Israel is a small and relatively young country, but its turbulent history has placed it squarely at the centre of the world stage for most of this century. For two millennia the Jews, dispersed all over the world, prayed for a return to Zion. Until the nineteenth century, that dream seemed a fantasy, but then a secular Zionist movement was born and soon the initial trickle of Jewish immigrants to Palestine turned into a flood as Jews fled persecution in Europe.From these beginnings, Martin Gilbert traces the events and personalities that would lead to the sudden, dramatic declaration of Statehood in May 1948. From that point on, Israel's history has been dominated by conflict: Suez, the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the Lebanon and the Intifada. Using contemporary documents and eyewitness accounts, drawing on his own intimate knowledge of the country and its people, Martin Gilbert weaves together a seamless, page-turning history of a powerful and proud nation,with a new chapter to cover the last ten years, bringing the story right up to date: the continuing conflicts, and the ever-present avenues of hope.