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Israel

This article is about the State of Israel. For other uses, see Israel (disambiguation).

Coordinates:31°N35°E /31°N 35°E /31; 35

Israel (; Hebrew:יִשְׂרָאֵל‎, romanized: Yīsrāʾēl; Arabic:إِسْرَائِيل‎, romanized: ʾIsrāʾīl), officially known as the State of Israel (Hebrew:מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל‎, Medinat Yisra'el), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea, and shares borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. Tel Aviv is the economic and technological center of the country, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although international recognition of the state's sovereignty over the city is limited.

State of Israel
  • מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל‎(Hebrew)
  • دولة إسرائيل(Arabic)
Anthem: Hatikvah
(English:"The Hope")
1949 armistice border (Green Line)
Capital
and largest city
Jerusalem
(limited recognition)
31°47′N35°13′E /31.783°N 35.217°E /31.783; 35.217
Official languagesHebrew
Recognized languagesArabic
Ethnic groups
(2019)
Religion
(2019)
Demonym(s)Israeli
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Isaac Herzog
Naftali Bennett
Yair Lapid
Mickey Levy
Esther Hayut
LegislatureKnesset
Independence from the British Empire
14 May 1948
11 May 1949
1958–2018
Area
• Total
20,770–22,072 km2 (8,019–8,522 sq mi)[a] (150th)
• Water (%)
2.71 (as of 2015)
Population
• 2021 estimate
9,426,140 (99th)
• 2008 census
7,412,200
• Density
427/km2 (1,105.9/sq mi) (35th)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
$372.314 billion (51st)
• Per capita
$40,336 (34th)
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
$410.501 billion (31st)
• Per capita
$44,474 (19th)
Gini (2018)34.8
medium · 48th
HDI (2019) 0.919
very high · 19th
CurrencyNew shekel (‎) (ILS)
Time zoneUTC+2 (IST)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+3 (IDT)
Date format
  • יי-חח-שששש‎ (AM)
  • dd-mm-yyyy (CE)
Driving sideright
Calling code+972
ISO 3166 codeIL
Internet TLD.il
  1. ^ 20,770 km2 is Israel within the Green Line. 22,072 km2 includes the annexed Golan Heights (c. 1,200 km2 (460 sq mi)) and East Jerusalem (c. 64 km2 (25 sq mi)).
This article contains Hebrew and Arabic text. Without proper , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols.

Israel has evidence of the earliest migration of hominids out of Africa. Canaanite tribes are archaeologically attested since the Middle Bronze Age, while the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah emerged during the Iron Age. The Neo-Assyrian Empire destroyed Israel around 720 BCE. Judah was later conquered by the Babylonian, Persian and Hellenistic empires and had existed as Jewish autonomous provinces. The successful Maccabean Revolt led to an independent Hasmonean kingdom by 110 BCE, which in 63 BCE however became a client state of the Roman Republic that subsequently installed the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE, and in 6 CE created the Roman province of Judea. Judea lasted as a Roman province until the failed Jewish revolts resulted in widespread destruction, the expulsion of the Jewish population and the renaming of the region from Iudaea to Syria Palaestina. 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 by the Arabs and remained in Muslim control until the First Crusade of 1099, followed by the Ayyubid conquest of 1187. The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt extended its control over the Levant in the 13th century until its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. During the 19th century, national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement followed by immigration to Palestine.

Following World War I, Britain controlled the entirety of the territory of what makes up Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Jordan as a League of Nations mandate. After World War II, the newly formed United Nations adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947, recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states, and an internationalized Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency but rejected by Arab leaders. Following a civil war within Mandatory Palestine between Yishuv forces and Palestinian Arab forces, Israel declared independence at the termination of the British Mandate. The war internationalized into the 1948 Arab–Israeli War between Israel and several surrounding Arab states and concluded with the 1949 Armistice Agreements that saw Israel in control of most of the former mandate territory, while the West Bank and Gaza were held by Jordan and Egypt respectively. Israel has since fought several wars with Arab countries, and since the Six-Day War in June 1967 has occupied several territories, and continues to occupy the Golan Heights and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, though whether Gaza remains occupied following the Israeli disengagement is disputed. Israel has extended its civil law to East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, though these actions have been rejected as illegal by the international community, and established settlements within the occupied territories, which the international community considers illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. Efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have not resulted in a final peace agreement, while Israel has signed peace treaties with both Egypt and Jordan 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, and the nation state of the Jewish people. The country is a liberal democracy with a parliamentary system, proportional representation, and universal suffrage. The prime minister is head of government and the Knesset is the legislature. With a population of over 9 million as of 2021, Israel is a developed country and an OECD member. It has the world's 31st-largest economy by nominal GDP, and is the most developed country currently in conflict. It has the highest standard of living in the Middle East, and ranks among the world's top countries by percentage of citizens with military training, percentage of citizens holding a tertiary education degree, research and development spending by GDP percentage, women's safety, life expectancy, innovativeness, and happiness.

Contents

The Merneptah Stele (13th century BCE). The majority of biblical archeologists translate a set of hieroglyphs as "Israel," the first instance of the name in the record.

Under the British Mandate (1920–1948), the whole region was known as 'Palestine' (Hebrew:פלשתינה [א״י]‎, lit. 'Palestine [Eretz Israel]'). Upon independence in 1948, the country formally adopted the name 'State of Israel' (Hebrew:מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל‎, ; Arabic:دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل‎, Dawlat Isrāʼīl, ) after other proposed historical and religious names including 'Land of Israel' (Eretz Israel), Ever (from ancestor Eber), Zion, and 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 "Israeli" to denote a citizen of Israel, with the formal announcement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Sharett.

The names Land of Israel and Children of Israel have historically been used to refer to the biblical Kingdom of Israel and the entire Jewish people respectively. The name 'Israel' (Hebrew: Yisraʾel, Isrāʾīl; Septuagint Greek:Ἰσραήλ, Israēl, 'El (God) persists/rules', though after Hosea 12:4 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 but were forced by famine to go into Egypt for four generations, lasting 430 years, until Moses, a great-great grandson of Jacob, led the Israelites back into Canaan during the "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 variety of other names, including Canaan, Djahy, Samaria, Judea, Yehud, Iudaea, Syria Palaestina and Southern Syria.

Main article: History of Israel

Prehistory

Further information: Prehistory of the Levant

The oldest evidence of early humans in the territory of modern Israel, dating to 1.5 million years ago, was found in Ubeidiya near the Sea of Galilee. Other notable Paleolithic sites include the caves Tabun, Qesem and Manot. The oldest fossils of anatomically modern humans found 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 Large Stone Structure, an archaeological site in Jerusalem

The early history of the territory is unclear.: 104 Modern archaeology has largely discarded the historicity of the narrative in the Torah concerning the patriarchs, The Exodus, and 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 formed vassal states paying tribute to the New Kingdom of Egypt, whose administrative headquarters lay in Gaza. Ancestors of the Israelites are thought to have included ancient Semitic-speaking peoples native to this area.: 78–79 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 peoples and their cultures through the development of a distinct monolatristic—and later monotheistic—religion centered on Yahweh.[excessive citations] 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.

Map of Israel and Judah in the 9th century BCE

While it is unclear if there was ever a United Monarchy, there is well-accepted archeological evidence referring to "Israel" in the Merneptah Stele which dates to about 1200 BCE; and the Canaanites are archaeologically attested in the Middle Bronze Age (2100–1550 BCE). There is debate about the earliest existence of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah and their extent and power, but historians and archaeologists agree that a Kingdom of Israel existed by ca. 900 BCE: 169–195 and that a Kingdom of Judah existed by ca. 700 BCE. The Kingdom of Israel was destroyed around 720 BCE, when it was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

In 586 BCE, King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon conquered Judah. According to the Hebrew Bible, he destroyed Solomon's Temple and 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 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.: 308

Classical period

Main article: Second Temple period
Portion of the Temple Scroll, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, written during the Second Temple period

With successive Persian rule, the autonomous province Yehud Medinata was gradually developing back into urban society, largely dominated by Judeans. The Greek conquests largely skipped the region without any resistance or interest. Incorporated into the Ptolemaic and finally the Seleucid empires, the southern Levant was heavily hellenized, building the tensions between Judeans and Greeks. The conflict erupted in 167 BCE with the 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 invaded the region in 63 BCE, first taking control of Syria, and then intervening in the Hasmonean Civil War. The struggle between pro-Roman and pro-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 Rome. With the decline of the Herodian dynasty, Judea, transformed into a Roman province, became the site of a violent struggle of Jews against Romans, culminating in the Jewish–Roman wars, ending in wide-scale destruction, expulsions, genocide, and enslavement of masses of Jewish captives. An estimated 1,356,460 Jews were killed as a result of the First Jewish Revolt (66–73 CE); the Second Jewish Revolt (115–117) led to the death of more than 200,000 Jews; and the 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 Talmud, central Jewish texts, were composed during the 2nd to 4th centuries CE in Tiberias and Jerusalem. The region came to be populated predominantly by Greco-Romans on the coast and Samaritans in the hill-country. Christianity was gradually evolving over Roman Paganism, when the area stood under 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 Persian conquest and the installation of a short-lived Jewish Commonwealth in 614 CE, the Byzantine Empire reconquered the country in 628.

Middle Ages and modern history

Kfar Bar'am, an ancient Jewish village, abandoned some time between the 7th–13th centuries CE.

In 634–641 CE, the region, including Jerusalem, was conquered by the Arabs who had recently adopted Islam. Control of the region transferred between the Rashidun Caliphs, Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Seljuks, Crusaders, and Ayyubids throughout the next three centuries.

During the siege of Jerusalem by the First Crusade 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, Ramleh, Ashkelon, Caesarea, and 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 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.

The 13th-century Ramban Synagogue in Jerusalem

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 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 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.

Jews at the Western Wall in the 1870s

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 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; it remained under Turkish rule until the end of the First World War, when Britain defeated the Ottoman forces and set up a military administration across the former Ottoman Syria. In 1660, a Druze revolt led to the destruction of Safed and 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 assault on Acre by troops of Napoleon, prompting the French to abandon the Syrian campaign. In 1834 a revolt by Palestinian Arab peasants broke out against Egyptian conscription and taxation policies under 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 conquered the Levant during World War I, the territory was divided between Britain and France under the 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 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 expelled from Spain in 1492, some communities settled in Palestine. During the 16th century, Jewish communities struck roots in the Four Holy CitiesJerusalem, 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 opponents of Hasidism, known as the Perushim, settled in Palestine.

"Therefore I believe that a wonderous generation of Jews will spring into existence. The Maccabaeans will rise again. Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews wish to have a State, and they shall have one. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own home. The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness. And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare will react with beneficent force for the good of humanity."

