Skip to main content

History of Israel

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Ancient Israel

Jews have lived in the Holy Land for nearly 4000 years. Jews are the only people on Earth who have retained their identity from so long ago, and undoubtedly the most tenacious people in history.

Jews and Arabs are descended from half-brothers. Their patriarch, Abraham, was gifted the land called Canaan, which we call Israel, or the Holy Land—by God Himself.

Abraham's son, Ishmael (father of the Arabs), was born to his servant girl, Hagar. Abraham sent them away when his wife Sarai got jealous of them.

Sarai later bore a son to Abraham named Isaac (father of the Jews or Israelis). Abraham's grandson from Isaac, Jacob, was given a new name by an angel sent from God. His God given name was Israel.

Jacob moved to Egypt, because of famine in Canaan, where his Son Joseph had become the right-hand-man of Pharaoh. The Jews, known as Hebrews then, were treated well for a long time because of Joseph, but eventually they were enslaved by the Egyptians. Moses led them out of bondage in Egypt roughly 3500 years ago, to reestablish the nation of Israel in the Holy Land.



Kingdom of Israel

King David and his son, King Solomon, created the great Kingdom of Israel approximately 3000 years ago.

Israel was a nation from 1220 B.C. (Before Christ) to 70 A.D., when it was destroyed by the Romans. It is estimated that 550,000 Jews were killed during this destruction, out of a population of six million.

The Romans renamed Israel "Palestine" after the ancient people who had lived there called Philistines, who were not Arabs but Greeks.

The Jews were scattered—eventually all over the world—though they maintained a physical presence in the Holy Land and it was always considered to be their spiritual, ancestral home. The scattering mostly involved the Jews being made slaves around the Roman Empire and is known as the Diaspora.







Arab Muslims Conquer Israel

The Arabs came out of Arabia, after slaughtering the Jews who had lived there for hundreds of years (for rejecting Muhammad's message), and conquered the Holy Land in 635 A.D. This ended 300 years of rule by Christian Byzantium and spelled serious trouble for the 3,000,000 Jews living there, many of whom fled.

The Arabs ruled about 450 years; then the Christian Crusaders took the Holy Land back and held parts of it nearly 200 years as the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

After the Crusaders were expelled, the Holy Land was ruled by Egyptians for 250 years before the Ottoman Turks took it from them, and kept it for 400 years. This brings us up to 1917 and the end of the First World War—a war in which the Ottomans were on the losing side.







Scroll to Continue


World War One

Before the war the Ottoman Sultan had welcomed Jews to settle in Palestine since nobody else seemed to care about this backwater, and he thought they might invest capital there and transform it from a desert wasteland into a prosperous area, since the Jews were world-famous as a successful people.

During World War One, European governments and intellectuals started seriously considering the idea of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, probably under the protection of the British. The largest Jewish populations were in Russia, Poland and Germany. During the war Jews living in the Holy Land fled persecution or were expelled by the Turks, except for those who became Ottoman citizens.



Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was the first formal statement by the British government that the Jews should have their own nation in Palestine. There were parades of exhilarated Jews in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia. Arabs protested. That same year the very first Jewish military regiment was formed to fight for the British against the Turks.

The end of WWI left the British with the spoils of the defeated Ottomans from Egypt to Iraq, including the Holy Land. Emir Faisal, future King of Iraq, who had fought with Lawrence of Arabia (an Englishman) against the Ottomans, favored a Jewish Homeland—but under Arab rule.

It should be understood that the British were better friends with Arabs than Jews. The problem was, they had promised more land to more people—seeking allies in the war effort—than land they had to give. Their solution was the creation of Transjordan in 1921 for Emir Abdullah of the Hashemites; and a Jewish Homeland under British rule with Hebrew as the primary language (Arabic and English also to be official languages).

The British and Zionists (Jews committed to a Jewish Homeland) cooperated to build public works such as utilities; waterworks; sewer and drainage systems; harbors; government buildings—and to form a police force. Law and order, as well as public relief, were established.

In the 1920s Israel was under-populated and impoverished, with no industry, trade or natural resources. 103,000 Jews lived there by this time. In Jerusalem, Hebrew University was founded in 1925. There was peace, order, justice, and administrative integrity far superior to its Arab neighbors. Jews from around the world poured money into the new Jewish Homeland.



History of the Jews

In the 7th century the Jews in Israel had found themselves surrounded by Muslims intent on forced conversions to Islam. Jews clung to the Talmud (instructions), which was fairly new at the time.

In the year 1000 there were still 300,000 Jews living in the Holy Land.

The 15th century saw mass expulsions of Jews from the major cities of Spain, Italy and Germany. Most fled to Central or Eastern Europe. They were dehumanized in art; reviled as Christ Killers; and the first Jewish Ghettos appeared. Jews got by as peddlers (Wandering Jews), pawnbrokers, and small lenders. Many were baptized Christians to get along in society. Napoleon broke down the walls of the ghettos in the early 1800s.


In 1839 Rabbi Alkali of Belgrade, who had lived in the Holy Land, wrote a book, Pleasant Paths, which may have been the start of the Zionist Movement.

Russian writer Perez Smolenskin picked up the baton from there. In Russia, pogroms (riots against Jews) were prevalent from 1882 to 1917. Jews loved Russia and also fell in love with Communism. They felt betrayed by Russians and many moved to America. But the feeling began to spread, as a result of nationalist movements all over Europe, that Jews needed their own nation in Palestine to escape persecution—with their own land and language. Leon Pinsker of Odessa pushed for Zionism in the 1880s. "Lovers of Zion" clubs were formed around Eastern Europe to push for a Jewish government in the Holy Land. They revived Hebrew as a language and taught self-defense.

