Key Terms


A - D
A - Z
A
Al-Aqsa Mosque

A mosque located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The third holiest site in Sunni Islam, the mosque is under the administration of the Palestinian-led Islamic waqf.

Al-Qaeda

A global terrorist organization founded by Osama Bin Laden in the late 1980s. Operating as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad, al-Qaeda has carried out, among others, the September 11 attacks, 1998 U.S. embassy bombings and 2002 Bali bombings.

Arab League

A regional organization of Arab states in North Africa and the Middle East consisting of 22 members. The main goal of the league is to form closer relations and coordinate collaboration between member States.

Arab Peace Initiative

A Saudi-inspired peace plan for the Arab-Israeli conflict first adopted in 2002 by the Arab League and re-endorsed in 2007. The initiative offers Israel "normal relations" in exchange for a withdrawal to the 1967 borders and resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue, but Arab League members have refused to negotiate its content directly with Israel.

Arrow

A missile defense system jointly produced and funded by Israel and the United States. The Arrow is the first operational missile defense system specifically designed and built to intercept ballistic missiles.

Article 28 of the 4th Geneva Convention

States that "The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations." This means that human shields cannot be used by armed groups.

Article 51 of the U.N. Charter

Provides for the right of countries to engage in self-defense, including collective self-defense, against an armed attack.

B
Babi Yar

The site in Kiev, Ukraine of the September 29-30, 1941 massacre of 33,771 Jews by the Nazis. This was the single largest massacre in the history of the Holocaust.

Balad

An Israeli Arab political party in Israel. It opposes the idea of Israel as a solely Jewish state, and supports its recasting as a binational state.

Balfour Declaration

A letter sent November 2, 1917 from U.K. Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Baron Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, stating that "His majesty's government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." The letter formalized British support for the Zionist cause.

Bill

A proposed law under consideration by the U.S. Congress. Bills originate in committees in both houses of Congress that are assigned to deal with certain types of legislation. Once a bill is passed by a simple majority in both houses of Congress and is signed by the President, it becomes a law.

C
Central Bank of Iran

The government-owned institution, analogous to the Federal Reserve of the U.S., which is in charge of formulating and implementing Iran's monetary and credit policies. Also known as Bank Markazi, the bank oversees the commercial banking system of Iran, including transactions for Iranian oil.

Cloture

A procedure by which the U.S. Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter. Sixty votes are needed to invoke cloture and thereby limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours.

Committee Chair

The leader of a congressional committee. Always a member of the majority party in the house of Congress of which the committee is a part.

Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA) (2010)

Amends the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 (ISA) to impose sanctions on companies investing $20 million or more in Iran’s petroleum sector. Also adds providing refined petroleum to Iran to the list of sanctionable offenses and requires companies seeking U.S. government contracts to certify that they and related companies are not engaging in sanctionable activities.

Conference Committee

A committee with members from both the Senate and the House of Representatives that tries to resolve differences between versions of a bill passed in each house.

D
David's Sling

A missile defense system being jointly developed by Israeli and American defense contractors, designed to intercept medium- and long-range rockets and cruise missiles beyond the range of Iron Dome.

Dome of the Rock

An important Muslim shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Thought to be the location from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

Durban Conferences

A series of U.N.-sponsored international conferences intended to deal with racism, beginning with the "World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance," held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. Drafts of the conference's declaration equated Zionism to racism, drawing significant criticism and prompting the withdrawal of the U.S. and Israel. Follow-up conferences held in 2009 in Geneva and 2011 in New York were boycotted by numerous countries for promoting racism, antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and delegitimizing Israel.

E - H
E
Enriched Uranium

Uranium metal with a higher percentage of the uranium-235 isotope than is found in nature. Civilian nuclear power and research reactors use low-enriched uranium, with a lower than 20 percent concentration of U-235, while nuclear weapons require highly enriched uranium, usually containing 85 percent or more U-235.

