The history of the Israel Defense Forces is intertwined with history of the establishment of the Haganah after which the latter disbanded.
Following the 1947 UN Partition Plan, which divided the British Mandate of Palestine, the country became increasingly volatile and fell into a state of civil war between the Jews and Arabs after the Arab residents rejected any plan that would allow for the creation of a Jewish state. In accordance with Plan Dalet the Haganah tried to secure the areas allotted to the Jewish state in the partition plan and the blocks of settlements that were in the area allotted to the Arab state.
David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948. His first order was the formation of the IDF The Israel Defense Forces.
The IDF was based on the personnel who had served in the Haganah and the Palmach and was declared as the only legal armed force in Israel. Another main source of manpower were the immigrants from Europe. Some of them Holocaust survivors and others veterans from World War II.
Following the declaration of independence in 1948, Arab armies invaded Israel. Egypt came from the south, Lebanon and Syria from the north, and Jordan from the east backed by Iraqi and Saudi troops.
In the initial phase of the war, the IDF was inferior in both numbers and armament. Due to a number of reasons, the Arabs never managed to exploit their superiority in numbers. The Israelis managed to successfully defend themselves in virtually all battlefields with the notable exception of East Jerusalem. After the first truce 11 June to 8 July, the Israelis managed to seize the initiative due to new troop enrollments and supplies of arms. Notable achievements of the IDF include the conquest of Eilat (Um Rashrash), Nazareth, and the capture of the Galilee and the Negev.
The war continued until 20 July 1949, when the armistice with Syria was signed. By then the IDF had managed to repel the Egyptians to the Gaza Strip while Jordan took over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
See 1949 Armistice Agreements.
The evolution from several underground militias to a state army is not simple. Many in the Haganah felt it was their High Command’s natural role to become the leadership of the new army. The First Law of the Provisional State Council, Paragraph 18, of the Order of Government and Legal Arrangement stated that “the Provisional Government is empowered to set up armed forces on land, sea and air, which will be authorised to carry out all necessary and legal actions for the defence of the country.” The sensitivity of this issue is indicated by the delay of two weeks before, on 26 May 1948, David Ben-Gurion, for the Provisional Government, published the Israel Defense Forces Ordinance Number 4. It covered the establishment of the IDF, conscription duties, the oath of allegiance, and the prohibition of any other armed forces. The execution of the Ordinance was assigned to the Minister of Defence, David Ben-Gurion. His priority was the dissolution of military organisations affiliated to political parties.
The army was officially set up on 31 May. This involved renaming existing Haganah and Palmach Brigades and bringing them under one central command. Its officers began to take their oaths of allegiance on 27 June. The Stern Gang and Irgun came under central control in the following months.
The conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Zionist (now Israeli) Jews is a modern phenomenon, dating to the end of the nineteenth century. Although the two groups have different religions (Palestinians include Muslims, Christians and Druze), religious differences are not the cause of the strife. The conflict began as a struggle over land. From the end of World War I until 1948, the area that both groups claimed was known internationally as Palestine. That same name was also used to designate a less well-defined Holy Land by the three monotheistic religions. Following the war of 19481949, this land was divided into three parts: the State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River) and the Gaza Strip.
It is a small areaapproximately 10,000 square miles, or about the size of the state of Maryland. The competing claims to the territory are not reconcilable if one group exercises exclusive political control over all of it. Jewish claims to this land are based on the biblical promise to Abraham and his descendants, on the fact that the land was the historical site of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Israel and Judea, and on Jews need for a haven from European anti-Semitism. Palestinian Arab claims to the land are based on their continuous residence in the country for hundreds of years and the fact that they represented the demographic majority until 1948. They reject the notion that a biblical-era kingdom constitutes the basis for a valid modern claim. If Arabs engage the biblical argument at all, they maintain that since Abrahams son Ishmael is the forefather of the Arabs, then Gods promise of the land to the children of Abraham includes Arabs as well. They do not believe that they should forfeit their land to compensate Jews for Europes crimes against Jews.