At the Congress of Berlin in 1878, the Ottomans allied themselves with Western Europeans against the Russians, and offered protection for Jews if they were to create a Jewish state in Palestine. Inspired by this, Jews invested in farming and roads in Israel. The largest investor was the English Jew, Sir Moses Montefiore.

Half the population of Jerusalem was Jewish by 1881. The First Aliyah (return of Jews to Israel) began in 1882 and included about 30,000 Jews. The great European banking family, the Rothschilds, secretly bankrolled this while publicly opposing it.


Many European intellectuals such as Marx, Freud, Disraeli and Einstein were Jewish. In the early 20th century German culture was nearly synonymous with Jewish culture. Jews identified strongly with Germany and most of them in Palestine at the turn of the century spoke German.

Judaism created Jews, not the other way around. They had given the world monotheism.

In 1880, half the population of 300,000 in greater Palestine (including the future Jordan) were Arabs; mostly migrants, nomads and bandits, from various tribes. They had made no contribution to modern civilization.

50 nationalities with as many languages inhabited the land, including 38,000 Christians—but none were called Palestinians. Arabs had never named this land and had not governed it the previous 800 years. There were no people on Earth known as Palestinians until the 1940s.



Israeli Arab Conflict

After the Jews had turned barren desert into irrigated farmland, created a clean water supply, sanitation, and largely eliminated malaria; Arabs began moving there to work as laborers on Jewish farms.

Most of the land in Israel was purchased by Jews from absentee Arab landowners. This land was in no way the "ancestral homeland of Palestinians for thousands of years." That is a modern myth.

In Israel (of its present borders), the population in 1893 was 60,000 Jews; 45,000 Arabs; and 45,000 others. In all of Palestine lived 260,000 Arabs, mostly backward, lethargic tenant farmers and laborers. The Jews in Israel were largely educated, motivated and industrious.

Theodore Herzl

Theodore Herzl, a writer, is considered the father of modern Zionism. Baron Maurice de Hirsch had tried and failed to establish a Jewish Homeland in Argentina. Herzl, after the Dreyfus Affair, sought the collaboration of European powers to help with the creation of a new, industrialized Israel. He first sought a charter from Germany.

The British tried unsuccessfully to talk him into a Jewish Nation in Uganda. Herzl set up Zionist, religious schools in the Yishuv (Jewish areas of Palestine). Ahad Ha'Am promoted cultural Zionism. A series of Zionist Conferences were held around the Fin de Siècle to discuss how to create a sovereign Jewish Homeland. The 7th Zionist Conference of 1905 rejected the idea of any Homeland for Jews except the historical Israel.

Anti Semitism

Political Zionism only differed from other manifestations of European nationalism in the fact that its sacred soil lay outside Europe. Zionist ideology can be traced to the 1851 book A Guide to the Perplexed (Krochmal). It is a reaction to centuries of persecution of the Jews—anti-Semitism.

This is a vicious psychological syndrome, where the stereotyping of Jews precedes accusations of conspiracy and treachery. It makes the Jewish community the scapegoat for all sorts of ills. It tends to move through cycles.

Anti-Semitism was particularly vicious in Europe as nationalism spread because it in itself makes people less tolerant of the "other" in their midst. It came to a head with the sinister invention of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in 1903.

This book was a hoax—though widely read as truth still today among Muslims—that purports to tell of a conspiracy of Jews and Masons to rule the world through the control of banking and the media.



A Jewish Homeland

The Second Aliyah began in 1904 and 45,000 Russian Jews, including the famous philosopher A.D. Gordon, moved to Palestine to escape persecution by the Tsar.

These were mostly younger people who emphasized physical labor and agriculture; inspired by Tolstoy's idealization of the peasant, and obsession with the soil. Many of them scorned Marxism, believing the key to a successful society was that each man should earn his own bread. They also started viticulture in Palestine, using cheap Arab labor.

The secret society of Jewish Watchmen was formed to protect pioneers from Arab bandits and trained all farmers in the bearing of arms for self defense. Hebrew was promoted as the chief language and by 1916, it was for 40% of the people.

By this time the Zionists had joined forces with the British to establish the Jewish Homeland. The British imagined free countries not only for Jews; but also for Arabs, Armenians and Greeks.


Of the three types of Jewish agricultural communities, the capitalists were most successful, over the Moshav (collective farming but living with separate homes), and the Kibbutz (collective farming living communally). All were focused on Citrus. Leftist views dominated politics.

After WWI, the Third Aliyah saw 40,000 more Russians move to Israel. In the 1920s, the Fourth Aliyah saw 76,000 Poles move to Israel; these were not farmers but middle class merchants.

By 1931, 554,000 Jews lived in the future Israel. Grave problems soon arose regarding relations with Arabs, who now numbered 555,000 in all of Palestine. The Jews looked down on them as "wild desert beasts" and "dumb jackasses." The British tried to support both sides—and pleased neither.





Arab Violence against Jews

Chaim Weizmann was the leader of the Jews for decades and in 1936 he proposed a two-state solution—a Jewish state and an Arab state, separate communities but best of friends.

Meanwhile the Fifth Aliyah was 250,000 Germans escaping the Nazis in the 1930s, and they caused the rise of Jewish cities. Citrus was booming and Capitalism was growing in strength. Finally, Arabs decided to also invest in the Holy Land.

Meanwhile, the Arabs perpetuated violence against the Jews, spurred on by the Grand Mufti (Muslim religious leader) of Jerusalem.

Grand Mufti Becomes Hitler's Pal

The British had made a huge blunder in 1921 when they authorized a Supreme Muslim Council to direct religious affairs in Palestine. The Brits appointed Mohammed al-Husseini, head of the largest landowning clan in Palestine, as Grand Mufti (senior judge). It was one of the worst appointments in history. He proved to be a dedicated Jew killer for the remainder of his life.