F
Fajr-3 Rocket

An Iranian multiple-launch artillery rocket with an estimated range of 25–30 miles carrying a 100-pound warhead. It may have been supplied to Hizballah and used in the 2006 Lebanon War.

Fatah Party

A major Palestinian political party founded in 1959 by Yasser Arafat. It is currently under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and controls the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Filibuster

A practice in the U.S. Senate whereby senators can keep a bill from coming to a vote by extending the debate on the measure. A senator or group of senators are allowed to speak for as long as they wish on any topic as long as 60 senators do not vote to invoke cloture.

Foreign Aid

The U.S. provides approximately $3 billion annually to Israel to ensure the Jewish state maintains its qualitative military edge over its adversaries. This money is part of a larger foreign aid bill that comprises 1 percent of the federal budget and helps the U.S. maintain strong relationships with its allies.

Freedom and Justice Party

An Islamist political party in Egypt formed by the Muslim Brotherhood. It is the largest faction in the newly-formed Egyptian parliament.

G
Gaza Flotilla

A group of ships, organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which planned on running the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza in 2010. The Israeli Navy enforced the blockade and raided the ships on May 31, 2010, before they could reach their destination. Nine Turkish activists were killed and seven Israeli soldiers were injured in the ensuing violence, leading to widespread condemnation of Israel and a crisis in Israel-Turkey relations. The U.N. Palmer Report later affirmed that Israel's blockade of Gaza was in accordance with international law.

Gaza Strip

Part of the Palestinian territories, the Gaza Strip borders Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. Hamas has been its de-facto ruler since the 2006 Palestinian legislative election and subsequent Battle of Gaza in 2007.

General Assembly Resolution 3379

A U.N. General Assembly resolution adopted in November 1975 stating that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination." The resolution was revoked in December 1991 by U.N. General Assembly Resolution 4686.

Golan Heights

A tract of land currently in northern Israel, bordering Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Israel captured the land from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and has since repeatedly offered to withdraw in return for a peace treaty.

Goldstone Report

A report commissioned by the U.N. and released in September 2009 accusing the IDF of committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the January 2009 Gaza War. Israel and the United States found the report biased and illegitimate for not giving sufficent attention to war crimes by Hamas. In April 2011, Richard Goldstone, the main author of the report, retracted his claim that Israel deliberately targeted civilians during the war.

Grad Rocket

A 122mm short-range rocket developed by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s. Since 2006, Hamas has fired numerous Grad rockets into Israel, including versions made in Iran with a 12-mi range and Chinese variants with an extended range of 25 mi.

Green Salt Project

A secretive Iranian entity focused on uranium enrichment, explosives and missile warhead design, thought to be part of Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Gulf Cooperation Council

A political and economic union of Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. The purpose of the union is to formulate common laws, create a unified military force and increase economic cooperation among its members.

H
Hadash

A Jewish and Arab socialist political party in Israel. Supports evacuation of all Israeli settlements, a complete withdrawal by Israel from all territories occupied as a result of the Six-Day War and the establishment of a Palestinian state in those territories. Also supports the right of return or compensation for Palestinian refugees.

Hamas

A Palestinian Islamist terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip. The Hamas Charter, which exhibits the influence of antisemitic conspiracy theories, calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.

Hizballah

A Shi'a Islamist terrorist organization based in Lebanon, funded and supported by Syria and Iran. Hizballah leaders have made numerous statements calling for the destruction of the state of Israel.

House Appropriations Committee

A committee of the House of Representatives in charge of setting the specific expenditures of money by the U.S. government, including foreign aid.

House Foreign Affairs Committee

A committee of the House of Representatives which has jurisdiction over bills and investigations related to the foreign affairs of the United States.

I - M
I
ILSA Extension Act of 2001

Authorizes the renewal of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) of 1996, which mandates the imposition of U.S. sanctions on companies that invest significantly in Iran or Libya’s petroleum sectors.