The Land and the People
In the nineteenth century, following a trend that emerged earlier in Europe, people around the world began to identify themselves as nations and to demand national rights, foremost the right to self-rule in a state of their own (self-determination and sovereignty). Jews and Palestinians both started to develop a national consciousness and mobilized to achieve national goals. Because Jews were spread across the world (in diaspora), the Jewish national movement, or Zionist trend, sought to identify a place where Jews could come together through the process of immigration and settlement. Palestine seemed the logical and optimal place because it was the site of Jewish origin. The Zionist movement began in 1882 with the first wave of European Jewish immigration to Palestine.
At that time, the land of Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. This area did not constitute a single political unit, however. The northern districts of Acre and Nablus were part of the province of Beirut. The district of Jerusalem was under the direct authority of the Ottoman capital of Istanbul because of the international significance of the cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem as religious centers for Muslims, Christians and Jews. According to Ottoman records, in 1878 there were 462,465 subject inhabitants of the Jerusalem, Nablus and Acre districts: 403,795 Muslims (including Druze), 43,659 Christians and 15,011 Jews. In addition, there were perhaps 10,000 Jews with foreign citizenship (recent immigrants to the country) and several thousand Muslim Arab nomads (Bedouin) who were not counted as Ottoman subjects. The great majority of the Arabs (Muslims and Christians) lived in several hundred rural villages. Jaffa and Nablus were the largest and economically most important towns with majority-Arab populations.
Until the beginning of the twentieth century, most Jews living in Palestine were concentrated in four cities with religious significance: Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed and Tiberias. Most of them observed traditional, orthodox religious practices. Many spent their time studying religious texts and depended on the charity of world Jewry for survival. Their attachment to the land was religious rather than national, and they were not involved inor supportive ofthe Zionist movement that began in Europe and was brought to Palestine by immigrants. Most of the Jews who emigrated from Europe lived a more secular lifestyle and were committed to the goals of creating a modern Jewish nation and building an independent Jewish state. By the outbreak of World War I (1914), the population of Jews in Palestine had risen to about 60,000, about 36,000 of whom were recent settlers. The Arab population in 1914 was 683,000.
The British Mandate in Palestine
By the early years of the twentieth century, Palestine had become a trouble spot of competing territorial claims and political interests. The Ottoman Empire was weakening, and European powers were strengthening their grip on areas along the eastern Mediterranean, including Palestine. During 19151916, as World War I was underway, the British high commissioner in Egypt, Sir Henry McMahon, secretly corresponded with Husayn ibn Ali, the patriarch of the Hashemite family and Ottoman governor of Mecca and Medina. McMahon convinced Husayn to lead an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire, which was aligned with Germany against Britain and France in the war. McMahon promised that if the Arabs supported Britain in the war, the British government would support the establishment of an independent Arab state under Hashemite rule in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire, including Palestine. The Arab revolt, led by Husayns son Faysal and T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), was successful in defeating the Ottomans, and Britain took control over much of this area during World War I.
But Britain made other promises during the war that conflicted with the Husayn-McMahon understandings. In 1917, the British foreign minister, Lord Arthur Balfour, issued a declaration (the Balfour Declaration) announcing his governments support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. A third promise, in the form of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, was a secret deal between Britain and France to carve up the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire and divide control of the region.
Prehistoric Spain was settled by the Iberians, Tartessians, Basques, and Celts (Figure 1). While the Basques remained in the northern region centered around the Pyrenees, a distinct ethnic group eventually formed called the Celtiberians, tribes of mixed Iberian and Celtic stock who inhabited an area in the central part of the peninsula before the start of the first millennium BCE. The map area in light green, the Iberian area, is the Catalonia of antiquity while the dark-green area is the homeland of the Basques. The name Vascones is Basque in French.