The Mufti hated Jews worse than Hitler. Even more damaging than his terror campaigns against Jews though, was his destruction of moderate Arabs, who were not uncommon in the 1920s. The Mufti hired a murderous terrorist named Emile Ghori, who set to work killing moderate Arab leaders in Palestine, who wanted to work with the Jews for both sides to live in peace.

The Mufti had more Arabs killed than Jews, and by 1939, no Arabs dared speak publicly of a peaceful settlement. All voices heard were for the extermination of Jews.



Why can't we live in peace?

The British tried to placate the Arabs by the creation of sovereign Arab states in Jordan; Egypt in 1922; Iraq in 1930. And the French granted independence to Syria and Lebanon in 1936.

In the future State of Israel there was a great revival of Jewish music, art, drama and religious expression in the 1930s. Jews were finally free to be Jews. Hitler also aided the Jewish cause at first, by allowing them to leave Germany with their wealth, greatly strengthening Israel.

But the Nazis then recruited Arabs as allies for the up-coming World War Two; and fomented hatred of Jews, as well as anti-British sentiment. Hitler was adored by Arabs for his persecution of Jews.

For three years violence was perpetuated upon the Jews by Arabs, to drive them off land, for which Jews had paid Arabs high prices. By this time, 960,000 Arabs (10% of them Christians) lived in Greater Palestine along with 460,000 Jews—but most of the capital investment had come from Jews. Tel Aviv was the most populous Jewish city on Earth with 150,000 residents.



Arabs Repeatedly Reject Peace

The Peel Commission (1937) set out to resolve the problems in Palestine. The solution: to divide Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. This would grant the Jews only 17% of their original promised Homeland—yet they accepted it.

Arabs complained that this solution would grant Jews the best farmland—conveniently not mentioning that these fabulous agricultural areas had been swamps or desert for centuries before Jewish labor and capital had miraculously transformed them.

To placate Arabs, the British limited Jewish immigration into the Holy Land to 12,000 persons per year—exactly at the time the Holocaust was being planned in Germany.

David Ben Gurion offered massive money to the Arabs to develop their land as the Jews had done on theirs, in exchange for Arab acceptance of a Jewish state. In Geneva (1937) the Arabs flatly rejected the plan after demonstrations throughout the Muslim world against it. Terror campaigns against Jews soon followed.



Conflict Between Jews and Muslims

The Jews smuggled in weapons and built a secret armory. Britain had vacillated for years over the Holy Land, depending upon which political party was in power in England at the moment. In 1939 the British, under pressure from their friends, the Arabs, betrayed the Jews by issuing a "White Paper" that stated that all of Palestine should be one country with Jews and Arabs ruling together in proportion to their population—obviously putting the Arabs over the Jews, since they outnumbered them in Greater Palestine.

In response, a 21,000 person Jewish Defense Force trained underground. In 1940 the Brits terminated the right to buy property for Jews in all but 5% of Palestine—to please their Arab friends. Winston Churchill was pro-Israel but his Foreign Office, led by the famous anti-Semite, Anthony Eden, was decidedly pro-Arab.




Meanwhile, 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated by the best friend of the Arabs, the Nazis, while the British blockaded Israel to keep German refugees out.

Any Jews the Brits caught attempting to reach Israel were put in concentration camps in Cyprus—outraging Americans, who now enter the story. President Truman demanded that 100,000 Jews—out of 250,000 held in camps in West Germany after World War II ended—be allowed to immigrate to Israel. The British refused.

Saudi Arabia lobbied for a Jewish state to be carved out of a defeated Germany.



United Nations Partition

So, in 1945-1946, the Jews turned on the British, fighting against their wartime allies and committing acts of terror. Finally, the Brits threw their hands up, left the Holy Land, and told the USA: You take over since you care about the Jews so much. Before the Brits left, they turned over much of their weaponry and supplies to the Arabs, out of anger toward the Jews.

America was the chief supporter of a Jewish state. Five million Jews called America home. President Truman was pro-Zionist but his state department was pro-Arab. Truman's critics opposed creating a political state based on racial or religious criteria. There was no question that the creation of a State of Israel would be a loss to Arabs. The Soviet Union also backed the Zionists. The USA called on the United Nations to solve the problem.

A United Nations Committee declared that Israel should be an independent democracy, as long as access and security was provided for all peoples regarding the holy places of Jerusalem.

They said, after all, the Arabs had aligned themselves with the mass murderer, Adolph Hitler; there were Jewish survivors of the Holocaust to consider; and therefore partition of Palestine was approved—with Jerusalem as an international city (and payments by Jews of $10M per year to Arabs as "subsidy").

The view was that the Arabs living in the area could live in Jordan, which is much larger. The Arabs rejected the plan, saying that Western Peoples were acting out of guilt over allowing the Holocaust to happen—and immediately attacked Jewish settlers.



State of Israel 1948

David Ben Gurion took over leadership of the Jews and quickly organized a government, and administrative framework. Arabs did not. They simply advocated propaganda and violence. As the violence escalated, non-violent Arabs began to flee the Holy Land, mostly to Jordan.

The lesson learned by the Jewish people from the Holocaust was that they must have their own nation, no matter what. It was the realization that the world stood by and let this happen—while blocking Jews from having anyplace to go when they could have still left Germany—that made the Jewish community realize they must have a place of their own to live. WWI had made it possible; WWII had made it necessary.

In 1948, Israeli Independence was declared on 5500 square miles of land. America and the Soviet Union recognized the new nation immediately. The next day seven Muslim countries attacked Israel, vowing to kill every Jew.




James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 15, 2020:

Hey John Harper! It is always a pleasure to hear from you, my friend. Thank you for reading my article. And yes, we did indeed go north to the Caucasus.

