In 2008, the nation of Israel marked 60 years since its foundation. Controversial years, and at times violent ones. The nation is at the centre of perhaps the modern world’s most intractable political problem, with the Israel – Palestine issue widely seen as the root cause of much of the terrorism and unrest that world leaders try in vain to deal with.
Yet at the same time, the land called Israel has a special meaning to millions of followers of the world’s monotheistic faiths – Christians, Muslims and Jews. The Holy Land; the land of Abraham, of Jesus; a land of passion, of faith, of hope, of bloodshed.
What is it about this land, and the people who claim it as their own, that makes both so special? Why do history and politics, in a real sense, seem to revolve around this small nation?
To find out, we need to step back through time…