|Remember the days of old, consider the years of ages past.... (Deuteronomy 32:7)
ˇ@ˇ@The birthplace of the Jewish people is the Land of Israel (Eretz Israel). There, a significant part of the nations long history was enacted, of which the first thousand years are recorded in the Bible; there, its cultural, religious and national identity was formed; and there, its physical presence has been maintained through the centuries, even after the majority was forced into exile. During the many years of dispersion, the Jewish people never severed nor forgot its bond with the Land. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence, lost two thousand years earlier, was renewed.
ˇ@ˇ@Archeology in Israel has provided a valuable link between the country's past and present, with thousands of years of history unearthed at some 3,500 sites. Many finds attest to the long connection of the Jewish people with the Land of Israel, including Solomon's stables at Megiddo (JezreelValley), houses of the Israelite period in the City of David (Jerusalem), ritual baths at Masada, numerous synagogues and the Dead Sea scrolls, containing the earliest extant copy of the Book of Isaiah in still-legible Hebrew script. Excavations have also revealed vestiges of other civilizations which left their imprint on the Land over the centuries. All finds are recorded, and historical sites are carefully preserved and marked, for scholar and visitor alike.