John Harper from Malaga, Spain on January 15, 2020:

No mention of us Japheths there, but why should there be? we headed north and went worldwide, expanding our tents!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 10, 2011:

Rica— You are quite welcome. Yes, Mr. Romulo made a big difference to the founding of Israel. I appreciate you making me aware of him.

Rica on September 08, 2011:

Thank you James;-) Carlos P. Romulo broke a tie by casting his vote in favor of Israel during a U.N deliberation on a proposition declaring Israel as a nation. That small man from a small country made a significant contribution to Israel. I am quite certain that our incumbent president will give that same support to Israel in the upcoming UN assembly.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 05, 2011:

Rica— I must confess I was ignorant of Carlos P. Romulu until you brought him to my attention. Thank you very much. I just now read a short biography of him on line. What a man!!

I will join you in that prayer. Thank you for reading my article. I sincerely appreciate your outstanding comments.

Rica on September 03, 2011:

Great story! I was expecting for Carlos P. Romulo's name or the Philippines mentioned in this article though;-) for it's vote that changed Israel's destiny in one way or the other... My prayer is for the leaders of nations to support Israel and its people all throughout...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 30, 2011:

King David Tours— I will be honored if you would recommend my articles to your clients or potential clients. Thank you for reading my work. I very much appreciate your gracious compliments.

King David Tours on July 30, 2011:

Great history lesson, i should recommend it for people coming to Israel. Keep the God work!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 13, 2011:

American View— Thank you!! Thank you very much! :)

Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 13, 2011:

Wesman Todd Shaw— You are welcome to make any comment you care to make, my friend. I appreciate the compliments. Thank you for reading my work. I have put a lot of time and effort into my catalog—that's for sure. :D

American View from Plano, Texas on July 11, 2011:

Great read, I am going to read the NY one next

Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on July 11, 2011:

There's so much that I could say here that I should probably just say, "Great Job" and leave it at that.

Your HP account is rather encyclopedic! I'll be reading this one a time or three. :=D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on July 11, 2011:

Snurre— Thank you for your gracious compliments. I appreciate your astute correction concerning the Russian Pogroms. I was not familiar with "The Black Hundred."

I am glad your family got out "in time" to be spared most of the awful history of that region.

I am well pleased that you read my work. Thanks again for sharing your personal knowledge of this history. I enjoyed learning from you.

Snurre on July 11, 2011:

This is an amazingly well-written hub and it's especially significant to me because it's about the history of my people.

However, I have to disagree about the 1904 persecutions in the Russian Empire. The Pogroms weren't initiated by the Tsar, but rather by angry Russian people who wanted to be richer and an anti-semitic organization called "The Black Hundred". True, the Jews had to live in reservations, but a lot of the Jews were quite rich (my family included). Remember that 1904 was only 1 year before the first Russian revolution.

My family lived in a town called Uman (in today's Ukraine) and my great-grandmother used to tell me about the Pogroms. The Jewish history of the town is quite typical for that region in the 20th century. There were 28,267 Jews living there in 1914 (56,2% of the population) and there were only 2,200 left after WW2. Thankfully, my family left the town in 1920s.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 02, 2011:

jerry— I am gratified to receive your gracious compliments. Thank you for expressing your appreciation of my work. :D

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 02, 2011:

AnnCee— You are most welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate the compliments.

jerry on June 01, 2011:

i think that your information on the history is great. I love reading more and more. Cant get enough

AnnCee from United States on May 30, 2011:

Very awesome hub, James! Thank you so much for your good work.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 03, 2011:

Denise— You are quite welcome. Thank you for reading my work. It was my pleasure.

Denise on March 02, 2011:

Thank you for writing Eretz Yisrael's history with truthfullness and objectivity.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 25, 2011:

evan— You are most welcome. Thank you for your kind comments. :)

evan on February 25, 2011:

Very informative and educational article. Thanks for sharing with us

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 17, 2011:

David99999— Thank you! I am glad you like it. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!

David99999 on February 16, 2011:

Great hub! This makes a very helpful historical reference!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 22, 2011:

Juan— Instead of attacking me personally, why don't you point out one single fact in my Hub that is wrong, and I will retract it?

Juan on January 22, 2011:

Is this a joke - this is the most one-sided history of the country I have ever seen. James, you are a racist.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on December 26, 2010:

elias raed shamma— Hello and greetings! I have stood on the border of Lebanon and Israel—just last year—but I couldn't come into Lebanon.

I appreciate your comments. Thank you for visiting my Hub.

elias raed shamma on December 25, 2010:

did you know im arab yes im from lebanon u know the country that Israel keeps attacking for no reason and Israelis are good people i love jews there is 1 problem the government of Israel is mental.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 29, 2010:

ladyt11— Thank you very much!! I am glad you enjoyed reading my work here. I surely appreciate your accolades. Feel free to comment on my Hubs anytime! :D

ladyt11 on October 28, 2010:

Awesome hub, I really enjoyed it! I feel like I just took a history class and I learned a lot. I really enjoyed the comments as well, especially the insight given from the bible. James your hubs are so informative, well studied, interesting and easy to read. You are a very good writer!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 24, 2010:

Keith McGibbon— Thank you. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community. You are absolutely correct that I made a mistake in the caption of that map. Thank you for pointing that out. I'll fix it right now.

