History of the Jews - summary from 750 BC to Israel-Palestine conflict

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Mar 14, 2018


History of the Jews - summary from 750 BC to Israel-Palestine conflict
History of the Jews - summary from 750 BC to Israel-Palestine conflict thumb History of the Jews - summary from 750 BC to Israel-Palestine conflict thumb History of the Jews - summary from 750 BC to Israel-Palestine conflict thumb


  • A century ago, a conflict arose which would quickly become
  • one of the most complex and controversial in the world.
  • A conflict between two very different people for the same territory.
  • To understand its origins, let's retrace the history of the Jewish people on a map.
  • The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be explained in a following video.
  • The story begins in 750 BC
  • when the Near East was divided into many small kingdoms and city-states.
  • They were wedged between the Assyrian Empire to the north and Egypt in the south.
  • Among them was the Kingdom of Israel whose people worshipped several gods, including Yahweh.
  • In 722 BC, the capital Samaria fell to the Assyrian empire.
  • Part of the population then fled to the Kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem.
  • But they would be followed by the Assyrian army as they continued their expansion towards the south.
  • The region then remains under their control for a century until the fall of Nineveh to the Babylonians.
  • Egypt and Babylon would then compete for territories of the old empire.
  • But the Babylonians quickly take over and project their power in the region.
  • Jerusalem resists this new rule and rebels.
  • The Babylonian army then returns to besiege and destroy the city.
  • Much of the population is then moved to the capital.
  • In 539 BC, the Achaemenid Persian empire takes over Babylon.
  • The new king authorizes a free passage for Judeans, prompting many to return to Jerusalem.
  • They would then rebuild the city and organize the foundations of Jewish culture
  • by building the Temple of Solomon and writing the Torah.
  • In 334 BC, the ambitious young Macedonian king, Alexander the Great,
  • set out with his army to conquer the known world.
  • In just over 10 years, he rakes up a huge territory and builds many cities.
  • But, exhausted by conquest, he died at age 32 in Babylon without an heir of governing age.
  • The empire was then divided by his generals into various Hellenic kingdoms.
  • Judea came under the control of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
  • A Jewish community settles in the new city of Alexandria and the Torah is translated into Greek.
  • Following a war against the Seleucid dynasty,
  • Hellenic and Jewish culture developed friction to the point that
  • one of the altars of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem was dedicated to the worship of Zeus.
  • A traditionalist, anti-Hellenic Jewish militia is organized and takes control of Jerusalem in 164 BC.
  • The temple is restored and the kingdom of Judea becomes independent.
  • A century later the region was conquered by the Roman army.
  • The Judeans would organize two major revolts against the new regime, which were violently crushed.
  • The first revolt in 66 provoked the siege of Jerusalem followed by the destruction of its temple.
  • The only wall of the enclosure that survived would become known as the Wailing Wall.
  • During the second revolt, the city was razed and a great part of the population slaughtered.
  • This time, the Jews were forbidden a safe passage to Judea.
  • Many migrated to Galilee and across the empire.
  • Towards the end of the Roman empire, Christianity was the dominant religion
  • and Jerusalem a place of pilgrimage.
  • The largely well-to-do Jewish community in the Mediterranean Basin
  • began to be persecuted, especially in the Visigoths and Byzantine empires.
  • In the 7th century, following the birth of Islam, begins an Arab conquest.
  • In some cases Jews support the conquest in the hope of better conditions.
  • They are tolerated by the Arabs and only polytheistic peoples are forcibly converted.
  • In Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock is built, making the city holy to the three monotheistic religions.
  • The Arabs arrive at the Iberian Peninsula, which they call Al-Andalus.
  • Here, 5% of the population is Jewish, ushering in a golden age of culture.
  • Meanwhile in Europe, Jews are not only tolerated as people who witnessed times before Christ,
  • but also as the sole traders between Catholics and Muslims.
  • This allows Jews to gradually establish themselves in all of Western Europe.
  • In the 11th century, the Seljuk Turks, a Central Asian people,
  • began their expansion and reached Jerusalem.
  • They persecute Christians and forbid pilgrimages to the city.
  • In response, Christians in Europe organized crusades --
  • military and religious expeditions to the holy city.
  • Along the way, they massacred Jewish communities
  • who they now consider a deicide people, who killed Jesus Christ.
  • In 1347, Genoese merchant boats from Caffa helped spread the Black Death.
  • In five years, the disease wreaks havoc in Europe, killing almost half its population.
  • A rumor spreads accusing Jews of poisoning wells,
  • resulting in their persecution mainly along the Rhine and Rhone region and their eventual expulsion.
  • In Spain, the Reconquista ends. The Catholic kings serve an ultimatum to the Jews to either convert or leave.
  • The majority, who choose to leave, settle along the Mediterranean coast,
  • mainly in the Ottoman Empire, where they are welcomed.
  • The Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth becomes a haven for Jews from Western Europe
  • due to favourable migration policies.
  • In the 17th century, the region hosts more than 300,000 or about half of the Jews in the world.
  • But everything changed in 1648 with the revolt of the Cossacks Ukrainian peasants
  • against the nobility and the Jews.
  • They accused the Jews of having a privileged relationship with those in power.
  • More than 100,000 Jewish people are killed or flee the region.
  • This episode would weaken the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth,
  • besieged on all sides by neighboring powers.
  • In 150 years, the region falls and its territory is carved up.
  • The Jewish community is divided and 900,000 of them find themselves in the Russian empire,
  • where they are not welcome.
  • They quickly become the targets of attacks called "pogroms" -- a Russian term meaning "devastation".
  • Given the lack of response from authorities, these attacks become more frequent and deadly.
  • The Jews then emigrated to the United States and Western Europe,
  • which in the meantime, has improved their living conditions.
  • It is in this context that the first Zionist Congress is held in Basel in 1897,
  • contemplating the founding of a new homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine.
  • But the Ottoman Empire is fiercely opposed to the project.
  • A few years later, the First World War breaks out.
  • The Ottoman Empire fought alongside Germany.
  • When the Allies were in trouble and desperately sought further support,
  • the then-British minister of Foreign Affairs Arthur Balfour wrote an open letter,
  • promising a Jewish homeland in Palestine in return for Jewish support.
  • In parallel, they support the Arab rebellion against the Ottoman Empire
  • by promising them independence in the liberated territories.
  • At the end of the war, the map of the Middle East was redrawn and divided up between the European powers.
  • Palestine comes under the British mandate,
  • marking the beginning of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...

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Let's look at a map and retrace the history and major events of the Jewish people throughout the world.

Part two of this video is titled "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict" and was posted in March 2018, summarising the conflict since 1917. /watch?v=0vwkfJb7FEc

English translation & voiceover : Rahul Venkit https://www.rahulvenkit.com/

Original video in French: /watch?v=aXvB_SJlsu8

Music: Spookster - Wayne Jones (From YouTube library)

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