Knowledge is key

by | Mar 14, 2024 | Latest News

Israel’s war with Hamas has inflamed vocal and aggressive antisemitism and anti-Zionism that has not been witnessed in the United States for many generations. Heated discussions have ensued, often with discrepancies about the facts.

Helping to equip readers with basic facts about Israel, Jewish News presents a few in this column, as knowledge can transform to confidence in conversation.

  • Israel borders Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, Egypt to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west. (
  • The 1967 Six Day War left Israel in control of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and most of the Syrian Golan Heights – effectively tripling the size of territory under Israel’s control. Israel effectively annexed East Jerusalem – claiming the entire city as its capital –- and the Golan Heights (
  • Israel evacuated its settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and withdrew its forces, ending almost four decades of military presence inside Gaza. (
  • As a result of the Israel Defense Forces’ conscription program, the IDF maintains approximately 169,500 active troops and 465,000 reservists (as of 2022), giving Israel one of the world’s highest percentage of citizens with military training. (
  • The Jewish people base their claim to the Land of Israel on at least four premises:
    • The Jewish people settled and developed the land.
    • The international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people.
    • The territory was captured in defensive wars.
    • God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham.
  • Israel’s Law of Return grants automatic citizenship to Jews, but non-Jews are also eligible to become citizens under naturalization procedures similar to those in other countries. Israel’s policy is not unique: many other countries, including Germany, Greece, Ireland, and Finland have special categories of people who are entitled to citizenship. (Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Mitchell G. Bard)