Keith McGibbon on August 24, 2010:

James, I enjoyed this piece immensely; I've just joined Hub Pages and it is one of the first hubs I've read. One small point though: the final map is a bit misleading; not all the lands highlighted in yellow are Arab lands. While they are muslims, the Turks, Iranians, Tajiks etc are not Arabs, and their feelings of hostility towards Israel vary from nation to nation. In fact, Turkey has been an official ally of Israel for some time.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 22, 2010:

dreamreachout— Thank you kindly. Other Hubbers have explained Hinuism better than I could but I'll give it a shot if you want me to. I appreciate your enthusiastic response.

dreamreachout on April 22, 2010:

It seems that your knowledge is profound on all subjects!! I wish for an article on Hinduism from you!! This is again an awesome hub!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 22, 2010:

Cathi Sutton— I surely will let you know. You have sparked this idea in fact. I would love to do this. I think a couple of other Hubbers have made a similar comment about Hubs I wrote on other subjects. Thank you very much for your graciousness.

Cathi Sutton on April 22, 2010:

If you do begin to design homeschooling lessons, let me know! I will subscribe, mail order, or download them... however you present them! And direct other homeschoolers to them. In the world of knowledge, we homeschooling households are always on the look out for quality materials to educate our kids!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on April 21, 2010:

Cathi Sutton— Thank you for your wonderful comments. Maybe I should design homeschooling lessons plans? :-)

I am flattered at your words. You are surely most welcome. Your remarks are gratifying. You've made my day. :D

Cathi Sutton on April 21, 2010:

I always enjoy the quality of your writing, and have become a devoted fan. That being said, I have decided to include this Hub into the lesson plan, (which I constantly update), for my twelve year old homeschooler. This is a wonderful history lesson, with facts often omitted in other publications, and relevant to what we see happening today in Israel. I most certainly appreciate the depth of the history imparted in this Hub, and found many points to lead to farther research, not only on history, but also geography. And the clear way you have laid it all out is very readable as well. The photos and maps you have included will be a great aid while using this Hub as a teaching device, which I also appreciate very much. Altogether, I just can't thank you enough for this wonderful Hub!

P.S. I would also like to say, you are without doubt a man of faith, and that is also a wonderful thing!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 20, 2010:

lovelypaper--- Thank you very much for the applause. I appreciate it.

Renee S from Virginia on March 20, 2010:

Very thorough and well written. You are rewarded for your throrough research and detail with a large readership. Kudos to you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on February 26, 2010:

SilverWolf--- Yes, yesterday is yesterday. I don't know anything about Eoka. Please point out what lies I have told and I will edit my article accordingly.

SilverWolf on February 25, 2010:

Yesterday is Yesterday, funny Eoka was the Greek Terrorist Group that was fighting the British for Cypress. Your not an Anti-Semite your flat out a liar and a malicious one at that.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 05, 2009:

DeBorrah K. Ogans— The Professor. That has a ring to it. Thank you for your compliments. It is uplifting for me to read that such a great writer as yourself appreciates my labors. :-)

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on November 05, 2009:

James A. Watkins, You are right they need to get over it too many lives have been lost... That is such a brilliant idea! You would be a fantastic "Ambassador of Peace." I guess for now you will have to be "The Professor" By the way wonderful excellent wealth of illustrations as always it has been a pleasure...

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on November 04, 2009:

DeBorrah K. Ogans— Thank you so very much! It is a shame that two sons of Abraham are at loggerheads so badly. To me, there is no question that Israel is the land of Israelis, Jews. The land of Arabs is Arabia. The Holy City of the Jews is Jerusalem. The Holy cities of Arabs are Mecca and Medina. I think they need to get over it and become peaceful members of the world for a change. Thank you for coming by and you are welcome. :-)

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on November 04, 2009:

James A. Watkins,

Excellent, well written educational an informative hub! It is absolutely remarkable that this systemically originates from two half brothers; Isaac & Ishmael. Both fascinating and intriguing particulars here! Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are actually among the significant patriachs in the Old Testament. Jacob whose name as you stated was later changed to Israel, after wrestling with an Angel. Israel actually means; “He struggles with God.” This history wonderfully showcases no doubt the ongoing struggles! Again excellent discourse on Israel. Thank you for sharing, Blessings!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 30, 2009:

H P Roychoudhury— It is great to hear from you again, friend. Thank you for coming by and leaving word that you did. You are welcome. :)

H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on October 30, 2009:

I am an Indian but even then I have been fascinated by historic details of Israel. Thanks for nicely written the history.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 29, 2009:

Harvey Stelman— Thank you so much for reading and leaving your gracious remarks. I just got home a few days ago from a trip to Israel I was blessed to make. I'll be writing about it soon. I hope all is OK with you. I'll catch up on your writing soon as well.

Harvey Stelman from Illinois on October 28, 2009:


A great article that must have taken a long time to research. The quality of your writing is professional.

Strange that today many Muslims say; "Jews are decended from dogs and pigs." Something stinks in that quote!

Loved the HUB!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 28, 2009:

oceandrift— I certainly will. Thanks for asking; and I appreciate you for reading my article.

"A History of the Jews" by Paul Johnson

"A History of Israel" by Howard Sachar

"Europe" by Davies

"The Arabs" by David Lamb

"From Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters

"A History of the Modern Middle East" by William Cleveland

"Modern Times" by Paul Johnson

oceandrift on October 27, 2009:

Could you please provide a list of the books where you required all of the information in this history lesson? I would like to read them, please :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 26, 2009:

cluense— Thank you for reading and the high rating. I appreciate you very much!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 26, 2009:

quietnessandtrust— Isn't that Scripture something!? Amazing! Thank you for sharing it with us. I appreciate the visitation.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 26, 2009:

quietnessandtrust— I apologize for responding so slowly. I just got home last night after nearly two weeks in Israel; and I took no computer with me.