Independence

A centrist, Zionist and democratic political party in Israel. It split off from the Labor party in 2011.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

An international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and inhibit its use for nuclear weapons. The IAEA provides international safeguards against misuse of nuclear technology and nuclear materials, and promotes nuclear safety and nuclear security standards and their implementation.

International Court of Justice (ICJ)

The primary judicial organ of the United Nations. Based in The Hague, its main functions are to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states and to provide advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by duly authorized international organs.

International Criminal Court (ICC)

A permanent international tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Based in The Hague, the court can generally exercise jurisdiction only if the accused is a national of a state party, if the alleged crime took place on the territory of a state party or if a situation is referred to the court by the U.N. Security Council, and only when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute. Israel and the United States are not parties to the court.

Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 (ILSA)

Mandates that the United States impose sanctions on companies that invest more than $20 million per year in Iran or Libya’s petroleum sectors. In September 2006, the act was renamed the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), as it no longer applied to Libya.

Iran Freedom Support Act of 2006 (IFSA)

Renews the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996, extending sanctions on foreign companies that invest more than $20 million per year in Iran’s petroleum sector. Codifies executive orders barring U.S. firms from doing business in and with Iran, strengthens U.S. authority to sanction entities aiding Iran’s nuclear pursuit, urges the administration to probe investments in Iran’s petroleum sector and discourages the signing of nuclear cooperation pacts with countries assisting Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran Missile Proliferation Sanctions Act of 1998 (IMPSA)

"Authorizes the president to report and sanction foreign companies that transfer missile technology to Iran. President Clinton vetoed the original version of this bill, arguing that it would harm the administration's effort to garner Russian cooperation on a wide range of proliferation issues. Much of the legislation was subsequently incorporated as a presidential executive order, and President Clinton eventually signed a less restrictive version of the bill in 2000 (the Iran Nonproliferation Act). "

Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (INA)

"Requires the president to take punitive action against individuals or organizations known to be providing material aid to weapons of mass destruction programs in Iran. It also requires the president to certify that the Russian government demonstrates a sustained commitment to seek out and prevent aid to Iran's weapons programs before America provides additional money to the Russian Space Agency for the International Space Station."

Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005

Strengthens and expands the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 by authorizing sanctions on any entity that aids a potential Syrian nuclear weapons program and on any weapons of mass destruction-related technology and equipment exported from Iran or Syria.

Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (ITRSHRA) (2012)

Prohibits the repatriation to Iran of any revenue from the sale of its oil and sanctions any company that transports Iranian crude oil or insures vessels carrying Iranian crude, as well as any entity helping Iran evade sanctions imposed by the United States. In addition, the law expands financial sanctions to include anyone trading in gold or other precious metals with Iran, moneychangers, and anyone buying or facilitating the issuance of Iranian sovereign debt, including bonds. The law also expands the sanctions against those aiding Syrian President Bashar Assad to commit human rights abuses against his own people.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

A force originally founded after the 1979 Islamic Revolution to defend the regime against internal and external threats. It has since become one of Iran's most influential domestic institutions, deeply involved in politics and in control of much of the country's economy.

Iran-Iraq Nonproliferation Act of 1992

Requires the president to impose sanctions against persons or nations knowingly and materially bolstering Iran or Iraq’s capability to acquire weapons of mass destruction or destabilizing numbers and types of certain advanced conventional weapons.

Iron Dome

An Israeli air defense system designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired at populated areas. Co-funded by Israel and the U.S., the system was first successfully used in April 2011 and has since racked up a 90% interception rate against rockets fired from Gaza.

Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty (1979)

A peace treaty signed by Israel and Egypt in 1979 following the 1978 Camp David Accords. The treaty resulted in the normalization of relations between Israel and Egypt as well as the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula.

Israel–Jordan Peace Treaty (1994)

A treaty signed in 1994 that normalized relations between Israel and Jordan and resolved territorial disputes. This made Jordan only the second Arab country, after Egypt, to normalize relations with Israel.

Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades

The military wing of Hamas.

