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Israel Education Facts


The level of education is high in Israel, but there are major differences. Especially the schools for Arab students and for ultra-Orthodox Jewish children are considered in need of greater resources.

Preschool from the age of three and compulsory school / high school between 5 and 17 years are compulsory. The state primary school has four variants: two secular for Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking students and two Jewish religious, one of which is aimed at the ultra-Orthodox. The schools are separate and they have partly different curricula.

The tuition is free in the public school system. There are also ultra-Orthodox schools outside the public system.

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School week begins on Sunday. It fits in with both Jewish weekend celebrations (from Friday night to Saturday night) and Muslim weekend celebrations (Friday).

The school system was originally intended to equalize social differences. Nevertheless, Ashkenazs (Jews of European descent) are, on average, better educated than Sephardim (Jews with a background in North Africa or the Middle East). The Arabs have the shortest education, but Christian Arabs have significantly better study results than Muslims. The schools of ultra-Orthodox Jews attach great importance to the study of religious doctrine, but are criticized for not preparing students for the demands of the labor market. Arab and ultra-Orthodox students quit school much earlier than students in other schools, and they often quit without having obtained a degree that gives them the right to continue reading. It is precisely the two population groups that are furthest from the labor market, and it may be more difficult for them than others to find a job despite educational ambitions. Arab and ultra-Orthodox youth do not do military service either, the cove in many cases being an entry ticket to a job. In Arab schools, the classes are larger, but even the average class size in the elementary school (27 students in 2016) is larger in Israel than in other countries within the OECD partner organization.

In a study published in 2017, the research institute Shoresh found that both ultra-Orthodox and Arab parents in the 2000s began putting their children in other schools to give them greater chances of getting good education. The OECD has estimated that schools for both of these groups are under-funded – they need greater resources to be able to raise the quality of teaching. The Abraham Fund is a private initiative that, through grants and support programs, has sought to strengthen Arab access to education.

Examinations are done through degree writing rather are continuous during the academic year. In the so-called Pisa tests, which are conducted in OECD countries, Israel has tended to rank below average – but with improved results in recent years. Mathematics is a subject that is of great importance in Israeli schools. Teaching Hebrew is compulsory in all schools. Arabic was previously voluntary for children who did not have the language as their mother tongue, but have in recent years been introduced as a compulsory subject.

A very large part of Israel’s population is college educated: almost half of the adults, even if different age groups are compared. There are over 60 institutions of higher education.

Adult education is well developed, especially for immigrants. Immediately upon arrival, they receive intensive instruction in Hebrew and in Israeli social life.

Refugee children in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel attend elementary schools run by UN (UNRWA), with funding from other countries.

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Proportion of children starting primary school

97.0 percent (2017)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

12 (2016)

Reading and writing skills

91.8 percent (1983)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

15.0 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

15.0 percent (2015)



Annexation of the West Bank targets for Likud

December 31st

Likud Central Committee of the Government adopts a resolution calling on the party’s MPs to work for an annexation of the West Bank that Israel occupied in 1967. According to the resolution text, the parliamentarians are to “work for unrestricted construction and extended Israeli sovereignty in the liberated Judaic areas in the liberated settlement areas” According to the Times of Israel, it is unclear whether the phrase “the liberated settlements” refers to the entire West Bank or just the existing settlements there. The resolution is not binding on Likud but puts more pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu who is not present at the vote.

Continued demonstrations against Netanyahu

December 23

Thousands of Israelis take part in an anti-corruption march in Tel Aviv. It is the fourth Saturday in a row and this Saturday a demonstration is also held in Jerusalem. The background is the allegations of corruption made against Prime Minister Netanyahu in the past year (see 3 Decembe r). Even one of Netanyahu’s close allies, David Bitan, who leads the government coalition in Kness, is suspected of corruption. Bitan has been charged with contacts with organized crime during his time as deputy mayor of the city of Rishon Lezion.

Trump’s Jerusalem decision condemned in the UN

December 19

US vetoes against a resolution in the UN Security Council condemning the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and requires that it be repealed. The other members of the Security Council vote in favor of the resolution. Three days later, on December 22, the UN General Assembly adopts a resolution with the same content with 128 votes to 9. However, the decision will have no practical significance.