If we look at a map of Europe of the sixth century BCE (Figure 2), we can see how Spain fits into the overall picture of Europe in the early first millennium BCE. The traditional date for the founding of Rome is 753 BCE and Alexander the Great didnt begin his campaign in Asia until 334 BCE. During the fourth century BCE (Figure 3), we see Rome beginning to grow, Alexanders conquests being split among his generals, and the great northern tribes, those of the Gauls and Germans, coalescing into discreet groupings. The population of Hispania (the ancient name of the Iberian peninsula), was ethnically quite diverse; even in pre-Roman times a number of cultures lived in this region (Figure 4).
It still is diverse; Spain has the most ethnically diverse population of any country in Europe. As well see in this course, the ancestors of todays Spaniards include, in addition to the Iberians of antiquity, Celts, Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians, Germanic/Scandinavian peoples, Moors, middle-eastern Arabs, Slavs, and Jews. A commercial genetic database reports the following genetic ancestries of Spanish residents they tested: 40% Celtic; 30% Iberian; 15% Germanic derived; 7% Viking (Scandinavian); 8% Arabic/Berber.1 A recent study found that 19.8 percent of Spaniards share a Y-chromosome haplotype with Sephardic Jews and 10.8 percent share this genetic similarity with northern African populations.2 When considering these results, also keep in mind that correlation is not proof of causation, but these results are nonetheless illustrative of the intimate genetic relationship among Spanish Jews and Christiansand Muslims.
When did the Jews first arrive in Spain? There are hints from the Bible that the lands of the western Mediterranean were well known to the Israelites. Around 970 BCE Solomon formed an alliance with Hiram of Tyre, the king of the Phoenicians, providing Hiram with sailors who had a knowledge of the sea equivalent to that of the Phoenician sailors. The territories of the Israelite tribes of Asher, Zebulon, and Dan were part of Phoenicia and some early Spanish Jewish documents actually refer to those tribes as having descendants living in Iberia.3 The Bible implies that expeditions to Spain were routine as early as the tenth century BCE.
Solomon also built ships…. And Hiram sent his servants to serve as shipmen in the navy, those that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon. (1 Ki 9:2627; see also 2 Ch 8:1718)
For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram: once every three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Ki 10:22; Tarshish has frequently been identified as Tartessasouthern Spain)
History of Israel: The Descendants of Abraham The history of Israel commences with God’s covenant with Abraham in approximately 2000 B.C., “I will make you into a great nation” (Genesis 12:2). The name “Israel” (meaning either “one who fights victoriously with God” or “a prevailing prince with God”) comes from the new name God gave Abraham’s grandson Jacob, after Jacob withstood a spiritual struggle at Jabbok (Genesis 32:28). It is at this point that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are often referred to as the “Children of Israel.”
History of Israel: Its Selection as a Special Nation The history of Israel goes back even further than 2000 BC. In fact, the selection of Israel as a special nation was part of God’s plan from the beginning of time. God’s choice of Israel as His “chosen people” did not lie in any special size, nature or attraction. Actually, the nation of Israel was the least in number among all the nations (Deuteronomy 7:6-8). Rather, God chose these people because of His love for them and His unconditional covenant with Abraham. This doesn’t mean that God loved Israel more than other people, it was just that He intended to use Israel as His means to love and bless everyone. It was God’s plan from the beginning to bring forth the Messiah through Israel to act as the savior for the entire world.
History of Israel: The Biblical Record The history of Israel as detailed in the Bible encompasses around 1800 years. It proclaims a dynamic account of God’s miracles, judgments, promises, and blessings. Israel begins as a unilateral promise to one man, Abraham. For more than 400 years, Abraham and his descendants rely on that promise, even during a significant period of slavery in Egypt. Then, by means of an amazing series of miraculous events, God delivers the Israelites of out Egypt in the Exodus (Hebrew: “a going out”). The Exodus is the occasion that most Jews look to as the foundation of the nation of Israel. The Exodus is the act of deliverance which Israelites dwell on as the demonstration of God’s love and protection of Israel. Once the Exodus was completed, God established a conditional covenant with the Israelites at the Mountain of Sinai. It is there that God proclaimed His Law (the Ten Commandments). It is there that God promises blessings for adherence to His Law and curses for noncompliance. The rest of Israel’s history as recorded in the Bible is a continuing cycle of blessing and punishment for Israel’s obedience and disobedience to God’s Law. Throughout times of victory and defeat, king and judges, priests and prophets, restoration and exile – the Israelites are blessed when they obey God and disciplined when they do not. As a nation, Israel was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. At that time, the Jews scattered throughout the whole world, keeping the hope based on prophetic promises of an eventual regathering to the chosen land God gave to Israel. In 1948, after almost 1900 years had passed, Israel was again declared a sovereign nation and officially reestablished in the promised land. Through a series of miraculous events, including the Jews retaking of Jerusalem in 1967, this generation is witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy with respect to God’s special nation.
