In the past decade, Israel has launched four major offensives in the Gaza Strip. Its most recent assault, Operation Defensive Edge, claimed over 2200 Palestinian, and 70 Israeli lives. Following last Summer's aerial, naval, artillery, and ground invasion, Gaza suffered massive infrastructural damage and over more than 100,000 families lost their homes.
Israel's military occupation over the Palestinian territories began in 1967, when a set of emergency regulations replaced their Jordanian & Egyptian rule. 50 years later, the Palestinians are still under occupation. Settlers take advantage of the seeming lawlessness the occupation created to establish Israeli colonies on annexed Palestinian land.
Occupied by Israel in the war of 1967 it was legally annexed in the 1980 Basic Law, an act no nation but Israel recognized. To this day, most consider East Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state. Jerusalem exemplifies the conflict as it is daily the site of violent repressions of protests, settler expansions, demolitions of Palestinian homes, and an ever-fluid matrix of legal control.
In its attempt to be the national homeland of the Jewish people, Israel struggles daily to bridge the often irreconcilable balance between the two principles of Zionism and democracy.
After the route to Europe was blocked by the Lybian civil war in 2011, and unrest in Egypt made their struggle for asylum uncertain, thousands of refugees (mostly from Eritrea and Sudan) took that historic route, to Israel. But Israel defines itself as a Jewish state, and therefore does not have any process for immigration for non-Jews.
Israel is in a state of emergency. Every year since its creation its parliament has re-approved the Emergency Regulations Bill, allowing for certain democratic processes to be bypassed, chief among them is freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.
In 1998 the Rome Statute was signed at a conference that gave birth to the International Criminal Court. The body has since begun legal proceedings against any violators of international law and the accepted rules of war, however the court's jurisdiction extends only to states which voluntarily signed the stature. Israel, the US, China, Russia, and many of the major violators never have.
In the war that created the state of Israel two-thirds of the Palestinians were driven out of their homes. Immediately after, over than 500 villages & towns were demolished. The project of their dispossession continues to this day and is often referred to as The Nakba, or Catastrophe in Arabic, and to this day it is the biggest taboo among Israelis. It is the subject of Tarachansky's 2013 documentary ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.
After it applied to become a member of the OECD, an elite club of the world's top economies, Israel got an economic bill of health that sent shock waves through societ y , placing the country at the bottom of most economic measures . In 2011 the largest protest movement in the country's history arose in response. Known as J14, it was the subject of Tarachansky's 2012 documentary for BBC-World.
Deeply entrenched in all other sectors, Israel's arms industry is booming. Partially subsidized by the United States, Israeli arms are world renown with buyers from 130 countries. Each year the industry grows, with 2014 grossing record-high sales.