The United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

December 6

US President Donald Trump announces that he recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and orders the US Foreign Ministry to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, but no other country has recognized it; all the embassies are located in Tel Aviv for the sake of the Palestinians who want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. According to a law passed by the US Congress in 1995, the embassy would be relocated by then, but all presidents before Trump have used the opportunity to postpone the move six months at a time so as not to interfere with attempts to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Trump also pushed for the move when the issue first arose during his tenure, in June 2017. Trump now says he has come to the conclusion that recognition is “the best way to promote attempts to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians”. The Israeli government welcomes the message and Prime Minister Netanyahu calls December 6 a “historic day” but the outside world is of a different opinion. The decision is not only condemned by Palestinians and surrounding Arab countries. Other major Muslim countries also criticize Trump, as does Russia and the EU. Palestinian President Abbas states that the United States can no longer act as mediator. He has previously warned that a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would have “devastating consequences”. The decision triggers large demonstrations in several countries and causes unrest in the West Bank and Gaza. Unrest flares up occasionally throughout December. Thirteen Gazabs lose their lives,

Tens of thousands march against corruption

December 3

Tens of thousands of Israelis demonstrate in Tel Aviv and demand that the corruption investigations against Prime Minister Netanyahu be hurried. Netanyahu is suspected to have received luxury goods from affluent sympathizers. He is also being investigated for attempting to enter into a secret agreement with the daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth to obtain favorable press coverage. In exchange, Netanyahu would put a stop to one of Yedioth Ahronoth’s competitors. In another investigation, concerning questionable submarine deals with Germany, Netanyahu has been heard as a witness but not as a suspect. Netanyahu himself dismisses all accusations and claims that his political opponents are throwing him away.

Attack on weapons stockpiles in Syria

December 2

On December 2 and 4, Israel launches several attacks against targets in Syria, reports both Syrian state media and SOHR. The attacks are mainly aimed at weapons stockpiles, but also a research center near Damascus is bombed.


Saudi Arabia is offered cooperation

November 16

Israeli Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot states that Israel is ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia to confront “Iran’s plans to control the Middle East”. Eisenkot says that “we are prepared to share experience with the moderate Arab countries and exchange intelligence information to respond to Iran”. He is interviewed by Elaph news site run by a Saudi businessman. Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic relations, but there have been several signs recently that the countries are developing a foreign policy cooperation behind the scenes. A few days later, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz states that Israel is secretly having relations with many Arab states and Muslim countries. Prime Minister Netanyahu has also on several occasions spoken of a rapprochement with “moderate Arabs”


Seven dead when Gaza tunnel exploded

October 30th

The militant Islamist movement Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip announces that seven people were killed and twelve injured when Israel blasted an underground tunnel that ran from Gaza into southern Israel. Hamas has previously used tunnels to enter Israel and carry out attacks, but most of the tunnels were destroyed during the recent war between Israel and Hamas in 2014. Since then, hardly any tunnels have been discovered.

Israeli-Palestinian meeting under US auspices

October 29th

Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s special envoy for international negotiations, says he had a fruitful meeting with Palestinians and Israelis in the city of Ramallah on the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The meeting was attended by Rami Hamdallah, Palestinian head of government, Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and one of Israel’s most prominent military, Major General Yoav Mordechai. According to Greenblatt, meaningful progress was made in key economic issues that benefit the peace process such as customs and investment. The Palestinian news agency Wafa announces that the talks were about Israeli housing, the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and joint economic projects. According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, this was the second time in six months that these people met.

US stops voting on Greater Jerusalem

October 28

Prime Minister Netanyahu postpones a planned vote on a bill that aims to expand Jerusalem’s city limits so that large settlements on the West Bank end up in the city. Both Israeli and US sources state that the reason Netanyahu is changing is US opposition to the proposal. The outside world views all Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank as illegal and the adoption of the bill would probably cause an international outcry. Critics of the law mean that it involves annexing the settlements in question: Maale Adumim, Beitar Illit, Efrat, Givat Zeev, and Gush Etzion. Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, who has driven the proposal, says that incorporating the settlements would strengthen Jerusalem’s Jewish majority with 150,000 new residents.