History of Israel: God’s Ultimate Purpose Why is so much of the Bible focused on the history of Israel and the future of its people? Why was one nation called out as “God’s chosen people”? These questions are answered when we examine God’s ultimate purpose for Israel. When God made His unconditional promise to Abraham that He would make his descendants a great nation, God also promised to bless all people through that nation (Genesis 12:1-3). Therefore, Israel was never considered a sole recipient of God’s blessings, but rather, a channel for God’s blessings to all mankind. God’s miracles for Israel, such as their dramatic deliverance from Egypt, were intended not only for the Israelites themselves, but as evidence of God’s absolute power and uniqueness for a watching polytheistic world (Exodus 7:5; 14:18; Joshua 2:9-11). The Messiah that would come through the nation of Israel was always intended to be the Savior for all mankind (Isaiah 49:6). The Old Testament also contains many invitations to the entire world to come and worship the one living God in Israel (Psalm 2:10-12; 117:1).
Based on recent events in the Holy Land, it is clear that God’s promise to Abraham is still being fulfilled. Accordingly, God’s promise to bless all peoples through Israel is still absolutely apparent. The teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the growth and influence of His church, were made possible through God’s choice of Israel as His people. All people who accept Jesus as their Messiah, whether Jew or Gentile, receive the great blessings of God channeled through His chosen people, the nation of Israel.
By Jews for Justice in the Middle East Published in Berkeley, CA, 2001 Jews for Justice has made this excellent resource available to people around the world. We have converted their booklet to a more easily copied format. Download it!
As the periodic bloodshed continues in the Middle East, the search for an equitable solution must come to grips with the root cause of the conflict. The conventional wisdom is that, even if both sides are at fault, the Palestinians are irrational terrorists who have no point of view worth listening to. Our position, however, is that the Palestinians have a real grievance: their homeland for over a thousand years was taken, without their consent and mostly by force, during the creation of the state of Israel. And all subsequent crimes on both sides inevitably follow from this original injustice.
This paper outlines the history of Palestine to show how this process occurred and what a moral solution to the regions problems should consist of. If you care about the people of the Middle East, Jewish and Arab, you owe it to yourself to read this account of the other side of the historical record.
The standard Zionist position is that they showed up in Palestine in the late 19th century to reclaim their ancestral homeland. Jews bought land and started building up the Jewish community there. They were met with increasingly violent opposition from the Palestinian Arabs, presumably stemming from the Arabs inherent anti-Semitism. The Zionists were then forced to defend themselves and, in one form or another, this same situation continues up to today.
The problem with this explanation is that it is simply not true, as the documentary evidence in this booklet will show. What really happened was that the Zionist movement, from the beginning, looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the indigenous Arab population so that Israel could be a wholly Jewish state, or as much as was possible. Land bought by the Jewish National Fund was held in the name of the Jewish people and could never be sold or even leased back to Arabs (a situation which continues to the present).
The Arab community, as it became increasingly aware of the Zionists intentions, strenuously opposed further Jewish immigration and land buying because it posed a real and imminent danger to the very existence of Arab society in Palestine. Because of this opposition, the entire Zionist project never could have been realized without the military backing of the British. The vast majority of the population of Palestine, by the way, had been Arabic since the seventh century A.D. (Over 1200 years)
In short, Zionism was based on a faulty, colonialist world view that the rights of the indigenous inhabitants didnt matter. The Arabs opposition to Zionism wasnt based on anti-Semitism but rather on a totally reasonable fear of the dispossession of their people.