Thank you for the affirmation. It is a pleasure to hear from you again. I'll be writing more about Israel soon; especially now that I have been there finally. :D

Katie Luense from Buffalo, NY on October 24, 2009:

Awesome as usual! I rated it up a notch!

quietnessandtrust on October 18, 2009:

The Lord is talking here:

Gen 16:12

"This son of yours will be a wild one--free and untamed as a wild donkey! He will be against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live at odds with the rest of his brothers."

quietnessandtrust on October 14, 2009:

"Jews are the only people on Earth who have retained their identity from so long ago, and undoubtedly the most tenacious people in history."

That is the short version of the hub...and says it all.

Yes, we are!!!


P.S. Do you know where this comes from?

"The Jews looked down on them as "wild desert beasts" and "dumb jackasses.""

~~~hint~~~it comes near the first mentions of Ishmael.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 14, 2009:

hybridway— You are welcome. I tried not to interject much of myself in this story. I used eight history books to construct it and only included things which were in more than one of them. Thank you for commenting and for the visitation.

hybridway on October 14, 2009:

Thanks, Your side of Isreal history seems interesting. There is divergence view of my earlier historic collection. Thanks for your side of the story. This is 'hub-lite'.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 13, 2009:

csd1509— You are too kind. :)

I appreciate you coming to visit and thank you for your comments. I'm grinnin'!

csd1509 on October 13, 2009:

i whish my history teacher was that clear i would've had a 100 on my exams.. very very impressed with all the detailed info about israel!!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 12, 2009:

Madame X— Thank you! It is always a pleasure to hear from you with your wise analysis. You're welcome. I appreciate the visitation.

Madame X on October 12, 2009:

James - excellent informative hub. I get so sick of the disinformation on this subject. What most people don't know is that Hitler, at first, advocated deporting all Jews to Israel. That was a great idea as far as he was concerned, the solving of a big problem for him and Germany - as he saw it anyway.

Thanks for spelling it all out :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 12, 2009:

stars439— It is a a pleasure, as always, to read your encouraging words. I thank you for your support. And you are welcome.

I'll be leaving to make my first pilgrimage to Israel and therefore will be missing from HubPages for a couple of weeks. I will write about what I saw when I return. GBY!

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on October 12, 2009:

Your Article is very informative. There is a lot that I never knew about Jewish citizens and their background or heritage. Foolishly I had the impression they were in a land that mostly belonged to the Palestinians , but I have learned here that Jewish people have 4000 years of history involved in Isreal. More of the world should learn more about their great civilization. I am glad they have a long history. I will be learning more about them reading this article many times over because it has a lot of information in it. Thank you for sharing and educational article. GBY My Friend.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 10, 2009:

smarleygrl7— I think this Hub is too long, unfortunately. It's OK to get lost as long as you eventually find your way! :-)

Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate the visit.

smarleygrl7 on October 10, 2009:

Although I have to admit I got lost a few times, this is a very well written detailed blog! I will definitely be back to read more! Great!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 10, 2009:

jiberish— It can up kind of sudden. A great blessing came my way. It should give me plenty to write about when I return. Thank you!

Hold down the fort! :D

Jiberish from florida on October 10, 2009:

Have a great trip, you will be missed!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 10, 2009:

jiberish— You have my permission, of course. I will be honored to have any place in your work. Be careful out there! :-)

I am going to Israel next week sans computer so I won't be in Hub Pages for a while. But I'll be back in a few weeks to catch up on everybody and write more Hubs, in particular, one about my trip.

Jiberish from florida on October 10, 2009:

James, I'm working on an organization called J Street, and would like to reference this Hub, do I have your permission? Thanks. Seems Deeds and I disagree, so I have to do my homework. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 07, 2009:

quicksand— It's a pleasure to hear from you! You are welcome, sir. I appreciate your warm words. Thank you for coming by.

quicksand on October 07, 2009:

Hi James, thanks a lot for another interesting and informative lesson in history. As usual well written too! Cheers! :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 06, 2009:

Allan McGregor— Thank you! It is always a pleasure to hear from you, my learned friend.

You always bring your A Game, Brother. I figured you could help sort this out. You make many great points. Arafat is from Egypt. I find it quite interesting that the Mufti was his uncle. I did not know that. Thanks for the info on Wingate.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 06, 2009:

Mardi— If you read Uris, you are interested in this subject! :) I have only seen the film—and I enjoyed it very much (Exodus).

Well, I thank you for your kindly comments. I am honored for you to write of my Hub in this way.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 06, 2009:

C. J. Wright— I apologize for the delay in responding. I have been in a Seminar 12 hours today.

Actually, one of the history books I used had a section entitled "Who is a Jew?" It said there is a board of some kind, or was anyway, in Israel that decides on a case-by-case basis, Who is a Jew. I'm not sure anybody knows besides God. And that does make it confusing. I know an expert I can talk to about this before I do the sequel—a Rabbi.

Thank you for coming and for your thoughtful comments.

Allan McGregor from South Lanarkshire on October 05, 2009:

Belated congratulations James.

I'm late in here because my laptop is sick and I'm having to use whatever computer I can scrounge.

I agree a bit with Aya Katz, and wrote an article elsewhere a while ago which began with a joke I made up to illustrate the point:

Name the odd one out in the following list, but you must also state the reason why -

'Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Miriam and Paul Newman'.

The answer is 'Paul Newman', because he is the only Jew in the list.

The word Jew derives from the Hebrew Yehudah (Pl. Yehudim), so the Jews are literally the 'People of Praise'. And the first Jew was Judah son of Jacob - the Patriarch whose name God changed to Israel.

After that it gets complicated because the term is used differently at different times in Israel's history. For example, in the Authorised or King James Version of the Bible, the first time 'the Jews' are mentioned is when they are at war with Israel.

