The year 2014 was a dramatic one for the small 66-year-old Jewish state located in the Middle Eastern desert - even for Israeli standards. There was tension, which led to war, which led to more tension - and now the Israeli public will decide how the upcoming year will look with new elections on the horizon. But before 2015 begins and brings with it new memories, both happy and sad, here are the photographs that captured our eyes in 2014.
Crude oil spill in southern Israel
On December 3, 2014, there was a burst in the Trans-Israel pipeline, which carries crude oil from Eilat to Ashkelon, spilling 5 million liters of crude oil into the Evrona Nature Reserve - home to many unique animals and plant life. It has already been determined that the spill will be considered the worst in Israel's history.
Israel under rocket fire
A woman lies at the side of the road with her hands over her head, as instructed by the Central Command procedure, during a red alert siren signaling an incoming rocket coming into Israel from Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.
Gaza after war
A Palestinian boy stands in front of the rubble of what used to be an apartent building in the war-torn suburb of Saja'iyya - the same neighborhood where 13 Israeli soldiers were killed during the summer war.
Right-wing activist survives assassination attempt
Right-wing activist Yehuda Glick survived an assassination attempt in a shocking recovery after being shot in the abdomen several times. After spending a month at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, Glick was released and is now running for a spot in the Likud party.
The Rolling Stones perform in Israel
Although it is easy to focus on the security issues that occured in Israel within the past year, daily life and celebrations still continued in the country. Israelis had the pleasure of seeing the Rolling Stones, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, The Pixies, Soundgarden, The Prodigy and several other world-renowned musical acts in 2014.
First female Torah reading at Western Wall
The Women of the Wall organization won a major victory after they were able to smuggle a small Torah scroll into the womens' section at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The tiny Torah which was smuggled inside a tallit bag was used as part of a Bat Mitzvah ceremony.
Rare water spout over Tel Aviv
A waterspout extending from the stormy sky all the way down to the waters of the Mediterranean sea was visible to the naked eye in Tel Aviv. The rare sight is created by the large difference in temperature between the warmer temperature of the water in the sea and cold wind gusts that originate in Europe which create a vacuum of water from the sea to the clouds.
Ariel Sharon passes away
Former prime minster Ariel Sharon passed away on January 11th, 2014 at the age of 85 after remaining in a coma for 8 years after he suffered a stroke in 2006. US Secretary of State Joe Biden and former British prime minister Tony Blair attended his funeral.
"I have come here to pray to God to make peace prevail," Pope Francis said this May as he prayed at the Western Wall, one of the most revered Jewish shrines and a sole remnant of their sacred Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.
Like many visitors, he tucked a small written message between the ancient stones before walking away. He left a note with the text of the "Our Father" prayer written in his native Spanish in one of the cracks between the stones. Francis was in the Holy Land on the first visit of his papacy.
Snow in Jerusalem
2014 began with the end of a massive snow storm that left hundreds stranded without electricity in Jerusalem. The storm lasted for almost two weeks and painted parts of Israel white, giving the Holy Land a rare and beautiful look.