There’s no place like home, whether it is the end of a long day at work or the end of a long business trip away from loved ones. However, there is also no place like Israel, a special place in a spiritual sense where the commonly stated sentiment of “visit Israel, you will never be the same” is the understatement of the century.
The Land of Israel, also known as the Holy Land, is the birthplace of the Jewish people and of so many of the biblical stories, and home of religious sites sacred to multiple different world religions. Israel has come captive under various empires over the centuries with Christian threads being woven into the cultural fabric when the Roman Empire gained control over the area in the 4th century. Arab and Muslim empires started leaving their marks on the area in the 7th century, and Muslim influence gradually increased over the centuries leading up to the Crusades. The Ottoman Empire seized the area in the early 1500s until their downfall in the First World War when the British took over the area.
Growing antisemitism in the region fueled the Zionist movement, and this propelled tensions with various Arab nationalist movements claiming rights over the Holy Land. Israel declared her independence in 1948 immediately sparking war with Arab neighbors.
Today it is believed that over 40 percent of the world’s Jewry calls Israel home.
Written by Erin Parfet