Theodor Herzl (1896).A Jewish State – via Wikisource. [scan ]

The first wave of modern Jewish migration to Ottoman-ruled Palestine, known as the First Aliyah, began in 1881, as Jews fled pogroms in Eastern Europe. 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, Austro-Hungarian journalist Theodor Herzl is credited with founding political Zionism, 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 Jews, although the Second Aliyah included 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 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, a small secret guard founded in 1907. Two years later, larger Hashomer organization was founded as its replacement. During World War I, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent the Balfour Declaration to 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 "national home" in Palestine.

In 1918, the Jewish Legion, a group primarily of Zionist volunteers, assisted in the British 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, 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 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 (1919–23) and Fourth Aliyahs (1924–29) brought an additional 100,000 Jews to Palestine. The 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 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, the Jewish population of Palestine had increased to 31% of the total population.

After World War II

UN Map, "Palestine plan of partition with economic union"

After World War II, the UK found itself facing a Jewish 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 and Cyprus by the British.

On 22 July 1946, Irgun bombed the British administrative headquarters for Palestine, which was housed in the southern wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. A total of 91 people of various nationalities were killed and 46 were injured. 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 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, 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. On 15 May 1947, the 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 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 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 riots broke out in Jerusalem. The situation spiralled into a 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 a number of factors.

Raising of the Ink Flag on 10 March 1949, marking the end of the 1948 war

On 14 May 1948, the day before the expiration of the British Mandate, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, 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 following day, the armies of four Arab countries—Egypt, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq—entered what had been British Mandatory Palestine, launching the 1948 Arab–Israeli War; 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 ceasefire was declared and temporary borders, known as the Green Line, were established. Jordan annexed what became known as the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip. The UN estimated that more than 700,000 Palestinians were expelled by or fled from advancing 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

Further information: Arab–Israeli conflict

Israel 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 British government, fearful of the Egyptian reaction to such a treaty, expressed their opposition to the Jordanian government. In the early years of the state, the Labor Zionist movement led by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion dominated 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 (lit. "Institute for 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 influx of Holocaust survivors and 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. Jews of European background were often treated more favorably than Jews from Middle Eastern and 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 period. The need to solve the crisis led Ben-Gurion to sign a reparations agreement with West Germany that triggered mass protests by Jews angered at the idea that Israel could accept monetary compensation for the Holocaust.

U.S. newsreel on the trial of Adolf Eichmann

During the 1950s, Israel was frequently 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 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 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 civilian court. During the spring and summer of 1963 Israel was engaged in a, now declassified diplomatic standoff with the United States due to the Israeli nuclear program.

Territory held by Israel:
before the Six-Day War
after the war
The Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in 1982.

Since 1964, Arab countries, concerned over Israeli plans to divert waters of the Jordan River into the coastal plain, had been trying to divert the headwaters to deprive Israel of water resources, provoking tensions between Israel on the one hand, and Syria and Lebanon on the other. 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 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 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 from Syria. Jerusalem's boundaries were enlarged, incorporating East Jerusalem, and the 1949 Green Line became the administrative boundary between Israel and the occupied territories.[citation needed]

Following the 1967 war and the "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 wave of attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world, including a massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. The Israeli government responded with an assassination campaign against the organizers of the massacre, a bombing and a raid on the PLO headquarters in Lebanon.

On 6 October 1973, as Jews were observing Yom Kippur, the Egyptian and Syrian armies launched 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 internal inquiry exonerated 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, Uganda. Israeli commandos carried out an operation in which 102 out of 106 Israeli hostages were successfully rescued.

Further conflict and peace process

The 1977 Knesset elections marked a major turning point in Israeli political history as Menachem Begin's Likud party took control from the Labor Party. Later that year, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat made a trip to Israel and spoke before the 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 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 UN force and the Lebanese army could take over. The PLO soon resumed its 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.

Israel's 1980 law declared that "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel."

Meanwhile, Begin's government provided incentives for Israelis to settle in the occupied West Bank, increasing friction with the Palestinians in that area. The 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 reignited international controversy over the status of the city. No Israeli legislation has defined the territory of Israel and no act specifically included East Jerusalem therein. In 1981 Israel effectively annexed the Golan Heights, 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 immigrated to Israel since the 1980s, while between 1990 and 1994, immigration from the post-Soviet states increased Israel's population by twelve percent.

On 7 June 1981, the Israeli air force destroyed Iraq's sole 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 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 bombing the PLO headquarters in Tunisia. Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon in 1986, but maintained a borderland buffer zone in southern Lebanon until 2000, from where Israeli forces 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 attacks against Israel. Despite public outrage, Israel heeded American calls to refrain from hitting back and did not participate in that war.

Shimon Peres (left) with Yitzhak Rabin (center) and King Hussein of Jordan (right), prior to signing the Israel–Jordan peace treaty in 1994.

In 1992, Yitzhak Rabin became Prime Minister following 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 parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The PLO also 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 checkpoints, and the deterioration of economic conditions. Israeli public support for the Accords waned as Israel was struck by Palestinian suicide attacks. In November 1995, while leaving a peace rally, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a far-right-wing Jew who opposed the Accords.

The site of the 2001 Tel Aviv Dolphinarium discotheque massacre, in which 21 Israelis were killed.

Under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu at the end of the 1990s, Israel withdrew from Hebron, and signed the Wye River Memorandum, giving greater control to the Palestinian National Authority. Ehud Barak, 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 special election. During his tenure, Sharon carried out his plan to 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 cross-border abduction of two Israeli soldiers precipitated the month-long Second Lebanon War. On 6 September 2007, the Israeli Air Force destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria. At the end of 2008, Israel entered another conflict as a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel collapsed. The 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 border crossings. Despite neither the rocket launchings nor Israeli retaliatory strikes having completely stopped, the fragile ceasefire remained in order. In what Israel described as a response to more than a hundred Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities, Israel began an operation in Gaza on 14 November 2012, lasting eight days. Israel started another operation in Gaza following an escalation of rocket attacks by Hamas in July 2014. In May 2021, another round of fighting took place in Gaza, lasting eleven days.

In September 2010, Israel was invited to join the OECD. Israel has also signed free trade agreements with the European Union, the United States, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey, Mexico, 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 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 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.

Satellite images of Israel and neighboring territories during the day (left) and night (right)

Israel is located in the Levant area of the Fertile Crescent region. The country is at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, 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 29° and 34° N, and longitudes 34° and 36° E.

The sovereign territory of Israel (according to the demarcation lines of the 1949 Armistice Agreements and excluding all territories captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War) is approximately 20,770 square kilometers (8,019 sq mi) 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 and the Golan Heights, is 22,072 square kilometers (8,522 sq mi), and the total area under Israeli control, including the military-controlled and partially Palestinian-governed territory of the West Bank, is 27,799 square kilometers (10,733 sq mi).

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, Carmel and toward the 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 6,500-kilometer (4,039 mi) 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 lowest point on the surface of the Earth. Further south is the Arabah, ending with the Gulf of Eilat, part of the 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 40 by 8 kilometers (25 by 5 mi). 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 boundary between the African Plate to the west and the Arabian Plate to the east. The Golan Heights and all of 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 seismic activity in the region. The entire Jordan Valley segment is thought to have ruptured repeatedly, for instance during the last two major earthquakes along this structure in 749 and 1033. The deficit in slip that has built up since the 1033 event is sufficient to cause an earthquake of Mw ~7.4.

The most catastrophic known earthquakes occurred in 31 BCE, 363, 749, and 1033 CE, that is every ca. 400 years on average. Destructive earthquakes leading to serious loss of life strike about every 80 years. While stringent construction regulations are currently in place and recently built structures are earthquake-safe, as of 2007[update] 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 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 as of 2021[update], 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 750 metres (2,460 ft) or more (same elevation as Jerusalem) will usually receive at least one 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 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 species of plants found in Israel. Of these, at least 253 species are introduced and non-native. There are 380 Israeli nature reserves.

Main articles: Demographics of Israel and Israelis

As of 2021, Israel's population was an estimated 9,426,140, of whom 74.2% were recorded by the civil government as Jews. 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. By June 2012, approximately 60,000 African migrants had entered Israel. About 92% of Israelis live in urban areas. Data published by the OECD in 2016 estimated the average life expectancy of Israelis at 82.5 years, making it the 6th-highest in the world.

Immigration to Israel in the years 1948–2015. The two peaks were in 1949 and 1990.

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 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 diversity of Jewish backgrounds. Approximately 75% of Israeli Jews are 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. Jews who left or fled Arab and Muslim countries and their descendants, including both Mizrahi and 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 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 settlers beyond the Green Line is over 600,000 (≈10% of the Jewish Israeli population). In 2016[update], 399,300 Israelis lived in West Bank 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, and 22,000 in the Golan Heights. Approximately 7,800 Israelis lived in settlements in the Gaza Strip, known as Gush Katif, until they were evacuated by the government as part of its 2005 disengagement plan.

Major urban areas

For a more comprehensive list, see List of cities in Israel.

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 with 936,425 residents in an area of 125 square kilometres (48 sq mi). Israeli government statistics on Jerusalem include the population and area of East Jerusalem, which is widely recognized as part of the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation. Tel Aviv and Haifa rank as Israel's next most populous cities, with populations of 460,613 and 285,316, respectively.

Israel has 16 cities with populations over 100,000. In all, there are 77 Israeli localities granted "municipalities" (or "city") status by the Ministry of the Interior, four of which are in the West Bank. Two more cities are planned: Kasif, a planned city to be built in the Negev, and Harish, originally a small town that is being built into a large city since 2015.


^a This number includes East Jerusalem and West Bank areas, which had a total population of 573,330 inhabitants in 2019. Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem is internationally unrecognized.

Language

Main article: Languages of Israel

Israel has one official language, Hebrew. Arabic had been an official language of the State of Israel; in 2018 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 immigrants, many languages can be heard on the streets. Due to mass immigration from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia (some 130,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel), Russian and Amharic are widely spoken. More than one million Russian-speaking immigrants arrived in Israel from the post-Soviet states between 1990 and 2004. French is spoken by around 700,000 Israelis, mostly originating from France and North Africa (see Maghrebi Jews). 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 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

Jewish · Muslim · Christian · Druze · Other.
Until 1995, figures for Christians also included Others.

Israel comprises a major part of the Holy Land, a region of significant importance to all Abrahamic religionsJudaism, Christianity, Islam, Druze and Baháʼí Faith.

The 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 Masorti (traditional), 13% as Dati (religious) and 9% as Haredi (ultra-Orthodox). Haredi Jews are expected to represent more than 20% of Israel's Jewish population by 2028.

Muslims constitute Israel's largest religious minority, making up about 17.6% of the population. About 2% of the population is Christian and 1.6% is Druze. The Christian population is composed primarily of Arab Christians and 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 Buddhists and Hindus, maintain a presence in Israel, albeit in small numbers. Out of more than one million immigrants from the former Soviet Union, about 300,000 are considered not Jewish by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

The Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall, Jerusalem.

