Timeline of Modern Israeli History



1860 First Jewish neighborhood, Mishkenot Sha’ananim, built outside Jerusalem’s walls.
1860–1904   Life of Theodor Herzl, father of Zionism.
1866  Jews become a majority in Jerusalem.
1878 First Zionist agricultural settlement, Petah Tikvah, founded.
1882–1903  First Aliyah (immigration to Israel), made up mostly of Eastern European Jews. Settlements of Rishon Lezion, Rosh Pina and Zichron Yaakov founded.
1897 First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl in Basle, Switzerland.
1904–1914  Second Aliyah, consisting mostly of Russian and Polish Jews.
1909 First kibbutz, Degania, founded on the shores of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).
1909 Tel Aviv founded as Hebrew-speaking Jewish city.
1909 HaShomer, the first Jewish self-defense organization, founded to replace Arab guards protecting Jewish settlements.
1916  Great Britain and France secretly sign Sykes-Picot Agreement determining the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire.
1917  Britain issues the Balfour Declaration endorsing a national Jewish homeland in Palestine.
1919–1923  Approximately 40,000 Jews arrive from Russia for the Third Aliyah.
1920  Histadrut (Jewish labor federation) and Haganah (Jewish defense organization) founded.
1920  Va’ad Leumi (National Council) founded to conduct affairs of the Yishuv (pre-state Jewish community of Israel).
1921  First moshav, Nahalal, founded in Jezreel Valley.
1922   League of Nations grants Britain Mandate for Palestine, with Transjordan comprising 75% of the area and the Jewish national home 25%.
1924–1929  Fourth Aliyah brings more than 80,000 Jews to Palestine, mostly from Poland.
1925  Hebrew University of Jerusalem opens.
Aug 1929  Arab militants kill 67 Jews in Hebron massacre.
1929   Ze’ev Jabotinsky forms and leads Irgun Zva’i Leumi (Etzel), an underground Jewish militia.
1933–1939  Fifth Aliyah bring nearly 25,000 German Jews to Palestine.
1936–1939  Arab militants instigate anti-Jewish riots.
1941  Lohamei Herut Yisrael (Lehi), underground armed resistance movement, formed.
1941   Palmach, the striking force of the Haganah, organized.
1945   Arab boycott of companies doing business with Jews begins.
1947   UN proposes establishment of two separate states for the Arabs and the Jews; Jews accept, Arabs reject.
May 1948  Establishment of the State of Israel.
1948–1949  Israel’s War of Independence.
1948   Creation of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
1948–1952  Mass immigration of Holocaust survivors and Jews from Arab countries.
1949  Armistice agreements signed with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Jerusalem declared capital of Israel and divided under Israeli and Jordanian rule. First Knesset elected, led by David Ben-Gurion. Israel admitted to UN as 59th member.
1951  Jordan’s King Abdullah, seen by some Arabs as too friendly towards Israel, assassinated at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
1956  Sinai Campaign fought to end terrorist incursions into Israel and to remove the Egyptian blockade of Israeli port of Eilat.
1960  Adolf Eichmann captured in Argentina by the Israeli Mossad and brought to Israel for trial.
1964   Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) established.
1964   National Water Carrier built to bring water from Lake Kinneret to the semi-arid south.
1967   Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser closes Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping.
1967  Six Day War leads to reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli rule.
1967  Arab states declare “No peace or negotiations with Israel” at Khartoum Conference.
Nov 1967  UN Security Council Resolution 242 establishes principles to guide negotiations for future Arab-Israeli peace settlement.
1967–1970  Egypt’s War of Attrition in Sinai against Israel.
1968   Jews return to Gush Etzion for first time since its capture by Jordan in 1948, and to Hebron, abandoned after Hebron massacre in 1929.
1970  “Black September” – King Hussein of Jordan moves to eject the PLO following power struggles and near civil war.
Sept 1972  Arab terrorists murder 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team in Munich Massacre.
1973   Surprise attack on Israel by Egypt and Syria triggers Yom Kippur War.
Oct 1973   UN Security Council Resolution 338 calls upon all parties to cease fighting immediately, implement Resolution 242, and begin peace negotiations.
1975  UN adopts Resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism.
June 1976   Israel mounts heroic rescue of hostages taken to Entebbe, Uganda.
1977  After 30 years of Labor Party domination of Israel, Likud Party led by Menachem Begin takes over.
Nov 1977   Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visits Jerusalem and speaks in the Knesset.
March 1978  Israel invades Lebanon (Operation Litani); UN Security Council Resolution 425 calls for Israeli withdrawal.
Sept 17,1978   Camp David Accords set framework for peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and comprehensive peace agreement in the Middle East.
March 26,1979   Israel and Egypt sign peace treaty.  