Ultra Orthodox demonstrates against military duty

October 19

Several thousand ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrate in Jerusalem against the state’s plans for future military service (see September 2017 and November 2015). The protesters block a major intersection in the central part of the city and erect burning barricades in several districts. Police arrest 120 of the protesters.

The Labor Party gives new signals about settlements

October 17

Avi Gabbay, leader of the Labor Party, stirs some resentment when he says that a future peace settlement with the Palestinians does not necessarily mean that Israeli settlements must be evacuated. “If you enter into a peace agreement, you can find solutions that mean that settlements do not need to be dissolved,” says Gabbay in a TV interview. The statement can be interpreted as a departure from the Labor Party’s previous line and criticized by the Peace Now peace movement, which believes that Gabbay is committed to bringing public opinion behind the light because such a development will never be able to take place. Others criticize Gabbay for merely giving the impression of having changed policies to win support among voters who moved to the right. The criticism forces Gabbay to publicly express his support for a two-state solution after the interview. It happens on November 1st,

No to negotiations with Hamas

October 17

The Israeli government will not negotiate with a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas unless the Islamist movement recognizes the state of Israel and renounces violence. The guidelines have been set by the security cabinet of the Israeli government, which sets a number of conditions for negotiations.

“Hot line” about Syria

October 16

Israeli fighter aircraft are fired into Lebanese airspace by Syrian air defense and attack the air defense battery east of Damascus. The Israeli military emphasizes its willingness to avoid escalating the situation. During the civil war in Syria, Israel admitted air strikes aimed at knocking out weapons supplies for Lebanese Hezbollah, which supports the Assad regime. With Russia, which also acts militarily on Assad’s side, Israel has established a “hot line” to avert situations that could aggravate the conflict.

Older buildings excavated

October 16

Israeli archaeologists at Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City have unearthed part of the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall), a remnant of the wall that surrounded a Jewish temple destroyed by the Romans in 70. At the excavation, a circular building from Roman times was found, perhaps intended for public performances.

Skepticism against Palestinian agreement

October 12

Secular Fatah, which governs the West Bank, and Islamist Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, conclude agreements aimed at ending the dissent between the organizations. According to the agreement, the Palestinian Authority resumes the administration of the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Authority on December 1. The Israeli government sees the agreement as an obstacle to peace; Hamas has not recognized Israel and it has not been decided what will happen to Hamas armed branch.

Withdrawal from Unesco

October 12

Israel, like the United States, leaves the UN organization Unesco accused of holding an anti-Israeli line. Among other things, UNESCO is responsible for the acclaimed international World Heritage List. In 2011, the organization occupied Palestine as a Member State.

Construction boom in settlements

October 10

In 2017, Israel plans to provide a clear sign for a total of about 12,000 new homes in Jewish settlements on the occupied West Bank, four times as many as 2016, an official said. Among the plans, which have advanced in various ways, are housing in Hebron, the first project there since 2002.

The US is waiting for the embassy move

October 8

President Donald Trump is waiting to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The controversial move was one of Trump’s election promises. He now says he wants to prioritize efforts to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians.


New base in secret location

September 18

A joint US-Israeli robot defense facility, the first of its kind on Israeli soil, is inaugurated. The exact location in southern Israel is not revealed.

HD wants to change the law of conscription

September 12

The Supreme Court rejects a law that exempts ultra-Orthodox Jews who study at religious seminars from military service. The decision may lead to the fact that even ultra-Orthodox must do military service. When the exemption was introduced in the 1940s, it included only 400 students. Today, the ultra-Orthodox proportion of the population is growing.

New bomb board against base in Syria

September 7

Syria states that Israeli aircraft bombed a military facility in the western part of the country, killing two people who worked there. The plant includes, among other things, a research center that, according to the United States, produced the gas used in a nuclear weapons attack against a village in April (see Syria’s calendar). As a rule, Israel does not comment on military activities in Syria, nor does it happen this time.

