The Jews were pushed into an exile from their homeland that would last almost 2,000 years. In their absence, Palestine continued to be a crucible or a stage for major historical events – the rise of Islam, the Crusades, the ascendancy of the Ottoman Turks, the imperial rivalry between France and Great Britain.
South of the Knesseth are the pavillions of the Israel Museum containing the Shrine of the Book, Archeological Museum, Bezalel Art Gallery, Billy Rose Art Garden and Department of Antiquities. After the restoration of the Jewish homeland in 1948 the Israelis produced this magnificent museum chronicling the history of Palestine and the Middle East. The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, founded in 1965, is a 20-acre complex that draws almost 1 million visitors a year to its unmatched collections of Judaica and Middle Eastern archaeology, which include the priceless Dead Sea Scrolls.