Key Dates in Israel since Its Creation in 1948
Here are some milestones in the history of Israel, founded more than seven decades ago.
- Born through war -
Israel is created in May 1948, formed out of British-ruled Palestine three years after the end of World War II when the Nazis killed more than six million Jews.
Israel immediately comes under attack by its Arab neighbours but repulses them. More than 760,000 Palestinians are driven out or flee, becoming refugees.
In 1956, Israel attacks Egypt alongside Britain and France, which are seeking to overturn the nationalisation of the strategic Suez Canal.
They eventually withdraw under pressure from both the United States and the then Soviet Union.
In June 1967, Israel wins a crushing victory over its Arab neighbours in the Six-Day War, seizing the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt.
In 1973, Egypt and Syria launch a surprise attack on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur to try to win back their lost territories, but are repulsed.
- Peace treaties -
In 1978, Israel and Egypt agree on peace terms after talks brokered by the United States. The Camp David accords are the first peace agreement between Israel and an Arab state.
The peace treaty is signed in 1979 by Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, who is assassinated two years later by Islamists opposed to the deal.
A second peace accord, with Jordan, will follow in 1994.
- Invasion of Lebanon -
In 1978 and again in 1982, Israel invades civil war-wracked Lebanon in a bid to halt cross-border attacks by Palestinian militants.
Israeli-backed Lebanese militiamen kill hundreds of civilians in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps on the outskirts of Beirut.
Israeli troops remain in southern Lebanon until 2000.
In 2006, after the abduction of Israeli soldiers by Shiite militant group Hezbollah, Israel launches a devastating month-long offensive in Lebanon.
- Intifadas -
The first Palestinian intifada, or uprising, erupts in 1987.
It ends in 1993 when Israel agrees to limited Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza as an interim step towards a comprehensive peace agreement.
The deal is sealed with an historic handshake between Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who is assassinated two years later by a Jewish extremist.
The second intifada breaks out in 2000 when right-wing Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon pays a provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in annexed east Jerusalem.
The Israeli army reoccupies much of the West Bank in a series of large-scale military operations and begins building a separation barrier between the two communities that in places cuts deep into occupied territory. The intifada ends in 2005.
- War in Gaza -
In 2005, Israel withdraws all troops and settlers from Gaza after 38 years of occupation. It imposes a crippling blockade after Islamist group Hamas seizes control in 2007.
In 2014, Israel launches a new operation against Gaza, in which 2,251 Palestinians and 74 Israelis are killed.
- Trump's support -
In December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a declaration condemned by the Palestinians who regard east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
In May 2018, Washington transfers its embassy to Jerusalem.
In March 2019, Trump formally recognises Israel's 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.
On January 28, 2020, Trump unveils a controversial Middle East peace plan which provides for the annexation of swathes of the West Bank by Israel.
- Unity government -
On May 17, 2020, after a political crisis lasting more than 500 days, and three general elections in less than a year, Benjamin Netanyahu returns to power under a deal to form an emergency unity government with his election rival Benny Gantz.