The Promised Land? is a three-part series examining the origins, violent creation, and modern-day reality of the state of Israel, told through the stories of individual Israelis. 

The programme coincides with the 60th anniversary of Israel's creation - an anniversary that could not be more divisive.

May 14, 1948 is a day of triumph and independence for Israelis; for Palestinians it marks a tragedy, the price of which is still being paid today.

Episode 1 - Pioneers

Anniversary voices

Click here to read the experiences of the "Pioneers"

At the start of the 20th century there were less than 50,000 Jews in Palestine - a backward corner of the Ottoman Empire. However, by the late 1940s over half a million Jews had immigrated there. 

Through the accounts of individual Israelis, Al Jazeera examines how and why Jews returned to Palestine after 2,000 years of exile, and how the political Zionism first articulated in 1896 became reality with such speed.

Watch part one of Pioneers on YouTube

Watch part two of Pioneers on YouTube

Episode 2 - Conflict

Zionist mythology has propagated the idea that Palestine was a barren and scarcely inhabited land. But that was far from true. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians had lived for centuries in the land that Jews were now laying claim to.

The result was an inevitable conflict. How did the still small Jewish population defeat the far larger Palestinian population? Was there a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing? And why did the armies of five Arab states fail to successfully defend the Palestinians?

Watch part one of Conflict on YouTube

Watch part two of Conflict on YouTube

Episode 3 - The End of the Dream?

The modern state of Israel bears little resemblance to that imagined by its Zionist forbearers.

The socialist dream of the kibbutz as a model for society has vanished.

Today's state is an increasingly capitalist and militaristic one, still defined by decades of occupation. Those who immigrate today, be it from Russia, Ethiopia, the US or elsewhere share radically different motivations.

What is left of the Zionist dream today, and why is Israeli society an increasingly fractured one?

Watch part one of End of the Dream? on YouTube

Watch part two of End of the Dream? on YouTube


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Source: Al Jazeera