The city of Jerusalem is of special importance to Jews, Muslims, and Christians, as it is the home of sites that are pivotal to their religious beliefs, such as the 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), Tiberias and Safed (two of the Four Holy Cities in Judaism), the White Mosque in Ramla (holy in Islam as the shrine of the prophet Saleh), and the 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, among them Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, the birthplace of Jesus and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. The 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 buried in Acre. A few kilometres south of the Baháʼí World Centre is Mahmood Mosque affiliated with the reformist 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, other Haifa neighborhoods, Harish and Upper Nazareth.

Education

Main article: Education in Israel

Education is highly valued in the Israeli culture and was viewed as a 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 ranked third among 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 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 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 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 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, is the newest university institution, upgraded from college status, and the first in over thirty years.

The Knesset chamber, home to the Israeli parliament

Israel is a parliamentary democracy with universal suffrage. A member of parliament supported by a parliamentary majority becomes the prime minister—usually this is the chair of the largest party. The prime minister is the head of government and head of the cabinet.

Israel is governed by a 120-member parliament, known as the Knesset. Membership of the Knesset is based on proportional representation of 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 election, 10 of the 120 MKs (8%) were settlers. Parliamentary elections are scheduled every four years, but unstable coalitions or a no-confidence vote by the Knesset can dissolve a government earlier.

Political system of state of Israel

The Basic Laws of Israel function as an uncodified constitution. In 2003, the Knesset began to draft an official 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" creates a strong connection with Judaism, as well as a conflict between state law and religious law. Interaction between the political parties keeps 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

Main articles: Judiciary of Israel and Israeli law
Supreme Court of Israel, Givat Ram, Jerusalem

Israel has a 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 appellate courts and courts of first instance; they are situated in five of Israel's six districts. The third and highest tier is the Supreme Court, located in Jerusalem; it serves a dual role as the highest court of appeals and the 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, citing concerns about the ability of the court to remain free from political impartiality.

Israel's legal system combines three legal traditions: English common law, civil law, and 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 and divorce are under the jurisdiction of the religious courts: Jewish, Muslim, Druze, and Christian. The election of judges is carried out by a committee of two Knesset members, three Supreme Court justices, two Israeli Bar members and two ministers (one of which, Israel's justice minister, is the committee's chairman). The committee's members of the Knesset are 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) 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 and liberties in Israel. As a result of "Enclave law", large portions of Israeli civil law are applied to Israeli settlements and Israeli residents in the occupied territories.

Administrative divisions

Main article: Districts of Israel

The State of Israel is divided into six main administrative districts, known as mehozot (Hebrew:מחוזות‎; singular: mahoz) – Center, Haifa, Jerusalem, North, South, and Tel Aviv districts, as well as the Judea and Samaria Area in the West Bank. 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 (Hebrew:נפות‎; singular: nafa), which are themselves partitioned into fifty natural regions.

District Capital Largest city Population
Jews Arabs Total note
Jerusalem Jerusalem 67% 32% 1,083,300 a
North Nof HaGalil Nazareth 43% 54% 1,401,300
Haifa Haifa 68% 26% 996,300
Center Ramla Rishon LeZion 88% 8% 2,115,800
Tel Aviv Tel Aviv 93% 2% 1,388,400
South Beersheba Ashdod 73% 20% 1,244,200
Judea and Samaria Area Ariel Modi'in Illit 98% 0% 399,300 b
^a Including over 200,000 Jews and 300,000 Arabs in East Jerusalem.
^b Israeli citizens only.

Specific types of settlements

Israeli-occupied territories

Map of Israel showing the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights
Overview of administration and sovereignty in Israel and the Palestinian territories
This box:
Area Administered by Recognition of governing authority Sovereignty claimed by Recognition of claim
Gaza Strip Palestinian National Authority (PA) (currently Hamas-led); Witnesses to the Oslo II Accord State of Palestine 137 UN member states
West Bank Palestinian enclaves (Areas A+B) PA (currently Fatah-led) and Israeli military
Area C Israeli enclave law (Israeli settlements) and Israeli military (Palestinians under Israeli occupation)
East Jerusalem Israeli government Honduras, Guatemala, Nauru, and the United States China, Russia
West Jerusalem Australia, Russia, Czech Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, Nauru, and the United States United Nations as an international city along with East Jerusalem Various UN member states and the European Union; joint sovereignty also widely supported
Golan Heights United States Syria All UN member states except the United States
Israel (proper) 163 UN member states Israel 163 UN member states

In 1967, as a result of the Six-Day War, Israel captured and occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. 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 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 and 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 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 status of East Jerusalem in any future peace settlement has at times been a difficult issue in negotiations between Israeli governments and representatives of the Palestinians, as Israel views it as its sovereign territory, as well as part of its capital.

Israeli West Bank barrier separating Israel and the West Bank

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 large part of Israel's civil and criminal laws applied to them, and their output is considered part of Israel's economy. 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. The West Bank was occupied and annexed by Jordan in 1950, following the Arab rejection of the UN decision to create two states in Palestine. Only Britain recognized this annexation and Jordan has since ceded its claim to the territory to the PLO. The population are mainly Palestinians, including refugees of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. From their occupation in 1967 until 1993, the Palestinians living in these territories were under Israeli military administration. Since the Israel–PLO letters of recognition, most of the Palestinian population and cities have been under the internal jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, and only partial Israeli military control, although Israel has on several occasions redeployed its 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 or in Israel with 87% inside the West Bank.

Area C of the West Bank, controlled by Israel under Oslo Accords, in blue and red, in December 2011

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 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 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 2007 Battle of Gaza, when Hamas assumed power in the Gaza Strip, Israel tightened its control of the Gaza crossings along 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 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 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 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,[weasel words] Israel has engaged in systematic and widespread violations of 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 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.[excessive detail?]

The international community widely regards Israeli settlements in the occupied territories illegal under international law. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, passed on 23 December 2016 in a 14–0 vote by members of the 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 occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Foreign relations

Diplomatic relations
Diplomatic relations suspended
Former diplomatic relations
No diplomatic relations, but former trade relations
No diplomatic relations

Israel maintains diplomatic relations with 164 member states of the United Nations, as well as with the Holy See, Kosovo, the Cook Islands and Niue. It has 107 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 and Jordan signed peace treaties in 1979 and 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), Sudan in October, and Morocco in December. Despite the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, Israel is still widely considered an enemy country among Egyptians. Iran 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 the Interior. As a result of the 2008–09 Gaza War, Mauritania, Qatar, Bolivia, and Venezuela suspended political and economic ties with Israel, though Bolivia renewed ties in 2019. China maintains good ties with both Israel and the Arab world.

The United States and the 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 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" 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. By 2007[update], Germany had paid 25 billion euros in 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.

Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat at the signing ceremony of the Oslo Accords with then US President Bill Clinton

Although Turkey and Israel did not establish full diplomatic relations until 1991, Turkey has 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 raid of the Gaza flotilla. 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 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 subsea electric power cable, the EuroAsia Interconnector, has strengthened relations between Cyprus and Israel.

Azerbaijan is one of the few majority Muslim countries to develop bilateral strategic and economic 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 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 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, India is the most pro-Israel country in the world. India is the largest customer of the Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest military partner of India after Russia. 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 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 ranks low among OECD nations, spending less than 0.1% of its GNI on development assistance.[citation needed] 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, the Ramatkal, subordinate to the Cabinet. The IDF consists of the army, air force and navy. It was founded during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War 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 (Aman), which works with Mossad and Shabak. The Israel Defense Forces have been involved in several major wars and border conflicts in its short history, making it one of the most battle-trained armed forces in the world.

Squad commanders exercise at Eliakim training base in 2012

Most Israelis are drafted into the military at the age of 18. Men serve two years and eight months and women two years. Following mandatory service, Israeli men join the reserve forces and usually do up to several weeks of reserve duty every year until their forties. Most women are exempt from reserve duty. Arab citizens of Israel (except the Druze) and those engaged in full-time religious studies are exempt from military service, although the 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.

Iron Dome is the world's first operational anti-artillery rocket defense system.

The nation's military relies heavily on high-tech weapons systems designed and manufactured in Israel as well as some foreign imports. The Arrow missile is one of the world's few operational anti-ballistic missile systems. The Python air-to-air missile series is often considered one of the most crucial weapons in its military history. Israel's 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, 122 mm Grad and Fajr-5 artillery 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 one of seven countries capable of launching such satellites.

Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons as well as chemical and biological 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 submarines are believed to be armed with nuclear Popeye Turbo missiles, offering second-strike capability. Since the Gulf War in 1991, when Israel was attacked by 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 defense spending as a percentage of GDP, with 5.7%, and 15th by total military expenditure, with $18 billion. Since 1974, the United States has been a particularly notable contributor of 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 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.

Main article: Economy of Israel

Israel is considered the most advanced country in Western Asia and the Middle East in economic and industrial development. Israel's quality 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 country is ranked 16th in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report and 54th on the World Bank's 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.

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Its building is optimized for computer trading, with systems located in an underground bunker to keep the exchange active during emergencies.

Despite limited natural resources, intensive development of the 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 $66.76 billion in 2017, include raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, and consumer goods. Leading exports include machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, and textiles and apparel; in 2017, Israeli exports reached $60.6 billion. The Bank of Israel holds $113 billion of foreign-exchange reserves. Since the 1970s, Israel has received 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 one of the lowest external debts in the developed world, and is a lender in terms of net external debt (assets vs. liabilities abroad), which in 2015[update] stood at a surplus of $69 billion.

Israel has the second-largest number of startup companies in the world after the United States, and the third-largest number of 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, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Facebook and Motorola have opened 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 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

Matam high-tech park in Haifa

Israel's development of cutting-edge technologies in software, communications and the life sciences have evoked comparisons with Silicon Valley. Israel is first in the world in 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 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 research papers per capita since 2000. 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 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 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 fatal mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia.

The ongoing shortage of water in the country has spurred innovation in water conservation techniques, and a substantial agricultural modernization, drip irrigation, was 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 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. As of 2015[update], 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 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 exporter of water in the coming years.

Israel has embraced 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 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 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 shut down in 2013.

Transportation

Main article: Transport in Israel

Israel has 19,224 kilometres (11,945 mi) of paved roads, and 3 million motor vehicles. The 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 of which is Egged, serving most of the country. Railways stretch across 1,277 kilometres (793 mi) 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 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 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, and is used mainly for trading with Far East countries.

Tourism

Main article: Tourism in Israel
Ein Bokek resort on the shore of the Dead Sea

Tourism, especially religious tourism, is an important industry in Israel, with the country's temperate climate, beaches, archaeological, other historical and 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

Main article: Energy in Israel

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 of 2011–14. In 2009, a natural gas reserve, Tamar, was found near the coast of Israel. A second natural gas reserve, 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. As of 2014[update], 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 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 photovoltaic panels made by 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.

Main article: Culture of Israel

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, music, and cuisine. Israel is the only country in the world where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar. Work and school holidays are determined by the Jewish holidays, and the official day of rest is Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

Calendar

Main article: Hebrew calendar
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(April 2021)

Literature

Main article: Israeli literature

Israeli literature is primarily poetry and prose written in Hebrew, as part of the 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.[citation needed] 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

Main articles: Music of Israel and Dance in Israel

Israeli music contains musical influences from all over the world; Mizrahi and Sephardic music, Hasidic melodies, 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 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 songs, known as "Songs of the Land of Israel," deal with the experiences of the pioneers in building the Jewish homeland.

Cinema and theatre

Main article: Cinema of Israel

Ten Israeli films have been final nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards since the establishment of Israel. The 2009 movie 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.[citation needed]

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

Main article: Media of Israel

The 2017 Freedom of the Press annual report by Freedom House ranked Israel as the 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

For a more comprehensive list, see List of Israeli museums.
Shrine of the Book, repository of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem

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 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 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

Main article: Israeli cuisine
A meal including falafel, hummus, French fries and Israeli salad

Israeli cuisine includes local dishes as well as Jewish cuisine brought to the country by immigrants from the 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 Mizrahi, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi styles of cooking. It incorporates many foods traditionally eaten in the Levantine, Arab, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, such as falafel, hummus, shakshouka, couscous, and za'atar. Schnitzel, pizza, hamburgers, French fries, rice and salad are also common in Israel.[citation needed]

Roughly half of the Israeli-Jewish population attests to keeping kosher at home. Kosher restaurants, though rare in the 1960s, make up around a quarter of the total as of 2015[update], perhaps reflecting the largely secular values of those who dine out. Hotel restaurants are much more likely to serve kosher food. The non-kosher retail market was traditionally sparse, but grew rapidly and considerably following 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 Israel—is produced and consumed, though it is forbidden by both Judaism and Islam.

Sports

Main article: Sport in Israel
Teddy Stadium of Jerusalem

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, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem are the largest 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 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 participated, plagued by the Arab countries that 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.[citation needed] Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C. has won the European championship in basketball six times. In 2016, the country was chosen as a host for the EuroBasket 2017.

Israel has won nine Olympic medals since its first win in 1992, including a gold medal in windsurfing at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Israel has won over 100 gold medals in the Paralympic Games and is ranked 20th in the all-time medal count. The 1968 Summer Paralympics were hosted by Israel. The Maccabiah Games, an Olympic-style event for 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 Israeli chess players have won a number of youth world championships. Israel stages an annual international championship and hosted the World Team Chess Championship in 2005. The Ministry of Education and the 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 chess grandmasters of any city in the world. The Israeli chess team won the silver medal at the 2008 Chess Olympiad and the bronze, coming in third among 148 teams, at the 2010 Olympiad. Israeli grandmaster Boris Gelfand won the Chess World Cup 2009 and the 2011 Candidates Tournament for the right to challenge the world champion. He lost the World Chess Championship 2012 to reigning world champion Anand after a speed-chess tie breaker.

  1. Recognition by other UN member states: Australia (West Jerusalem), Russia (West Jerusalem), the Czech Republic (West Jerusalem), Honduras, Guatemala, Nauru, and the United States. In September 2020 it was reported that Serbia would be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
  2. Jerusalem is Israel's largest city if including East Jerusalem, which is widely recognized as occupied territory.
  3. Arabic previously had been an official language of the State of Israel. In 2018 its classification was changed to a 'special status in the state' with its use by state institutions to be set in law.
  4. Israeli population and economic data covers the economic territory of Israel, including the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
  5. The Jerusalem Law states that "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel" and the city serves as the seat of the government, home to the President's residence, government offices, supreme court, and parliament. United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 (20 August 1980; 14–0, U.S. abstaining) declared the Jerusalem Law "null and void" and called on member states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from Jerusalem (see Kellerman 1993, p. 140). See Status of Jerusalem for more information.
  1. "Australia recognises West Jerusalem as Israeli capital". BBC News. 15 December 2018. Retrieved14 August 2020.
  2. "Foreign Ministry statement regarding Palestinian-Israeli settlement". www.mid.ru. 6 April 2017.
  3. "Czech Republic announces it recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel's capital". Jerusalem Post. 6 December 2017. Retrieved6 December 2017. The Czech Republic currently, before the peace between Israel and Palestine is signed, recognizes Jerusalem to be in fact the capital of Israel in the borders of the demarcation line from 1967." The Ministry also said that it would only consider relocating its embassy based on "results of negotiations.
  4. "Honduras recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital". The Times of Israel. 29 August 2019.
  5. "Guatemala se suma a EEUU y también trasladará su embajada en Israel a Jerusalén" [Guatemala joins US, will also move embassy to Jerusalem]. Infobae (in Spanish). 24 December 2017. Guatemala's embassy was located in Jerusalem until the 1980s, when it was moved to Tel Aviv.
  6. "Nauru recognizes J'lem as capital of Israel". Israel National News. 29 August 2019.
  7. "Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's Capital and Orders U.S. Embassy to Move". The New York Times. 6 December 2017. Retrieved6 December 2017.
  8. Frot, Mathilde (4 September 2020). "Kosovo to normalise relations with Israel". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved4 September 2020.
  9. "Kosovo and Serbia hand Israel diplomatic boon after US-brokered deal". The Guardian. 4 September 2020. Retrieved4 September 2020.
  10. The Legal Status of East Jerusalem(PDF), Norwegian Refugee Council, December 2013, pp. 8, 29
  11. "Arabic in Israel: an official language and a cultural bridge". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 18 December 2016. Retrieved8 August 2018.
  12. "Israel Passes 'National Home' Law, Drawing Ire of Arabs". The New York Times. 19 July 2018.
  13. Lubell, Maayan (19 July 2018). "Israel adopts divisive Jewish nation-state law". Reuters.
  14. "Press Releases from the Knesset". Knesset website. 19 July 2018. The Arabic language has a special status in the state; Regulating the use of Arabic in state institutions or by them will be set in law.
  15. Israel's Independence Day 2019(PDF) (Report). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 6 May 2019. Retrieved7 May 2019.
  16. "Surface water and surface water change". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved11 October 2020.
  17. "Home page". Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved20 February 2017.
  18. Population Census 2008(PDF) (Report). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2008. Retrieved27 December 2016.
  19. OECD 2011.
  20. Quarterly Economic and Social Monitor, Volume 26, October 2011, p. 57: "When Israel bid in March 2010 for membership in the 'Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development'... some members questioned the accuracy of Israeli statistics, as the Israeli figures (relating to gross domestic product, spending and number of the population) cover geographical areas that the Organization does not recognize as part of the Israeli territory. These areas include East Jerusalem, Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Golan Heights."
  21. "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2019". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved23 March 2020.
  22. "Income inequality". data.oecd.org. OECD. Retrieved29 June 2020.
  23. Human Development Report 2020 The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene(PDF). United Nations Development Programme. 15 December 2020. pp. 343–346. ISBN 978-92-1-126442-5. Retrieved16 December 2020.
  24. "Palestinian Territories". State.gov. 22 April 2008. Retrieved26 December 2012.
  25. "GaWC – The World According to GaWC 2008". Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Retrieved1 March 2009.
  26. Akram, Susan M., Michael Dumper, Michael Lynk, and Iain Scobbie, eds. 2010. International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Rights-Based Approach to Middle East Peace. Routledge. p. 119: "UN General Assembly Resolution 181 recommended the creation of an international zone, or corpus separatum, in Jerusalem to be administered by the UN for a 10-year period, after which there would be a referendum to determine its future. This approach applies equally to West and East Jerusalem and is not affected by the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967. To a large extent it is this approach that still guides the diplomatic behaviour of states and thus has greater force in international law."
  27. "Jerusalem: Opposition to mooted Trump Israel announcement grows." BBC News. 4 December 2017: "Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally"
  28. Charles A. Repenning & Oldrich Fejfar, Evidence for earlier date of 'Ubeidiya, Israel, hominid site Nature 299, 344–347 (23 September 1982)
  29. Encyclopædia Britannica article on Canaan
  30. Jonathan M Golden,Ancient Canaan and Israel: An Introduction, OUP, 2009 pp. 3–4.
  31. Finkelstein, Israel; Silberman, Neil Asher (2001). The Bible unearthed : archaeology's new vision of ancient Israel and the origin of its stories (1st Touchstone ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-86912-4.
  32. 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."
  33. Broshi, Maguen (2001). Bread, Wine, Walls and Scrolls. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-84127-201-6.
  34. "British Museum – Cuneiform tablet with part of the Babylonian Chronicle (605–594 BCE)". Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved30 October 2014.
  35. Jon L. Berquist (2007). Approaching Yehud: New Approaches to the Study of the Persian Period. Society of Biblical Lit. pp. 195–. ISBN 978-1-58983-145-2.
  36. Peter Fibiger Bang; Walter Scheidel (2013). The Oxford Handbook of the State in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean. Oxford University Press. pp. 184–187. ISBN 978-0-19-518831-8.
  37. Abraham Malamat (1976). A History of the Jewish People. Harvard University Press. pp. 223–239. ISBN 978-0-674-39731-6.
  38. Yohanan Aharoni (15 September 2006). The Jewish People: An Illustrated History. A&C Black. pp. 99–. ISBN 978-0-8264-1886-9.
  39. Erwin Fahlbusch; Geoffrey William Bromiley (2005). The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-0-8028-2416-5.
  40. "Resolution 181 (II). Future government of Palestine". United Nations. 29 November 1947. Retrieved21 March 2017.
  41. Morris 2008, p. 66: at 1946 "The League demanded independence for Palestine as a "unitary" state, with an Arab majority and minority rights for the Jews.", p. 67: at 1947 "The League's Political Committee met in Sofar, Lebanon, on 16–19 September, and urged the Palestine Arabs to fight partition, which it called "aggression," "without mercy." The League promised them, in line with Bludan, assistance "in manpower, money and equipment" should the United Nations endorse partition.", p. 72: at December 1947 "The League vowed, in very general language, "to try to stymie the partition plan and prevent the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.""
  42. Morris 2008, p. 75: "The night of 29–30 November passed in the Yishuv's settlements in noisy public rejoicing. Most had sat glued to their radio sets broadcasting live from Flushing Meadow. A collective cry of joy went up when the two-thirds mark was achieved: a state had been sanctioned by the international community."
  43. Morris 2008, p. 396: "The immediate trigger of the 1948 War was the November 1947 UN partition resolution. The Zionist movement, except for its fringes, accepted the proposal.", "The Arab war aim, in both stages of the hostilities, was, at a minimum, to abort the emergence of a Jewish state or to destroy it at inception. The Arab states hoped to accomplish this by conquering all or large parts of the territory allotted to the Jews by the United Nations. And some Arab leaders spoke of driving the Jews into the sea and ridding Palestine "of the Zionist plague." The struggle, as the Arabs saw it, was about the fate of Palestine/ the Land of Israel, all of it, not over this or that part of the country. But, in public, official Arab spokesmen often said that the aim of the May 1948 invasion was to "save" Palestine or "save the Palestinians," definitions more agreeable to Western ears."
  44. Gilbert 2005, p. 1
  45. "Israel". Freedom in the World. Freedom House. 2020. Retrieved13 October 2020.
  46. "How Israel's electoral system works - CNN.com". edition.cnn.com. Retrieved14 October 2021.
  47. staff, T. O. I. "Israel's population rises to over 9.3 million on Rosh Hashanah eve". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved14 October 2021.
  48. "Israel's accession to the OECD". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved12 August 2012.
  49. "Current conflicts". 13 June 2019.
  50. IISS 2018, pp. 339–340
  51. Education at a Glance: Israel (Report). Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 15 September 2016. Retrieved18 January 2017.
  52. "Research and development (R&D) – Gross domestic spending on R&D – OECD Data". data.oecd.org. Retrieved10 February 2016.
  53. Australia, Chris Pash, Business Insider (2017). "The 10 safest countries in the world for women". Business Insider. Retrieved23 March 2019.
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  55. "These Are the World's Most Innovative Countries". Bloomberg.com. 22 January 2019. Retrieved24 January 2019.
  56. Report, World Happiness (14 March 2018). "World Happiness Report 2018". World Happiness Report. Retrieved26 February 2019.
  57. Noah Rayman (29 September 2014). "Mandatory Palestine: What It Was and Why It Matters". TIME. Retrieved5 December 2015.
  58. "Popular Opinion". The Palestine Post. Jerusalem. 7 December 1947. p. 1. Archived from the original on 15 August 2012.
  59. One Day that Shook the world Archived 12 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine The Jerusalem Post, 30 April 1998, by Elli Wohlgelernter
  60. "On the Move". Time. New York. 31 May 1948. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved6 August 2007.
  61. Levine, Robert A. (7 November 2000). "See Israel as a Jewish Nation-State, More or Less Democratic". The New York Times. Retrieved19 January 2011.
  62. William G. Dever, Did God Have a Wife?: Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005 p. 186.
  63. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, 'Israel,' in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: E–J,Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1995 p. 907.
  64. R.L. Ottley, The Religion of Israel: A Historical Sketch, Cambridge University Press, 2013 pp. 31–32 note 5.
  65. Wells, John C. (1990). Longman pronunciation dictionary. Harlow, England: Longman. p. 381. ISBN 978-0-582-05383-0. entry "Jacob".
  66. "And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." (Genesis, 32:28, 35:10). See also Hosea 12:5.
  67. Exodus 12:40–41
  68. Exodus 6:16–20
  69. Barton & Bowden 2004, p. 126. "The Merneptah Stele ... is arguably the oldest evidence outside the Bible for the existence of Israel as early as the 13th century BCE."
  70. Tchernov, Eitan (1988). "The Age of 'Ubeidiya Formation (Jordan Valley, Israel) and the Earliest Hominids in the Levant". Paléorient. 14 (2): 63–65. doi:10.3406/paleo.1988.4455.
  71. Rincon, Paul (14 October 2015). "Fossil teeth place humans in Asia '20,000 years early'". BBC News. Retrieved4 January 2017.
  72. Bar-Yosef, Ofer (7 December 1998). "The Natufian Culture in the Levant, Threshold to the Origins of Agriculture"(PDF). Evolutionary Anthropology. 6 (5): 159–177. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1520-6505(1998)6:5<159::AID-EVAN4>3.0.CO;2-7. Retrieved4 January 2017.
  73. Dever, William (2001). What Did the Biblical Writers Know, and When Did They Know It?. Eerdmans. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-3-927120-37-2. After a century of exhaustive investigation, all respectable archaeologists have given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob credible "historical figures" [...] archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus has similarly been discarded as a fruitless pursuit.
  74. Braunstein, Susan L. (2011). "The Meaning of Egyptian-Style Objects in the Late Bronze Cemeteries of Tell el-Farʿah (South)". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 364 (364): 1–36. doi:10.5615/bullamerschoorie.364.0001. JSTOR 10.5615/bullamerschoorie.364.0001. S2CID 164054005.
  75. Miller, James Maxwell; Hayes, John Haralson (1986). A History of Ancient Israel and Judah. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 978-0-664-21262-9.
  76. Tubb, 1998. pp. 13–14
  77. Mark Smith in "The Early History of God: Yahweh and Other Deities of Ancient Israel" states "Despite the long regnant model that the Canaanites and Israelites were people of fundamentally different culture, archaeological data now casts doubt on this view. The material culture of the region exhibits numerous common points between Israelites and Canaanites in the Iron I period (c. 1200–1000 BCE). The record would suggest that the Israelite culture largely overlapped with and derived from Canaanite culture... In short, Israelite culture was largely Canaanite in nature. Given the information available, one cannot maintain a radical cultural separation between Canaanites and Israelites for the Iron I period." (pp. 6–7). Smith, Mark (2002) "The Early History of God: Yahweh and Other Deities of Ancient Israel" (Eerdman's)
  78. Rendsberg, Gary (2008). "Israel without the Bible". In Frederick E. Greenspahn. The Hebrew Bible: New Insights and Scholarship. NYU Press, pp. 3–5
  79. Gnuse, Robert Karl (1997). No Other Gods: Emergent Monotheism in Israel. England: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd. pp. 28, 31. ISBN 1-85075-657-0.
  80. McNutt 1999, p. 35.
  81. Bloch-Smith, Elizabeth (2003). "Israelite Ethnicity in Iron I: Archaeology Preserves What Is Remembered and What Is Forgotten in Israel's History". Journal of Biblical Literature. 122 (3): 401–425. doi:10.2307/3268384. ISSN 0021-9231. JSTOR 3268384. S2CID 160020536.
  82. Lehman in Vaughn 1992, pp. 156–162.[full citation needed]
  83. McNutt 1999, p. 70.
  84. Miller 2012, p. 98.
  85. McNutt 1999, p. 72.
  86. Miller 2012, p. 99.
  87. Miller 2012, p. 105.
  88. Lipschits, Oded (2014). "The History of Israel in the Biblical Period". In Berlin, Adele; Brettler, Marc Zvi (eds.). The Jewish Study Bible (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-997846-5.
  89. Kuhrt, Amiele (1995). The Ancient Near East. Routledge. p. 438. ISBN 978-0-415-16762-8.
  90. K.L. Noll, Canaan and Israel in Antiquity: A Textbook on History and Religion, A&C Black, 2012, rev.ed. pp. 137ff.
  91. 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.'
  92. The personal name "Israel" appears much earlier, in material from Ebla. Hasel, Michael G. (1 January 1994). "Israel in the Merneptah Stela". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 296 (296): 45–61. doi:10.2307/1357179. JSTOR 1357179. S2CID 164052192.; Bertman, Stephen (14 July 2005). Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. OUP. ISBN 978-0-19-518364-1. and Meindert Dijkstra (2010). "Origins of Israel between history and ideology". In Becking, Bob; Grabbe, Lester (eds.). Between Evidence and Ideology Essays on the History of Ancient Israel read at the Joint Meeting of the Society for Old Testament Study and the Oud Testamentisch Werkgezelschap Lincoln, July 2009. Brill. p. 47. ISBN 978-90-04-18737-5. As a West Semitic personal name it existed long before it became a tribal or a geographical name. This is not without significance, though is it rarely mentioned. We learn of a maryanu named ysr"il (*Yi¡sr—a"ilu) from Ugarit living in the same period, but the name was already used a thousand years before in Ebla. The word Israel originated as a West Semitic personal name. One of the many names that developed into the name of the ancestor of a clan, of a tribe and finally of a people and a nation.
  93. Lemche, Niels Peter (1998). The Israelites in History and Tradition. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-664-22727-2.
  94. Wright, Jacob L. (July 2014). "David, King of Judah (Not Israel)". The Bible and Interpretation. Archived from the original on 1 March 2021. Retrieved15 May 2021.
  95. "ABC 5 (Jerusalem Chronicle) – Livius". www.livius.org.
  96. "Second Temple Period (538 BCE to 70 CE) Persian Rule". Biu.ac.il. Retrieved15 March 2014.
  97. Harper's Bible Dictionary, ed. by Achtemeier, etc., Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1985, p. 103
  98. Grabbe, Lester L. (2004). A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period: Yehud – A History of the Persian Province of Judah v. 1. T & T Clark. p. 355. ISBN 978-0-567-08998-4.
  99. Wolfe (2011). From Habiru to Hebrews and Other Essays. p. 65.
  100. Beck (2012). True Jew: Challenging the Stereotype. p. 18.
  101. Armstrong (2011). Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths. p. 163.
  102. Oppenheimer, A'haron and Oppenheimer, Nili. Between Rome and Babylon: Studies in Jewish Leadership and Society. Mohr Siebeck, 2005, p. 2.
  103. Cohn-Sherbok, Dan (1996). Atlas of Jewish History. Routledge. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-415-08800-8.
  104. Lehmann, Clayton Miles (18 January 2007). "Palestine". Encyclopedia of the Roman Provinces. University of South Dakota. Archived from the original on 7 April 2013. Retrieved9 February 2013.
  105. Morçöl 2006, p. 304
  106. Judaism in late antiquity, Jacob Neusner, Bertold Spuler, Hady R Idris, Brill, 2001, p. 155
  107. Gil, Moshe (1997). A History of Palestine, 634–1099. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-59984-9.
  108. Allan D. Cooper (2009). The geography of genocide. University Press of America. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-7618-4097-8. Retrieved1 January 2012.
  109. Carmel, Alex. The History of Haifa Under Turkish Rule. Haifa: Pardes, 2002 (ISBN 965-7171-05-9), pp. 16–17
  110. Moshe Gil (1992). A History of Palestine, 634–1099. Cambridge University Press. p. 829. ISBN 978-0-521-40437-2. Retrieved17 May 2015. Haifa was taken [...] in August 1100 or June 1101, according to Muslim sources which contradict one another. Albert of Aachen does not mention the date in a clear manner either. From what he says, it appears that it was mainly the Jewish inhabitants of the city who defended the fortress of Haifa. In his rather strange Latin style, he mentions that there was a Jewish population in Haifa, and that they fought bravely within the walls of the city. He explains that the Jews there were protected people of the Muslims (the Fatimids). They fought side by side with units of the Fatimid army, striking back at Tancred's army from above the walls of the citadel (... Judaei civis comixtis Sarracenorum turmis) until the Crusaders overcame them and they were forced to abandon the walls. The Muslims and the Jews then managed to escape from the fortress with their lives, while the rest of the population fled the city en masse. Whoever remained was slaughtered, and huge quantities of spoils were taken. [...] [Note #3: Albert of Aachen (Albericus, Albertus Aquensis), Historia Hierosolymitanae Expeditionis, in: RHC (Occ.), IV. p. 523; etc.]
  111. Irven M. Resnick (2012). Marks of Distinctions: Christian Perceptions of Jews in the High Middle Ages. CUA Press. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-0-8132-1969-1. citizens of the Jewish race, who lived in the city by the favour and consent of the king of Egypt in return for payment of tribute, got on the walls bearing arms and put up a very stubborn defence, until the Christians, weighed down by various blows over the period of two weeks, absolutely despaired and held back their hands from any attack. [...] the Jewish citizens, mixed with Saracen troops, at once fought back manfully,... and counter-attacked. [Albert of Aachen, Historia Ierosolimitana 7.23, ed. and transl. Susan B. Edgington (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007), 516 and 521.]
  112. Sefer HaCharedim Mitzvat Tshuva Chapter 3. Maimonides established a yearly holiday for himself and his sons, 6 Cheshvan, commemorating the day he went up to pray on the Temple Mount, and another, 9 Cheshvan, commemorating the day he merited to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
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    Israel
Israel Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from State of Israel This article is about the State of Israel For other uses see Israel disambiguation Coordinates 31 N 35 E 31 N 35 E 31 35 Israel ˈ ɪ z r i e l ˈ ɪ z r eɪ e l Hebrew י ש ר א ל romanized Yisraʾel Arabic إ س ر ائ يل romanized ʾIsraʾil officially known as the State of Israel Hebrew מ ד ינ ת י ש ר א ל Medinat Yisra el is a country in Western Asia It is situated on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea and shares borders with Lebanon to the north Syria to the northeast Jordan on the east the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the east and west 24 respectively and Egypt to the southwest Tel Aviv is the economic and technological center of the country 25 while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem although international recognition of the state s sovereignty over the city is limited 26 27 fn 5 State of Israelמ ד ינ ת י ש ר א ל Hebrew دولة إسرائيل Arabic Flag EmblemAnthem Hatikvah English The Hope source source track track track track track track track track track track track track track track track track 1949 armistice border Green Line Capitaland largest cityJerusalem limited recognition fn 1 fn 2 31 47 N 35 13 E 31 783 N 35 217 E 31 783 35 217Official languagesHebrewRecognized languagesArabic fn 3 Ethnic groups 2019 74 2 Jews20 9 Arabs4 8 Others 15 Religion 2019 74 2 Judaism17 8 Islam2 0 Christianity1 6 Druze4 4 Others 15 Demonym s IsraeliGovernmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional republic PresidentIsaac Herzog Prime MinisterNaftali Bennett Alternate Prime MinisterYair Lapid Knesset SpeakerMickey Levy Chief JusticeEsther HayutLegislatureKnessetIndependence from the British Empire Declaration14 May 1948 Admission to the United Nations11 May 1949 Basic Laws1958 2018Area Total20 770 22 072 km2 8 019 8 522 sq mi a 150th Water 2 71 as of 2015 16 Population 2021 estimate9 426 140 17 fn 4 99th 2008 census7 412 200 18 fn 4 Density427 km2 1 105 9 sq mi 35th GDP PPP 2020 21 estimate Total 372 314 billion fn 4 51st Per capita 40 336 fn 4 34th GDP nominal 2020 21 estimate Total 410 501 billion fn 4 31st Per capita 44 474 fn 4 19th Gini 2018 34 8 fn 4 22 medium 48thHDI 2019 0 919 fn 4 23 very high 19thCurrencyNew shekel ILS Time zoneUTC 2 IST Summer DST UTC 3 IDT Date formatיי חח שששש AM dd mm yyyy CE Driving siderightCalling code 972ISO 3166 codeILInternet TLD il 20 770 km2 is Israel within the Green Line 22 072 km2 includes the annexed Golan Heights c 1 200 km2 460 sq mi and East Jerusalem c 64 km2 25 sq mi This article contains Hebrew and Arabic text Without proper rendering support you may see question marks boxes or other symbols Israel has evidence of the earliest migration of hominids out of Africa 28 Canaanite tribes are archaeologically attested since the Middle Bronze Age 29 30 while the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah emerged during the Iron Age 31 32 The Neo Assyrian Empire destroyed Israel around 720 BCE 33 Judah was later conquered by the Babylonian Persian and Hellenistic empires and had existed as Jewish autonomous provinces 34 35 The successful Maccabean Revolt led to an independent Hasmonean kingdom by 110 BCE 36 which in 63 BCE however became a client state of the Roman Republic that subsequently installed the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE and in 6 CE created the Roman province of Judea 37 Judea lasted as a Roman province until the failed Jewish revolts resulted in widespread destruction 36 the expulsion of the Jewish population 36 38 and the renaming of the region from Iudaea to Syria Palaestina 39 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 by the Arabs and remained in Muslim control until the First Crusade of 1099 followed by the Ayyubid conquest of 1187 The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt extended its control over the Levant in the 13th century until its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517 During the 19th century national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement followed by immigration to Palestine Following World War I Britain controlled the entirety of the territory of what makes up Israel the Palestinian territories and Jordan as a League of Nations mandate After World War II the newly formed United Nations adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947 recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and an internationalized Jerusalem 40 The plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency but rejected by Arab leaders 41 42 43 Following a civil war within Mandatory Palestine between Yishuv forces and Palestinian Arab forces Israel declared independence at the termination of the British Mandate The war internationalized into the 1948 Arab Israeli War between Israel and several surrounding Arab states and concluded with the 1949 Armistice Agreements that saw Israel in control of most of the former mandate territory while the West Bank and Gaza were held by Jordan and Egypt respectively Israel has since fought several wars with Arab countries 44 and since the Six Day War in June 1967 has occupied several territories and continues to occupy the Golan Heights and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip though whether Gaza remains occupied following the Israeli disengagement is disputed Israel has extended its civil law to East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights though these actions have been rejected as illegal by the international community and established settlements within the occupied territories which the international community considers illegal under international law though Israel disputes this Efforts to resolve the Israeli Palestinian conflict have not resulted in a final peace agreement while Israel has signed peace treaties with both Egypt and Jordan 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 and the nation state of the Jewish people 45 The country is a liberal democracy with a parliamentary system proportional representation and universal suffrage The prime minister is head of government and the Knesset is the legislature 46 With a population of over 9 million as of 2021 47 Israel is a developed country and an OECD member 48 It has the world s 31st largest economy by nominal GDP and is the most developed country currently in conflict 49 It has the highest standard of living in the Middle East 23 and ranks among the world s top countries by percentage of citizens with military training 50 percentage of citizens holding a tertiary education degree 51 research and development spending by GDP percentage 52 women s safety 53 life expectancy 54 innovativeness 55 and happiness 56 Contents 1 Etymology 2 History 2 1 Prehistory 2 2 Antiquity 2 3 Classical period 2 4 Middle Ages and modern history 2 5 Zionism and British Mandate 2 6 After World War II 2 7 Early years of the State of Israel 2 8 Further conflict and peace process 3 Geography and environment 3 1 Tectonics and seismicity 3 2 Climate 4 Demographics 4 1 Major urban areas 4 2 Language 4 3 Religion 4 4 Education 5 Government and politics 5 1 Legal system 5 2 Administrative divisions 5 3 Specific types of settlements 5 4 Israeli occupied territories 5 5 Foreign relations 5 6 Military 6 Economy 6 1 Science and technology 6 2 Transportation 6 3 Tourism 6 4 Energy 7 Culture 7 1 Calendar 7 2 Literature 7 3 Music and dance 7 4 Cinema and theatre 7 5 Media 7 6 Museums 7 7 Cuisine 7 8 Sports 7 8 1 Chess 8 See also 9 Footnotes 10 References 11 Bibliography 12 External linksEtymology The Merneptah Stele 13th century BCE The majority of biblical archeologists translate a set of hieroglyphs as Israel the first instance of the name in the record Under the British Mandate 1920 1948 the whole region was known as Palestine Hebrew פלשתינה א י lit Palestine Eretz Israel 57 Upon independence in 1948 the country formally adopted the name State of Israel Hebrew מ ד ינ ת י ש ר א ל Medinat Yisra el mediˈnat jisʁaˈʔel Arabic د و ل ة إ س ر ائ يل Dawlat Israʼil dawlat ʔisraːˈʔiːl after other proposed historical and religious names including Land of Israel Eretz Israel Ever from ancestor Eber Zion and Judea were considered but rejected 58 while the name Israel was suggested by Ben Gurion and passed by a vote of 6 3 59 In the early weeks of independence the government chose the term Israeli to denote a citizen of Israel with the formal announcement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Sharett 60 The names Land of Israel and Children of Israel have historically been used to refer to the biblical Kingdom of Israel and the entire Jewish people respectively 61 The name Israel Hebrew Yisraʾel Israʾil Septuagint Greek Ἰsrahl Israel El God persists rules though after Hosea 12 4 often interpreted as struggle with God 62 63 64 65 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 66 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 but were forced by famine to go into Egypt for four generations lasting 430 years 67 until Moses a great great grandson of Jacob 68 led the Israelites back into Canaan during the 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 69 The area is also known as the Holy Land being holy for all Abrahamic religions including Judaism Christianity Islam and the Bahaʼi Faith Through the centuries the territory was known by a variety of other names including Canaan Djahy Samaria Judea Yehud Iudaea Syria Palaestina and Southern Syria HistoryMain article History of Israel Prehistory Further information Prehistory of the Levant The oldest evidence of early humans in the territory of modern Israel dating to 1 5 million years ago was found in Ubeidiya near the Sea of Galilee 70 Other notable Paleolithic sites include the caves Tabun Qesem and Manot The oldest fossils of anatomically modern humans found outside Africa are the Skhul and Qafzeh hominins who lived in the area that is now northern Israel 120 000 years ago 71 Around 10th millennium BCE the Natufian culture existed in the area 72 Antiquity Main article History of ancient Israel and Judah Further information Israelites Kingdom of Israel Samaria and Kingdom of Judah The Large Stone Structure an archaeological site in Jerusalem The early history of the territory is unclear 31 104 Modern archaeology has largely discarded the historicity of the narrative in the Torah concerning the patriarchs The Exodus and the conquest of Canaan described in the Book of Joshua and instead views the narrative as constituting the Israelites national myth 73 During the Late Bronze Age 1550 1200 BCE large parts of Canaan formed vassal states paying tribute to the New Kingdom of Egypt whose administrative headquarters lay in Gaza 74 Ancestors of the Israelites are thought to have included ancient Semitic speaking peoples native to this area 75 78 79 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 peoples and their cultures through the development of a distinct monolatristic and later monotheistic religion centered on Yahweh 76 77 78 79 80 81 excessive citations The archaeological evidence indicates a society of village like centres but with more limited resources and a small population 82 Villages had populations of up to 300 or 400 83 84 which lived by farming and herding and were largely self sufficient 85 economic interchange was prevalent 86 Writing was known and available for recording even in small sites 87 Map of Israel and Judah in the 9th century BCE While it is unclear if there was ever a United Monarchy 88 89 there is well accepted archeological evidence referring to Israel in the Merneptah Stele which dates to about 1200 BCE 90 91 92 and the Canaanites are archaeologically attested in the Middle Bronze Age 2100 1550 BCE 30 93 There is debate about the earliest existence of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah and their extent and power but historians and archaeologists agree that a Kingdom of Israel existed by ca 900 BCE 31 169 195 94 and that a Kingdom of Judah existed by ca 700 BCE 32 The Kingdom of Israel was destroyed around 720 BCE when it was conquered by the Neo Assyrian Empire 33 In 586 BCE King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon conquered Judah According to the Hebrew Bible he destroyed Solomon s Temple and exiled the Jews to Babylon The defeat was also recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles 34 95 The Babylonian exile ended around 538 BCE under the rule of the Medo Persian Cyrus the Great after he captured Babylon 96 97 The Second Temple was constructed around 520 BCE 96 As part of the Persian Empire the former Kingdom of Judah became the province of Judah Yehud Medinata with different borders covering a smaller territory 98 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 31 308 Classical period Main article Second Temple period Further information Hasmonean dynasty Herodian dynasty and Jewish Roman wars Portion of the Temple Scroll one of the Dead Sea Scrolls written during the Second Temple period With successive Persian rule the autonomous province Yehud Medinata was gradually developing back into urban society largely dominated by Judeans The Greek conquests largely skipped the region without any resistance or interest Incorporated into the Ptolemaic and finally the Seleucid empires the southern Levant was heavily hellenized building the tensions between Judeans and Greeks The conflict erupted in 167 BCE with the 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 invaded the region in 63 BCE first taking control of Syria and then intervening in the Hasmonean Civil War The struggle between pro Roman and pro 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 Rome With the decline of the Herodian dynasty Judea transformed into a Roman province became the site of a violent struggle of Jews against Romans culminating in the Jewish Roman wars ending in wide scale destruction expulsions genocide and enslavement of masses of Jewish captives An estimated 1 356 460 Jews were killed as a result of the First Jewish Revolt 66 73 CE 99 the Second Jewish Revolt 115 117 led to the death of more than 200 000 Jews 100 and the Third Jewish Revolt 132 136 resulted in the death of 580 000 Jewish soldiers 101 Jewish presence in the region significantly dwindled after the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 CE 102 Nevertheless there was a continuous small Jewish presence and Galilee became its religious center 103 104 The Mishnah and part of the Talmud central Jewish texts were composed during the 2nd to 4th centuries CE in Tiberias and Jerusalem 105 The region came to be populated predominantly by Greco Romans on the coast and Samaritans in the hill country Christianity was gradually evolving over Roman Paganism when the area stood under 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 Persian conquest and the installation of a short lived Jewish Commonwealth in 614 CE the Byzantine Empire reconquered the country in 628 Middle Ages and modern history Further information History of Jerusalem during the Middle Ages Muslim conquest of the Levant Crusades and Old Yishuv Kfar Bar am an ancient Jewish village abandoned some time between the 7th 13th centuries CE 106 In 634 641 CE the region including Jerusalem was conquered by the Arabs who had recently adopted Islam Control of the region transferred between the Rashidun Caliphs Umayyads Abbasids Fatimids Seljuks Crusaders and Ayyubids throughout the next three centuries 107 During the siege of Jerusalem by the First Crusade 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 108 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 Ramleh Ashkelon Caesarea and Gaza 109 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 110 111 In 1165 Maimonides visited Jerusalem and prayed on the Temple Mount in the great holy house 112 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 113 and according to Judah al Harizi they did From the day the Arabs took Jerusalem the Israelites inhabited it 114 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 115 The 13th century Ramban Synagogue in Jerusalem 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 116 among them Rabbi Samson ben Abraham of Sens 117 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 118 In 1260 control passed to the Mamluk sultans of Egypt 119 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 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 120 121 Jews at the Western Wall in the 1870s In 1470 Isaac b Meir Latif arrived from Italy and counted 150 Jewish families in Jerusalem 122 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 Sephardic immigration from Spain the Jewish population had increased to 10 000 by the early 16th century 123 In 1516 the region was conquered by the Ottoman Empire it remained under Turkish rule until the end of the First World War when Britain defeated the Ottoman forces and set up a military administration across the former Ottoman Syria In 1660 a Druze revolt led to the destruction of Safed and Tiberias 124 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 assault on Acre by troops of Napoleon prompting the French to abandon the Syrian campaign 125 In 1834 a revolt by Palestinian Arab peasants broke out against Egyptian conscription and taxation policies under Muhammad Ali Although the revolt was suppressed Muhammad Ali s army retreated and Ottoman rule was restored with British support in 1840 126 Shortly after the Tanzimat reforms were implemented across the Ottoman Empire In 1920 after the Allies conquered the Levant during World War I the territory was divided between Britain and France under the mandate system and the British administered area which included modern day Israel was named Mandatory Palestine 119 127 128 Zionism and British Mandate Main articles Zionism Yishuv Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem Mandatory Palestine and Mandate for Palestine Further information Balfour Declaration and Intercommunal conflict in Mandatory Palestine The First Zionist Congress 1897 in Basel Switzerland Since the existence of the earliest Jewish diaspora many Jews have aspired to return to Zion and the Land of Israel 129 though the amount of effort that should be spent towards such an aim was a matter of dispute 130 131 The hopes and yearnings of Jews living in exile are an important theme of the Jewish belief system 130 After the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 some communities settled in Palestine 132 During the 16th century Jewish communities struck roots in the Four Holy Cities Jerusalem Tiberias Hebron and Safed and in 1697 Rabbi Yehuda Hachasid led a group of 1 500 Jews to Jerusalem 133 In the second half of the 18th century Eastern European opponents of Hasidism known as the Perushim settled in Palestine 134 135 Therefore I believe that a wonderous generation of Jews will spring into existence The Maccabaeans will rise again Let me repeat once more my opening words The Jews wish to have a State and they shall have one We shall live at last as free men on our own soil and die peacefully in our own home The world will be freed by our liberty enriched by our wealth magnified by our greatness And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare will react with beneficent force for the good of humanity Theodor Herzl 1896 A Jewish State via Wikisource scan The first wave of modern Jewish migration to Ottoman ruled Palestine known as the First Aliyah began in 1881 as Jews fled pogroms in Eastern Europe 136 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 Austro Hungarian journalist Theodor Herzl is credited with founding political Zionism 137 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 138 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 139 The Second Aliyah 1904 14 began after the Kishinev pogrom some 40 000 Jews settled in Palestine although nearly half of them left eventually 136 Both the first and second waves of migrants were mainly Orthodox Jews 140 although the Second Aliyah included socialist groups who established the kibbutz movement 141 Though the immigrants of the Second Aliyah largely sought to create communal agricultural settlements the period also saw the establishment of 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 a small secret guard founded in 1907 Two years later larger Hashomer organization was founded as its replacement During World War I British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent the Balfour Declaration to 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 national home in Palestine 142 143 In 1918 the Jewish Legion a group primarily of Zionist volunteers assisted in the British conquest of Palestine 144 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 or the Stern Gang paramilitary groups later split off 145 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 146 The population of the area at this time was predominantly Arab and Muslim with Jews accounting for about 11 147 and Arab Christians about 9 5 of the population 148 The Third 1919 23 and Fourth Aliyahs 1924 29 brought an additional 100 000 Jews to Palestine 136 The 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 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 14 760 149 150 resulting in over ten percent of the adult male Palestinian Arab population killed wounded imprisoned or exiled 151 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 136 By the end of World War II the Jewish population of Palestine had increased to 31 of the total population 152 After World War II Further information United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine 1947 1949 Palestine war and Israeli Declaration of Independence UN Map Palestine plan of partition with economic union After World War II the UK found itself facing a Jewish 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 153 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 and Cyprus by the British 154 155 On 22 July 1946 Irgun bombed the British administrative headquarters for Palestine which was housed in the southern wing 156 of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem 157 158 159 A total of 91 people of various nationalities were killed and 46 were injured 160 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 Transjordan 160 161 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 conducted by the British authorities and was the deadliest directed at the British during the Mandate era 160 161 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 On 15 May 1947 the 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 162 In the Report of the Committee dated 3 September 1947 to the General Assembly 163 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 164 Meanwhile the Jewish insurgency continued and peaked in July 1947 with a series of widespread guerrilla raids culminating in the 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 165 On 29 November 1947 the General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 II recommending the adoption and implementation of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union 40 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 42 43 The Arab League and Arab Higher Committee of Palestine rejected it and indicated that they would reject any other plan of partition 41 166 On the following day 1 December 1947 the Arab Higher Committee proclaimed a three day strike and riots broke out in Jerusalem 167 The situation spiralled into a 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 168 169 During this period 250 000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled due to a number of factors 170 David Ben Gurion proclaiming the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948 Raising of the Ink Flag on 10 March 1949 marking the end of the 1948 war On 14 May 1948 the day before the expiration of the British Mandate David Ben Gurion the head of the Jewish Agency declared the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel to be known as the State of Israel 171 172 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 173 The following day the armies of four Arab countries Egypt Syria Transjordan and Iraq entered what had been British Mandatory Palestine launching the 1948 Arab Israeli War 174 175 contingents from Yemen Morocco Saudi Arabia and Sudan joined the war 176 177 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 178 43 179 According to Benny Morris Jews felt that the invading Arab armies aimed to slaughter the Jews 180 The Arab league stated that the invasion was to restore law and order and to prevent further bloodshed 181 After a year of fighting a ceasefire was declared and temporary borders known as the Green Line were established 182 Jordan annexed what became known as the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip The UN estimated that more than 700 000 Palestinians were expelled by or fled from advancing Israeli forces during the conflict what would become known in Arabic as the Nakba catastrophe 183 Some 156 000 remained and became Arab citizens of Israel 184 Early years of the State of Israel Further information Arab Israeli conflict