The settlers in Hebron are strengthened

1 September

The army gives the settlers in the old town of Hebron the right to set up an administration to take care of the daily management of the settler colony. So far, the settlements in Hebron have been governed by a local council that has no legal basis. About 200,000 Palestinians and 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron. The organization Fred Now, which oversees the housing policy, criticizes the measure and says it “formalizes an apartheid system in the city”.


HD stops disputed ground teams

August 17th

The Supreme Court halted the implementation of the law passed in February 2017 that would allow the state to expropriate private Palestinian land for settlements (see February 2017). The law has been condemned worldwide and the UN envoy for the peace process in the Middle East has said that Israel will cross “a thick red line” if the law is applied. The law is put on ice after the leaders of 23 Palestinian villages as well as a number of voluntary organizations, including Israeli Peace Now and Yesh Din, have filed petitions against the law.

Bad news for Netanyahu

5 August

Police announce that a deal has been concluded with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s former Chief of Staff, Ari Harow, who is now a witness in the ongoing police investigations surrounding Netanyahu. The Prime Minister is partly accused of bribery and partly for trying to stop criticism in the media (see January 2017). The cooperation with Harow increases the likelihood that the police will recommend that Netanyahu be brought to justice.


Israel backs the Temple Mount

July 25

The Israeli government announces that, on the recommendation of the country’s security services, the ministers have decided to remove the metal detectors from Haram al-Sharif / Temple Mount and use advanced technology and other methods to conduct surveillance instead. This raises concerns among Palestinians who, immediately after the message, continue to refuse to enter the area. Two days later, however, the Palestinians end their boycott after Israel removed the last pieces of surveillance equipment.

Scots drama at Israeli embassy

23 July

Israeli relations with Jordan are damaged when a security guard at the Israeli embassy in Jordan’s capital Amman shoots two Jordanians to death. The gunfire is triggered when a Jordanian chops the security guard in the back with a screwdriver. The Jordanian was under supervision in an apartment the embassy rented where he would assemble some ordered furniture. In the riot that ensues, the owner of the apartment is also killed. The events lead to Israel withdrawing all its personnel from the embassy in Amman.

Unrest around Temple Mount

July 21st

When a minister announces that the metal detectors at the entrance to Temple Mount will not be removed, clashes between police and Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank occur. Over the next 24 hours five Palestinians are killed and hundreds injured. The police are screening among those who come to pray near the Temple Mount by banning men younger than 50 from entering the Old Town.

In an incident on the West Bank that can be linked to the events around the Temple Mount, three settlers – an elderly man and his two grandchildren – are killed. The perpetrator who was shot dead in connection with the attack had mentioned on Facebook the Temple Mount and wrote that he wanted to be a martyr.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas says he will freeze all relations with Israel until the surveillance equipment at Temple Mount is removed.

Bill on compromise on Jerusalem

July 16

In a first vote, the Knesset approves a bill that makes it more difficult for the government to hand over parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians in a future peace agreement. The new law requires that all such measures be approved by two-thirds of MEPs. The bill must be voted on in the kness a few more times before it becomes law.

Death shootings at Temple Mount

July 14

Two Israeli police officers are shot to death near Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif). The three perpetrators flee into the Temple Mount, which is a holy place for both Jews and Muslims and is shot to death. The assailants were Israeli Arabs from a village near the West Bank. After the shooting, Israel evacuates the area, and it is also closed during the Friday prayers of the Muslims, which causes groups of Palestinians to gather in the alleys around the Temple Mount to pray. The events will be the prelude to a multi-week long power measurement between the Israeli government and the Palestinians. When Temple Mount opens again two days after the assassination, the Israelis have set up surveillance cameras and metal detectors at the entrances, leading to a Muslim boycott of the site.

Businessman becomes new leader of the Labor Party

July 10

The Labor Party elects Avi Gabbay, a former corporate executive with little political experience, as the new leader. Gabbay has led a telecom company and has not been a member of the Kness. In the party leadership election, Gabby defeats former party leader Amir Peretz.

New Palestinian success in UNESCO

July 7

The UN agency Unesco classifies the Old City of Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site. Hebron, located on the Israeli-occupied West Bank, is a holy city for Jews, Muslims and Christians. In Hebron, there is a small Jewish settlement protected by Israeli soldiers. Palestinians object to the soldiers ‘presence and say that their checks and roadblocks restrict Palestinians’ access to the city. As the old town is now classified as a World Heritage Site in need of protection, the Palestinians hope that this will change. Israel is upset over UNESCO’s decision, which comes just over two months after UNESCO adopted a resolution calling Israel Israel’s occupying power (see May 2017).


More than 3000 new settler homes will be built

The government defies President Trump’s call for restraint (see February 2017) and announces that over 3,000 new homes for settlers will be built within various settlements on the West Bank.

Former Prime Minister Olmert is released

June 29

Ehud Olmert will be released prematurely from prison, serving a 27-month long sentence for corruption. He was sentenced in 2014 for bribery (see March 2014), but his sentence was reduced the following year (see December 2015).

New settlements despite US attempts to slow down

June 20

Israel begins construction of a new settlement, Amichai, on the occupied West Bank. It is the first time since the 1990s that a completely new settlement is being planned. A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority calls it a “serious escalation”. The message comes at a time when Trump’s envoy Jason Greenblatt is again visiting Israel to try to restart the peace process (see also March 2017). Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner also join in to engage in talks with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas. Despite Trump’s calls to “hold back” on settlements, UN Middle East envoy Nickolaj Mladenov reports that the expansion of settlements has increased significantly over the past three months.

Israeli police killed

June 16

An Israeli border police and three Palestinians are killed in connection with a Palestinian attack on police officers outside Jerusalem’s old neighborhoods. In the attack, two Palestinians shoot at police, while a third knives the female police some distance away. All three are then shot to death and the police later die. In the wave of violence since October 2015, now 272 Palestinians, 41 Israelis and seven foreign nationals have been killed.


Trump visiting talks about peace

May 22

President Trump visits Israel and also meets with the Palestinian president during a two-day visit to the region. As the first sitting US president, he visits the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Trump promises to protect Israel against aggression from Iran and says it is personally committed to helping Israel make peace with the Palestinians. Unlike earlier when Trump said “it might not be as difficult as people thought” to make peace, he now says it’s not an easy task and that tough decisions are needed from both sides but that it can go if the parties show determination, will compromise and believe in peace. He does not mention the two-state solution.

New law gives Jews special status

May 10

In its first reading, the Knesset adopts a law that defines Israel as the Jewish people’s national home. The law is criticized by representatives of the country’s Arab minority and by human rights activists who believe it is discriminatory. Before it gains legal force, the law must be passed three more times in parliament (see July 2018)

Israel declines support for UNESCO

5 August

The conflict between Israel and UNESCO is stepped up when the UN body’s board adopts a resolution calling Israel Israel’s occupying power. The resolution calls on Israel to refrain from any measures that could change the character or status of the city. In particular, the resolution condemns Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, which was conquered in the six-day war of 1967. Prime Minister Netanyahu says the resolution denies the Jews’ historical ties to Jerusalem and calls it absurd. In protest, Israel is cutting its contributions to UNESCO for the third time in a few months.

Palestinian President of Trump

May 3

President Trump welcomes Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’s White House and says peace in the Middle East will probably be possible. “It’s something that, frankly, may not be as difficult as people have thought over the years,” Trump says. Even Abbas, who has seen a large number of failed peace initiatives, falls into the optimistic mood and praises Trump’s negotiating ability. “We believe we can be true partners to you and gain a historical peace under your leadership,” Abbas says.

Hamas is moving towards a more conciliatory line

May 1

The hard-line Palestinian movement Hamas adopts a new policy document that reflects a more conciliatory line against Israel on a couple of points. While the document maintains that Israel should not be recognized, it says that a Palestinian state should be established along the borders that existed before the Six Day War of 1967 (when Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and some of the Golan Heights) which logically means that the movement without pronouncing it accepts the existence of Israel as Israel looked before the war. The document also states that Hamas does not fight against the Jews because of their religion but because they constitute an occupying power.