One further point: being Jewish ourselves, the position we present here is critical of Zionism but is in no way anti-Semitic. We do not believe that the Jews acted worse than any other group might have acted in their situation. The Zionists (who were a distinct minority of the Jewish people until after WWII) had an understandable desire to establish a place where Jews could be masters of their own fate, given the bleak history of Jewish oppression. Especially as the danger to European Jewry crystalized in the late 1930s and after, the actions of the Zionists were propelled by real desperation.
But so were the actions of the Arabs. The mythic land without people for a people without land was already home to 700,000 Palestinians in 1919. This is the root of the problem, as we shall see.
On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. U.S. President Harry S. Truman recognized the new nation on the same day.
Eliahu Elath presenting ark to President Truman
Although the United States supported the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which favored the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had assured the Arabs in 1945 that the United States would not intervene without consulting both the Jews and the Arabs in that region. The British, who held a colonial mandate for Palestine until May 1948, opposed both the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine as well as unlimited immigration of Jewish refugees to the region. Great Britain wanted to preserve good relations with the Arabs to protect its vital political and economic interests in Palestine.
Soon after President Truman took office, he appointed several experts to study the Palestinian issue. In the summer of 1946, Truman established a special cabinet committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Henry F. Grady, an Assistant Secretary of State, who entered into negotiations with a parallel British committee to discuss the future of Palestine. In May 1946, Truman announced his approval of a recommendation to admit 100,000 displaced persons into Palestine and in October publicly declared his support for the creation of a Jewish state. Throughout 1947, the United Nations Special Commission on Palestine examined the Palestinian question and recommended the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. On November 29, 1947 the United Nations adopted Resolution 181 (also known as the Partition Resolution) that would divide Great Britains former Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Arab states in May 1948 when the British mandate was scheduled to end. Under the resolution, the area of religious significance surrounding Jerusalem would remain a corpus separatum under international control administered by the United Nations.
Although the United States backed Resolution 181, the U.S. Department of State recommended the creation of a United Nations trusteeship with limits on Jewish immigration and a division of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab provinces but not states. The State Department, concerned about the possibility of an increasing Soviet role in the Arab world and the potential for restriction by Arab oil producing nations of oil supplies to the United States, advised against U.S. intervention on behalf of the Jews. Later, as the date for British departure from Palestine drew near, the Department of State grew concerned about the possibility of an all-out war in Palestine as Arab states threatened to attack almost as soon as the UN passed the partition resolution.
Despite growing conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews and despite the Department of States endorsement of a trusteeship, Truman ultimately decided to recognize the state Israel.
Miki Haimovich: Meatless Monday – How to Improve Your Health While Saving the Earth Miki Haimovich is the most famous anchorwoman in Israeli history who founded the Meatless Monday initiative in Israel. Watch to hear her recipe for saving the world through changes in our diet. By: Beyond Conference
Israeli History – Jewish migration to Euro Israeli History – Jewish migration to Europ Israeli History – Jewish migration to Europ Jewish history on the destruction of Ancient Israel in 70 AD and the … Holocaust Torah Memorial Display..
President Obama is alleged to have thwarted an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014 The U.S. threatened to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets and so Netanyahu aborted his plans to attack Iraq Netanyahu will appears in Washington for an address to Congress on Tuesday aimed squarely at derailing Obama’s cherished bid By David Mccormack For Dailymail.com and Associated Press Reporter Published: 00:51 EST, 2 March 2015 | Updated: 00:10 EST, 3 March 2015 1k shares 263 View comments President Obama is alleged to have stopped an Israeli military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2014 by threatening to shoot down Israeli jets before they could reach their targets, according to reports to emerge from the Middle East at the weekend The threat from the U.S. forced Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to abort a planned attack on Iraq, reported Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida.