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Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a country in
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
. It is situated on the
southeastern shore
southeastern shore
of the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
and the northern shore of the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
, and
shares borders
shares borders
with
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
to the north,
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
to the northeast,
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It in ...

Jordan
to the east, and
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
to the southwest; it is also bordered by the
Palestinian territories The term "Palestinian territories" has been used for many years to describe the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 within the former Mandatory Palestine, British Mandate for Palestine, namely the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and t ...

Palestinian territories
of the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
and the
Gaza Strip The Gaza Strip (;The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p.761 "Gaza Strip /'gɑːzə/ a strip of territory under the control of the Palestinian National Authority and Hamas, on the SE Mediterranean coast including the town of Gaza.. ...
to the east and west, respectively.
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv-Yafo ( he, תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ, ''Tel Aviv-Yafo'' ; ar, تَلّ أَبِيب - يَافَا, ''Tall ʾAbīb-Yāfā''), often referred to as just Tel Aviv, is the most populous city in the metropolitan area of . Locate ...

Tel Aviv
is the
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ( ...
and technological center of the country, while its seat of government is in its proclaimed capital of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
, although international recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the city is limited. Israel has evidence of the earliest
hominid The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose ...
migrations
out of Africa ''Out of Africa'' is a memoir A memoir (; , ) is any nonfiction Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document A document is a writing, written, drawing, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought, often the manif ...
.
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
ite tribes are archaeologically attested in the region since the
Middle Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age syst ...
, while the
kingdoms of Israel and Judah The Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā(h)''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda''; arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt Dāwīḏ'') was an Iron Age The Ir ...
emerged during the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
. The
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disam ...

Neo-Assyrian Empire
destroyed the northern Kingdom of Israel around 720
BCE Common Era (CE) is one of the year notations used for the Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar is the used in most of the world. It was introduced in October 1582 by as a modification of the , reducing the average year from 365.2 ...
; the
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levan ...
was later conquered by the Babylonian,
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
, and
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, We ...
empires, but continued to exist in the form of various Jewish autonomous provinces. The successful
Maccabean Revolt The Maccabean Revolt ( he, מרד החשמונאים) was a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees The Maccabees (), also spelled Machabees ( he, מַכַּבִּים ''Makabīm'' or he, מַקַבִּים, ''Maqabīm''; or ''Maccabaei''; el, ...

Maccabean Revolt
led to an independent
Hasmonean kingdom The Hasmonean dynasty ( audio
; he, חַשְׁמוֹנַּאִים, ''Ḥašmona'īm'') was a ruling ...

Hasmonean kingdom
by 110 BCE, which, however, became a client state of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
in 63 BCE, following which the
Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty#REDIRECT Herodian dynasty 260px, Coin of Herod the Great The Herodian dynasty was a royal dynasty of Idumea, Idumaean (Edomite) descent, ruling the Herodian Kingdom and later the Herodian Tetr ...
was installed by 37 BCE. In 6 CE, the regions of
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is the ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous ...

Judea
,
Samaria Samaria, , also known as , 'Nablus Mountains' () is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the Land of Israel, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set t ...

Samaria
, and
Idumea Edom (; Edomite language, Edomite: ; he, Wiktionary:אדום, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian language, Akkadian: , ; Egyptian language, Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan (region), Transjordan located between Mo ...

Idumea
were incorporated by the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
to form the
Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled ...
of
Judaea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrolog ...
( la, Iudaea). Large-scale Jewish revolts against the Romans broke out by 66 CE, and were ultimately unsuccessful; the in Jerusalem as well as the city itself were destroyed by Roman forces in 70 CE, and its Jewish population was subsequently expelled. Following the failed Jewish revolts, the region was renamed by the Romans from ''Iudaea'' to ''
Syria Palaestina Syria Palaestina (literally, "Palestinian Syria";Trevor Bryce, 2009, ''The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia''Roland de Vaux, 1978, ''The Early History of Israel'', Page 2: "After the revolt of Bar Cochba in A. ...
''. Since the expulsion, the Jewish presence in the region has persisted to a certain extent over the centuries; in the 7th century CE, the Levant was taken from the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...
by
Arabs The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technica ...
under the
Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, al-Khilāfah ar-Rāšidah) was the first of the four major caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an ...
, and remained in Muslim hands until the
First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initiated, supported and at times directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The objective was the recovery of the Holy Land from Muslim conqu ...
of 1096–1099 ;
Crusader Crusader or Crusaders may refer to: Military * Crusader, a participant in one of the Crusades * Convair NB-36H Crusader, an experimental nuclear-powered bomber * Crusader tank, a British cruiser tank of World War II * Crusaders (guerrilla), a Cr ...

Crusader
control was partly dismantled by the
Ayyubids The Ayyubid dynasty ( ar, الأيوبيون '; Kurdish: ئەیووبیەکان Eyûbiyan) was a Sunni Muslim dynasty of Kurdish origin, founded by Saladin Al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub ( ar, الناصر صلاح الدين يوس ...

Ayyubids
in 1187, but ultimately lasted until 1291. The
Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt The Mamluk Sultanate ( ar, سلطنة المماليك, translit=Salṭanat al-Mamālīk) was a medieval realm spanning Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the N ...
extended its control over the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
by the end of the 13th century until its defeat to the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
in the Ottoman–Mamluk War of 1516–1517. During the 19th century, a national awakening among Jews led to the founding of
Zionism Zionism ( he, צִיּוֹנוּת ''Tsiyyonut'' after ''Zion Zion ( he, צִיּוֹן ''Ṣīyyōn'', , also variously ''Sion'', ''Tzion'', ''Tsion'', ''Tsiyyon'') is a placename in the used as a synonym for as well as for the as ...
, a movement that espouses the return of a
Jewish homeland A homeland for the Jewish people is an idea rooted in Jewish history, religion, and culture. The Jewish aspiration to return to Zion The return to Zion ( he, שִׁיבָת צִיּוֹן, translit=Shivat Tzion or , ) is an event recorded ...
in Canaan, also known as the
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
. The emergence of the Zionist movement was followed by the immigration of diaspora Jews to
Palestine Palestine ( or ) most often refers to: * State of Palestine, a ''de jure'' sovereign state in the Middle East * Palestine (region), a geographical and historical region in the Middle East Palestine may also refer to: * Palestinian National Aut ...
. Following
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
controlled the entirety of the territory of what now makes up Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Jordan as a
League of Nations mandate A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I World War I or the First World War, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, was a global ...
. After
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, the newly-formed
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through formal ...

United Nations
adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947, recommending the creation of independent
Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, : , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, : , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an mainly inhabiting the . In modern usage the term refers to those who originate from an Arab co ...

Arab
and
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; ) is an international standard are technical standards developed by international organizations (intergovernmental organizations), suc ...

Jewish
states, and an internationalized Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by the
Jewish Agency (HaSochnut HaYehudit L'Eretz Yisra'el) , native_name_lang = HE , founded = , headquarters = Jerusalem , coordinates = , tax_id = 23-7254561 , status = 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, ...
, but was rejected by Arab leaders. Following a civil war within Mandatory Palestine between
Yishuv Yishuv ( he, ישוב, literally "settlement"), Ha-Yishuv ( he, הישוב, ''the Yishuv''), or Ha-Yishuv Ha-Ivri ( he, הישוב העברי, ''the Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of ...
forces and
Palestinian Arab The Palestinian people ( ar, الشعب الفلسطيني, ''ash-sha‘b al-Filasṭīnī''), also referred to as Palestinians ( ar, الفلسطينيون, links=no, ''al-Filasṭīniyyūn''; he, פָלַסְטִינִים) or Palestinian A ...
forces, Israel declared independence at the termination of the British Mandate. The war internationalized into the
1948 Arab–Israeli War The 1948 (or First) Arab–Israeli War was the second and final stage of the 1947–1949 Palestine war, 1947–49 Palestine war. It formally began following the end of the British Mandate for Palestine at midnight on 14 May 1948; the Israeli ...
between Israel and several surrounding Arab states, and concluded with the
1949 Armistice Agreements Palestine Military Situation, April 6, 1949. Truman Papers The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of armistice An armistice is a formal agreement Agreement or concord (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) happens when a word change ...
that saw Israel retain all of the former Mandate's territory except for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which had come under Jordanian and Egyptian control, respectively; the West Bank was later annexed by Jordan in 1950. Since its independence, Israel has fought several wars with its neighbouring Arab countries. The 1967 Six-Day War resulted in a sweeping Israeli victory, and consequently saw Israel take control of several territories from its Arab neighbours. Presently, it continues to occupy the
Golan Heights The Golan Heights ( ar, هَضْبَةُ الْجَوْلَانِ, Haḍbatu l-Jawlān or , he, רמת הגולן, ), or simply the Golan, is a region in the Levant spanning about . The region defined as the Golan Heights differs between dis ...
and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip—though whether Gaza remains occupied following the 2005 Israeli disengagement is disputed. Israel has extended its civil law to
East Jerusalem East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem (, ; , ) is the sector of Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/ ...

East Jerusalem
and the Golan Heights, though these actions have been rejected as illegal by the international community. It has established settlements within the occupied territories, which the international community considers illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. Peace efforts to resolve the
Israeli–Palestinian conflict The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is one of the world's most enduring conflicts, with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip reaching years of conflict. Various attempts have been made to resolve the conflict as part of th ...
have not resulted in a final agreement with the Palestinian Arabs, while Israel has signed peace treaties with and with Jordan in 1994 and more recently has normalized relations with a number of other Arab countries. In its Basic Laws, Israel defines itself as a
Jewish and democratic state "Jewish and democratic state" is the Israeli legal definition of the nature and character of the State of Israel. The "Jewish" nature was first defined within the Declaration of Independence (Israel), Declaration of Independence of 1948 (see Jewi ...
, and the nation-state of the Jewish people. The country is a
liberal democracy Liberal democracy, also referred to as Western democracy, is the combination of a liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a L ...
with a
parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' an ...
,
proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical, and to ideolog ...

proportional representation
, and
universal suffrage Universal suffrage (also called universal franchise, general suffrage, and common suffrage of the common man) gives the right to vote Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (a ...
. The
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
is head of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
and the
Knesset The Knesset ( he, הַכְּנֶסֶת ; "gathering" or "assembly") is the unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber ...

Knesset
is the
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
. With a population of over 9 million , Israel is a
developed country A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized governm ...
and an
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

OECD
member. It has the world's 31st-largest economy by nominal GDP, and is the most developed country that is . It has the highest
standard of living Standard of living is the level of income, comforts and services available, generally applied to a society or location, rather than to an individual. Standard of living is relevant because it is considered to contribute to an individual's quality ...
in the Middle East, and ranks among the world's top countries by percentage of citizens with military training, IISS 2018, pp. 339–340 percentage of citizens holding a tertiary education degree, List of countries by research and development spending, research and development spending by GDP percentage, Women in Israel, women's safety, List of countries by life expectancy, life expectancy, Science and technology in Israel, innovativeness, and World Happiness Report, happiness.


Etymology

Under the Mandate for Palestine, British Mandate (1920–1948), the whole region was known as 'Palestine' (). Upon Israeli Declaration of Independence, independence in 1948, the country formally adopted the name 'State of Israel' ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, ; ar, دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل, , ) after other Israeli Declaration of Independence#Name, proposed historical and religious names including '
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
' (''Eretz Israel''), Ever (from ancestor Eber), Zion, and
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is the ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous ...

Judea
, were considered but rejected, while the name 'Israel' was suggested by Ben-Gurion and passed by a vote of 6–3. In the early weeks of independence, the government chose the term "Israelis, Israeli" to denote a citizen of Israel, with the formal announcement made by Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel, Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Sharett. The names
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
and Children of Israel have historically been used to refer to the biblical Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), Kingdom of Israel and the Jewish people, entire Jewish people respectively. The Israel (name), name 'Israel' (Hebrew: ''Yisraʾel'', ''Isrāʾīl''; Septuagint el, Ἰσραήλ, ''Israēl'', 'El (God) persists/rules', though after often interpreted as 'struggle with God') in these phrases refers to the patriarch Jacob who, according to the Hebrew Bible, was given the name after he successfully wrestled with the angel of the Lord. Jacob's twelve sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the ''Twelve Tribes of Israel'' or ''Children of Israel''. Jacob and his sons had lived in
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
but were forced by famine to go into
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a spanning the and the of . It is bordered by the to , the () and to , the to the east, to , and to . In the northeast, the , which is the northern arm of the R ...

Egypt
for four generations, lasting 430 years, until Moses, a great-great grandson of Jacob, led the Israelites back into Canaan during the "The Exodus, Exodus". The earliest known archaeological artifact to mention the word "Israel" as a collective is the Merneptah Stele of ancient Egypt (dated to the late 13th century BCE). The area is also known as the Holy Land, being holy for all Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Baháʼí Faith. Through the centuries, the territory was known by a Names of the Levant, variety of other names, including
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
, Djahy,
Samaria Samaria, , also known as , 'Nablus Mountains' () is a historical and biblical name used for the central region of the Land of Israel, bordered by Galilee to the north and Judaea to the south. For the beginning of the Common Era, Josephus set t ...

Samaria
,
Judea Judea or Judaea ( or ; from he, יהודה, Hebrew language#Modern Hebrew, Standard ''Yəhūda'', Tiberian vocalization, Tiberian ''Yehūḏā''; el, Ἰουδαία, ; la, Iūdaea) is the ancient, historic, Biblical Hebrew, contemporaneous ...

Judea
, Yehud (Babylonian province), Yehud, Iudaea,
Syria Palaestina Syria Palaestina (literally, "Palestinian Syria";Trevor Bryce, 2009, ''The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia''Roland de Vaux, 1978, ''The Early History of Israel'', Page 2: "After the revolt of Bar Cochba in A. ...
and Southern Syria.


History


Prehistory

The oldest evidence of early humans in the territory of modern Israel, dating to 1.5 million years ago, was found in Ubeidiya prehistoric site, Ubeidiya near the Sea of Galilee. Other notable Paleolithic sites include the caves Tabun Cave, Tabun, Qesem Cave, Qesem and Manot Cave, Manot. The oldest fossils of anatomically modern humans found Recent African origin of modern humans, outside Africa are the Skhul and Qafzeh hominins, who lived in the area that is now northern Israel 120,000 years ago. Around 10th millennium BCE, the Natufian culture existed in the area.


Antiquity

The early history of the territory is unclear. Modern archaeology has largely discarded Historicity of the Bible, the historicity of the narrative in the Torah concerning the Patriarchs (Bible), patriarchs, The Exodus, and Early Israelite campaigns, the conquest of Canaan described in the Book of Joshua, and instead views the narrative as constituting the Israelites' national myth. During the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 BCE), large parts of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
formed vassal states paying tribute to the New Kingdom of Egypt, whose administrative headquarters lay in Gaza city, Gaza. Ancestors of the Israelites are thought to have included ancient Semitic-speaking peoples native to this area. The Israelites and their culture, according to the modern archaeological account, did not overtake the region by force, but instead branched out of these Canaanite languages, Canaanite peoples and their cultures through the development of a distinct monolatrism, monolatristic—and later monotheism, monotheistic—religion centered on Yahweh. The archaeological evidence indicates a society of village-like centres, but with more limited resources and a small population. Villages had populations of up to 300 or 400, which lived by farming and herding, and were largely self-sufficient; economic interchange was prevalent. Writing was known and available for recording, even in small sites. While it is unclear if there was ever a Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy), United Monarchy, there is well-accepted archeological evidence referring to "Israel" in the Merneptah Stele which dates to about 1200 BCE;K.L. Noll
''Canaan and Israel in Antiquity: A Textbook on History and Religion,''
A&C Black, 2012, rev.ed. pp. 137ff.
Thomas L. Thompson
''Early History of the Israelite People: From the Written & Archaeological Sources,''
Brill, 2000 pp. 275–276: 'They are rather a very specific group among the population of Palestine which bears a name that occurs here for the first time that at a much later stage in Palestine's history bears a substantially different signification.'
and the Canaanites are archaeologically attested in the Middle Bronze Age (2100–1550 BCE).Jonathan M Golde
''Ancient Canaan and Israel: An Introduction,''
OUP, 2009 pp. 3–4.
There is debate about the earliest existence of the History of ancient Israel and Judah, Kingdoms of Israel and Judah and their extent and power, but historians and archaeologists agree that a Kingdom of Israel existed by 900 BCE and that a
Kingdom of Judah The Kingdom of Judah ( he, יְהוּדָה, ''Yəhūdā''; akk, 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 ''Ya'uda'' 'ia-ú-da-a-a'' arc, 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃 ''Bēyt David, Dāwīḏ'') was an Israelites, Israelite kingdom of the Southern Levan ...
existed by 700 BCE.The Pitcher Is Broken: Memorial Essays for Gosta W. Ahlstrom, Steven W. Holloway, Lowell K. Handy, Continuum, 1 May 1995
Quote: "For Israel, the description of the battle of Qarqar in the Kurkh Monolith of Shalmaneser III (mid-ninth century) and for Judah, a Tiglath-pileser III text mentioning (Jeho-) Ahaz of Judah (IIR67 = K. 3751), dated 734–733, are the earliest published to date."
The Kingdom of Israel was destroyed around 720 BCE, when it was conquered by the
Neo-Assyrian Empire The Neo-Assyrian Empire (Assyrian cuneiform Assyrian may refer to: * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire * Assyrian people, an ethnic group indigenous to the Middle East * Assyrian Church (disambiguation) * Assyrian language (disam ...

Neo-Assyrian Empire
. In 586 BCE, King Nebuchadnezzar II of Neo-Babylonian Empire, Babylon Jewish–Babylonian war, conquered Judah. According to the Hebrew Bible, he Siege of Jerusalem (587 BCE), destroyed Solomon's Temple and Babylonian captivity, exiled the Jews to Babylon. The defeat was also recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles. The Babylonian exile ended around 538 BCE under the rule of the Medo-Persian Cyrus the Great after he captured Babylon. The Second Temple was constructed around 520 BCE. As part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire, the former Kingdom of Judah became the province of Judah (''Yehud Medinata'') with different borders, covering a smaller territory. The population of the province was greatly reduced from that of the kingdom, archaeological surveys showing a population of around 30,000 people in the 5th to 4th centuries BCE.


Classical period

With successive Achaemenid Empire, Persian rule, the autonomous province ''Yehud Medinata'' was gradually developing back into urban society, largely dominated by Judeans. The Hellenistic Greece, Greek conquests largely skipped the region without any resistance or interest. Incorporated into the Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemaic and finally the Seleucid Empire, Seleucid empires, the southern Levant was heavily Coele-Syria, hellenized, building the tensions between Judeans and Greeks. The conflict erupted in 167 BCE with the
Maccabean Revolt The Maccabean Revolt ( he, מרד החשמונאים) was a Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees The Maccabees (), also spelled Machabees ( he, מַכַּבִּים ''Makabīm'' or he, מַקַבִּים, ''Maqabīm''; or ''Maccabaei''; el, ...

Maccabean Revolt
, which succeeded in establishing an independent Hasmonean Kingdom in Judah, which later expanded over much of modern Israel, as the Seleucids gradually lost control in the region. The
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
invaded the region in 63 BCE, first Third Mithridatic War, taking control of Syria, and then intervening in the Hasmonean Civil War. The Roman–Parthian Wars, struggle between pro-Roman and pro-Parthian Empire, Parthian factions in Judea eventually led to the installation of Herod the Great and consolidation of the Herodian kingdom as a vassal Judean state of Ancient Rome, Rome. With the decline of the
Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty #REDIRECT Herodian dynasty#REDIRECT Herodian dynasty 260px, Coin of Herod the Great The Herodian dynasty was a royal dynasty of Idumea, Idumaean (Edomite) descent, ruling the Herodian Kingdom and later the Herodian Tetr ...
, Judea, transformed into a Judea (Roman province), Roman province, became the site of a violent struggle of Jews against Roman people, Romans, culminating in the Jewish–Roman wars, ending in wide-scale destruction, expulsions, genocide, and Slavery in ancient Rome, enslavement of masses of Jewish captives. An estimated 1,356,460 Jews were killed as a result of the First Jewish–Roman War, First Jewish Revolt (66–73 CE); the Kitos War, Second Jewish Revolt (115–117) led to the death of more than 200,000 Jews; and the Bar Kokhba revolt, Third Jewish Revolt (132–136) resulted in the death of 580,000 Jewish soldiers. Jewish presence in the region significantly dwindled after the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 CE. Nevertheless, there was a continuous small Jewish presence and Galilee became its religious center. The Mishnah and part of the Jerusalem Talmud, Talmud, central Jewish texts, were composed during the 2nd to 4th centuries CE in Tiberias and
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
. The region came to be populated predominantly by Greco-Romans on the coast and Samaritans in the hill-country. Early Christianity, Christianity was gradually evolving over Roman Paganism, when the area stood under Diocese of the East, Byzantine rule. Through the 5th and 6th centuries, the dramatic events of the repeated Samaritan revolts reshaped the land, with massive destruction to Byzantine Christian and Samaritan societies and a resulting decrease of the population. After the Sasanian conquest of Jerusalem, Persian conquest and the installation of a short-lived Jewish revolt against Heraclius, Jewish Commonwealth in 614 CE, the Byzantine Empire Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, reconquered the country in 628.


Middle Ages and modern history

In 634–641 CE, the region, including Jerusalem, was Muslim conquest of the Levant, conquered by the Arabs who had recently adopted Islam. Control of the region transferred between the Rashidun Caliphs, Umayyads, Abbasid Caliphate, Abbasids, Fatimid Caliphate, Fatimids, Seljuks, Crusader states, Crusaders, and
Ayyubids The Ayyubid dynasty ( ar, الأيوبيون '; Kurdish: ئەیووبیەکان Eyûbiyan) was a Sunni Muslim dynasty of Kurdish origin, founded by Saladin Al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub ( ar, الناصر صلاح الدين يوس ...

Ayyubids
throughout the next three centuries. During the Siege of Jerusalem (1099), siege of Jerusalem by the
First Crusade The First Crusade (1096–1099) was the first of a series of religious wars, or Crusades, initiated, supported and at times directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The objective was the recovery of the Holy Land from Muslim conqu ...
in 1099, the Jewish inhabitants of the city fought side by side with the Fatimid garrison and the Muslim population who tried in vain to defend the city against the Crusaders. When the city fell, around 60,000 people were massacred, including 6,000 Jews seeking refuge in a synagogue. At this time, a full thousand years after the fall of the Jewish state, there were Jewish communities all over the country. Fifty of them are known and include Jerusalem, Tiberias, Ramla, Ramleh, Ashkelon, Caesarea, and Gaza City, Gaza. According to Albert of Aachen, the Jewish residents of Haifa were the main fighting force of the city, and "mixed with Saracen [Fatimid] troops", they fought bravely for close to a month until forced into retreat by the Crusader fleet and land army. In 1165, Maimonides visited Jerusalem and prayed on the Temple Mount, in the "great, holy house." In 1141, the Spanish-Jewish poet Yehuda Halevi issued a call for Jews to migrate to the Land of Israel, a journey he undertook himself. In 1187, Sultan Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, defeated the Crusaders in the Battle of Hattin and subsequently captured Jerusalem and almost all of Palestine. In time, Saladin issued a proclamation inviting Jews to return and settle in Jerusalem, and according to Yehuda Alharizi, Judah al-Harizi, they did: "From the day the Arabs took Jerusalem, the Israelites inhabited it." Al-Harizi compared Saladin's decree allowing Jews to re-establish themselves in Jerusalem to the one issued by the Persian king Cyrus the Great over 1,600 years earlier. In 1211, the Jewish community in the country was strengthened by the arrival of a group headed by over 300 rabbis from France and England, among them Rabbi Samson ben Abraham of Sens. Nachmanides (Ramban), the 13th-century Spanish rabbi and recognised leader of Jewry, greatly praised the Land of Israel and viewed its settlement as a positive commandment incumbent on all Jews. He wrote "If the gentiles wish to make peace, we shall make peace and leave them on clear terms; but as for the land, we shall not leave it in their hands, nor in the hands of any nation, not in any generation." In 1260, control passed to the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), Mamluk sultans of Egypt. The country was located between the two centres of Mamluk power, Cairo and Damascus, and only saw some development along the postal road connecting the two cities. Jerusalem, although left without the protection of any Walls of Jerusalem, city walls since 1219, also saw a flurry of new construction projects centred around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount. In 1266, the Mamluk Sultan Baybars converted the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron into an exclusive Islamic sanctuary and banned Christians and Jews from entering, who previously had been able to enter it for a fee. The ban remained in place until Israel took control of the building in 1967. In 1470, Isaac b. Meir Latif arrived from Italy and counted 150 Jewish families in Jerusalem. Thanks to Joseph Saragossi who had arrived in the closing years of the 15th century, Safed and its environs had developed into the largest concentration of Jews in Palestine. With the help of the Sephardi Jews, Sephardic immigration from Spain, the Jewish population had increased to 10,000 by the early 16th century. In 1516, the region was conquered by the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
; it remained under Ottoman Syria, Turkish rule until the end of the First World War, when Britain defeated the Ottoman forces and set up a Occupied Enemy Territory Administration, military administration across the former Ottoman Syria. In 1660, a Druze power struggle (1658–1667)#Lebanon and Galilee campaign, Druze revolt led to the destruction of 1660 destruction of Safed, Safed and 1660 destruction of Tiberias, Tiberias. In the late 18th century, local Arab Sheikh Zahir al-Umar created a de facto independent Emirate in the Galilee. Ottoman attempts to subdue the Sheikh failed, but after Zahir's death the Ottomans regained control of the area. In 1799 governor Jazzar Pasha successfully repelled an Siege of Acre (1799), assault on Acre by troops of Napoleon, prompting the French to abandon the Syrian campaign. In 1834 a Peasants' revolt in Palestine, revolt by Palestinian Arab peasants broke out against Egyptian conscription and taxation policies under Muhammad Ali of Egypt, Muhammad Ali. Although the revolt was suppressed, Muhammad Ali's army retreated and Ottoman rule was restored with British support in 1840. Shortly after, the Tanzimat reforms were implemented across the Ottoman Empire. In 1920, after the Allies of World War I, Allies Sinai and Palestine Campaign, conquered the Levant during World War I, the territory was divided between Britain and France under the League of Nations mandate, mandate system, and the British-administered area which included modern day Israel was named Mandatory Palestine.


Zionism and British Mandate

Since the existence of the earliest Jewish diaspora, many Jews have aspired to Aliyah, return to "Zion" and the "Land of Israel", though the amount of effort that should be spent towards such an aim was a matter of dispute. The hopes and yearnings of Jews living in exile are an important theme of the Jewish belief system. After the Jews were Alhambra Decree, expelled from Spain in 1492, some communities settled in Palestine. During the 16th century, Jewish communities struck roots in the Four Holy Cities—
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
, Tiberias, Hebron, and Safed—and in 1697, Rabbi Yehuda Hachasid led a group of 1,500 Jews to Jerusalem. In the second half of the 18th century, Eastern European Misnagdim, opponents of Hasidic Judaism, Hasidism, known as the Perushim, settled in Palestine. The first wave of modern Jewish migration to Southern Syria, Ottoman-ruled Palestine, known as the First Aliyah, began in 1881, as Jews fled Pogrom#Pogroms against Jews, pogroms in Eastern Europe. The source provides information on the First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Aliyot in their respective articles. The White Paper leading to Aliyah Bet is discussed The First Aliyah laid the cornerstone for widespread Jewish settlement in Palestine. From 1881 to 1903, the Jews had established dozens of settlements and purchased about 350,000 dunams of land. At the same time, the revival of the Hebrew language began among Jews in Palestine, spurred on largely by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, a Russian-born Jew who had settled in Jerusalem in 1881. Jews were encouraged to speak Hebrew in the place of other languages, a Hebrew school system began to emerge, and new words were coined or borrowed from other languages for modern inventions and concepts. As a result, Hebrew gradually became the predominant language of the Jewish community of Palestine, which until then had been divided into different linguistic communities that primarily used Hebrew for religious purposes and as a means of communication between Jews with different native languages. Although the Zionist movement already existed in practice, Austria-Hungary, Austro-Hungarian journalist Theodor Herzl is credited with founding political
Zionism Zionism ( he, צִיּוֹנוּת ''Tsiyyonut'' after ''Zion Zion ( he, צִיּוֹן ''Ṣīyyōn'', , also variously ''Sion'', ''Tzion'', ''Tsion'', ''Tsiyyon'') is a placename in the used as a synonym for as well as for the as ...
, a movement that sought to establish a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, thus offering a solution to the so-called Jewish question of the European states, in conformity with the goals and achievements of other national projects of the time. In 1896, Herzl published ''Der Judenstaat'' (''The Jewish State''), offering his vision of a future Jewish state; the following year he presided over the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. The Second Aliyah (1904–14) began after the Kishinev pogrom; some 40,000 Jews settled in Palestine, although nearly half of them left eventually. Both the first and second waves of migrants were mainly Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox Jews, although the Second Aliyah included Labor Zionism, socialist groups who established the ''kibbutz'' movement. Though the immigrants of the Second Aliyah largely sought to create communal agricultural settlements, the period also saw the establishment of
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv-Yafo ( he, תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ, ''Tel Aviv-Yafo'' ; ar, تَلّ أَبِيب - يَافَا, ''Tall ʾAbīb-Yāfā''), often referred to as just Tel Aviv, is the most populous city in the metropolitan area of . Locate ...

Tel Aviv
in 1909 as the "first Hebrew city." This period also saw the appearance of Jewish armed self-defense organizations as a means of defense for Jewish settlements. The first such organization was Bar-Giora (organization), Bar-Giora, a small secret guard founded in 1907. Two years later, larger Hashomer organization was founded as its replacement. During
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent the Balfour Declaration to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, Baron Rothschild (Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild), a leader of the British Jewish community, that stated that Britain intended for the creation of a Jewish "Homeland for the Jewish people, national home" in Palestine. In 1918, the Jewish Legion, a group primarily of Zionist volunteers, assisted in the British Sinai and Palestine Campaign, conquest of Palestine. Arab opposition to British rule and Jewish immigration led to the 1920 Palestine riots and the formation of a Jewish militia known as the Haganah (meaning "The Defense" in Hebrew) in 1920 as an outgrowth of Hashomer, from which the Irgun and Lehi (group), Lehi, or the Stern Gang, paramilitary groups later split off. In 1922, the League of Nations granted Britain the Mandate for Palestine under terms which included the Balfour Declaration with its promise to the Jews, and with similar provisions regarding the Arab Palestinians. The Demographic history of Palestine (region), population of the area at this time was predominantly Arab and Muslim, with Jews accounting for about 11%, and Arab Christians about 9.5% of the population. The Third Aliyah, Third (1919–23) and Fourth Aliyahs (1924–29) brought an additional 100,000 Jews to Palestine. The Hitler's rise to power, rise of Nazism and the increasing persecution of Jews in 1930s Europe led to the Fifth Aliyah, with an influx of a quarter of a million Jews. This was a major cause of the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine, Arab revolt of 1936–39, which was launched as a reaction to continued Jewish immigration and land purchases. Several hundred Jews and British security personnel were killed, while the British Mandate authorities alongside the Zionist militias of the Haganah and Irgun killed 5,032 Arabs and wounded 14,760, resulting in over ten percent of the adult male Palestinian Arab population killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. The British introduced restrictions on Jewish immigration to Palestine with the White Paper of 1939. With countries around the world turning away Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust, a clandestine movement known as Aliyah Bet was organized to bring Jews to Palestine. By the end of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, the Jewish population of Palestine had increased to 31% of the total population.


After World War II

After World War II, the UK found itself facing a Jewish Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine, guerrilla campaign over Jewish immigration limits, as well as continued conflict with the Arab community over limit levels. The Haganah joined Irgun and Lehi in an armed struggle against British rule. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors and refugees sought a new life far from their destroyed communities in Europe. The Haganah attempted to bring these refugees to Palestine in a program called Aliyah Bet in which tens of thousands of Jewish refugees attempted to enter Palestine by ship. Most of the ships were intercepted by the Royal Navy and the refugees rounded up and placed in detention camps in Atlit detainee camp, Atlit and Cyprus internment camps, Cyprus by the British. On 22 July 1946, Irgun King David Hotel bombing, bombed the British administrative headquarters for Palestine, which was housed in the southern wing of the King David Hotel in
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
.Encyclopædia Britannica
article on the Irgun Zvai Leumi
A total of 91 people of various nationalities were killed and 46 were injured.Thurston Clarke, Clarke, Thurston. ''By Blood and Fire'', G.P. Puttnam's Sons, New York, 1981 The hotel was the site of the Secretariat of the Government of Palestine and the Headquarters of the British Armed Forces in Mandatory Palestine and Emirate of Transjordan, Transjordan. The attack initially had the approval of the Haganah. It was conceived as a response to Operation Agatha (a series of widespread raids, including one on the
Jewish Agency (HaSochnut HaYehudit L'Eretz Yisra'el) , native_name_lang = HE , founded = , headquarters = Jerusalem , coordinates = , tax_id = 23-7254561 , status = 501(c)(3) A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, ...
, conducted by the British authorities) and was the deadliest directed at the British during the Mandate era. The Jewish insurgency continued throughout the rest of 1946 and 1947 despite concerted efforts by the British military and Palestine Police Force to suppress it. British efforts to mediate a negotiated solution with Jewish and Arab representatives also failed as the Jews were unwilling to accept any solution that did not involve a Jewish state and suggested a partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, while the Arabs were adamant that a Jewish state in any part of Palestine was unacceptable and that the only solution was a unified Palestine under Arab rule. In February 1947, the British referred the Palestine issue to the newly formed
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through formal ...

United Nations
. On 15 May 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations, General Assembly of the United Nations resolved that the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine be created "to prepare for consideration at the next regular session of the Assembly a report on the question of Palestine." In the Report of the Committee dated 3 September 1947 to the General Assembly, the majority of the Committee in Chapter VI proposed a plan to replace the British Mandate with "an independent Arab State, an independent Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem [...] the last to be under an International Trusteeship System." Meanwhile, the Jewish insurgency continued and peaked in July 1947, with a series of widespread guerrilla raids culminating in the The Sergeants affair, sergeants affair. After three Irgun fighters had been sentenced to death for their role in the Acre Prison break, a May 1947 Irgun raid on Acre Prison in which 27 Irgun and Lehi militants were freed, the Irgun captured two British sergeants and held them hostage, threatening to kill them if the three men were executed. When the British carried out the executions, the Irgun responded by killing the two hostages and hanged their bodies from eucalyptus trees, booby-trapping one of them with a mine which injured a British officer as he cut the body down. The hangings caused widespread outrage in Britain and were a major factor in the consensus forming in Britain that it was time to evacuate Palestine. In September 1947, the British cabinet decided that the Mandate was no longer tenable, and to evacuate Palestine. According to Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech Jones, four major factors led to the decision to evacuate Palestine: the inflexibility of Jewish and Arab negotiators who were unwilling to compromise on their core positions over the question of a Jewish state in Palestine, the economic pressure that stationing a large garrison in Palestine to deal with the Jewish insurgency and the possibility of a wider Jewish rebellion and the possibility of an Arab rebellion put on a British economy already strained by World War II, the "deadly blow to British patience and pride" caused by the hangings of the sergeants, and the mounting criticism the government faced in failing to find a new policy for Palestine in place of the White Paper of 1939. On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly adopted United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, Resolution 181 (II) recommending the adoption and implementation of the ''Plan of Partition with Economic Union''. The plan attached to the resolution was essentially that proposed by the majority of the Committee in the report of 3 September. The Jewish Agency, which was the recognized representative of the Jewish community, accepted the plan. The Arab League and Arab Higher Committee of Palestine rejected it, and indicated that they would reject any other plan of partition. On the following day, 1 December 1947, the Arab Higher Committee proclaimed a three-day strike, and 1947 Jerusalem riots, riots broke out in Jerusalem. The situation spiralled into a 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, civil war; just two weeks after the UN vote, Colonial Secretary Arthur Creech Jones announced that the British Mandate would end on 15 May 1948, at which point the British would evacuate. As Arab militias and gangs attacked Jewish areas, they were faced mainly by the Haganah, as well as the smaller Irgun and Lehi. In April 1948, the Haganah moved onto the offensive. During this period 250,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled, due to Causes of the 1948 Palestinian exodus, a number of factors. On 14 May 1948, the day before the expiration of the British Mandate, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, Israeli Declaration of Independence, declared "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel." The only reference in the text of the Declaration to the borders of the new state is the use of the term ''Eretz-Israel'' ("
Land of Israel The Land of Israel () is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant The Southern Levant is a geographical region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical ...

Land of Israel
"). The following day, the armies of four Arab countries—Kingdom of Egypt, Egypt, Syrian Republic (1946–63), Syria, Jordan, Transjordan and Kingdom of Iraq, Iraq—entered what had been British Mandatory Palestine, launching the
1948 Arab–Israeli War The 1948 (or First) Arab–Israeli War was the second and final stage of the 1947–1949 Palestine war, 1947–49 Palestine war. It formally began following the end of the British Mandate for Palestine at midnight on 14 May 1948; the Israeli ...
; contingents from Yemen, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Sudan joined the war. The apparent purpose of the invasion was to prevent the establishment of the Jewish state at inception, and some Arab leaders talked about driving the Jews into the sea. According to Benny Morris, Jews felt that the invading Arab armies aimed to slaughter the Jews. The Arab league stated that the invasion was to restore law and order and to prevent further bloodshed. After a year of fighting, a 1949 Armistice Agreements, ceasefire was declared and temporary borders, known as the Green Line (Israel), Green Line, were established. Jordan Jordanian annexation of the West Bank, annexed what became known as the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
, including
East Jerusalem East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem (, ; , ) is the sector of Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/ ...

East Jerusalem
, and Egypt Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt, occupied the
Gaza Strip The Gaza Strip (;The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p.761 "Gaza Strip /'gɑːzə/ a strip of territory under the control of the Palestinian National Authority and Hamas, on the SE Mediterranean coast including the town of Gaza.. ...
. The UN estimated that more than 700,000 Palestinians were 1948 Palestinian exodus, expelled by or fled from advancing Israel Defense Forces, Israeli forces during the conflict—what would become known in Arabic as the ''Nakba'' ("catastrophe"). Some 156,000 remained and became Arab citizens of Israel.


Early years of the State of Israel

Israel United Nations General Assembly Resolution 273, was admitted as a member of the UN by majority vote on 11 May 1949. An Israeli-Jordanian attempt at negotiating a peace agreement broke down after the Government of the United Kingdom, British government, fearful of the Egyptian reaction to such a treaty, expressed their opposition to the Government of Jordan, Jordanian government. In the early years of the state, the Labor Zionism, Labor Zionist movement led by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion dominated Politics of Israel, Israeli politics. The kibbutzim, or collective farming communities, played a pivotal role in establishing the new state. Immigration to Israel during the late 1940s and early 1950s was aided by the Israeli Immigration Department and the non-government sponsored Mossad LeAliyah Bet ( "Institute for Aliyah Bet, Immigration B") which organized illegal and clandestine immigration. Both groups facilitated regular immigration logistics like arranging transportation, but the latter also engaged in clandestine operations in countries, particularly in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, where the lives of Jews were believed to be in danger and exit from those places was difficult. Mossad LeAliyah Bet was disbanded in 1953. The immigration was in accordance with the One Million Plan. The immigrants came for differing reasons: some held Zionist beliefs or came for the promise of a better life in Israel, while others moved to escape persecution or were expelled. An Aliyah#Early statehood (1948–1960), influx of Holocaust survivors and Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, Jews from Arab and Muslim countries to Israel during the first three years increased the number of Jews from 700,000 to 1,400,000. By 1958, the population of Israel rose to two million. Between 1948 and 1970, approximately 1,150,000 Jewish refugees relocated to Israel. Some new immigrants arrived as refugees with no possessions and were housed in temporary camps known as ''ma'abarot''; by 1952, over 200,000 people were living in these tent cities. Ashkenazi Jews, Jews of European background were often treated more favorably than Jews from Mizrahi Jews, Middle Eastern and Sephardi Jews, North African countries—housing units reserved for the latter were often re-designated for the former, with the result that Jews newly arrived from Arab lands generally ended up staying in transit camps for longer. During this period, food, clothes and furniture had to be rationed in what became known as the Austerity in Israel, austerity period. The need to solve the crisis led Ben-Gurion to sign a Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany, reparations agreement with West Germany that triggered mass protests by Jews angered at the idea that Israel could accept monetary compensation for the Holocaust. During the 1950s, Israel was frequently List of attacks against Israeli civilians before 1967, attacked by Palestinian fedayeen, nearly always against civilians, mainly from the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip, leading to several Israeli reprisal operations. In 1956, the United Kingdom and France aimed at regaining control of the Suez Canal, which the Egyptians had nationalized. The continued blockade of the Suez Canal and Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, together with the growing amount of Fedayeen attacks against Israel's southern population, and recent Arab grave and threatening statements, prompted Israel to attack Egypt. Israel joined Protocol of Sèvres, a secret alliance with the United Kingdom and France and overran the Sinai Peninsula but was pressured to withdraw by the UN in return for guarantees of Israeli shipping rights in the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
via the Straits of Tiran and the Canal. The war, known as the Suez Crisis, resulted in significant reduction of Israeli border infiltration. In the early 1960s, Israel captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina and brought him to Israel for trial. The trial had a major impact on public awareness of the Holocaust. Eichmann remains the only person executed in Israel by conviction in an Israeli judicial system, Israeli civilian court. During the spring and summer of 1963 Israel was engaged in a, now declassified 1963 Israel–United States standoff, diplomatic standoff with the United States due to the Israeli Nuclear weapons and Israel, nuclear program. Since 1964, Arab countries, concerned over Israeli plans to divert waters of the Jordan River into the Israeli coastal plain, coastal plain, had been trying to divert the headwaters to deprive Israel of water resources, provoking War over Water (Jordan river), tensions between Israel on the one hand, and Syria and Lebanon on the other. Arab nationalism, Arab nationalists led by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser refused to recognize Israel and called for its destruction. By 1966, Israeli-Arab relations had deteriorated to the point of actual battles taking place between Israeli and Arab forces. In May 1967, Egypt massed its army near the border with Israel, expelled United Nations Emergency Force, UN peacekeepers, stationed in the Sinai Peninsula since 1957, and blocked Israel's access to the Red Sea. Other Arab states mobilized their forces. Israel reiterated that these actions were a ''casus belli'' and, on 5 June, launched a Operation Focus, pre-emptive strike against Egypt. Jordan, Syria and Iraq responded and attacked Israel. In a Six-Day War, Israel captured and occupied the West Bank from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and the
Golan Heights The Golan Heights ( ar, هَضْبَةُ الْجَوْلَانِ, Haḍbatu l-Jawlān or , he, רמת הגולן, ), or simply the Golan, is a region in the Levant spanning about . The region defined as the Golan Heights differs between dis ...
from Syria. Jerusalem's boundaries were enlarged, incorporating
East Jerusalem East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem (, ; , ) is the sector of Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/ ...

East Jerusalem
, and the 1949 Green Line (Israel), Green Line became the administrative boundary between Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories, occupied territories. Following the 1967 war and the "Khartoum Resolution, Three Nos" resolution of the Arab League and during the 1967–1970 War of Attrition, Israel faced attacks from the Egyptians in the Sinai Peninsula, and from Palestinian groups targeting Israelis in the occupied territories, in Israel proper, and around the world. Most important among the various Palestinian and Arab groups was the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), established in 1964, which initially committed itself to "armed struggle as the only way to liberate the homeland". In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Palestinian groups launched a Palestinian political violence, wave of attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world, including Munich massacre, a massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. The Israeli government responded with an Operation Wrath of God, assassination campaign against the organizers of the massacre, a 1972 Israeli air raid in Syria and Lebanon, bombing and a 1973 Israeli raid on Lebanon, raid on the PLO headquarters in Lebanon. On 6 October 1973, as Jews were observing Yom Kippur, the Egyptian and Syrian armies launched Operation Badr (1973), a surprise attack against Israeli forces in the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights, that opened the Yom Kippur War. The war ended on 25 October with Israel successfully repelling Egyptian and Syrian forces but having suffered over 2,500 soldiers killed in a war which collectively took 10–35,000 lives in about 20 days. An Agranat Commission, internal inquiry exonerated Fifteenth government of Israel, the government of responsibility for failures before and during the war, but public anger forced Prime Minister Golda Meir to resign. In July 1976, an airliner was hijacked during its flight from Israel to France by Palestinian guerrillas and landed at Entebbe International Airport, Entebbe, Uganda. Israeli commandos carried out Operation Entebbe, an operation in which 102 out of 106 Israeli hostages were successfully rescued.


Further conflict and peace process

The 1977 Israeli legislative election, 1977 Knesset elections marked a major turning point in Israeli political history as Menachem Begin's Likud party took control from the Labor Party (Israel), Labor Party. Later that year, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat made a trip to Israel and spoke before the
Knesset The Knesset ( he, הַכְּנֶסֶת ; "gathering" or "assembly") is the unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber ...

Knesset
in what was the first recognition of Israel by an Arab head of state. In the two years that followed, Sadat and Begin signed the Camp David Accords (1978) and the Egypt–Israel peace treaty (1979). In return, Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula and agreed to enter negotiations over an autonomy for Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. On 11 March 1978, a PLO guerilla raid from Lebanon led to the Coastal Road massacre. Israel responded by launching an 1978 South Lebanon conflict, invasion of southern Lebanon to destroy the PLO bases south of the Litani River. Most PLO fighters withdrew, but Israel was able to secure southern Lebanon until a United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, UN force and the Lebanese army could take over. The PLO soon resumed its Palestinian insurgency in South Lebanon, policy of attacks against Israel. In the next few years, the PLO infiltrated the south and kept up a sporadic shelling across the border. Israel carried out numerous retaliatory attacks by air and on the ground. Meanwhile, Begin's government provided incentives for Israelis to Israeli settlements, settle in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, occupied West Bank, increasing friction with the Palestinians in that area. The Jerusalem Law, Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, passed in 1980, was believed by some to reaffirm Israel's 1967 annexation of Jerusalem by government decree, and UN Security Council Resolution 478, reignited international controversy over the Positions on Jerusalem, status of the city. No Israeli legislation has defined the territory of Israel and no act specifically included East Jerusalem therein. In 1981 Israel Golan Heights Law, effectively annexed the
Golan Heights The Golan Heights ( ar, هَضْبَةُ الْجَوْلَانِ, Haḍbatu l-Jawlān or , he, רמת הגולן, ), or simply the Golan, is a region in the Levant spanning about . The region defined as the Golan Heights differs between dis ...
, although annexation was not recognized internationally. The international community largely rejected these moves, with the UN Security Council declaring both the Jerusalem Law and the Golan Heights Law null and void. Israel's population diversity expanded in the 1980s and 1990s. Several waves of Ethiopian Jews Aliyah from Ethiopia, immigrated to Israel since the 1980s, while between 1990 and 1994, 1990s Post-Soviet aliyah, immigration from the post-Soviet states increased Israel's population by twelve percent. On 7 June 1981, the Israeli air force Operation Opera, destroyed Iraq's sole Osirak, nuclear reactor under construction just outside Baghdad, in order to impede Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Following a series of PLO attacks in 1982, Israel 1982 Lebanon War, invaded Lebanon that year to destroy the bases from which the PLO launched attacks and missiles into northern Israel. In the first six days of fighting, the Israelis destroyed the military forces of the PLO in Lebanon and decisively defeated the Syrians. An Israeli government inquiry—the Kahan Commission—would later hold Begin and several Israeli generals as indirectly responsible for the Sabra and Shatila massacre and hold Defense minister Ariel Sharon as bearing "personal responsibility" for the massacre. Sharon was forced to resign as Defense Minister. In 1985, Israel responded to a Palestinian terrorist attack in Cyprus by Operation Wooden Leg, bombing the PLO headquarters in Tunisia. Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon in 1986, but maintained a Israeli occupation of Southern Lebanon, borderland buffer zone in southern Lebanon until 2000, from where Israeli forces South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000), engaged in conflict with Hezbollah. The First Intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule, broke out in 1987, with waves of uncoordinated demonstrations and violence occurring in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Over the following six years, the Intifada became more organised and included economic and cultural measures aimed at disrupting the Israeli occupation. More than a thousand people were killed in the violence. During the 1991 Gulf War, the PLO supported Saddam Hussein and Iraqi Scud missile Gulf War#Iraqi Scud missile strikes on Israel and Saudi Arabia, attacks against Israel. Despite public outrage, Israel heeded United States, American calls to refrain from hitting back and did not participate in that war. In 1992, Yitzhak Rabin became Prime Minister following 1992 Israeli legislative election, an election in which his party called for compromise with Israel's neighbors. The following year, Shimon Peres on behalf of Israel, and Mahmoud Abbas for the PLO, signed the Oslo Accords, which gave the Palestinian National Authority the right to govern West Bank Areas in the Oslo II Accord, parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The PLO also Israel–Palestine Liberation Organization letters of recognition, recognized Israel's right to exist and pledged an end to terrorism. In 1994, the Israel–Jordan peace treaty was signed, making Jordan the second Arab country to normalize relations with Israel. Arab public support for the Accords was damaged by the continuation of Israeli settlements and Israeli checkpoint, checkpoints, and the deterioration of economic conditions. Israeli public support for the Accords waned as Israel was struck by List of Palestinian suicide attacks, Palestinian suicide attacks. In November 1995, while leaving a peace rally, Yitzhak Rabin assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a far-right-wing Jew who opposed the Accords. Under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu at the end of the 1990s, Israel Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron, withdrew from Hebron, and signed the Wye River Memorandum, giving greater control to the Palestinian National Authority. Ehud Barak, 1999 Israeli general election, elected Prime Minister in 1999, began the new millennium by withdrawing forces from Southern Lebanon and conducting negotiations with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and U.S. President Bill Clinton at the 2000 Camp David Summit. During the summit, Barak offered a plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state. The proposed state included the entirety of the Gaza Strip and over 90% of the West Bank with Jerusalem as a shared capital. Each side blamed the other for the failure of the talks. After a controversial visit by Likud leader Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount, the Second Intifada began. Some commentators contend that the uprising was pre-planned by Arafat due to the collapse of peace talks. Sharon became prime minister in a 2001 Israeli prime ministerial election, 2001 special election. During his tenure, Sharon carried out his plan to Israeli disengagement from Gaza, unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and also spearheaded the construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier, ending the Intifada. By this time 1,100 Israelis had been killed, mostly in suicide bombings. The Palestinian fatalities, from 2000 to 2008, reached 4,791 killed by Israeli security forces, 44 killed by Israeli civilians, and 609 killed by Palestinians. In July 2006, a Hezbollah artillery assault on Israel's northern border communities and a 2006 Hezbollah cross-border raid, cross-border abduction of two Israeli soldiers precipitated the month-long Second Lebanon War.
Escalation of hostilities in Lebanon and in Israel since Hizbollah's attack on Israel on 12 July 2006
On 6 September 2007, the Israeli Air Force Operation Orchard, destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria. At the end of 2008, Israel entered another conflict as 2008 Israel–Hamas ceasefire, a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel collapsed. The Gaza War (2008–09), 2008–09 Gaza War lasted three weeks and ended after Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire. Hamas announced its own ceasefire, with its own conditions of complete withdrawal and opening of Blockade of the Gaza Strip, border crossings. Despite neither the Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, rocket launchings nor Israeli List of Israeli attacks on the Gaza strip, retaliatory strikes having completely stopped, the fragile ceasefire remained in order. In what Israel described as a response to List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2012, more than a hundred Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities, Israel began an Operation Pillar of Defense, operation in Gaza on 14 November 2012, lasting eight days. Israel started another Operation Protective Edge, operation in Gaza following an List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2014, escalation of rocket attacks by Hamas in July 2014. In May 2021, another Operation Guardian of the Walls, round of fighting took place in Gaza, lasting eleven days. In September 2010, Israel was invited to join the
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

OECD
. Israel has also signed free trade agreements with the European Union, the Israel–United States Free Trade Agreement, United States, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey, Mexico, Canada–Israel Free Trade Agreement, Canada, Jordan, and Egypt, and in 2007, it became the first non-Latin-American country to sign a free trade agreement with the Mercosur trade bloc. By the 2010s, the Arab states–Israeli alliance against Iran, increasing regional cooperation between Israel and Arab League countries, with many of whom peace agreements (Jordan, Egypt) diplomatic relations (UAE, Palestine) and unofficial relations (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia), have been established, the Israeli security situation shifted from the traditional Arab–Israeli conflict, Arab–Israeli hostility towards regional rivalry with Iran and its proxies. The Iran–Israel proxy conflict gradually emerged from the declared hostility of post-revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran towards Israel since the 1979 Revolution, into covert Iranian support of Hezbollah during the South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000) and essentially developed into a proxy regional conflict from 2005. With increasing Iranian involvement in the Syrian Civil War from 2011 the conflict shifted from proxy warfare into direct confrontation by early 2018.


Geography and environment

Israel is located in the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
area of the Fertile Crescent region. The country is at the Eastern Mediterranean, eastern end of the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
, bounded by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank to the east, and Egypt and the Gaza Strip to the southwest. It lies between latitudes 29th parallel north, 29° and 34th parallel north, 34° N, and longitudes 34th meridian east, 34° and 36th meridian east, 36° E. The sovereign territory of Israel (according to the demarcation lines of the
1949 Armistice Agreements Palestine Military Situation, April 6, 1949. Truman Papers The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of armistice An armistice is a formal agreement Agreement or concord (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) happens when a word change ...
and excluding all territories captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War) is approximately in area, of which two percent is water. However Israel is so narrow (100 km at its widest, compared to 400 km from north to south) that the exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean is double the land area of the country. The total area under Israeli law, including
East Jerusalem East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem (, ; , ) is the sector of Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/ ...

East Jerusalem
and the
Golan Heights The Golan Heights ( ar, هَضْبَةُ الْجَوْلَانِ, Haḍbatu l-Jawlān or , he, רמת הגולן, ), or simply the Golan, is a region in the Levant spanning about . The region defined as the Golan Heights differs between dis ...
, is , and the total area under Israeli control, including the military-controlled and partially Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian-governed territory of the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
, is . Despite its small size, Israel is home to a variety of geographic features, from the Negev desert in the south to the inland fertile Jezreel Valley, mountain ranges of the Galilee, Mount Carmel, Carmel and toward the Golan Heights, Golan in the north. The Israeli coastal plain on the shores of the Mediterranean is home to most of the nation's population. East of the central highlands lies the Jordan Rift Valley, which forms a small part of the Great Rift Valley. The Jordan River runs along the Jordan Rift Valley, from Mount Hermon through the Hulah Valley and the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the Extreme points of Earth, lowest point on the surface of the Earth. Further south is the Arabah, ending with the Gulf of Aqaba, Gulf of Eilat, part of the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
. Unique to Israel and the Sinai Peninsula are makhteshim, or erosion cirques. The largest makhtesh in the world is Ramon Crater in the Negev, which measures . A report on the environmental status of the Mediterranean Basin states that Israel has the largest number of plant species per square meter of all the countries in the basin. Israel contains four terrestrial ecoregions: Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests, Southern Anatolian montane conifer and deciduous forests, Arabian Desert, and Mesopotamian shrub desert. It had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 4.14/10, ranking it 135th globally out of 172 countries.


Tectonics and seismicity

The Jordan Rift Valley is the result of tectonic movements within the Dead Sea Transform (DSF) fault system. The DSF forms the transform fault, transform boundary between the African Plate to the west and the Arabian Plate to the east. The Golan Heights and all of
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle East. It in ...

Jordan
are part of the Arabian Plate, while the Galilee, West Bank, Coastal Plain, and Negev along with the Sinai Peninsula are on the African Plate. This tectonic disposition leads to a relatively high List of earthquakes in the Levant, seismic activity in the region. The entire Jordan Valley segment is thought to have ruptured repeatedly, for instance during the last two major Geography of Israel#Seismic activity, earthquakes along this structure in 749 Galilee earthquake, 749 and 1033. The deficit in Fault (geology)#Slip, heave, throw, slip that has built up since the 1033 event is sufficient to cause an earthquake of ~7.4. The most catastrophic known earthquakes occurred in 31 BCE, Galilee earthquake of 363, 363, 749, and 1033 CE, that is every 400 years on average.American Friends of the Tel Aviv University, ''Earthquake Experts at Tel Aviv University Turn to History for Guidance'' (4 October 2007). Quote: The major ones were recorded along the Jordan Valley in the years 31 B.C.E., 363 C.E., 749 C.E., and 1033 C.E. "So roughly, we are talking about an interval of every 400 years. If we follow the patterns of nature, a major quake should be expected any time because almost a whole millennium has passed since the last strong earthquake of 1033." (Tel Aviv University Associate Professor Dr. Shmuel (Shmulik) Marco)

/ref> Destructive earthquakes leading to serious loss of life strike about every 80 years.Zafrir Renat, ''Israel Is Due, and Ill Prepared, for Major Earthquake'', Haaretz, 15 January 2010. "On average, a destructive earthquake takes place in Israel once every 80 years, causing serious casualties and damage.

/ref> While stringent construction regulations are currently in place and recently built structures are earthquake-safe, the majority of the buildings in Israel were older than these regulations and many public buildings as well as 50,000 residential buildings did not meet the new standards and were "expected to collapse" if exposed to a strong earthquake.


Climate

Temperatures in Israel vary widely, especially during the winter. Coastal areas, such as those of
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv-Yafo ( he, תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ, ''Tel Aviv-Yafo'' ; ar, تَلّ أَبِيب - يَافَا, ''Tall ʾAbīb-Yāfā''), often referred to as just Tel Aviv, is the most populous city in the metropolitan area of . Locate ...

Tel Aviv
and Haifa, have a typical Mediterranean climate with cool, rainy winters and long, hot summers. The area of Beersheba and the Northern Negev have a semi-arid climate with hot summers, cool winters, and fewer rainy days than the Mediterranean climate. The Southern Negev and the Arava areas have a desert climate with very hot, dry summers, and mild winters with few days of rain. The highest temperature in the world outside Africa and North America , 54°C (129°F), was recorded in 1942 at Tirat Zvi kibbutz in the northern Jordan River valley. At the other extreme, mountainous regions can be windy and cold, and areas at elevation of or more (same elevation as Jerusalem) will usually receive at least one Snow in Israel, snowfall each year. From May to September, rain in Israel is rare. With scarce water resources, Israel has developed various water-saving technologies, including drip irrigation. Israelis also take advantage of the considerable sunlight available for solar energy, making Solar power in Israel, Israel the leading nation in solar energy use per capita—practically every house uses solar panels for water heating. There are four different phytogeographic regions in Israel, due to the country's location between the temperate and tropical zones, bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the west and the desert in the east. For this reason, the flora and fauna of Israel are extremely diverse. There are 2,867 known List of endemic flora of Israel, species of plants found in Israel. Of these, at least 253 species are List of adventive wild plants in Israel, introduced and non-native. There are 380 National parks and nature reserves of Israel, Israeli nature reserves.


Demographics

As of , Israel's population was an estimated , of whom 74.2% were recorded by the civil government as Israeli Jews, Jews. Arab citizens of Israel, Arabs accounted for 20.9% of the population, while non-Arab Christians and people who have no religion listed in the civil registry made up 4.8%. Over the last decade, large numbers of migrant workers from Romania, Thailand, China, Africa, and South America have settled in Israel. Exact figures are unknown, as many of them are living in the country illegally, but estimates run from 166,000 to 203,000.Adriana Kemp, "Labour migration and racialisation: labour market mechanisms and labour migration control policies in Israel", ''Social Identities'' 10:2, 267–292, 2004 By June 2012, approximately 60,000 Illegal immigration from Africa to Israel, African migrants had entered Israel. About 92% of Israelis live in urban areas. Data published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD in 2016 estimated the average life expectancy of Israelis at 82.5 years, making it the List of countries by life expectancy, 6th-highest in the world. Israel was established as a homeland for the Jewish people and is often referred to as a Jewish state. The country's Law of Return grants all Jews and those of Jewish ancestry the right to Israeli nationality law, Israeli citizenship. Retention of Israel's population since 1948 is about even or greater, when compared to other countries with mass immigration. Jewish emigration from Israel (called ''yerida'' in Hebrew), primarily to the United States and Canada, is described by demographers as modest, but is often cited by Israeli government ministries as a major threat to Israel's future. Three quarters of the population are Jews from a Jewish ethnic divisions, diversity of Jewish backgrounds. Approximately 75% of Israeli Jews are Sabra (person), born in Israel, 16% are immigrants from Europe and the Americas, and 7% are immigrants from Asia and Africa (including the Arab world). Jews from Europe and the former Soviet Union and their descendants born in Israel, including Ashkenazi Jews, constitute approximately 50% of Jewish Israelis. Jewish exodus from Arab and Muslim countries, Jews who left or fled Arab and Muslim countries and their descendants, including both Mizrahi Jews, Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews, Sephardi Jews, form most of the rest of the Jewish population. Jewish intermarriage rates run at over 35% and recent studies suggest that the percentage of Israelis descended from both Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews increases by 0.5 percent every year, with over 25% of school children now originating from both communities. Around 4% of Israelis (300,000), ethnically defined as "others", are 1990s Post-Soviet aliyah, Russian descendants of Jewish origin or family who are not Jewish according to rabbinical law, but were eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return. The total number of Israeli settlement, Israeli settlers beyond the Green Line (Israel), Green Line is over 600,000 (≈10% of the Jewish Israeli population). , 399,300 Israelis Population statistics for Israeli settlements in the West Bank, lived in
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
settlements, including those that predated the establishment of the State of Israel and which were re-established after the Six-Day War, in cities such as Hebron and Gush Etzion bloc. In addition to the West Bank settlements, there were more than 200,000 Jews living in
East Jerusalem East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem (, ; , ) is the sector of Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/ ...

East Jerusalem
, and 22,000 in the
Golan Heights The Golan Heights ( ar, هَضْبَةُ الْجَوْلَانِ, Haḍbatu l-Jawlān or , he, רמת הגולן, ), or simply the Golan, is a region in the Levant spanning about . The region defined as the Golan Heights differs between dis ...
. Approximately 7,800 Israelis Population statistics for Israeli Gaza Strip settlements, lived in settlements in the Gaza Strip, known as Gush Katif, until they were evacuated by the government as part of its 2005 Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, disengagement plan.


Major urban areas

Israel has four major metropolitan areas: Gush Dan (Tel Aviv metropolitan area; population 3,854,000), Jerusalem metropolitan area (population 1,253,900), Haifa metropolitan area (population 924,400), and Beersheba metropolitan area (population 377,100). Israel's largest municipality, in population and area, is
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
with residents in an area of . Israeli government statistics on Jerusalem include the population and area of
East Jerusalem East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem (, ; , ) is the sector of Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/ ...

East Jerusalem
, which is widely recognized as part of the
Palestinian territories The term "Palestinian territories" has been used for many years to describe the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 within the former Mandatory Palestine, British Mandate for Palestine, namely the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and t ...

Palestinian territories
under Israeli-occupied territories, Israeli occupation.
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv-Yafo ( he, תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ, ''Tel Aviv-Yafo'' ; ar, تَلّ أَبِيب - يَافَا, ''Tall ʾAbīb-Yāfā''), often referred to as just Tel Aviv, is the most populous city in the metropolitan area of . Locate ...

Tel Aviv
and Haifa rank as Israel's next most populous cities, with populations of and , respectively. Israel has 16 List of cities in Israel, cities with populations over 100,000. In all, there are 77 Israeli localities granted City council (Israel), "municipalities" (or "city") status by the Ministry of the Interior, List of Israeli settlements with city status in the West Bank, four of which are in the West Bank. Two more cities are planned: Kasif, Israel, Kasif, a planned city to be built in the Negev, and Harish, Israel, Harish, originally a small town that is being built into a large city since 2015.


Language

Israel has one official language, Hebrew language, Hebrew. Arabic language in Israel, Arabic had been an official language of the State of Israel; in 2018 Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, it was downgraded to having a 'special status in the state' with its use by state institutions to be set in law. Hebrew is the primary language of the state and is spoken every day by the majority of the population. Arabic is spoken by the Arab minority, with Hebrew taught in Arab schools. As a country of aliyah, immigrants, many languages can be heard on the streets. Due to mass immigration from the former Soviet Union and Aliyah from Ethiopia, Ethiopia (some 130,000 Ethiopian Jews in Israel, Ethiopian Jews live in Israel),Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
The Ethiopian Community in Israel
/ref> Russian language in Israel, Russian and Amharic are widely spoken. More than one million Russian-speaking immigrants 1990s Post-Soviet aliyah, arrived in Israel from the post-Soviet states between 1990 and 2004. French language, French is spoken by around 700,000 Israelis, mostly originating French Jews in Israel, from France and North Africa (see Maghrebi Jews). English language, English was an official language during the Mandate period; it lost this status after the establishment of Israel, but retains a role comparable to that of an official language, as may be seen in Road signs in Israel, road signs and official documents. Many Israelis communicate reasonably well in English, as many television programs are broadcast in English with subtitles and the language is taught from the early grades in elementary school. In addition, Israeli universities offer courses in the English language on various subjects.


Religion

Israel comprises a major part of the Holy Land, a region of significant importance to all Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Druze and Baháʼí Faith. The Jewish religious movements, religious affiliation of Israeli Jews varies widely: a social survey from 2016 made by Pew Research indicates that 49% self-identify as Hiloni (secular), 29% as Masortim, Masorti (traditional), 13% as Dati (religious) and 9% as Haredi Judaism, Haredi (ultra-Orthodox). Haredi Jews are expected to represent more than 20% of Israel's Jewish population by 2028. Islam in Israel, Muslims constitute Israel's largest religious minority, making up about 17.6% of the population. About 2% of the population is Christianity in Israel, Christian and 1.6% is Druze in Israel, Druze. The Christian population is composed primarily of Arab Christians and Arameans in Israel, Aramean Christians, but also includes post-Soviet immigrants, the foreign laborers of multinational origins, and followers of Messianic Judaism, considered by most Christians and Jews to be a form of Christianity. Members of many other religious groups, including Buddhism, Buddhists and Hinduism in Israel, Hindus, maintain a presence in Israel, albeit in small numbers. Out of more than one million 1990s Post-Soviet aliyah, immigrants from the former Soviet Union, about 300,000 are considered not Jewish by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The city of
Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰεροσόλυμα, Hierousalḗm/Hierosóluma; hy, Երուսաղեմ, Erusał ...

Jerusalem
is of Religious significance of Jerusalem, special importance to Jews, Muslims, and Christians, as it is the home of List of places in Jerusalem, sites that are pivotal to their religious beliefs, such as the Old City (Jerusalem), Old City that incorporates the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Other locations of religious importance in Israel are Nazareth (holy in Christianity as the site of the Annunciation of Mary (mother of Jesus), Mary), Tiberias and Safed (two of the Four Holy Cities in Judaism), the White Mosque, Ramla, White Mosque in Ramla (holy in Islam as the shrine of the prophet Saleh), and the Church of Saint George, Lod, Church of Saint George in Lod (holy in Christianity and Islam as the tomb of Saint George or Al Khidr). A number of other religious landmarks are located in the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
, among them Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, the Church of the Nativity, birthplace of Jesus and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The Arc (Baháʼí), administrative center of the Baháʼí Faith and the Shrine of the Báb are located at the Baháʼí World Centre in Haifa; the leader of the faith is Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, buried in Acre, Israel, Acre. A few kilometres south of the Baháʼí World Centre is Mahmood Mosque, Haifa, Mahmood Mosque affiliated with the reformist Ahmadiyya in Israel, Ahmadiyya movement. Kababir, Haifa's mixed neighbourhood of Jews and Ahmadi Arabs is one of a few of its kind in the country, others being Jaffa, Acre, Israel, Acre, other Haifa neighborhoods, Harish, Israel, Harish and Upper Nazareth.


Education

Education is highly valued in the Israeli culture and was viewed as a History of education in ancient Israel and Judah, fundamental block of ancient Israelites. Jewish communities in the Levant were the first to introduce compulsory education for which the organized community, not less than the parents was responsible. Many international business leaders such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates have praised Israel for its high quality of education in helping spur Israel's economic development and technological boom. In 2015, the country List of countries by tertiary education attainment, ranked third among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD members (after Canada and Japan) for the percentage of 25–64 year-olds that have attained tertiary education with 49% compared with the OECD average of 35%. In 2012, the country ranked third in the world in the number of academic degrees per capita (20 percent of the population). Israel has a school life expectancy of 16 years and a List of countries by literacy rate, literacy rate of 97.8%. The State Education Law, passed in 1953, established five types of schools: state secular, state religious, ultra orthodox, communal settlement schools, and Arab schools. The public secular is the largest school group, and is attended by the majority of Jewish and non-Arab pupils in Israel. Most Arabs send their children to schools where Arabic is the language of instruction. Education is compulsory in Israel for children between the ages of three and eighteen. Schooling is divided into three tiers – primary school (grades 1–6), middle school (grades 7–9), and high school (grades 10–12) – culminating with ''Bagrut'' matriculation exams. Proficiency in core subjects such as mathematics, the Hebrew language, Hebrew and general literature, the English language, history, Biblical scripture and civics is necessary to receive a Bagrut certificate. Israel's Jewish population maintains a relatively high level of educational attainment where just under half of all Israeli Jews (46%) hold post-secondary degrees. This figure has remained stable in their already high levels of educational attainment over recent generations. Israeli Jews (among those ages 25 and older) have average of 11.6 years of schooling making them one of the most highly educated of all major religious groups in the world. In Arab, Christian and Druze schools, the exam on Biblical studies is replaced by an exam on Muslim, Christian or Druze heritage. ''Maariv (newspaper), Maariv'' described the Christian Arabs sectors as "the most successful in education system", since Christians fared the best in terms of education in comparison to any other religion in Israel. Israeli children from Russian-speaking families have a higher bagrut pass rate at high-school level. Amongst immigrant children born in the Former Soviet Union, the bagrut pass rate is higher amongst those families from European FSU states at 62.6% and lower amongst those from Central Asian and Caucasian FSU states. In 2014, 61.5% of all Israeli twelfth graders earned a matriculation certificate. Israel has a tradition of higher education where its quality university education has been largely responsible in spurring the nations modern economic development. Israel has List of Israeli universities and colleges, nine public universities that are subsidized by the state and 49 private colleges. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel's second-oldest university after the Technion, houses the National Library of Israel, the world's largest repository of Judaica and Hebraica. The Technion and the Hebrew University consistently ranked among world's 100 top universities by the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities, ARWU academic ranking. Other major universities in the country include the Weizmann Institute of Science, Tel Aviv University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Bar-Ilan University, the University of Haifa and the Open University of Israel. Ariel University, in the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
, is the newest university institution, upgraded from college status, and the first in over thirty years.


Government and politics

Israel is a parliamentary democracy with
universal suffrage Universal suffrage (also called universal franchise, general suffrage, and common suffrage of the common man) gives the right to vote Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (a ...
. A member of parliament supported by a parliamentary majority becomes the
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
—usually this is the chair of the largest party. The prime minister is the head of government and head of the Cabinet of Israel, cabinet. Israel is governed by a 120-member parliament, known as the
Knesset The Knesset ( he, הַכְּנֶסֶת ; "gathering" or "assembly") is the unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber ...

Knesset
. Membership of the Knesset is based on
proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical, and to ideolog ...

proportional representation
of List of political parties in Israel, political parties, with a 3.25% electoral threshold, which in practice has resulted in coalition governments. Residents of Israeli settlements in the West Bank are eligible to vote and after the 2015 Israeli legislative election, 2015 election, 10 of the 120 MKs () were settlers. Parliamentary Elections in Israel, elections are scheduled every four years, but unstable coalitions or a motion of no confidence, no-confidence vote by the Knesset can dissolve a government earlier. The Basic Laws of Israel function as an uncodified constitution. In 2003, the Knesset began to draft an official Constitution of Israel, constitution based on these laws. The president of Israel is head of state, with limited and largely ceremonial duties. Israel has no official religion, but the definition of the state as "Jewish and democratic state, Jewish and democratic" creates a strong connection with Judaism, as well as a conflict between state law and religious law. Interaction between the political parties keeps Status quo (Israel), the balance between state and religion largely as it existed during the British Mandate. On 19 July 2018, the Israeli Parliament passed a Basic Law that characterizes the State of Israel as principally a "Nation State of the Jewish People," and Hebrew as its official language. The bill ascribes "special status" to the Arabic language. The same bill gives Jews a unique right to national self-determination, and views the developing of Jewish settlement in the country as "a national interest," empowering the government to "take steps to encourage, advance and implement this interest."


Legal system

Israel has a Israeli judicial system, three-tier court system. At the lowest level are magistrate courts, situated in most cities across the country. Above them are district courts, serving as both appeal, appellate courts and trial court, courts of first instance; they are situated in five of Israel's six Districts of Israel, districts. The third and highest tier is the Supreme Court of Israel, Supreme Court, located in Jerusalem; it serves a dual role as the highest court of appeals and the Supreme Court of Israel#High Court of Justice, High Court of Justice. In the latter role, the Supreme Court rules as a court of first instance, allowing individuals, both citizens and non-citizens, to petition against the decisions of state authorities. Although Israel supports the goals of the International Criminal Court, it has not ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Rome Statute, citing concerns about the ability of the court to remain free from political impartiality. Israel's legal system combines three legal traditions: English law, English common law, civil law (legal system), civil law, and Halakha, Jewish law. It is based on the principle of ''stare decisis'' (precedent) and is an adversarial system, where the parties in the suit bring evidence before the court. Court cases are decided by professional judges with no role for juries. Marriage in Israel, Marriage and divorce are under the jurisdiction of the religious courts: Beth din, Jewish, Sharia, Muslim, Druze, and Christian. The election of judges is carried out by a Judicial Selection Committee (Israel), committee of two Knesset members, three Supreme Court justices, two Israel Bar Association, Israeli Bar members and two ministers (one of which, Israel's Ministry of Justice (Israel), justice minister, is the committee's chairman). The committee's members of the Knesset are Secret ballot, secretly elected by the Knesset, and one of them is traditionally a member of the opposition, the committee's Supreme Court justices are chosen by tradition from all Supreme Court justices by seniority, the Israeli Bar members are elected by the bar, and the second minister is appointed by the Israeli cabinet. The current justice minister and committee's chairwoman is Ayelet Shaked. Administration of Israel's courts (both the "General" courts and the Labor Courts of Israel, Labor Courts) is carried by the Administration of Courts, situated in Jerusalem. Both General and Labor courts are paperless courts: the storage of court files, as well as court decisions, are conducted electronically. Israel's Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty seeks to defend Human rights in Israel, human rights and liberties in Israel. As a result of "Enclave law", large portions of Israeli Civil law (legal system), civil law are applied to Israeli settlements and Israeli residents in the occupied territories.


Administrative divisions

The State of Israel is divided into six main administrative Districts of Israel, districts, known as ''mehozot'' (; singular: ''mahoz'') – Central District (Israel), Center, Haifa District, Haifa, Jerusalem District, Jerusalem, Northern District (Israel), North, Southern District (Israel), South, and Tel Aviv District, Tel Aviv districts, as well as the Judea and Samaria Area in the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
. All of the Judea and Samaria Area and parts of the Jerusalem and Northern districts are not recognized internationally as part of Israel. Districts are further divided into fifteen sub-districts known as ''nafot'' (; singular: ''nafa''), which are themselves partitioned into fifty natural regions. : Including over 200,000 Jews and 300,000 Arabs in
East Jerusalem East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem (, ; , ) is the sector of Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/ ...

East Jerusalem
. : Israeli citizens only.


Specific types of settlements

*Communal settlement *Jewish locality *Kibbutz *Kvutza *Moshav *Moshava


Israeli-occupied territories

In 1967, as a result of the Six-Day War, Israel captured and Israeli-occupied territories, occupied the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
, including
East Jerusalem East Jerusalem or Eastern Jerusalem (, ; , ) is the sector of Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/ ...

East Jerusalem
, the
Gaza Strip The Gaza Strip (;The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p.761 "Gaza Strip /'gɑːzə/ a strip of territory under the control of the Palestinian National Authority and Hamas, on the SE Mediterranean coast including the town of Gaza.. ...
and the
Golan Heights The Golan Heights ( ar, هَضْبَةُ الْجَوْلَانِ, Haḍbatu l-Jawlān or , he, רמת הגולן, ), or simply the Golan, is a region in the Levant spanning about . The region defined as the Golan Heights differs between dis ...
. Israel also captured the Sinai Peninsula, but returned it to Egypt as part of the 1979 Egypt–Israel peace treaty. Between 1982 and 2000, Israel occupied part of southern Lebanon, in what was known as the South Lebanon Security Belt, Security Belt. Since Israel's capture of these territories, Israeli settlements and military installations have been built within each of them, except Lebanon. The Golan Heights Law, Golan Heights and Jerusalem Law, East Jerusalem have been fully incorporated into Israel under Israeli law, but not under international law. Israel has applied civilian law to both areas and granted their inhabitants permanent residency status and the ability to Israeli nationality law, apply for citizenship. The UN Security Council has declared the annexation of the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem to be "null and void" and continues to view the territories as occupied. The Positions on Jerusalem, status of East Jerusalem in any future peace settlement has at times been a difficult issue in Israeli–Palestinian peace process, negotiations between Israeli governments and representatives of the Palestinians, as Israel views it as its sovereign territory, as well as part of its capital. The West Bank excluding East Jerusalem is known in Israeli law as the Judea and Samaria Area; the almost 400,000 Israeli settlers residing in the area are considered part of Israel's population, have Knesset representation, a Enclave law, large part of Israel's civil and criminal laws applied to them, and their output is considered part of Israel's economy.Gilead Sher
The Application of Israeli Law to the West Bank: De Facto Annexation?
INSS Insight No. 638, 4 December 2014
The land itself is not considered part of Israel under Israeli law, as Israel has consciously refrained from annexing the territory, without ever relinquishing its legal claim to the land or defining a border with the area. There is no border between Israel-proper and the West Bank for Israeli vehicles. Israeli political opposition to annexation is primarily due to the perceived "demographic threat" of incorporating the West Bank's Palestinian population into Israel. Outside of the Israeli settlements, the West Bank remains under direct Israeli military rule, and Palestinians in the area cannot become Israeli citizens. The international community maintains that Israel does not have sovereignty in the West Bank, and considers Israel's control of the area to be the longest military occupation is modern history.See for example:
*
*
*
*
*
*
* Azarova, Valentina. 2017
Israel's Unlawfully Prolonged Occupation: Consequences under an Integrated Legal Framework
European Council on Foreign Affairs Policy Brief: "June 2017 marks 50 years of Israel's belligerent occupation of Palestinian territory, making it the longest occupation in modern history."
The West Bank Jordanian annexation of the West Bank, was occupied and annexed by Jordan in 1950, following the Arab rejection of the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, UN decision to create two states in Palestine. Only Britain recognized this annexation and Jordan has since Jordanian disengagement from the West Bank, ceded its claim to the territory to the PLO. The Demographics of the Palestinian territories, population are mainly Palestinian people, Palestinians, including Palestinian refugee, refugees of the
1948 Arab–Israeli War The 1948 (or First) Arab–Israeli War was the second and final stage of the 1947–1949 Palestine war, 1947–49 Palestine war. It formally began following the end of the British Mandate for Palestine at midnight on 14 May 1948; the Israeli ...
. From their occupation in 1967 until 1993, the Palestinians living in these territories were under Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Israeli military administration. Since the Israel–Palestine Liberation Organization letters of recognition, Israel–PLO letters of recognition, most of the Palestinian population and List of cities administered by the State of Palestine, cities have been under the internal jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian Authority, and only partial Israeli military control, although Israel has on several occasions redeployed its Israel Defense Forces, troops and reinstated full military administration during periods of unrest. In response to increasing attacks during the Second Intifada, the Israeli government started to construct the Israeli West Bank barrier. When completed, approximately 13% of the barrier will be constructed on the Green Line (Israel), Green Line or in Israel with 87% inside the West Bank. The Gaza Strip is considered to be a "foreign territory" under Israeli law; however, since Israel operates a land, air, and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, together with Egypt, the international community considers Israel to be the occupying power. The Gaza Strip was Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt, occupied by Egypt from 1948 to 1967 and then by Israel after 1967. In 2005, as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan, Israel removed all of its settlers and forces from the territory, however, it continues to maintain Blockade of the Gaza Strip, control of its airspace and waters. The international community, including numerous international humanitarian organizations and various bodies of the UN, consider Gaza to remain occupied. Following the Battle of Gaza (2007), 2007 Battle of Gaza, when Governance of the Gaza Strip, Hamas assumed power in the Gaza Strip, Israel tightened its control of the Gaza crossings along Israel–Gaza barrier, its border, as well as by sea and air, and prevented persons from entering and exiting the area except for isolated cases it deemed humanitarian. Gaza has a Gaza–Egypt border, border with Egypt, and an agreement between Israel, the European Union, and the PA governed how border crossing would take place (it was monitored by European observers). The application of democracy to its Palestinian citizens, and the selective application of Israeli democracy in the Israeli-controlled Palestinian territories, has been criticized. The International Court of Justice, principal judicial organ of the UN, asserted, in its International law and the Arab–Israeli conflict#Ruling of the ICJ, 2004 advisory opinion on the legality of the construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier, that the lands captured by Israel in the Six-Day War, including East Jerusalem, are occupied territory. Most negotiations relating to the territories have been on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, UN Security Council Resolution 242, which emphasises "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war", and calls on Israel to withdraw from occupied territories in return for normalization of relations with Arab states, a principle known as "Land for peace". According to some observers, Israel has engaged in systematic and widespread violations of Human rights in Israel#Human rights in the occupied territories, human rights in the occupied territories, including the occupation itself and war crimes against civilians. The allegations include violations of international humanitarian law by the United Nations Human Rights Council, UN Human Rights Council, with local residents having "limited ability to hold governing authorities accountable for such abuses" by the U.S. State Department, mass arbitrary arrests, torture, unlawful killings, systemic abuses and impunity by Amnesty International and others and a denial of the right to Palestinian self-determination. In response to such allegations, Prime Minister Netanyahu has defended the country's security forces for protecting the innocent from terrorists and expressed contempt for what he describes as a lack of concern about the human rights violations committed by "criminal killers". Some observers, such as Israeli officials, scholars, United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and UN secretary-generals Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan, also assert that the UN is disproportionately concerned with Israeli misconduct. The international community widely regards Israeli settlements in the occupied territories international law and Israeli settlements, illegal under international law. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, passed on 23 December 2016 in a 14–0 vote by members of the United Nations Security Council, U.N. Security Council (UNSC) with the United States abstaining. The resolution states that Israel's settlement activity constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law, has "no legal validity" and demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an Military occupation#The occupying power, occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.


Foreign relations

Israel maintains diplomatic relations , as well as with the Holy See, Kosovo, the Cook Islands and Niue. It has 107 List of diplomatic missions of Israel, diplomatic missions around the world; countries with whom they have no diplomatic relations include most Muslim countries. Only a few nations in the Arab League have normalized relations with Israel. Egypt–Israel relations, Egypt and Israel–Jordan relations, Jordan signed peace treaties in Egypt–Israel peace treaty, 1979 and Israel–Jordan Treaty of Peace, 1994, respectively. In late 2020, Israel normalised relations with four more Arab countries: the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in September (known as the Abraham Accords), Israel–Sudan normalization agreement, Sudan in October, and Israel–Morocco normalization agreement, Morocco in December. Despite the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, Israel is still widely considered an enemy country among Egyptians. Iran Iran–Israel relations, had diplomatic relations with Israel under the Pahlavi dynasty but withdrew its recognition of Israel during the Islamic Revolution. Israeli citizens may not visit Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen (countries Israel fought in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War that Israel does not have a peace treaty with) without permission from the Ministry of Interior (Israel), Ministry of the Interior. As a result of the Gaza War (2008–09), 2008–09 Gaza War, Mauritania, Qatar, Bolivia, and Venezuela suspended political and economic ties with Israel, though Bolivia renewed ties in 2019. China–Israel relations, China maintains good ties with both Israel and the Arab world. The Israel–United States relations, United States and the Israel–Russia relations, Soviet Union were the first two countries to recognize the State of Israel, having declared recognition roughly simultaneously. Diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union were broken in 1967, following the Six-Day War, and renewed in October 1991. The United States regards Israel as its "most reliable partner in the Middle East," based on "common democratic values, religious affinities, and security interests". The United States has provided $68 billion in Israel–United States military relations, military assistance and $32 billion in grants to Israel since 1967, under the Foreign Assistance Act (period beginning 1962), more than any other country for that period until 2003. The United Kingdom is seen as having a "natural" Israel–United Kingdom relations, relationship with Israel on account of the Mandate for Palestine. Relations between the two countries were also made stronger by former prime minister Tony Blair's efforts for a two state resolution. , Germany–Israel relations, Germany had paid 25 billion euros in Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany, reparations to the Israeli state and individual Israeli Holocaust survivors. Israel is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer. Although Turkey and Israel did not establish full diplomatic relations until 1991, Turkey has Israel–Turkey relations, cooperated with the Jewish state since its recognition of Israel in 1949. Turkey's ties to the other Muslim-majority nations in the region have at times resulted in pressure from Arab and Muslim states to temper its relationship with Israel. Relations between Turkey and Israel took a downturn after the 2008–09 Gaza War and Israel's Gaza flotilla raid, raid of the Gaza flotilla. Greece–Israel relations, Relations between Greece and Israel have improved since 1995 due to the decline of Israeli–Turkish relations. The two countries have a defense cooperation agreement and in 2010, the Israeli Air Force hosted Greece's Hellenic Air Force in a joint exercise at the Ovda Airport, Uvda base. The joint Cyprus-Israel oil and gas explorations centered on the Leviathan gas field are an important factor for Greece, given its strong links with Cyprus. Cooperation in the world's longest Submarine power cable, subsea electric power cable, the EuroAsia Interconnector, has strengthened Cyprus–Israel relations, relations between Cyprus and Israel. Azerbaijan is one of the few majority Muslim countries to develop bilateral strategic and economic Azerbaijan–Israel relations, relations with Israel. Azerbaijan supplies Israel with a substantial amount of its oil needs, and Israel has helped modernize the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan. India established full India–Israel relations, diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992 and has fostered a strong military, technological and cultural partnership with the country since then. According to an international opinion survey conducted in 2009 on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Israel), Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, India is the most pro-Israel country in the world. India is the largest customer of the Military equipment of Israel, Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest military partner of India after Russia. Ethiopia–Israel relations, Ethiopia is Israel's main ally in Africa due to common political, religious and security interests. Israel provides expertise to Ethiopia on irrigation projects and thousands of Ethiopian Jews in Israel, Ethiopian Jews live in Israel. Israel has a history of providing emergency aid and humanitarian response teams to disasters across the world. In 1955 Israel began its foreign aid program in Burma. The program's focus subsequently shifted to Africa. Israel's humanitarian efforts officially began in 1957, with the establishment of Mashav, the Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation. In this early period, whilst Israel's aid represented only a small percentage of total aid to Africa, its program was effective in creating goodwill throughout the continent; however, following the 1967 war relations soured. Israel's foreign aid program subsequently shifted its focus to Latin America. Since the late 1970s Israel's foreign aid has gradually decreased. In recent years Israel has tried to reestablish its aid to Africa. There are additional Israeli humanitarian and emergency response groups that work with the Israel government, including IsraAid, a joint programme run by 14 Israeli organizations and North American Jewish groups, ZAKA, The Fast Israeli Rescue and Search Team (FIRST), Israeli Flying Aid (IFA), Save a Child's Heart (SACH) and Latet. Between 1985 and 2015, Israel sent 24 delegations of IDF search and rescue unit, the Home Front Command, to 22 countries. Currently Israeli foreign aid List of development aid country donors, ranks low among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD nations, spending less than 0.1% of its Gross national income, GNI on development assistance. The UN has set a target of 0.7%. In 2015 six nations reached the UN target. The country ranked 43rd in the 2016 World Giving Index.


Military

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and is headed by its Chief of General Staff (Israel), Chief of General Staff, the ''Ramatkal'', subordinate to the Cabinet of Israel, Cabinet. The IDF consists of the GOC Army Headquarters, army, Israeli Air Force, air force and Israeli Navy, navy. It was founded during the
1948 Arab–Israeli War The 1948 (or First) Arab–Israeli War was the second and final stage of the 1947–1949 Palestine war, 1947–49 Palestine war. It formally began following the end of the British Mandate for Palestine at midnight on 14 May 1948; the Israeli ...
by consolidating paramilitary organizations—chiefly the Haganah—that preceded the establishment of the state. The IDF also draws upon the resources of the Military Intelligence Directorate (Israel), Military Intelligence Directorate (''Aman''), which works with Mossad and Shin Bet, Shabak. The Israel Defense Forces have been involved in several List of wars involving Israel, major wars and border conflicts in its short history, making it one of the most battle-trained armed forces in the world. Most Israelis are Conscription in Israel, drafted into the military at the age of 18. Men serve two years and eight months and Women in the Israel Defense Forces, women two years. Following mandatory service, Israeli men join the reserve forces and usually do up to several weeks of Reserve duty (Israel), reserve duty every year until their forties. Most women are exempt from reserve duty. Arab citizens of Israel (except the Druze in Israel, Druze) and those engaged in full-time religious studies are Exemption from military service in Israel, exempt from military service, although the Tal committee, exemption of yeshiva students has been a source of contention in Israeli society for many years. An alternative for those who receive exemptions on various grounds is ''Sherut Leumi'', or national service, which involves a program of service in hospitals, schools and other social welfare frameworks. As a result of its conscription program, the IDF maintains approximately 176,500 active troops and an additional 465,000 reservists, giving Israel one of the world's highest percentage of citizens with military training. The nation's military relies heavily on high-tech Military equipment of Israel, weapons systems Defense industry of Israel, designed and manufactured in Israel as well as some foreign imports. The Arrow (Israeli missile), Arrow missile is one of the world's few operational anti-ballistic missile systems. The Python (missile), Python air-to-air missile series is often considered one of the most crucial weapons in its military history. Israel's Spike (missile), Spike missile is one of the most widely exported anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) in the world. Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile air defense system gained worldwide acclaim after intercepting hundreds of Qassam rocket, Qassam, BM-21 Grad, 122 mm Grad and Fajr-5 artillery Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, rockets fire by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip. Since the Yom Kippur War, Israel has developed a network of reconnaissance satellites. The success of the ''Ofeq'' program has made Israel Timeline of first orbital launches by country, one of seven countries capable of launching such satellites. Israel is widely believed to Nuclear weapons and Israel, possess nuclear weapons and per a 1993 report, chemical and biological Israel and weapons of mass destruction, weapons of mass destruction. Israel has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity toward its nuclear capabilities. The Israeli Navy's Dolphin-class submarine, Dolphin submarines are believed to be armed with nuclear Popeye Turbo missiles, offering second strike, second-strike capability. Since the Gulf War in 1991, when Israel was attacked by Al Hussein (missile), Iraqi Scud missiles, all homes in Israel are required to have a reinforced security room, Merkhav Mugan, impermeable to chemical and biological substances. Since Israel's establishment, military expenditure constituted a significant portion of the country's gross domestic product, with peak of 30.3% of GDP spent on defense in 1975. In 2016, Israel ranked 6th in the world by List of countries by military expenditure share of GDP, defense spending as a percentage of GDP, with 5.7%, and 15th List of countries by military expenditures, by total military expenditure, with $18 billion. Since 1974, the United States has been a particularly notable contributor of Israel–United States military relations#Military aid and procurement, military aid to Israel. Under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2016, the U.S. is expected to provide the country with $3.8 billion per year, or around 20% of Israel's defense budget, from 2018 to 2028. Israel ranked 5th globally for Arms industry, arms exports in 2017. The majority of Israel's arms exports are unreported for security reasons. Israel is consistently rated low in the Global Peace Index, ranking 144th out of 163 nations for peacefulness in 2017.


Economy

Israel is considered the most advanced country in
Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions. It is almost entirely a part of the Middle East, and includes Anat ...

Western Asia
and the Middle East in economic and industrial development. Israel's quality List of universities and colleges in Israel, university education and the establishment of a highly motivated and educated populace is largely responsible for spurring the country's high technology boom and rapid economic development. In 2010, it joined the
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

OECD
. The country is ranked 20th in the World Economic Forum's ''Global Competitiveness Report'' and 35th on the World Bank's Ease of doing business index, ''Ease of Doing Business'' index. Israel was also ranked 5th in the world by share of people in high-skilled employment. Israeli economic data covers the economic territory of Israel, including the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Despite limited natural resources, intensive development of the Agriculture in Israel, agricultural and industrial sectors over the past decades has made Israel largely self-sufficient in food production, apart from grains and beef. Imports to Israel, totaling $96.5 billion in 2020, include raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, and consumer goods. Leading exports include machinery and equipment, software, Diamond industry in Israel, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, and textiles and apparel; in 2020, Israeli exports reached $114 billion. The Bank of Israel holds $173 billion of foreign-exchange reserves. Since the 1970s, Israel has received Israel–United States military relations, military aid from the United States, as well as economic assistance in the form of loan guarantees, which now account for roughly half of Israel's external debt. Israel has List of countries by external debt, one of the lowest external debts in the developed world, and is a lender in terms of net external debt (Net international investment position, assets vs. liabilities abroad), which stood at a surplus of $69 billion. Israel has the second-largest number of startup company, startup companies in the world after the United States, and the third-largest number of List of Israeli companies quoted on the Nasdaq, NASDAQ-listed companies after the U.S. and China. Intel and Microsoft built their first overseas research and development facilities in Israel, and other high-tech multi-national corporations, such as IBM, Google, Apple Inc., Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Facebook and Motorola have opened List of multinational companies with research and development centres in Israel, research and development centres in the country. In 2007, American investor Warren Buffett's holding company Berkshire Hathaway bought an Israeli company, Iscar, its first List of assets owned by Berkshire Hathaway, acquisition outside the United States, for $4 billion. Days of working time in Israel are Sunday through Thursday (for a five-day workweek), or Friday (for a six-day workweek). In observance of ''Shabbat'', in places where Friday is a work day and the majority of population is Jewish, Friday is a "short day", usually lasting until 14:00 in the winter, or 16:00 in the summer. Several proposals have been raised to adjust the work week with the majority of the world, and make Sunday a non-working day, while extending working time of other days or replacing Friday with Sunday as a work day.


Science and technology

Israel's development of cutting-edge technologies in software, communications and the life sciences have Silicon Wadi, evoked comparisons with Silicon Valley. Israel is first in the world in List of countries by research and development spending, expenditure on research and development as a percentage of GDP. It is ranked 13rd in the Global Innovation Index in 2020, down from 10th in 2019 and 5th in the 2019 Bloomberg Innovation Index. Israel has 140 scientists, technicians, and engineers per 10,000 employees, the highest number in the world, for comparison the U.S has 85 per 100,000. Israel has produced six List of Israeli Nobel laureates, Nobel Prize-winning scientists since 2004 and has been frequently ranked as one of the countries with the highest ratios of scientific papers per capita in the world. Israel has led the world in stem cell, stem-cell research papers per capita since 2000. List of Israeli universities and colleges, Israeli universities are ranked among the top 50 world universities in computer science (Technion and Tel Aviv University), mathematics (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and chemistry (Weizmann Institute of Science). In 2012, Israel was ranked ninth in the world by the Futron's Space Competitiveness Index. The Israel Space Agency coordinates all Israeli space research programs with scientific and commercial goals, and have indigenously designed and built at least 13 commercial, research and spy satellites. Some of Israel's satellites are ranked among the world's most advanced space systems. Shavit 2, Shavit is a space launch vehicle produced by Israel to launch small satellites into low Earth orbit. It was first launched in 1988, making Israel the Timeline of first orbital launches by country, eighth nation to have a space launch capability. In 2003, Ilan Ramon became Israel's first astronaut, serving as payload specialist of STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, fatal mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Space Shuttle ''Columbia''. The ongoing shortage of Water supply and sanitation in Israel, water in the country has spurred innovation in water conservation techniques, and a substantial Agricultural research in Israel, agricultural modernization, drip irrigation, was List of Israeli inventions and discoveries, invented in Israel. Israel is also at the technological forefront of desalination and water recycling. The Sorek desalination plant is the largest seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) Desalination facilities, desalination facility in the world. By 2014, Israel's desalination programs provided roughly 35% of Israel's drinking water and it is expected to supply 40% by 2015 and 70% by 2050. , more than 50 percent of the water for Israeli households, agriculture and industry is artificially produced. The country hosts an annual Water Technology and Environmental Control Exhibition & Conference (WATEC) that attracts thousands of people from across the world. In 2011, Israel's Water industry, water technology industry was worth around $2 billion a year with annual exports of products and services in the tens of millions of dollars. As a result of innovations in reverse osmosis technology, Israel is set to become a net Water export, exporter of water in the coming years. Israel has embraced Solar power in Israel, solar energy; its engineers are on the cutting edge of solar energy technology and its solar companies work on projects around the world. Over 90% of Israeli homes use solar energy for hot water, the highest per capita in the world. According to government figures, the country saves 8% of its electricity consumption per year because of its solar energy use in heating. The high annual incident irradiance, solar irradiance at its geographic latitude creates ideal conditions for what is an internationally renowned solar research and development industry in the Negev Desert. Israel had a modern Electric vehicle network, electric car infrastructure involving a countrywide network of charging stations to facilitate the charging and exchange of car batteries. It was thought that this would have lowered Israel's oil dependency and lowered the fuel costs of hundreds of Israel's motorists that use cars powered only by electric batteries. The Israeli model was being studied by several countries and being implemented in Denmark and Australia. However, Israel's trailblazing electric car company Better Place (company), Better Place shut down in 2013.