Israel is the only nation on earth that contains God's name as part of its own. As Abraham's grandson and heir of both the Covenant Promise and the Blessing, from that one man (Jacob/Israel) grew a family, then a nation, then a kingdom, beginning with Saul.

The kingdom split following Saul's death, with David's tribe Judah, and the much smaller tribe of Benjamin, separating from the northern majority who retained the name Israel.

The tribe of Levi, having no land and no inheritance, were distributed among the tribes in both kingdoms. David eventually reunited Judah and Israel under one crown but two names, until Solomon's son split them apart again for good.

By that time, a Jew was a native of Judah, so while all Jews were Israelites, not all Israelites were Jews. Indeed, we see in Kings and Chronicles that Israel and Judah had a very mixed relationship; sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile.

Eventually Israel was taken into captivity by Assyria, and a century later the Jews were taken away to Babylon. Israel never returned, the Jews did.

By Jesus' day it was more complicated and 'Jew' was sometimes used to refer to an inhabitant of Judea, as opposed to Samaria or the Galilee, hence the strange references from time to time about 'the Jews' plotting against Jesus. This just meant the religious authorities in Jerusalem and Judea, whereas Jesus was quite popular up in Galilee.

We're not certain who the Philistines were but the Bible says they arrived in Canaan from over the sea at the same time as the Israelites arrived by land. They were exceptional sailors and may have been Carthaginian, but certainly not Arabs.

Hitler's chum, the Grand Mufti was Yasser Arafat's Uncle. I don't remember off hand, but wasn't Arafat actually Egyptian?

And yes, British troops were killed by Jewish guerillas in the 1940s but this has to be seen in the context of British political complicity with the Arabs and against the Jews. Derek Prince was serving in the British forces in the province of Palestine at the time and says he was ashamed at the way Britain treated the Jews. It doesn't excuse any atrocities but does explain them.

And as for the Jewish guerillas, they were trained by Lawrence of Arabia's cousin, the Scottish soldier, General Orde Wingate, who also founded the famous 'Chindit' jungle fighters, a force feared by the Japanese in WWII.

Mardi Winder-Adams from Western Canada and Texas on October 05, 2009:

Wish I had read this rather than trying to stagger through the whole Leon Uris trilogy!Still am plodding through "The Haj" but this has cleared up some of the details I was missing.

C.J. Wright on October 05, 2009:


Sorry, forgot about the TBC part! I tend to agree with you on the ethnic/relegion issue. To me the "children of Israel" are God's chosen people, God not being prone to changing his mind means that this is final. That peculiar group of people are God's original chosen ones. All Israeli's are not Jew's and all Jew's are not Israeli's. One could claim that all members of the Original 12 tribes were God's chosen, but not necessarily practicing Jews....

Great Hub, looking forward to reading the rest.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 05, 2009:

C. J. Wright— Thank you. I had not yet got to that part of the story yet. This Hub ends in 1948. The conclusion is to be published this coming weekend.

That would be one ugly woman!

Your comment about Meinkampf is interesting but I think the Zionists were battling amongst themselves in the 19th century with religious persons on one side and non-religious persons on the other—sort of like America today.

I appreciate your insights. Thank you for coming.

C.J. Wright on October 05, 2009:


Yet another great hub! I think you were more than fair in your writing regarding the history of Israel. You could have easily introduced the fact that Arab nations like Jordan cleansed themselves of their undesirables in the 60's and early 1970s. That the original leader of the Palestinians was Yasser Arrafat. He popularized the term "Palestinian". He did so with his creation of the PLA, Palestinian Liberation Army. This army was formed in Jordan, not Israel. Initially the Jordanian government had no problem with him or his PLA. Then he turned on the Jordanian government, demanding political power and land. Sound familiar? His army was ousted by the Jordanians during what was called "Black September". Many of those army members, including Arafat were exiled or escaped to Israel. In fact its believed that Arafat escaped to Israel from Jordan, dressed as a woman.

In regards to your comments:

"I agree it is confusing, and I would tend to favor your view that a Jew is a person who practices Judaism. I don't see how an Atheist can call themselves a Jew. But they do. Somehow, it got changed from a Jew being a practitioner of Judaism to an ethnic identity. Hitler had little trouble identifying them, neither did the Grand Mufti. Maybe you could tell us how this came to be, that an atheist calls himself a Jew."

I would say that Hitler may have been one of the earliest influential persons in history to define Jews as a particular ethinic group and not simply a religion. He did so quite clearly in his 1925 book, Mein Kampf.

Again as always a great read!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 04, 2009:

HOOWANTSTONO— Jesus a grave robber!? hmmm . . . I don't know what to think about that. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 04, 2009:

itakins— Thank you so much for the support. I do appreciate it.

HOOWANTSTONO on October 04, 2009:

James A Watkins

Imagine going to look at all the tombs and sepulchres, and find them empty. The reason will probably be that grave robbers stole the bodies. Which makes Jesus a grave robber.

itakins from Irl on October 04, 2009:


Fascinating hub,looking forward to next one.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 04, 2009:

HOOWANTSTONO— hmmm . . . Very good question! I don't know if anybody has peeked into them or not. Maybe we should research this question. You always have an interesting, out-of-the-box slant. I enjoy that about you. Thanks for coming by and let me know if you figure out the answer.

HOOWANTSTONO on October 04, 2009:

James A Watkins

Very well put together, just one thing. I noticed the picture of the Patriarchs Tomb which reminds me..... Matt:27:52: And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

M't:27:53: And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

So the Tomb must be empty???

Go well

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 04, 2009:

no body— Encyclopedia James. That does have certain ring to it. :-)

I don't deserve that sobriquet but I thank you for thinking so. I believe the same way you do, that the existence of Israel, or even of Jews as a people, is proof of God. I also like what you said about how the understanding of the Jews and Israel benefits Christians. Thank you very much for your gracious words.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 04, 2009:

Duchess OBlunt— Thank you for tuning in and for your kind comments. I apologize for the length. It is about 3300 words and my goal was to keep it to 1500 or so but I just couldn't get there. I didn't want to serialize it so I just went ahead. Thank you for taking the time to come back and digest it in chunks. I appreciate you for that. I agree, too, that the comments have been great.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 04, 2009:

Yesterday is Yesterday— If by European you mean a Democracy instead of authoritarian like all the other countries around it: Israel is guilty as charged. Thank God for that.

Who put the so called Palestinians in camps? Who kept them on "reservations"? Israel? NO! Their "Arab" brothers should have welcomed them and made them citizens—as Israel did with an equal number of Jews who fled Arab states in the 1940s. Are they in camps? NO! You can't see this? Don't you understand what I'm talking about? A half-a-million Arabs fled Israel to Arab lands and were put into camps for 60 years to be used as political pawns—to persuade people like you that the Jews did it. A half-a million Jews fled Arab lands to Israel at the same time and were made citizens who were integrated into society there.

Carnage? What carnage? The blowing up of Israeli women and children on buses by terrorists? You blame Israel for defending herself?

Yes the US has helped Israel and the Soviets provided just as much help to the Arabs. So, maybe if the Soviets hadn't armed the Arabs they wouldn't have attacked Israel 4 times since then. Maybe it is the Soviets fault for the carnage.

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on October 04, 2009:

I will bless them that bless thee, curse them that curse thee. Ever heard of Encyclopedia Brown? You're Encyclopedia James. Please don't ever take your hubs off HP because I refer folks to them. If anyone doubts the validity of Scripture or the existence of God, all they have to do is to look at Israel. Thank you for giving insight into our "mother" faith and our Christian roots. I am a firm believer that the more you know about Jews and Israel, the more you understand the Bible as a whole and God in general. Love you lots brother.

Duchess OBlunt on October 04, 2009:

James, I always find your hubs fascinating. Long but chocked full of history. I find I have to read bits and pieces at different times. I find it hard to concentrate for such a long period of time. I cannot imagine the amount of time you put into writing them!

I do manage to come back to them when I have time on my hands to finish them. The comments are most interesting and almost as informative.

Good job

Yesterday is Yesterday on October 04, 2009:

Modern Israel is essentially a European culture. It is a strange example of latter day colonialism and also an example of the barbarism that extreme nationalism can drive a population to. No amount of history changes the everyday reality.

The Palestinian Arabs are suffering pretty much the same fate today as native Americans in the US suffered during the Nineteenth century. Soon they will be confined to tiny reservations. None of this could have been achieved without massive military aid from the US- so a heavy responsibility falls on that country for the present carnage.

On a personal note- my father was stationed in Palestine shortly after World War 2. One of his closest friends was hung by Eoka (a Zionist terrorist organisation. He was guarding a school.

Getting romantic about the state of Israel is like getting romantic about a tumor.

Please don't trouble with the usual accusations of antisemitism. We are not intimidated by the charge in Europe since we have no trouble differentiating between Jewish people and the state of Israel. We are also aware of the views of European Jews which are far more nuanced (and informed) than Jews in the US and can also differentiate between anti-antisemitism and anti-Israeli feeling.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 03, 2009:

Kebennett1— Thank you!

I think, as you say, that events will unfold according to God's timetable. I'm not sure about a treaty between Israel and the Anti-Christ. That could be but it's news to me. I am not an expert on Revelation—or anything else for that matter. :)

Since Revelation is so cryptic, I have a feeling that nobody will know how it going to go down until it happens. But we can have Faith that it will be according to God's will. You do quote solid Scripture and you have an interesting theory. As always, I appreciate your insights.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 03, 2009:

ThePeeDeeWildcat— I see the return of the Jews to the Holy Land as the most important story of our times. It is truly amazing. The story after 1948 is even more incredible in my eyes. And I'll get to that next weekend.

Thank you so much for your remarks. I appreciate the visit.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 03, 2009:

Dynamics— You are welcome. Thank you for your supportive remarks. I had to leave out a lot of interesting information due to the length of the piece, but I tried to include the highlights.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on October 03, 2009:

Rick Marlow— You never look dumb, brother. You're a sharp guy. I knew it was a misprint. I do that myself sometimes. I appreciate you coming by. I look forward to your comments.

Kebennett1 from San Bernardino County, California on October 03, 2009:

Excellent History Lesson! I appreciate your in depth search for the truth. I can always count on it to be interesting as well. The Jews, as foretold in the bible will be in turmoil until the end time. I found a very interesting revelation in the Book of Daniel. Daniel 9:27 reads, "And [the prince who is to come] will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." The complete destruction following the covenant is the victory of Christ that is discussed in Revelation 19:21 "the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh." . As for the covenant, it describes a treaty between the Antichrist and Israel. This will be the "peace" that man finally achieves in Israel. However, this peace will be very short. It will probably occur just after the rapture, creating a fake peace that will be symbolically broken when the Abomination of Desolation takes place 3 and a half years later. That is certainly not the type of peace that Israel is hoping for. I view the type of peace they will achieve as simply a different way for Israel to be conquered by Satan... until Jesus Christ comes back to save the day. I conclude therefore that Israel will never see the "peace of deterrence," though they will think they have. In any case, as we've seen, God's peace will ultimately occur, and that peace process is right on schedule.

What is your opinion?

ThePeeDeeWildcat from Just Across The State Line on October 03, 2009:

James: Needless to say, but your Hub was impeccably researched and written! While the Diaspora of the Jews is fascinating to ponder, their return from the four corners of the earth to the Holy Land will be even more amazing. It is mind boggling to consider not only the Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews, but also to the lesser known communities in Ethiopia, India, China and Japan. Jews are a people with whom one does not trifle.

Related Articles