New attack on targets in Syria

April 27

Syria claims that Israel attacked a military target near Damascus Airport with several missiles causing a large explosion. His habitual allegiance does not comment on the Israeli government’s statements, but later states that the country’s air force shot down a “target” over the Golan Heights. It is not clear if the events are interconnected.
Four days earlier, Israel has been accused of shooting a camp in Syria belonging to a group fighting on the part of the Syrian government, killing three people (see also March 2017).

German minister snapped

April 25

Prime Minister Netanyahu sets up a meeting with Germany’s foreign minister since he, despite Netanyahu’s objections, conducted a meeting with two NGOs that are critical of the Israeli government’s policy. The minister met with Breaking The Silence, which documents Israeli soldiers’ abuses on the West Bank and B’Tselem, which, among other things, strongly opposes settlement policy.

Palestinians catch hunger strikes

April 17

More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners launch a hunger strike in protest of prison restrictions. The strike begins at the request of imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti and lasts for a month and ten days. It is inflated after negotiations between Israel, the Palestinians and the Red Cross as Israel agrees to allow the prisoners to receive more visits.

British knife-killed in Jerusalem

April 14

A British exchange student is stabbed to death by a Palestinian man while traveling on a tram near the Old City of Jerusalem. Thus, six foreigners have fallen victim to the wave of assaults that have been going on since October 2015.

Arabs condemn new law on black building

April 5

Parliament, the Knesset, adopts a law that tightens the scale of penalties for illegal construction and gives the authorities increased power to demolish such objects. The law is condemned by Israeli Arabs who say they are forced to erect the black buildings because the authorities discriminate against them and largely never give them building permits.

Israeli soldier killed in car attack

April 6

An Israeli soldier is killed and one injured when a Palestinian drives into them with a car at a bus stop on the West Bank. It is the first time in three months that an attack of this kind has a deadly outcome. Since the wave of Palestinian assaults on Israelis was triggered in October 2015, 41 Israelis, 5 foreigners and 259 Palestinians have lost their lives, AFP News Agency reports. According to Israeli authorities, most of the Palestinians have been killed when they attacked Israelis.


Expansion of settlements reaches a new level

March 30

The government approves for the first time in over 20 years the construction of a completely new settlement on the West Bank. The settlements that are usually in progress concern expansion within pre-existing settlements, but now the government approves plans to build a whole new settlement to replace the illegal outpost Amona that was vacated in February 2017. The Palestinians, the UN and the EU condemn the decision, which also faces some criticism from Washington’s page. Figures from the country’s statistics authority show that the construction of housing for settlers on the West Bank increased significantly in 2016. At that time, construction of 2 600 new settlers’ houses began. This is a 40 percent increase compared to 2015. It is the second highest figure in 15 years, according to the Peace Movement, Fred Nu, who states that on average, 1,700 homes for settlers have been built per year since 2001.

“Syrian missile fired”

March 20

A military source in Israel states that Syria has fired a missile against Israel over the weekend, which should have been fired by Israel’s missile defense.

Confrontation with Syria

March 17

Syria’s army claims to have shot down an Israeli plane that was targeting targets near the city of Palmyra. Israel admits that the country’s air force carried out a raid near Palmyra but denies that any of the Israeli plans must have been shot down. During the war, Israel has on several occasions attacked targets in Syria to stop arms transports to the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, but it is unusual for Israel to confirm that a scare has taken place. The confrontation at Palmyra is the most serious between Israel and Syria since the war started. In a comment, Defense Minister Avigdor Liebermann warns Syria to attack Israeli flights again, saying that if that happens, Israel will destroy the country’s air defenses “without any doubt.” Syrian President Assad said in a comment that the country must defend its borders and that Russia could help Syria stop attacks from Israel. In Moscow, the Israeli ambassador is called up to the Foreign Ministry to discuss what has happened.

Peacekeeper for peace

the 13th of March

President Trump sends his envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, to Jerusalem to explore the opportunities to breathe life into the fallen peace process. Greenblatt meets Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin. The next day he travels to the West Bank for a meeting with Palestinian President Abbas.

