Israel first became a nation around 1300 BC and a kingdom in 1020 BC. Though it was occupied on several occasions, the main population remained Jewish until the Roman conquest.

By 135 AD some 3 million Jews had been expelled from their homeland by the Romans. Nonetheless, a continuous Jewish presence remained. This population fluctuated depending on the whim of imperial rulers. By the mid-19th century approximately only 20,000 Jews were living in Palestine under the rule of the Ottoman Turks.

Palestine was the name given by the Romans to the region that encompassed Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and parts of Syria and Lebanon. Palestine was never an independent nation, never a country with borders.

President Barack Obama, who has canceled several Christian events usually celebrated annually at the White House, hosted a special dinner recently there to celebrate the Muslim Ramadan holiday. The supposedly holy month of Ramadan was being celebrated around the world by millions of Muslims who worship Allah.

Obama seems to be quite familiar with the Muslim holidays. The Jewish and Christian holidays he doesn't care much about, but these Muslim ones ... well, he seems to love them. So much that he invited a crowd of Muslims to the White House, gave them his valuable time and attention, plus giving them a formal tax-payer funded dinner.

With all the ballots counted, it was clear that Benjamin Netanyahu has been re-elected as Israel's Prime Minister for the fourth time. Netanyahu's conservative Likud Party won 30 of the 120 seats in the Knesset. The liberal Zionist Union (formerly Labor Party) won 24 seats, but it was not enough to put their party leader Buji Herzog in office as prime minister.

While there were few surprises with the smaller parties, the most recent pre-election polls had shown Herzog unseating Netanyahu. Even preliminary results on election night had Likud and Zionist Union neck and neck with about 24 seats each, making it unclear who would be designated by the president to form the next government.

Nineteen year ago, when Benjamin Netanyahu first became Prime Minister of Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process dominated the national elections. There were other issues of importance, but all else paled in comparison to the question of how much Israel's next leader would give up for peace, and how he would handle the situation if the Palestinians failed to reciprocate.

Two decades later the situation looks much different to voters as they head to the polls on March 17. Today most Israelis recognize that there is no peace process any more, and that efforts to conclude a viable agreement with the current Palestinian leadership are increasingly unrealistic. And so, while a leader's position regarding the peace process and the Land of Israel still matters, it is far from being the first thing voters look to when making their decision.