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1945 to the present

After World War II, a new world order came into being in which two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, played the leading roles. Their ideological differences led to the arms race of the Cold War and fears of a global nuclear conflict. The rest of the world was also drawn into the bipolar bloc system, and very few nations were able to remain truly non-aligned. The East-West conflict came to an end in 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the consequent downfall of the Eastern Bloc. Since that time, the world has been driven by the globalization of worldwide economic and political systems. The world has, however, remained divided: The rich nations of Europe, North America, and East Asia stand in contrast to the developing nations of the Third World.

The first moon landing made science-fiction dreams reality in the year 1969.
Space technology has made considerable progress as the search for new
possibilities of using space continues.





SINCE 1948


see also: United Nations member states -

see also collection: David Roberts "A Journey in the Holy Land"

see also: Marc Chagall


The State of Israel's fight for existence determines its policies and identity to this day. Between the wars, and especially after 1945, many Jews settled in Palestine and cultivated and developed the country with determination and idealism. However, from the beginning, no satisfactory political solution could be found for the consequent expulsion of the Palestinians who were already living in the area. Relations with Israel's Soviet-backed Arab neighbors have long been strained to breaking point. The US-Israeli alliance has become central to both countries' foreign policies, helping to ensure Israeli supremacy in the Middle East. After a series of military defeats, most Arab countries eventually reached an accommodation with Israel, leaving the Palestinians isolated in their struggle for a state of their own.



History of Israel






Part I

Introduction- Jewish history in Israel
Birth of Judaism and Israel 1400 BCE - 586 BCE
Babylonian, Persian and Greek rule 586 BCE - 150 BCE
The restoration of Jewish rule 174 BCE - 64 BCE
Roman rule 64 BCE - 330
Byzantine (Christian Roman) rule 330 - 631
Arab rule 636 - 1099
Crusader rule 1099 - 1291
Mamluk (Egyptian - Islamic) rule 1260 - 1517
Ottoman (Turkish - Islamic) rule 1517 - 1917
The Zionist Movement
1897–1917: The Zionist Revolution
1917–1948: British rule: the Jewish national home
The League of Nations Mandate
The growth of Arab resistance and immigration restrictions
The 1939 White Paper and the Holocaust
1945–1947: Jewish uprising against British rule
The United Nations decides to partition Palestine
The War of Independence: The civil war phase
Israel 1948 - Present
The State of Israel declared
The War of Independence/Nakba: the Arab invasion phase
Labour Party rule 1948–1977
1948–1953: Ben Gurion and mass immigration
1954–1955: Moshe Sharett and the Lavon Affair
1955–1963: Ben-Gurion II: Sinai Campaign & Eichmann Trial

Part II

1963–1969: Levi Eshkol and the Six-Day War


Part III

1969–1975: Golda Meir and Yom Kippur War
1975–1976: Yitzhak Rabin I: Operation Entebbe, start of Religious Settlements

Part IV

Likud domination 1977–1992
1977–1981: Menachem Begin I: the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty
1981–1983: Begin II: the First Lebanon War
1984–1988: Yitzhak Shamir/Shimon Peres rotation government and first Intifada
1988–1992: Shamir II: the Gulf War and Soviet immigration
1992–1995: Rabin II: Oslo peace talks
Direct elections for the Premier 1996–2005
1996–1999: Binyamin Netanyahu - the peace process slows
1999–2001: Ehud Barak and withdrawal from South Lebanon
2001–2006: Ariel Sharon and withdrawal from Gaza and the Northern West Bank
2006–2009: Ehud Olmert and growing Islamist confrontation
2009-present: Netanyahu II

Part V

List of Prime Ministers; List of presidents of the State of Israel

Part VI

Chagall in Israel

Part VII

United Nations member states - Israel


Chagall in Israel


see also:
Marc Chagall

Richard Nixon disliked Jews and may even have been anti-Semitic. However, in Israel, Nixon is fondly remembered for his role in saving Israel in the dark days of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. When Israel had run dangerously low on ammunition during the war, Nixon sent planeload after planeload to resupply the depleted Israeli military stocks. The relations between Nixon and Golda Meir remained strong throughout their administrations. In June 1974, Nixon visited Prime Minister Rabin–the first visit by an American President to Israel. Under central tapestry which depicts the history of the Israelites from Moses to the Holocaust in the Chagall Hall, the President spoke to the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset. The picture by Harry Benson shows the president being upstaged and propped simultaneously by Moses who is seemingly preaching the Law to the beleaguered President, who will resign a few months later.



Chagall's tapestries for the Knesset



In February 1962 Chagall visited Jerusalem to attend the unveiling of his twelve magnificent stained-glass windows in the synagogue of the Hadassah Medical Centre. On this occasion, Radish Luz, the Speaker of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) at the time, asked him to take over the decoration of the state reception hall in the new parliament building, still under construction. The Israeli Knesset is situated on a hilltop known as Givat Ram, affording a beautiful panorama of Jerusalem. On one side there is the Israel Museum, facing the campus of the Hebrew University, and on the other side several government buildings, including the Prime Minister's offices. Originally, stained-glass windows were proposed and later a large mural. However, in the summer of 1963, Chagall decided that tapestries would best suit this huge hall, flooded with natural Jerusalem light. The subject suggested to him for the tapestries was the History of the Jewish People, from their return to their homeland, Zion, up to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Chagall accepted the proposition with great enthusiasm. He decided to do three tapestries and began straightaway to work on the first cartoon - a preparatory gouache which served as a model for the tapestry weavers. This first cartoon was presented on November 30, 1963 in Paris to the world-famous French tapestry manufacturers : Manufacture nationale des Gobelins, an institution founded by Louis XIV in 1667. The state-subsidised factory also received financial support from the Parisian branch of the Rothschild family.


