place (across from David Citadel Hotel).
1869 Nachalat Shiva, 3rd neighborhood, built by 7 Jerusalem families. Today has great shops and restaurants.
1873 Beit David, 4th Neighborhood. Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook,first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel lived there in 1922-1935.
1874 Meah Shearim,5th neighborhood outside the Old City, established. Named after verse in Torah “Isaac sowed in that land, and in that year he reaped a hundredfold (mea shearim); God had blessed him" (Genesis 26:12).
1885 Beit Yaakov neighborhood, 6th neighborhood.
1887 Mahane Yehuda neighborhood, 7th neighborhood. The market called Shuk Mahane Yehuda developed between the these two neighborhoods at the entrance to the city.
1882-1903 First Aliya (large-scale immigration), mainly from Russia. Moshavot established such as Zichron Yaakov.
1897 First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland; Zionist Organization founded 1904-1914 Second Aliya, mainly from Russia and Poland. Beginning of ideas for Kibbutzim (Visit Kinneret Court)
1909 First kibbutza, Degania, and first modern all-Jewish city, Tel Aviv, founded. Rabbi Shmuel Salant, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Jerusalem, passes away.
1917 British conquest Palestine and Balfour Declaration
1918-48 British rule (British Mandate)
1919-23 Third Aliya, mainly from Russia, Histadrut (Jewish labor federation)
1920 Nebe Musa Arab Riots. Haganah (Jewish defense organization) founded by Jabotinsky tries to protect Jews.
1921 Arab riots against Jews, start in Jaffa port. First large Kibbutz Ein Harod founded in Jezreel Valley.
1924-32 Fourth Aliya, mainly from Poland
1929 Arab Riots, particularly with massacres in Hebron, Tzfat, and Jerusalem
1931 Etzel, (aka the Irgun) underground Jewish military organization, founded. R. Aryeh Levin appointed Jewish prisoner chaplain by R. Kook.
1933-39 Fifth Aliya, mainly from Germany due to Nazi rise to power
1936-39 Great Arab Revolt against Jews and British. Tower and Stockade settlements established. (Visit Hanita or Nir David)
1939 Jewish immigration severely limited by British White Paper (even during and after the Holocaust)
1939-45 World War II; Holocaust in Europe.
1941 Lehi (underground freedom fighters); Palmach - strike force of Haganah, set up.
1947 United Nations Partition Plan, War of Independence starts November 30, 1947

State of Israel

1948 State of Israel proclaimed on May 14, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) established. Green line drawn on map defining armistice line between Jordan and Israel.
1948-52 Mass immigration from Europe and Arab countries (which expelled Jews with founding of the State)
1956 Sinai Campaign against Nasser, with England and France
1961 Adolf Eichmann tried and executed in Israel
1948-67 Jordan controls Mt of Olives, Old City. Jews cannot go to the Western Wall. 40,000 Jewish graves are desecrated on Mt. of Olives. Sniper fire is common along the “Green Line”.
1967 Six-Day War, Jerusalem reunited. Jews return to Western Wall and Old City after 19 years. West Bank (meaning, the West Bank of Jordan river) comes under Israel control.
1968-70 Egypt's War of Attrition against Israel
1973 Yom Kippur War
1978 Camp David Accords -- Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty signed.
1981 Israel Air Force destroys Iraqi nuclear reactor
1982 Operation Peace for Galilee removes PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) terrorists from Lebanon
1987 First Intifada starts in Israeli-administered areas
1989 Beginning of mass immigration of Jews from former Soviet Union.
1991 Israel attacked by Iraqi Scud missiles during Gulf war. Also, Operation Solomon, airlift of Jews from Ethiopia.
1993 Oslo Accords divide Judea, Samaria, and Gaza into areas A, B, and C
2000 Second Intifada
2003 Begin building Separation Barrier roughly along pre-67 borders
2005 Disengagement from Gaza and intensification of missile attacks into Israel around Gaza Strip.
2006 Gilad Shalit kidnapped. Second War in Lebanon.
2009 Operation Cast Lead
2011 Gilad Shalit freed in prisoner exchange deal.                                               2012 increased missile attacks from Hamas run Gaza strip and Israel's response: Operation Amud Anan, Pillar of Defense

"I am speaking to you from the plaza of the Western Wall, the remnant of our Holy Temple. 'Comfort my people, comfort them, says the Lord your God' This is the day we have hoped for, let us rejoice  and be  glad in His salvation. The vision of all generations is being realized before our eyes: The city of God, the site of the Temple, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, the symbol of the nation's redemption, have been redeemed by you, heroes of the Israel Defense Forces. By doing so, you have fulfilled the oath of generations, 'If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its cunning.'  Indeed, we have not forgotten you, O Jerusalem, our holy city, our glory." General Shlomo Goren, Chaplain of the Israeli Defense Forces