1979  Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat win Nobel Peace Prize.
June 1981  Israel destroys Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak shortly before it becomes active.
1981  Terrorists assassinate Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. Hosni Mubarak becomes Egyptian president 
1982  Operation Peace for Galilee attempts to drive PLO out of Lebanon.
1982   Israel successfully evacuates PLO from Beirut as part of U.S.-brokered agreement  
Sept 1982  Christian Phalange forces kill hundreds in refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.
1983  Kahan Commission finds Ariel Sharon and others indirectly responsible for massacres of Sabra and Shatila.
1983  Israel begins partial withdrawal from Lebanon.
April 1983  Hezbollah homicide bomber attacks U.S. marine headquarters in Beirut, killing 241 Americans.
1987–1991  First Intifada begins with Palestinian rioting against Israel.
1990–1991  Iraqi missiles fall on Israel in First Gulf War as US pushes Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. Palestinians support Saddam Hussein.
Oct 1991   Madrid Peace Conference aims for peaceful resolution of the Middle East conflict.
Dec 1991   UN rescinds Resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism.
1992  Yitzhak Rabin leads new Labor Party government.
1992   Attack on Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires kills 29 and injures hundreds.
Sept 13,1993   Israel and Palestinian leadership announce Oslo Declaration of Principles.
Oct 26,1994   Israel and Jordan sign peace treaty.
1994   Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat win Nobel Peace Prize.
Nov 4,1995  Right-wing Israeli fanatic assassinates Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at peace rally in Tel Aviv  
1996  Yasser Arafat becomes president of Palestinian Authority, winning its first and only election with 90% of the vote.
Sept 1996  Violence erupts when archeological tunnel opens alongside Temple Mount, claiming nearly 70 Israeli and Palestinian lives.
1998   Israel celebrates 50 years of statehood.
May 2000   Israel unilaterally withdraws troops from Lebanon. UN certifies Israel is in compliance with Resolution 425.
2000  Birthright Israel begins sending thousands of Jewish young adults to Israel on free trips.
July 2000  Camp David Summit – Yasser Arafat rejects final peace settlement offer by Israeli PM Ehud Barak and President Clinton that would have created Palestinian state on 95%+ of Palestinian territories.
Sept 28,2000  Second Intifada begins when Palestinians use Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount as trigger for planned riots.
Jan 2001   Peace talks at Taba in Sinai Peninsula end after Arafat accuses Israel of being “fascist.”  
Feb 6,2001  Ariel Sharon becomes prime minister by largest margin in Israeli history.
2001  Mitchell Commission issues recommendations for restoring peace and resuming negotiations; Israel accepts the report in full.
Sept 11,2001  al-Qaeda attacks World Trade Center in New York. Palestinians celebrate while most of the world mourns and expresses outrage. President Bush announces war on terror.
Oct 17,2001   Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine assassinates Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi. Israel sends troops into six Palestinian cities to reduce terrorist activity.
Dec 12,2001   Israeli cabinet declares Arafat “no longer relevant” after series of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.
Jan 2002  Israel captures Karine-A ship filled with 50 tons of illegal arms bound for Palestinian Authority.
Mar 2002   Saudi Prince Abdullah announces peace plan calling for Israel to withdraw from “occupied territories” in exchange for Arab recognition and “normalized” relations.
Mar–Apr 2002  Israel responds to series of suicide bombings by arresting key Palestinian leaders and imprisoning Arafat in his Ramallah compound. Palestinians issue false reports of “massacre” in Jenin refugee camp.
June 24, 2002  President Bush insists Palestinian Authority be reformed and current leaders replaced prior to Israeli withdrawal and discussions of Palestinian statehood.
Jan 2003  Ariel Sharon elected to second term as Prime Minister.
June 2003   President Bush secures agreement of Israelis and Palestinians to Roadmap for Peace. Terrorist groups announce ceasefire.
Aug 2003   Homicide bombings resume, followed shortly by resignation of Palestinian PM Mahmoud Abbas. Israel accelerates building of security barrier.
Jan 2004   Israeli leftists and some Palestinians sign the Geneva Accord. Likud government announces plans for unilateral disengagement.
Aug 2004  Yasser Arafat dies.
Aug 2005  Israeli government withdraws thousands of settlers and tens of thousands of soldiers from the Gaza Strip. Shortly thereafter, Palestinians begin an almost daily barrage of rockets against Israeli towns and villages.
June 2006  Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit kidnapped in cross border raid on Gaza border. Israel begins a defensive action to rescue him.
July 2006  Hezbollah executes cross border raid on Lebanese border, killing and wounding several Israeli soldiers, and kidnapping two. Israel responds, and a 34-day war ensues.
Aug 2006   International forces and Lebanese army secure border with Israel.  
Sept 2006  Israeli intelligence reports that Hezbollah has begun to re-arm.
Dec 2006   Worldwide condemnation of Iran conference to deny the Holocaust.
Dec 2006  Baker-Hamilton report criticized for linking Israel/Palestinians with Iraq crisis.
Jan 2007   Palestinian movements of Hamas and Fatah try to end intra-community violence and form unity government.
Jan 2007   Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert backs away from disengagement plan in light of instability in Palestinian leadership.
Jan 2007  Palestinian suicide bomber kills, maims Israelis in first-ever attack in Israeli seaside resort of Eilat.
Mar 2007  Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair becomes the Quartet’s Mideast envoy.
Spring 2007  Ehud Barak becomes head of Israel's Labor Party. Benjamin Netanyahu declared to lead Likud Party in the next Israeli national elections.
May 2007  U.S. announces massive arms packages to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and promises Israel on safeguards against Saudi arms.
June 2007   Summit meeting of Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to challenge Hamas takeover of Gaza.
July 2007   President Bush announces November peace conference. Syria makes noises about re-starting peace negotiations with Israel.
Sept 2007   Israeli government reports a year of low unemployment, high productivity, low inflation and high foreign investment.
Nov 2007   President Bush brings Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Annapolis, Maryland for a summit meeting. Many other leaders from the Arab world, Europe and elsewhere join in, as the Israelis and Palestinians commit to a renewed peace process. 
Jan 2008   President Bush makes the historic first visit to Israel of a U.S. President. He visits the Yad VaShem Holocaust museum and several Christian sites. He commits to visiting again during the spring celebration of ’s 60th birthday. 
Feb 2008   Palestinian rioters in Gaza breach the Egyptian border fence, resulting in chaos. Israel fortifies its border in response.  
Mar 2008  A terrorist murderer kills eight yeshiva students in Jerusalem attack. Millions in Israel and around the world mourn the loss of innocent lives.
May 2008  Secret peace talks between Syrian and Israel are revealed. Record number of tourists visit Israel, heralding a record year for tourism industry.  
May 2008   President Bush and scores of world leaders visit Israel to celebrate the Jewish State's 60th birthday
June 2008  Egypt negotiates ceasefire holding Hamas to end its rocket and mortar fire and sniping on Jewish border communities.  
Dec 2008   Hamas ends ceasefire. Israel responds with several-week air and ground operation in Gaza.  
Feb 2009   Israel holds elections for new Knesset.
Summer 2009   Palestinian rioters in Gaza breach the Egyptian border fence, resulting in chaos. Israel fortifies its border in response.  
Autumn 2009    Israel institutes a settlement freeze to entice the Palestinians to the negotiating table. They refuse. 
Autumn 2009     United Nations passes Goldstone Report, which charges Israel with war crimes in Gaza. (Within 12 months, the report’s author retracts his main charge.)  
May 2010   Violent participants on a ship bound for Gaza attack Israeli soldiers. Some are killed in the response.
Sept 2010  Palestinians and Israelis meet, but Palestinians soon walk out, demanding another settlement freeze.
Oct 2010   Palestinians put in motion a plan to ask the United Nations for recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
Winter 2010-11    "Arab Spring" revolts break out in several countries. Palestinians in Israel and surrounding countries also protest, and some try to storm Israel’s borders. Later, there are several terror attacks and an attack on Israel’s embassy in Cairo, Egypt.  
Winter 2011  The Iron Dome, a defense system jointly developed by Israel and the U.S., is deployed in southern Israel to defend against Hamas rockets.
May 2011   Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu receives multiple standing ovations while addressing a joint session of Congress.
Summer 2011 Social justice protests begin in Tel Aviv and spread to all areas of the country. The protests are put on mainly by Israelis in their twenties and thirties protesting high consumer prices, housing shortages and inequities in government benefits. Protests include pitching and living in tents in public spaces, “stroller marches” and nighttime rallies.
Sept 2011 Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), approaches the UN Security Council in a bid for full membership in the UN General Assembly. Not enough “yes” votes are received, bid does not go through.
Oct 2011 Gilad Shalit is released after almost five years in captivity as part of an agreement with Hamas. Shalit was returned in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian and Israeli-Arab prisoners.
March 2012 More than 200 rockets are fired from Gaza within a four-day period. Attacks put 1,000,000 Israelis in danger.
May 2012

