The Timeline and History of Israel

Discovering Israel’s history is like going on a journey through time. It’s like exploring ancient stories, religious events, and cultural changes. As we explore this history, we come across archaeological finds that tell us about the lasting impact of a land filled with both sacred and everyday stories. From ancient times to now, each artifact, inscription, and excavation site connects us to Israel’s diverse and significant past. Come along on a fascinating journey through time, where the tools used for excavation help us uncover the mysteries and treasures buried in Israel’s captivating history.

  • 2000-1000 BC

    TIMES OF THE TORAH

    1900s Abraham and Sarah migrate to Canaan.
    1500s Joseph is made the Chief Steward of the King of Egypt
    1500s Jacob and family settle in Egypt
    1300s Moses leads Exodus from Egypt.
    1300s-1200s The Israelites settle in Canaan.
    1000s Saul is first king of Israel

  • 1000-586 BC

    THE HOUSE OF DAVID

    1000s King David rules Israel.
    970 Solomon becomes king
    960 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.

    1000-586 BC

  • 539-332 BC

    THE PERSIAN PERIOD

    539 Cyrus the Great, King of Persia defeats Babylonian empire, including Jerusalem
    539 Cyrus calls for the Temple to be rebuilt and permits Jews to return from exile.
    516 The Second Temple is established.
    445 Nehemiah the prophet rebuilds the Walls of Jerusalem
    350 Jerusalem burned after unsuccessful revolt against Persian Empire.

  • 332-167 BC

    THE (GREEK) HELLENISTIC PERIOD

    332 Alexander the Great Conquers Judea and Jerusalem
    175 Antiochus IV, king of the Greek Seleucid Empire, strengthens attempts to eradicate Judaism.

    332-167 BC

  • 167-63 BC

    THE HASMONEAN PERIOD

    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 BC-30 AD

    THE ROMAN PERIOD

    63 BC The Roman general Pompey captures Jerusalem.
    40 BC Roman Senate appoints Herod “King of the Jews”.
    37 BC Herod conquers Jerusalem.
    19 BC Herod expands the Temple Mount and enlarges the Second Temple. The Western Wall is constructed.
    6 BC The birth of Jesus of Nazareth
    20-30 AD Ministry of Jesus
    30 AD Jesus executed in Jerusalem.

    63 BC-30 AD

  • 66-200 AD

    EARLY RABBINIC PERIOD

    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.

  • 324-638 AD

    THE BYZANTINE PERIOD

    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.

    324-638 AD

  • 637-1099 AD

    THE EARLY MUSLIM PERIOD

    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.

  • 1099-1291 AD

    THE CRUSADER KINGDOM

    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.

    1099-1291 AD

  • 1291-1517 AD

    THE MAMLUK PERIOD

    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.

  • 1517-1917 AD

    THE OTTOMAN (TURKISH) PERIOD

    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.

    1517-1917 AD

  • 1917-1948 AD

    THE BRITISH MANDATE PERIOD

    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.
    1920 The League of Nations granted Britain the mandate to administer Palestine following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.
    1929 Dispute over Western Wall escalates into “Hebron massacre” with Arab residents killing 67 Jewish residents
    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.

  • 1948 AD ONWARDS

    THE STATE OF ISRAEL

    1948 British Mandate ends, the State of Israel declared.
    1948 Egypt, Jordan and Syria, backed by Iraq, invade the new state.
    1948 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.
    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.
    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 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).
    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.
    2020 The Abraham Accords signed which included agreements that led to the normalization of diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations between Israel and Arab countries, including the UAE and Bahrain, and later the Joint Declaration with Morocco.
    2021 11-day war between Israel and Hamas.
    2022 Isreal launches Operation Breaking Dawn in an effort to reduce threats posed by the Iranian-armed and funded Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in the Gaza Strip.
    2023 Hamas launches surprise attack on Israel killing over 1300 Israelis and wounding 3400.

    1948 AD ONWARDS