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AD 130-2: Hadrian outlaws circumcision and plans to rebuild Jerusalem as a
AD 132-135. Bar Kochba rebellion. Jews crushed by Romans, sold into slavery,
and driven into exile (the Diaspora). Jerusalem is rebuilt as Aelia
AD 200-215: Mishnah edited in Israel by Rabbi Ha Nasi
AD 313: Roman emperor Constantine converts to Christianity, grants freedom of
worship to Christians throughout Empire
AD 395: Rome splits into western and eastern (Byzantium) empires
AD 638: Omar defeats the Byzantine army at the Yarmuk River (in Syria);
Muslims rule Palestine
AD 1009: Caliph El-Hakim destroys Holy Sepulchre
AD 1071: Seljuk Turks forbid Christians to enter Jerusalem
AD 1095: Pope Urban II launches Crusades
AD 1099: Crusaders take Jerusalem after a five-week siege; more than 20,000
Jews and Muslims inside are murdered or sold into slavery
AD 1144: Jews in Norwich, England accused of torturing and killing a
Christian boy to use his blood in a ritual. This was the first of the "blood
libels" that led to mob violence against Jews throughout Europe.
AD 1187: Saladin retakes Jerusalem
AD 1188-92: Third Crusade under Richard I the Lionheart fails to retake
Jerusalem but wins access for pilgrims.
AD 1400: Israel under Mameluke rule from Egypt; Jews begin emigrating to
Palestine to escape persecution in Europe
AD 1492: Jews expelled from Spain
AD 1516: Mamelukes defeated by Ottoman empire
AD 1537: Suleyman the Magnificent orders new walls and gates built around
AD 1839: Sir Moses Montefiore, a British jew, calls for creation of a Jewish
AD 1896: Theodor Herzl publishes Der Judenstat, which leads to
formation of the World Zionist Congress
1903: Herzl presents a plan to create a Jewish homeland in Uganda to the
Sixth Zionist Congress
1917: British General Allenby captures Jerusalem from the Turks. Balfour
declaration issued: "His Majesty's government favourable views the creation of a
national Jewish home in Palestine."
1923: British split off 70% of Palestine and hand it over to Emir Abdullah as
1929: Arab pogroms against Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron, and Safed
1934: Stalin creates Jewish Autonomous Region in the eastern Siberian region
of Birobidzhan, a frigid alternative to Zionism
1937: British propose ending their Mandate and partioning the remainder of
Palestine (the 30% left after the splitting off of Jordan) into separate Jewish
and Arab states. The partition is accepted by the Jews but rejected by the
1939: In an attempt to win Arab support for the impending war with Germany,
British issue "White Paper" cutting off Jewish immigration to Palestine.
1944: under pressure from the British, the United States accepts 982 Jewish
refugees from liberated Italy and inters them in a concentration camp in Oswego,
New York for eventual deportation back to Europe; these are the only Jews allowed
into the U.S. during World War II (
1945: U.S. President Roosevelt promises King Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia that
he will not support a Jewish state in Palestine (
November 29, 1947: United Nations votes for the partition of the remainder of
Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem a neutral
international city. The United States embargoes arms sales to the Jews while the
British sell arms freely to the Arabs; with support from Stalin, the Jews are
ultimately able to purchase $12 million of rifles from Czechoslovakia.
May 14, 1948: State of Israel declared. British withdraw. New state attacked
simultaneously by Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt. Palestinian Arabs were
encouraged by the invading armies to vacate their homes to facilitate a quick war
and complete victory.
July 1949: The fighting is over but the Israelis refuse to let the
Palestinian Arabs who fled to return to their homes. Meanwhile, Jews living in
Arab countries jump or are pushed into emigrating to Israel. There are more than
500,000 refugees on each side of the conflict. The Arabs leave the Palestinians
in makeshift tent camps. The Israelis begin to build cheap ugly concrete
apartment blocks for all the Jews from Arab countries.
1956: Egyptian Colonel Nasser seizes Suez Canal from Anglo-French
stockholders. The Canal and Straits of Tiran are closed to Israeli or
Israel-bound ships. This prompts an invasion of the Sinai by French, British, and
Israeli forces. The armies are forced to retreat under pressure from the Soviet
Union and United States. This underscores a humiliating loss of influence and
power for the English.
1967: Six Day War. Israel and the Arab countries have been in an The official
state of war since 1948. However, the first five months of 1967 brought an
intensification of hostilities with the Egyptians moving troops into the Sinai
and closing the shippping lanes, the Syrians shelling farms in the north, and
terrorist attacks coming through all the borders. On June 5, 1967 Israel launched
a preemptive strike on all fronts. After six days, the Israelis had conquered the
Sinai, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.
September 1970: Palestinians hijack four commercial airplanes, fly them to
Jordan, and blow them up. This was the last straw for King Hussein, whose
minority Hashemite rule had been threatened by the Palestinian Arab military
force for some time. Hussein launches massive military campaign to expel all the
armed Palestinians from Jordan. More than 5000 Palestinians are killed and this
leads to the formation of the Black September terrorist group. Most of the
best-armed Palestinians wind up in Lebanon, destabilizing the government
1973: Yom Kippur War. The Arabs struck back, easily rolling over Israel's
Maginot-style line in the Sinai. After three weeks or so, with heavy American
support, the Israelis managed to cross the Suez into Egypt proper and were within
20 miles of Damascus before the US put a halt to the war.
November 1977: Anwar Sadat visits Menachem Begin in Jerusalem for peace
September 1978: Camp David Accords.
March 1979: Israel and Egypt sign a peace treaty, ending more than 30 years
June 7, 1981: Israel bombing raid destroys Iraqi nuclear reactor; the United
Nations responds by "Urg[ing] all Member States to provide necessary technical
assistance to Iraq to restore its peaceful nuclear programme" (
October 6, 1981: Anwar Sadat assassinated by Islamic fundamentalists.
1982: Israel invades Lebanon and destroys PLO infrastructure there.
July 1994: Israel and Jordan sign a peace treaty, ending 46 years of
November 4, 1995: Pro-compromise Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin killed at a
peace rally by a Jewish right-wing assassin.