Official name : State of Israel
Capital : Jerusalem
Currency : New Israelic Shekel (ILS)
Language : Hebrew and Arabic
Inhabitants : 8.000.000
Visa required : NO
Israel is the only country in the Middle East that does not have a Muslim majority, it is also the only country in the world that has a Jewish majority. The country, officially founded in 1948, is smaller than the Netherlands, but hits front pages in newspapers all over the world on a daily base. It is Israel where the foundation was laid for Christianity, before the Jews are seen as the Holy Land but also some of the most sacred places for Muslims. Unsurprisingly, since ancient times, the country we now call Israel and the Palestinian territories is being fought over. The history of ancient Palestine can be described as tragic, turbulent and very complex. The country was temporarily controlled by, among others, Persians (Iranians), Babylonians (Iraqis), Egyptians, Syrians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Europeans (Crusaders), Ottomans and Britons. After WWII when millions of Jews were gassed during the Holocaust, the British Mandate in Palestine was lifted and in 1948 the Jewish State of Israel was founded, immediately followed by the War of Independence. The Arabs label the new situation as the "catastrophe". New wars followed between Israel and its Arab neighbors in 1967 and 1973 over the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Sinai desert was returned to Egypt.
In 1987 and 2000, uprisings broke out among the Palestinian population in the occupied territories, which we would later call the first and second Intifada (literally: shaking). Reasons from the Arabs were the occupation (20 years) in general, poverty, lack of perspective, loss of confidence in the PLO and the increase of Jewish settlements and settlers. Because of the large number of shootings coming from the West Bank and the easy transition for bomb terrorists (who committed a lot of attacks in Israel) the "Knesset" decided to build a security wall. Where the Jews spoke of security for their own people, the Palestinians speak of sharing their people and taking away more Palestinian land. With the construction of the Barrière on Palestinian territory, Israel has already taken a large part of Palestine and 30,500 Palestinians living in this area between the Green Border Line and the Barrier have been cut off from the rest of the Palestinian population on the West Bank. The fact is that since the beginning of the construction of the Barrier the number of attacks has dropped by 90 percent.
Despite "the agreement of Oslo" of 1993, the “Roadmap to Freedom" of 2002 by, among others, US President "Bush" and countless other inactive people, little or nothing has changed since 1967. The plan of a two different countries principle is not implemented or whatsoever. The Jewish settlements in Gaza were removed in 2002, but at the same time they were built further in Jerusalem and the West Bank. There have been major conflicts between the Israeli army on the one hand and the Hamas and other Palestinian rebels in Gaza in the years 2008/2009, 2012 and recently in 2014. In 2015, an atomic treaty was signed between the Western powers and Russia with Iran that would make it impossible for the latter to make a nuclear bomb. The country has threatened to wipe Israel off the map many times in the past. It is not surprising that the Israeli army (IDF); this would have been seen since 1967 as the strongest and most advanced army in the Middle East, a "local superpower". Israel is widely seen as a nuclear power: it possesses nuclear facilities and it is generally assumed that the country is in possession of nuclear warheads. Israel has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and not all nuclear institutions are inspected from the outside. The country maintains a "nuclear ambiguity": it has always denied being in possession of nuclear weapons, but says it has the capacity to produce them.
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