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Israel is a small country in southwestern Asia that was founded in 1948 as a sanctuary for Jews from all parts of the world Israel lies along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea and is bordered by Syria and Lebanon to the north Egypt to the southwest and Jordan to the east Jerusalem is the capitol and the largest city in Israel It is considered by many faiths to be the holiest city in the world Israel and the Jews have been oppressed often and have numerously beaten the odds to get to the point that they are at today Israel makes up most of what was considered by the Old-Testament to be the holy land According to the bible Abraham who some consider to be the first Jew was promised by God a place where his descendants could live Many scholars believe that Israel is that holy land and that sometime between 1800 and 1500 BC Abraham established the first Jewish population there Eventually Israel fell to a procession of conquerors In 63 BC the Jews were attacked and beaten by the Romans The Jews followed with revolts that were unsuccessful and consequently most of the Jews were forced by the Romans to leave The Romans gave Israel the name Palestine Palestine was ruled by Rome and then the Byzantine Empire until the 7th century when the Arabs took over From then until the mid-1900s when Israel became a state it was inhabited mostly by Arabs Israel became a state in 1948 but the movement to create a Jewish homeland called Zionism started in the 1890s One of the trailblazers on this subject was Chaim Weizmann a Russian-born chemist and Zionist leader who in 1949 became the first president of modern Israel Weizmann was a key factor in getting the Balfour Declaration signed by the British The Balfour Declaration was a letter issued in 1917 during World War I by foreign
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