Prayer call is limited

March 8th

Knesset adopts two legislative proposals that prohibit prayer calls through speakers. One proposal bans prayer calls from eleven in the evening to seven in the morning, affecting the first of today’s five Muslim prayer calls. The second proposal is more far-reaching and puts an end to prayer calls through speakers during all hours of the day. The reason why two proposals are presented is disagreement on the Israeli side as a total ban also affects the siren that begins the Jewish Sabbath at sunset on Fridays. The vote in Parliament takes place under loud protests from Arab members who call the law racist. The two legislative proposals are expected to be transformed into a proposal for the forthcoming votes required before the law is approved.

Boycott advocates are not allowed to visit Israel

6 March

Parliament adopts a law that prevents the issuance of visas to persons who order a boycott of Israel. This is true even if the person in question does not actively call for a boycott, but is part of an organization that advocates for it.


Unclear message about the two-state solution

February 15

Netanyahu meets with US President Donald Trump during a visit to Washington on February 15, and the parties confirm the countries’ strong relationship. Trump is turning away from his representative’s clear support for a two-state solution (which means establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel) and says he can think of other solutions accepted by both sides. “I look at a two-state solution and a one-state solution and I like what both sides like,” Trump explains. Speaking of Israeli settlements, which have accelerated since the White House power shift in January, Trump is calling on the Israelis “to hold back a little”. Trump’s statement on the two-state solution is hailed as a victory by the right-wing in Israel but criticized by the UN and Palestinians, among others. The next day, some confusion arises as to what is really the American line when the United States:

Trump does not want to see settlements grow

February 10

In an interview with an Israeli newspaper, US President Trump says he does not believe that the growth of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land “is good for peace.” He also says he is thoroughly considering whether to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. During the election campaign, Trump caused rebellions when he declared his intention to move the embassy if he were elected president. After taking office, Trump has begun to float on the target on this issue.

Attack on Eilat

February 8

A number of missiles are fired from the Sinai desert in Egypt towards the Israeli tourist resort of Eilat, but the attack does not cause any damage. The army states that some of the missiles were destroyed by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system before reaching them.

Disputed land law assumed

6th of February

The Knesset, in a final vote, approves a controversial law that allows the state to expropriate private Palestinian land and use it for settlers. The law is approved by 60 votes to 52. With the law, more than 50 illegal settler outposts on the occupied West Bank can become legal. In total, almost 4,000 homes are covered. This is the first time the Knesset has passed a law affecting private Palestinian assets. The law has been put forward by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party. Prime Minister Netanyahu was initially opposed to the bill, including fear of what it would mean for Israel’s relations with the outside world. But Netanyahu did not dare to challenge the powerful settler movement and therefore agreed to the proposal. Officially, Netanyahu professes a two-state solution while other ministers oppose a Palestinian state. This includes the bill’s main backer, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who believes that Israel should annex most of the West Bank. The settlements are illegal under international law and the bill is condemned by the UN, the EU and the Palestinians. The Palestinian PLO says that the Israeli government is enforcing the law to destroy all chances of a political solution and calls it a way to “legalize theft”. Even before the law is passed, state prosecutor Avichai Mandelblit takes his hand from the law and announces that he does not intend to defend it because he does not take into account the rights of the Palestinians. The Palestinian PLO says that the Israeli government is enforcing the law to destroy all chances of a political solution and calls it a way to “legalize theft”. Even before the law is passed, state prosecutor Avichai Mandelblit takes his hand from the law and announces that he does not intend to defend it because he does not take into account the rights of the Palestinians. The Palestinian PLO says that the Israeli government is enforcing the law to destroy all chances of a political solution and calls it a way to “legalize theft”. Even before the law is passed, state prosecutor Avichai Mandelblit takes his hand from the law and announces that he does not intend to defend it because he does not take into account the rights of the Palestinians.