Prime Minister Netanyahu restructures his ruling coalition by including Kadima party. Knesset approves. Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz is sworn in as one of Netanyahu’s deputy prime ministers.

 June 2012              Mohammed Morsi Muslim Brotherhood victory in election in Egypt deeply concerns Israel

 Nov. 2012              Rocket fire from Gaza catapults Israel into major confrontation with Hamas, with many casualties on both sides.

 Dec. 2012              Prime Minister Netanyahu calls for elections in early 2013.

 Spring 2013           Benjamin Netanyahu re-elected to head Israel's ruling coalition government

 Late Spring 2013    President Barack Obama makes first visit to Israel as U.S. President

 Summer 2013        U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry begins effort to bring Israelis, Palestinians to the peace table

 Spring 2014          After many fits and starts, the Kerry peace process fails

 Summer 2014       Largest conflict to date between Israel and Hamas lasts 50 days. Lasting ceasefire is goal. Int'l community pledges to re-build Gaza.

                            Throughout 2014, Israel's Ultra Orthodox Jewish community protests new requirements for army service by men.

Winter 2015           Islamic State increases its power and land control, worrying Israel which borders Syria

Spring 2015           Benjamin Netanyahu is elected to a fourth term as Israel's prime minister. He addresses U.S. Congress on topic of Iran nuclear threat.

Summer 2015        Iran nuclear deal is signed. Israel and large segment of American Jewish community oppose it.

Autumn 2015         New wave of violence begins, as Palestinians attack Israelis in the streets using knives, cars and attempted kidnappings.

Autumn 2015         Jonathan Pollard, convicted in the 1980s of spying for Israel, is released from prison.

2016                     Obama administration conducts Israeli-Palestinian talks, which fail in Spring. Israel's Knesset studies the world-wide increase of anti-Semitism. Anti-Israel boycott resolutions           fail at several university student governments, including at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The United Nations continues its bias by passing several anti-Israel resolutions.