In the summer of 1964, after returning from another visit to Israel, Chagall completed the second and third cartoons. It was estimated that the weaving of the three tapestries would take four years. 160 different shades of colour and 68 kilometres of thread were needed to reproduce Chagall's gouaches in these huge wall hangings. The 120 cm-high cartoons had to be enlarged nearly four times to reach the required height of 475 centimetres. Chagall, who was living at the time in Vence in the South of France, travelled frequently up to Paris to watch the work in progress and discuss problems with the weavers as they arose. The weaving of the three tapestries, begun in February 1965, was finished at the beginning of 1968, a year earlier than planned. The triptych consists of one 904-cm-wide tapestry and two smaller, 528-cm and 533-cm-wide ones, all of the same height, that were hung side by side. The theme of the largest of the three, in the centre, is Exodus, that on the right, Isaiah's Prophecy and that on the left, The Entry into Jerusalem. Exodus shows Moses, portrayed by Chagall in blue, leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Hovering over them is the large cloud that accompanied them on their long journey and protected them from their Egyptian pursuers until they had crossed the Red Sea. The angel blowing the shofar, or ram's horn, over the cloud has been sent by divine providence to guide them on their way. The tapestry is full of symbols and references to biblical events, such as Abraham sacrificing Isaac, and Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on two tablets on the right of the picture. Higher up, one can see the Golden Calf and Jacob wrestling with the Angel. More recent events such as pogroms, the burning of houses, and memories of the Holocaust were also incorporated into the work. The figure of the wandering Jew with a sack on his back is a reference to Chagall's exile in the United States during the Second World War. The central theme, however, is the return of the Jews to their Holy, Promised Land - Israel. This monumental wall hanging is dominated by two great biblical figures: Moses, receiving the Ten Commandments, and King David, playing on his harp. These two themes recur again and again in Chagall's biblical works, including the monumental paintings he did for his own museum, the Musee National Message Biblique Marc Chagall in Nice.


Tapestry, manufactured at the Manufacture nationale des Gobelins in Paris by master-craftsman M. E. Lelong


Exodus (detail)


Exodus (detail)



To the left of Exodus is the Entry into Jerusalem, the site of the Jewish Temple and the capital of Israel. The central figure of King David playing the harp, in red regalia and crown, makes this tapestry an obvious continuation of the narrative beside it. A festive scene is portrayed with many figures playing musical instruments, beating drums and blowing horns. In their midst the Ark of the Covenant can be seen. To the left you find the Israeli flag with the Star of David and "Israel" written in Hebrew. In this magnificent tapestry, with its magical colours, Chagall combines biblical history, the present, and the future.

The three tapestries draw together the main elements of Jewish history relating to the foundation of the State of Israel. While Exodus shows the handing over of the tablets of the Law to Moses and the suffering throughout history of the Jewish People, The Entry into Jerusalem portrays the triumphal entry of King David into Zion and the return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland. The third tapestry, to the right of Exodus, entitled Isaiah's Prophecy depicts the idyllic vision of the prophet Isaiah. Chagall has translated the Bible passage into pictorial language, word for word: "and the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fading shall graze together; and a little child shall lead them." (Isaiah n, 6)

The Entry into Jerusalem
Tapestry, manufactured at the Manufacture nationale des Gobelins in Paris by master-craftsman M. Bourbonneaux


Isaiah's Prophecy
Tapestry, manufactured at the Manufacture nationale des Gobelins in Paris by  master-craftsman M. E. Meot



These three tapestries, with their powerful imagery, constituted a huge triumph for Chagall. They were a testament to his successful collaboration with the weavers, whose faithful rendering of all the many blue, green, red, gold, yellow, brown, purple and white colours of his cartoons was a great accomplishment. All three tapestries bear the date of completion and are signed by the artist and the weavers involved.

The triptych was officially unveiled with great ceremony on June 18, 1969 in the presence of the artist, the then President of Israel, Zalman Shazar, Prime Minister Golda Meir, and the Knesset Speaker Kadish Luz. In his speech, Chagall said that these works had been inspired by the founding of the State of Israel, that they represented a kindling of "new hope" and that he had put into them "the experience, the suffering and the joy of a whole lifetime". "My aim was to get closer to the biblical homeland of the Jewish people, to the land where the creative spirit, the Holy Spirit, is at home, such as hovers over every page of the Bible; and hovers here in the air, over the fields and in the hearts and souls of the inhabitants!...] Works of genius and luminosity are so rare [...] People prefer to be content with evil and injustice than to reach out with love [...] There is no art or creation in a life without love. Love lives in this land and everything that comes of love is great and sublime. Let my work here, whatever it may be, serve as an expression of my love and devotion to this land, the land of justice and biblical peace."


President Zalman Shazar, Marc Chagall and Prime Minister Golda Meir
at the inauguration of the Knesset Tapestries, June 1969



The three Knesset tapestries are full of harmony and inspiration. Chagall once said: "I am against terms such as 'fantasy' and 'symbolism'. Our whole inner world is real, perhaps even more real than the visible world." For Chagall, tapestries were a completely new venture and a unique experience, yet his were acclaimed the world over as masterpieces. In his inimitable way he had composed a symphony of colours for the eyes, those unique colours that Chagall used in the many biblical works he painted in the course of his long and rich career. As he himself said: "You have to arrive at an age like mine before you can produce something like this."

In his world-famous tapestries for the Knesset, Chagall shows his admiration for the phenomenal achievement of the Jewish people in bringing to fulfilment the biblical prophecy of the rebirth of Israel. The brilliant, magical colours, the light effects and the rhythm of this monumental project of huge dimensions, energy and power, express his faith in Israel and the Jewish people.


see also: United Nations member states -



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