Illegal settlement evacuated

February 1st

About 3,000 police officers begin the evacuation of 42 families from the illegal settler outpost Amona on the West Bank. Some of the residents of the outpost take a counter-attack while others leave their homes voluntarily. Hundreds of settlers and supporters have traveled to Amona to protest the evacuation. Clashes with the police take place and at least 13 people are arrested. The evacuation ends the day after the police succeed in entering the area’s synagogue where the last remaining residents of Amona and many protesters barricaded themselves. Prime Minister Netanyahu promises to build new homes on state land for those evacuated. Israeli NGO Fred Nu points out that this is the first time since 1992 that the government has announced plans to build a brand new settlement. Since the Oslo Agreement was signed in 1993 (see Modern History), the expansion of settler homes according to Fred Nu has either been done within existing settlements or by the government subsequently approving outposts as settlers established illegally. The outside world regards all settlements as illegal, while Israel makes distinctions between those approved by the government and those established by settlers without permission.

New expansion of settlements

February 1st

For the fourth time in just under two weeks since Donald Trump became US President, Israel announces plans to expand settlements. This round includes an additional 3,000 settler homes on the West Bank.


More suspicions against Netanyahu

January 27

Police continue to interrogate Netanyahu for alleged corruption. This time, the case is about expensive gifts that Netanyahu received from a business friend. Police are also investigating allegations that Netanyahu should have negotiated a secret agreement with the head of leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. According to the agreement, Yedioth Ahronoth would write less critically about Netanyahu against the Prime Minister restricting the publication of the newspaper’s worst competitor, the free newspaper Israel HaYom.

Expansion of settlements

January 23

The government provides green light for the construction of 2,500 new homes for settlers on the West Bank. According to the Ministry of Defense, most of the housing should be built within the existing large settler blocks on the West Bank. At the same time, Prime Minister Netanyahu announces that all restrictions on the construction of residential homes in East Jerusalem will be lifted. The day before, the authorities had announced plans to build 566 new houses for settlers in East Jerusalem.

French peace meeting without progress

January 12

An international conference on the opportunities for peace between Israelis and Palestinians begins in Paris but gives no concrete results. The participants, including the United States, reaffirm their support for the two-state solution, which is intended to give Jews and Palestinians their own state.

Support for women-led prayer at the Wailing Wall

January 11

The Supreme Court asks the state to explain why women are not allowed to conduct prayers at the Wailing Wall. Women and men today pray at various sections of the Wailing Wall. In 2016, it was decided that a third surface would be opened adjacent to the wall where women and men could pray together, but ultra-Orthodox opponents of the plan have seen to stop it. Under current rules, women are not allowed to lead prayers or bring dry rolls to the female sector. This scheme has been questioned by a group of women who have turned to HD and who are now being supported by the court. In another verdict, HD states that women may perform prayers with amulets. The riot rages ultra-Orthodox Jews who believe it is contrary to traditional Judaism. The court also prohibits the wall authorities from visiting women who are on their way to the wall.

Truck attack required four lives

January 9

Four Israeli soldiers lose their lives when they are mowed down by a truck in Jerusalem. The attack takes place when the soldiers participate in a historic walk in the city. Since the wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis began in October 2015, 40 Israelis and five foreigners have been killed. During the same period, 247 Palestinians lost their lives; the majority of Palestinians have been killed in connection with attacks.

UN grants are cut

January 6

Israel is reducing its annual contribution to the UN by $ 6 million in protest against the resolution adopted by the Security Council in December, calling for Israel to stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

Soldier sentenced to death

January 4th

The Israeli soldier who shot and killed a lying Palestinian in March 2016 is sentenced by a court of death. The view of the soldier’s action has divided the country and the judgment triggers demonstrations. In February, the sentence is announced: 18 months in prison. Both the soldier and the prosecutors appeal the verdict.

Bills want to censor internet sites

January 3rd

In a first vote, Parliament adopts a law that will allow the authorities to force internet sites such as Facebook, Youtube and Google to remove material that is considered to be invigorating and able to contribute to violence on the part of the Palestinians; Critics of the law claim that it can be used to limit freedom of expression. Two votes remain before the bill is passed.

Netanyahu is under review

January 2

Prime Minister Netanyahu is being questioned over allegations that he has received thousands of dollars in gifts from affluent supporters. This is the second time in a short time that Netanyahu will end up in windy weather. In December, his wife Sara was questioned when Israeli media alleged that the couple covered private expenses with state funds.

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