K
Kadima

A centrist and liberal political party in Israel. Established in 2005 by moderates from Likud and Labor largely to support the issue of unilateral disengagement from Gaza. As of 2012, it is the largest party in the Knesset.

Katyusha Rocket

A type of rocket originally built by the Soviet Union in World War II. Relatively inaccurate, inexpensive and easy to produce, the rocket is typically fired from a rocket launcher mounted on a truck. Hizballah fired thousands of Katyusha rockets into Israel during the 2006 Lebanon War.

Kibbutz

A collective community in Israel traditionally based around agriculture and a communal lifestyle. Approximately 2.5% of Israelis live on kibbutzim, and they generate close to $10 billion in agricultural and industrial output annually.

Knesset

The Knesset is the parliament of Israel, located in Jerusalem. The 120 members of the Knesset, elected for four-year terms, pass all laws, elect the President and Prime Minister, approve the cabinet, and supervise the work of the government.

L
Labor Party

A social-democratic and labor Zionist political party in Israel. Until the 1977 elections, the Labor party (under different names) held power and dominated Jewish public and political life.

Likud

The major center-right political party in Israel. As of 2012, it leads the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Litani River

The longest river in Lebanon, running from the Beqaa Valley to the Mediterranean Sea north of Tyre. Parts of the river were controlled by Israel after the 1982 Lebanon War.

M
M-600 Rocket

The Syrian variant of the Iranian Fateh-110 rocket. The surface-to-surface rocket has a range of 160 miles, carries a 225-pound warhead and, unlike most of the short- and medium-range missiles currently arrayed against Israel, has an inertial guidance system.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (1981)

A 1981 agreement between the U.S. and Israel on comprehensive cooperation to address security threats in the Middle East. The MOU acknowleged the common bonds of friendship and the mutual security relationship that exists between the two nations.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (2007)

A 2007 agreement between the U.S. and Israel to provide $30 billion in U.S. military aid to Israel over a 10-year period.

Meretz

A left-wing, Zionist, social democratic political party in Israel. Emphasizes peace with the Palestinians, human rights, religious freedom and environmentalism.

Middle East Quartet

The U.N., U.S., E.U., and Russia. Together they seek to mediate the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mount of Olives

A mountain ridge east of Jerusalem's Old City that contains a Jewish cemetery and is also a Christian holy site.

Multinational Force and Observers (MFO)

An international peacekeeping force overseeing the terms of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, stationed in the Sinai Peninsula.

Muslim Brotherhood

The Arab world's most influential Islamist organization, focused on political activism and Islamic charity work under the slogan "Islam is the solution." Founded in Egypt in 1928, its goal is to instill Islamic Law as the only reference point for ordering the life of the Muslim individual, family, community, and state.

N - R
N
Naqba

Literally, "the catastrophe." The term many Palestinians use to refer to the 1948 War of Independence.

National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA)

Legislation that includes new provisions to sanction private foreign financial institutions that conduct any significant financial transactions with the Central Bank of Iran or U.S.- sanctioned Iranian financial institutions. The bill grants the President waiver authority to ensure that sanctions neither increase oil prices nor otherwise harm U.S. national security interests. It also authorizes funding for U.S.-Israeli cooperative missile defense programs.

National Union

An alliance of nationalist political parties in Israel. It supports the settlement of all the Land of Israel, advocates the use of more military power in the war on terror and harsher measures against Palestinian terrorism. It rejects the notion of a Palestinian state.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

An international treaty focused on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, advancing nuclear disarmament and promoting the peaceful use of nuclear technology. 190 countries have joined the treaty, which entered into force in 1970.

O
Old City

A walled area within the modern city of Jerusalem, which until 1860 constituted the entire city of Jerusalem. The old city is home to numerous holy places including the Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians, and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims.

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

An intergovernmental organization of twelve oil-producing nations. As of 2010,OPEC countries hold close to 80% of the world's crude oil reserves, giving them the means to control the supply and price of oil in the world market.

Oslo Accords

A 1993 agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), establishing a framework to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to its end by means of territorial concessions and facilitating the creation of the Palestinian Authority.

P
P5+1

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S.) plus Germany, which negotiate as a group with Iran over its nuclear program.

Palestinian Authority (PA)

The administrative organization established in 1994, pursuant to the Oslo Accords, to govern parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Since 2006 its authority extends to the West Bank alone.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad

A small Palestinian terrorist organization that is responsible for numerous suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Created in 1979, the group is heavily supported by Iran.

Palmer Report

A September 2011 U.N. report published in the wake of the 2010 Gaza Flotilla, which found that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is a legitimate security measure that complies with international law.

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)

A political and paramilitary organization, which was founded in 1964 and today is recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people by the United Nations and over 100 states. In 1993, it recognized Israel's right to exist in peace and renounced violence and terrorism.

Q
Qassam Rocket

A simple short-range rocket developed and deployed by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Thousands of these rockets have been fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza into Israel.

Qualitative Military Edge (QME)

Israel’s ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors. Direct U.S. security assistance provided in the annual foreign aid bill is the most tangible way that the United States helps Israel maintain its QME.

R
Ramallah

A Palestinian city in the West Bank and the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority.

Ranking Member

The most senior member of a congressional committee from the minority party.

Resolution

A non-binding form of legislation that is often used to express the U.S. Congress's position on a particular subject.

S - V
S
Salafism

A Sunni Islamic movement that emphasizes the Salaf ("predecessors"), the earliest Muslims, as model examples of Islamic practice. Nowadays associated with literalist, strict and puritanical approaches to Islam, which sometimes espouse violent jihad against civilians as a legitimate expression of Islam.

Scud-B Missile

A tactical ballistic missile that was developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War and is capable of carrying a nuclear or chemical warhead within a range of 185 miles.

Scud-C Missile

A tactical ballistic missile that was developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War and is capable of carrying a nuclear or chemical warhead within a longer range (roughly 350 miles) than the Scud-B.

Scud-D Missile

A tactical ballistic missile that was developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War and is capable of carrying a nuclear or chemical warhead within a range similar to the Scud-B (around 185 miles), but with greater accuracy.

Security Fence

A fence that was built between the State of Israel and the West Bank in order to prevent terrorist attacks. In the three years prior to the completion of the fence, there were 73 Palestinian suicide bombings. In the three years after, this number dropped to 12.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee

A committee charged with leading foreign-policy legislation and debate in the Senate. Responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs as well as approving all nominations to key foreign policy postings.

Shas

An ultra-orthodox religious political party in Israel. It primarily represents the interests of religiously observant Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, and is considered to be a kingmaker of Israeli politics, having joined coalitions on the left and right since 1984.

Sinai Peninsula

A peninsula in Egypt that borders Israel. Captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, and returned to Egypt in 1979 as part of the peace treaty between the two countries.

Six-Day War 1967

A war fought from June 5 to 10, 1967, after Israel preemptively struck its Arab neighbors in response to Arab threats and the blockade of the Straits of Tiran. The war was a stunning victory for Israel, and it took control of the Sinai, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)

A network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment. In 2012 SWIFT disconnected all Iranian banks from its international network.

Strait of Hormuz

A narrow strait between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. It is the only point of access to the open ocean for many oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf, and around 20% of the world's supply of oil passes through the strait.

Suez Canal

An artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. Due to its geostrategic importance, it has been at the heart of many Middle East conflicts.

T
Tehran

The capital city of Iran, as well as its largest urban area, with a population of close to 8 million.

Temple Mount

One of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. The former location of Solomon and Herod's Temples and current location of the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque. The site is managed by an Islamic Waqf, and Israel ensures freedom of access to the site and protection from desecration.

The Jewish Home

A right-wing national religious Zionist political party in Israel, formed in 2008.