Transportation

Israel has of paved Roads in Israel, roads, and 3 million motor vehicles. The List of countries by vehicles per capita, number of motor vehicles per 1,000 persons is 365, relatively low with respect to developed countries. Israel has 5,715 buses on scheduled routes, operated by several carriers, the largest and oldest of which is Egged (company), Egged, serving most of the country. Rail transport in Israel, Railways stretch across and are operated solely by government-owned Israel Railways. Following major investments beginning in the early to mid-1990s, the number of train passengers per year has grown from 2.5 million in 1990, to 53 million in 2015; railways are also transporting 7.5 million tons of cargo, per year. Israel is served by two international List of airports in Israel, airports, Ben Gurion Airport, the country's main hub for international air travel near Tel Aviv, and Ramon Airport, which serves the southernmost port city of Eilat. There are several small domestic airports as well. Ben Gurion, Israel's largest airport, handled over 15 million passengers in 2015. On the Mediterranean coast, the Port of Haifa is the country's oldest and largest port, while Port of Ashdod, Ashdod Port is one of the few deep water ports in the world built on the open sea. In addition to these, the smaller Port of Eilat is situated on the
Red Sea The Red Sea ( ar, البحر الأحمر, translit=al-Baḥr al-ʾAḥmar; or ; Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northe ...

Red Sea
, and is used mainly for trading with Far East countries.


Tourism

Tourism, especially religious tourism, is an important industry in Israel, with the country's temperate climate, List of beaches in Israel, beaches, Archaeology of Israel, archaeological, other List of World Heritage Sites in Israel, historical and List of biblical places, biblical sites, and unique geography also drawing tourists. Israel's security problems have taken their toll on the industry, but the number of incoming tourists is on the rebound. In 2017, a record of 3.6 million tourists visited Israel, yielding a 25 percent growth since 2016 and contributed NIS 20 billion to the Israeli economy.


Energy

Israel began producing natural gas from its own offshore gas fields in 2004. Between 2005 and 2012, Israel had imported gas from Egypt via the al-Arish–Ashkelon pipeline, which was terminated due to Egyptian crisis (2011–14), Egyptian Crisis of 2011–14. In 2009, a Natural gas in Israel, natural gas reserve, Tamar gas field, Tamar, was found near the coast of Israel. A second natural gas reserve, Leviathan gas field, Leviathan, was discovered in 2010. The natural gas reserves in these two fields (Leviathan has around 19 trillion cubic feet) could make Israel energy secure for more than 50 years. In 2013, Israel began commercial production of natural gas from the Tamar field. , Israel produced over 7.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas a year. Israel had 199 billion cubic meters (bcm) of proven reserves of natural gas as of the start of 2016. Ketura Sun is Israel's first commercial solar field. Built in early 2011 by the Arava Power Company on Ketura, Israel, Kibbutz Ketura, Ketura Sun covers twenty acres and is expected to produce green energy amounting to 4.95 megawatts (MW). The field consists of 18,500 Photovoltaics, photovoltaic panels made by Suntech Power, Suntech, which will produce about 9 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity per year. In the next twenty years, the field will spare the production of some 125,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The field was inaugurated on 15 June 2011. On 22 May 2012 Arava Power Company announced that it had reached financial close on an additional 58.5 MW for 8 projects to be built in the Arava and the Negev valued at 780 million NIS or approximately $204 million.


Culture

Israel's diverse culture stems from the diversity of its population. Jews from diaspora communities around the world brought their cultural and religious traditions back with them, creating a melting pot of Jewish customs and beliefs. Arab influences are present in many cultural spheres, such as Architecture of Israel, architecture, Music of Israel, music, and Israeli cuisine, cuisine. Israel is the only country in the world where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar. Public holidays in Israel, Work and school holidays are determined by the Jewish holidays, and the official day of rest is Saturday, the Shabbat, Jewish Sabbath.


Calendar


Literature

Israeli literature is primarily Modern Hebrew poetry, poetry and prose written in Hebrew language, Hebrew, as part of the Revival of the Hebrew language, renaissance of Hebrew as a spoken language since the mid-19th century, although a small body of literature is published in other languages, such as English. By law, two copies of all printed matter published in Israel must be deposited in the National Library of Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2001, the law was amended to include audio and video recordings, and other non-print media. In 2016, 89 percent of the 7,300 books transferred to the library were in Hebrew. In 1966, Shmuel Yosef Agnon shared the Nobel Prize in Literature with German Jewish author Nelly Sachs. Leading Israeli poets have been Yehuda Amichai, Nathan Alterman, Leah Goldberg, and Rachel Bluwstein. Internationally famous contemporary Israeli novelists include Amos Oz, Etgar Keret and David Grossman. The Israeli-Arab satirist Sayed Kashua (who writes in Hebrew) is also internationally known. Israel has also been the home of Emile Habibi, whose novel ''The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist'', and other writings, won him the Israel prize for Arabic literature.


Music and dance

Music of Israel, Israeli music contains musical influences from all over the world; Mizrahi music, Mizrahi and Sephardic music, Hasidic Judaism, Hasidic melodies, Greek music in Israel, Greek music, jazz, and pop rock are all part of the music scene. Among Israel's world-renowned orchestras is the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which has been in operation for over seventy years and today performs more than two hundred concerts each year. Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and Ofra Haza are among the internationally acclaimed musicians born in Israel. Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest, Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest nearly every year since 1973, winning the competition four times and hosting it twice. Eilat has hosted its own international music festival, the Red Sea Jazz Festival, every summer since 1987. The nation's canonical folk music, folk songs, known as "Songs of the Land of Israel," deal with the experiences of the pioneers in building the Jewish homeland.


Cinema and theatre

Ten Israeli films List of Israeli submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, have been final nominees for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards since the establishment of Israel. The 2009 movie ''Ajami (film), Ajami'' was the third consecutive nomination of an Israeli film. Palestinian Israeli filmmakers have made a number of films dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict and the status of Palestinians within Israel, such as Mohammed Bakri's 2002 film ''Jenin, Jenin'' and ''The Syrian Bride''. Continuing the strong theatrical traditions of the Yiddish theatre in Eastern Europe, Israel maintains a vibrant theatre scene. Founded in 1918, Habima Theatre in Tel Aviv is Israel's oldest repertory theater company and national theater.


Media

The 2017 ''Freedom of the Press (report), Freedom of the Press'' annual report by Freedom House ranked Israel as the MENA, Middle East and North Africa's most free country, and 64th globally. In the 2017 Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders, Israel (including "Israel extraterritorial" since 2013 ranking) was placed 91st of 180 countries, first in the Middle East and North Africa region.


Museums

The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is one of Israel's most important cultural institutions and houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, along with an extensive collection of Judaica and European art. Israel's national The Holocaust, Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, is the world central archive of Holocaust-related information. Beit Hatfutsot ("The Diaspora House"), on the campus of Tel Aviv University, is an interactive museum devoted to the history of Jewish communities around the world. Apart from the major museums in large cities, there are high-quality art spaces in many towns and kibbutzim. Mishkan LeOmanut in kibbutz Ein Harod (Meuhad), Ein Harod Meuhad is the largest art museum in the north of the country. Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world. Several Israeli museums are devoted to Islamic culture, including the Rockefeller Museum and the L. A. Mayer Institute for Islamic Art, both in Jerusalem. The Rockefeller specializes in archaeological remains from the Ottoman and other periods of Middle East history. It is also the home of the first hominid fossil skull found in Western Asia, called Galilee Man. A cast of the skull is on display at the Israel Museum.


Cuisine

Israeli cuisine includes local dishes as well as Jewish cuisine brought to the country by immigrants from the Jewish diaspora, diaspora. Since the establishment of the state in 1948, and particularly since the late 1970s, an Israeli fusion cuisine has developed. Israeli cuisine has adopted, and continues to adapt, elements of the Cuisine of the Mizrahi Jews, Mizrahi, Cuisine of the Sephardic Jews, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi cuisine, Ashkenazi styles of cooking. It incorporates many foods traditionally eaten in the Levantine cuisine, Levantine, Arab cuisine, Arab, Middle Eastern cuisine, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, Mediterranean cuisines, such as falafel, hummus, shakshouka, couscous, and za'atar. Schnitzel, pizza, hamburgers, French fries, rice and salad are also common in Israel. Roughly half of the Israeli-Jewish population attests to keeping kosher at home.Julia Bernstein
''Food for Thought: Transnational Contested Identities and Food Practices of Russian-Speaking Jewish Migrants in Israel and Germany,''
Campus Verlag, 2010 pp. 227, 233–234.
Kosher restaurants, though rare in the 1960s, make up around a quarter of the total , perhaps reflecting the largely secular values of those who dine out.Yael Raviv
''Falafel Nation,''
University of Nebraska Press, 2015
Hotel restaurants are much more likely to serve kosher food. The non-kosher retail market was traditionally sparse, but grew rapidly and considerably following 1990s Post-Soviet aliyah, the influx of immigrants from the post-Soviet states during the 1990s. Together with non-kosher fish, rabbits and ostriches, pork—often called "white meat" in IsraelBernstein
pp. 231–233
—is produced and consumed, though Religious restrictions on the consumption of pork, it is forbidden by both Judaism and Islam.


Sports

The most popular spectator sports in Israel are association football and basketball. The Israeli Premier League is the country's premier football league, and the Israeli Basketball Premier League is the premier basketball league. Maccabi Haifa F.C., Maccabi Haifa, Maccabi Tel Aviv F.C., Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Tel Aviv F.C., Hapoel Tel Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem F.C., Beitar Jerusalem are the largest List of football clubs in Israel, football clubs. Maccabi Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv have competed in the UEFA Champions League and Hapoel Tel Aviv reached the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. Israel hosted and won the 1964 AFC Asian Cup; in 1970 the Israel national football team qualified for the 1970 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup, the only time it participated in the World Cup. The 1974 Asian Games, held in Tehran, were the last Asian Games in which Israel Israel at the Asian Games, participated, plagued by the Arab countries that Boycotts of Israel in sports, refused to compete with Israel. Israel was excluded from the 1978 Asian Games and since then has not competed in Asian sport events. In 1994, UEFA agreed to admit Israel, and its football teams now compete in Europe. Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C. has won the FIBA European Champions Cup and EuroLeague records and statistics, European championship in basketball six times. In 2016, the country was chosen as a host for the EuroBasket 2017. Israel has won Israel at the Olympics, nine Olympic medals since its first win 1992 Summer Olympics, in 1992, including a gold medal in Sailing at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Men's Mistral One Design, windsurfing at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Israel has won Israel at the Paralympics, over 100 gold medals in the Paralympic Games and is ranked 20th in the All-time Paralympic Games medal table, all-time medal count. The 1968 Summer Paralympics were hosted by Israel. The Maccabiah Games, an Olympic-style event for List of Jews in sports, Jewish and Israeli athletes, was inaugurated in the 1930s, and has been held every four years since then. Israeli tennis champion Shahar Pe'er ranked 11th in the world on 31 January 2011. Krav Maga, a martial art developed by Jewish ghetto defenders during the struggle against fascism in Europe, is used by the Israeli security forces and police. Its effectiveness and practical approach to self-defense, have won it widespread admiration and adherence around the world.


Chess

Chess is a leading sport in Israel and is enjoyed by people of all ages. There are many Israeli grandmasters and List of Israeli chess players, Israeli chess players have won a number of youth world championships. Israel stages an annual international Israeli Chess Championship, championship and hosted the World Team Chess Championship in 2005. The Ministry of Education and the FIDE, World Chess Federation agreed upon a project of teaching chess within Israeli schools, and it has been introduced into the curriculum of some schools. The city of Beersheba has become a national chess center, with the game being taught in the city's kindergartens. Owing partly to Soviet immigration, it is home to the largest number of Grandmaster (chess), chess grandmasters of any city in the world. The Israeli chess team won the silver medal at the 38th Chess Olympiad, 2008 Chess Olympiad and the bronze, coming in third among 148 teams, at the 39th Chess Olympiad, 2010 Olympiad. Israeli grandmaster Boris Gelfand won the Chess World Cup 2009 and the World Chess Championship 2012#Candidates tournament, 2011 Candidates Tournament for the right to challenge the world champion. He lost the World Chess Championship 2012 to reigning world champion Viswanathan Anand, Anand after a speed-chess tie breaker.


See also

* Index of Israel-related articles * Outline of Israel


Footnotes


References


Bibliography

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External links

; Government
Government services and information website

About Israel
at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Israel), Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Official website
of the Prime Minister's Office (Israel), Israel Prime Minister's Office
Official website
of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
GoIsrael.com
by the Ministry of Tourism (Israel), Israel Ministry of Tourism ; General information
Israel
''The World Factbook''. Central Intelligence Agency.
Israel
at the Jewish Virtual Library
Israel
at the
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de Coopération et de Développement Économiques, OCDE) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to st ...

OECD

Key Development Forecasts for Israel
from International Futures * * ; Maps * * {{Portal bar, Israel, Judaism, Middle East, Asia Israel, 1948 establishments in Asia Arabic-speaking countries and territories Articles containing video clips Countries in Asia Eastern Mediterranean Jewish polities States and territories established in 1948 Member states of the Union for the Mediterranean Member states of the United Nations Middle Eastern countries Levant Western Asian countries Near Eastern countries Palestine (region), * Political entities in the Land of Israel Republics