U
U.N. Charter Chapter VII

Allows the U.N. Security council to take military and nonmilitary action to restore international peace and security.

U.N. Security Council

A body of the U.N. charged with establishing peacekeeping operations, imposing international sanctions and authorizing military action. There are 15 members of the Security Council, consisting of five veto-wielding permanent members (China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S.) and 10 elected members with two-year terms.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701

A resolution intended to end the 2006 Lebanon War. It requires the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, which includes Hizballah.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1747

A 2007 resolution that tightened international sanctions on Iran in connection with the country's nuclear program and expanded the list of sanctioned Iranian entities.

United Arab List (Ra'am)

A political party representing and supported by Israeli Arabs. It supports the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and equal rights for Arab citizens of Israel.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

An agency of the United Nations whose purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science and culture. In accordance with U.S. law, Washington withdrew funding for the organization after Palestine became a UNESCO member in 2011.

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

The U.N.'s principal forum concerned with the promotion and protection of human rights, made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the U.N. General Assembly. The council has a disproportionate focus on Israel and nearly half of all country-specific resolutions it has passed condemn Israel.

United Torah Judaism

An alliance of two small Israeli Ultra-Orthodox political parties in the Knesset. It was first formed in 1992.

W - Z
W
West Bank

A territory bordering Israel and Jordan, and located on the West Bank of the Jordan River. Since 1993, parts of the West Bank are under full or partial control of the Palestinian Authority.

Western Wall

A remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded Herod's Temple courtyard in the Old City of Jerusalem. Considered the holiest site in Judaism outside of the Temple Mount, it has been a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries.

Y
Yisrael Beiteinu

A nationalist and secular political party in Israel. Encourages socio-economic opportunities for new immigrants, in conjunction with efforts to increase Jewish immigration. It supports a two-state solution.

Z
Zionism

A form of Jewish nationalism and support for a Jewish nation-state in the Land of Israel. Theodor Herzl's book The Jewish State (1896) helped to establish Zionism as a relevant political movement.

Years
10-Year Military Aid Agreement

An agreement by which U.S. military aid to Israel will increase from $2.55 billion per year in 2009 to $3.15 billion per year in 2013-18.

1948 War of Independence

A war fought between Israel and a military coalition of Arab states and Palestinian Arab forces. On May 15, 1948, one day after the end of the British Mandate and the declaration of the State of Israel, five countries of the Arab League invaded the new state's territory. By mid-1949, Israel had successfully defended its land and signed armistice agreements with its Arab neighbors.

1949 Armistice Demarcation Lines

Armistice lines agreed upon by Israel and her neighbors at the conclusion of the War of Independence in 1949. The territory under Israeli control within these lines, also known as the Green Line, encompassed about three-quarters of mandatory Palestine as it stood after the independence of Transjordan (now Jordan) in 1946. The lines were drawn up on the assumption that they would be temporary and would be replaced within a few years by permanent borders, as part of comprehensive peace agreements between Israel and her neighbors.

1967 Lines

The armistice lines that existed between Israel and her neighbors prior to the June 5 start of the Six-Day War, established by the 1949 Armistice Agreements. Also known as the Green Line.

1973 Yom Kippur War

A war fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. After a surprise attack by the Arab states on Yom Kippur, Israel was eventually able to counter-attack and repulse the Arab invaders. However, the invasion was a sobering reminder that Israel is not invincible and faces an existential threat from belligerent neighbors.

1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act

An act of Congress initiating and funding the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no later than May 31, 1999, and calling for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel. The law has never been implemented because presidents have consistently claimed the presidential waiver on national security interests.

2006 Lebanon War

A 34-day military conflict that began July 12, 2006, when eight IDF soldiers were killed and two kidnapped on Israel’s border with Lebanon by Hizballah, which simultaneously launched rockets against Israeli communities near the border. Israel responded to the attacks with airstrikes and artillery fire, eventually launching a limited ground invasion of southern Lebanon. The war ended with a U.N.-brokered ceasefire.