Israel was admitted as a member of the UN by majority vote on 11 May 1949 185 An Israeli Jordanian attempt at negotiating a peace agreement broke down after the British government fearful of the Egyptian reaction to such a treaty expressed their opposition to the Jordanian government 186 In the early years of the state the Labor Zionist movement led by Prime Minister David Ben Gurion dominated Israeli politics 187 188 The kibbutzim or collective farming communities played a pivotal role in establishing the new state 189 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 lit Institute for Immigration B which organized illegal and clandestine immigration 190 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 191 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 192 193 An influx of Holocaust survivors and 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 194 Between 1948 and 1970 approximately 1 150 000 Jewish refugees relocated to Israel 195 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 196 Jews of European background were often treated more favorably than Jews from Middle Eastern and 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 197 198 During this period food clothes and furniture had to be rationed in what became known as the austerity period The need to solve the crisis led Ben Gurion to sign a reparations agreement with West Germany that triggered mass protests by Jews angered at the idea that Israel could accept monetary compensation for the Holocaust 199 Play media U S newsreel on the trial of Adolf Eichmann During the 1950s Israel was frequently attacked by Palestinian fedayeen nearly always against civilians 200 mainly from the Egyptian occupied Gaza Strip 201 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 202 203 204 205 Israel joined 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 via the Straits of Tiran and the Canal 206 207 208 The war known as the Suez Crisis resulted in significant reduction of Israeli border infiltration 209 210 211 212 In the early 1960s Israel captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Argentina and brought him to Israel for trial 213 The trial had a major impact on public awareness of the Holocaust 214 Eichmann remains the only person executed in Israel by conviction in an Israeli civilian court 215 During the spring and summer of 1963 Israel was engaged in a now declassified diplomatic standoff with the United States due to the Israeli nuclear program 216 217 Territory held by Israel before the Six Day War after the war The Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in 1982 Since 1964 Arab countries concerned over Israeli plans to divert waters of the Jordan River into the coastal plain 218 had been trying to divert the headwaters to deprive Israel of water resources provoking tensions between Israel on the one hand and Syria and Lebanon on the other Arab nationalists led by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser refused to recognize Israel and called for its destruction 44 219 220 By 1966 Israeli Arab relations had deteriorated to the point of actual battles taking place between Israeli and Arab forces 221 In May 1967 Egypt massed its army near the border with Israel expelled UN peacekeepers stationed in the Sinai Peninsula since 1957 and blocked Israel s access to the Red Sea 222 223 224 Other Arab states mobilized their forces 225 Israel reiterated that these actions were a casus belli and on 5 June launched a 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 from Syria 226 Jerusalem s boundaries were enlarged incorporating East Jerusalem and the 1949 Green Line became the administrative boundary between Israel and the occupied territories citation needed Following the 1967 war and the 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 227 228 In the late 1960s and early 1970s Palestinian groups launched a wave of attacks 229 230 against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world 231 including a massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich The Israeli government responded with an assassination campaign against the organizers of the massacre a bombing and a raid on the PLO headquarters in Lebanon On 6 October 1973 as Jews were observing Yom Kippur the Egyptian and Syrian armies launched 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 232 An internal inquiry exonerated the government of responsibility for failures before and during the war but public anger forced Prime Minister Golda Meir to resign 233 In July 1976 an airliner was hijacked during its flight from Israel to France by Palestinian guerrillas and landed at Entebbe Uganda Israeli commandos carried out an operation in which 102 out of 106 Israeli hostages were successfully rescued Further conflict and peace process Further information Israeli Palestinian peace process and Iran Israel proxy conflict See also One state solution Two state solution Three state solution and Lieberman Plan The 1977 Knesset elections marked a major turning point in Israeli political history as Menachem Begin s Likud party took control from the Labor Party 234 Later that year Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat made a trip to Israel and spoke before the Knesset in what was the first recognition of Israel by an Arab head of state 235 In the two years that followed Sadat and Begin signed the Camp David Accords 1978 and the Egypt Israel peace treaty 1979 236 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 237 On 11 March 1978 a PLO guerilla raid from Lebanon led to the Coastal Road massacre Israel responded by launching an 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 UN force and the Lebanese army could take over The PLO soon resumed its 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 Israel s 1980 law declared that Jerusalem complete and united is the capital of Israel 238 Meanwhile Begin s government provided incentives for Israelis to settle in the occupied West Bank increasing friction with the Palestinians in that area 239 The 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 reignited international controversy over the status of the city No Israeli legislation has defined the territory of Israel and no act specifically included East Jerusalem therein 240 In 1981 Israel effectively annexed the Golan Heights although annexation was not recognized internationally 241 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 242 243 Israel s population diversity expanded in the 1980s and 1990s Several waves of Ethiopian Jews immigrated to Israel since the 1980s while between 1990 and 1994 immigration from the post Soviet states increased Israel s population by twelve percent 244 On 7 June 1981 the Israeli air force destroyed Iraq s sole 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 invaded Lebanon that year to destroy the bases from which the PLO launched attacks and missiles into northern Israel 245 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 246 Sharon was forced to resign as Defense Minister 247 In 1985 Israel responded to a Palestinian terrorist attack in Cyprus by bombing the PLO headquarters in Tunisia Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon in 1986 but maintained a borderland buffer zone in southern Lebanon until 2000 from where Israeli forces engaged in conflict with Hezbollah The First Intifada a Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule 248 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 249 During the 1991 Gulf War the PLO supported Saddam Hussein and Iraqi Scud missile attacks against Israel Despite public outrage Israel heeded American calls to refrain from hitting back and did not participate in that war 250 251 Shimon Peres left with Yitzhak Rabin center and King Hussein of Jordan right prior to signing the Israel Jordan peace treaty in 1994 In 1992 Yitzhak Rabin became Prime Minister following an election in which his party called for compromise with Israel s neighbors 252 253 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 parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip 254 The PLO also recognized Israel s right to exist and pledged an end to terrorism 255 In 1994 the Israel Jordan peace treaty was signed making Jordan the second Arab country to normalize relations with Israel 256 Arab public support for the Accords was damaged by the continuation of Israeli settlements 257 and checkpoints and the deterioration of economic conditions 258 Israeli public support for the Accords waned as Israel was struck by Palestinian suicide attacks 259 In November 1995 while leaving a peace rally Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir a far right wing Jew who opposed the Accords 260 The site of the 2001 Tel Aviv Dolphinarium discotheque massacre in which 21 Israelis were killed Under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu at the end of the 1990s Israel withdrew from Hebron 261 and signed the Wye River Memorandum giving greater control to the Palestinian National Authority 262 Ehud Barak 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 263 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 264 265 266 267 Sharon became prime minister in a 2001 special election During his tenure Sharon carried out his plan to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and also spearheaded the construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier 268 ending the Intifada 269 270 By this time 1 100 Israelis had been killed mostly in suicide bombings 271 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 272 In July 2006 a Hezbollah artillery assault on Israel s northern border communities and a cross border abduction of two Israeli soldiers precipitated the month long Second Lebanon War 273 274 On 6 September 2007 the Israeli Air Force destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria At the end of 2008 Israel entered another conflict as a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel collapsed The 2008 09 Gaza War lasted three weeks and ended after Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire 275 276 Hamas announced its own ceasefire with its own conditions of complete withdrawal and opening of border crossings Despite neither the rocket launchings nor Israeli retaliatory strikes having completely stopped the fragile ceasefire remained in order 277 In what Israel described as a response to more than a hundred Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities 278 Israel began an operation in Gaza on 14 November 2012 lasting eight days 279 Israel started another operation in Gaza following an escalation of rocket attacks by Hamas in July 2014 280 In May 2021 another round of fighting took place in Gaza lasting eleven days 281 In September 2010 Israel was invited to join the OECD 48 Israel has also signed free trade agreements with the European Union the United States the European Free Trade Association Turkey Mexico 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 282 283 By the 2010s the 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 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 environmentMain articles Geography of Israel and Wildlife of Israel Geography of Israel vte Galilee Coastal plain Judaean Mountains Jordan Valley Negev Levantine Sea Mediterranean Kinneret Dead Sea Gulf of Eilat West Bank Gaza Strip Lebanon Syria Jordan Egypt Satellite images of Israel and neighboring territories during the day left and night right Israel is located in the Levant area of the Fertile Crescent region The country is at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea 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 29 and 34 N and longitudes 34 and 36 E The sovereign territory of Israel according to the demarcation lines of the 1949 Armistice Agreements and excluding all territories captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War is approximately 20 770 square kilometers 8 019 sq mi in area of which two percent is water 284 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 285 The total area under Israeli law including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights is 22 072 square kilometers 8 522 sq mi 286 and the total area under Israeli control including the military controlled and partially Palestinian governed territory of the West Bank is 27 799 square kilometers 10 733 sq mi 287 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 Carmel and toward the Golan in the north The Israeli coastal plain on the shores of the Mediterranean is home to most of the nation s population 288 East of the central highlands lies the Jordan Rift Valley which forms a small part of the 6 500 kilometer 4 039 mi 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 lowest point on the surface of the Earth 289 Further south is the Arabah ending with the Gulf of Eilat part of the Red Sea Unique to Israel and the Sinai Peninsula are makhteshim or erosion cirques 290 The largest makhtesh in the world is Ramon Crater in the Negev 291 which measures 40 by 8 kilometers 25 by 5 mi 292 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 293 Israel contains four terrestrial ecoregions Eastern Mediterranean conifer sclerophyllous broadleaf forests Southern Anatolian montane conifer and deciduous forests Arabian Desert and Mesopotamian shrub desert 294 It had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 4 14 10 ranking it 135th globally out of 172 countries 295 Tectonics and seismicity Further information List of earthquakes in the Levant The Jordan Rift Valley is the result of tectonic movements within the Dead Sea Transform DSF fault system The DSF forms the transform boundary between the African Plate to the west and the Arabian Plate to the east The Golan Heights and all of 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 seismic activity in the region The entire Jordan Valley segment is thought to have ruptured repeatedly for instance during the last two major earthquakes along this structure in 749 and 1033 The deficit in slip that has built up since the 1033 event is sufficient to cause an earthquake of Mw 7 4 296 The most catastrophic known earthquakes occurred in 31 BCE 363 749 and 1033 CE that is every ca 400 years on average 297 Destructive earthquakes leading to serious loss of life strike about every 80 years 298 While stringent construction regulations are currently in place and recently built structures are earthquake safe as of 2007 update 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 298 Climate Koppen climate classification map of Israel and the Golan Heights Temperatures in Israel vary widely especially during the winter Coastal areas such as those of 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 as of 2021 update 54 C 129 F was recorded in 1942 at Tirat Zvi kibbutz in the northern Jordan River valley 299 300 At the other extreme mountainous regions can be windy and cold and areas at elevation of 750 metres 2 460 ft or more same elevation as Jerusalem will usually receive at least one snowfall each year 301 From May to September rain in Israel is rare 302 303 With scarce water resources Israel has developed various water saving technologies including drip irrigation 304 Israelis also take advantage of the considerable sunlight available for solar energy making Israel the leading nation in solar energy use per capita practically every house uses solar panels for water heating 305 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 species of plants found in Israel Of these at least 253 species are introduced and non native 306 There are 380 Israeli nature reserves 307 DemographicsMain articles Demographics of Israel and Israelis Population pyramid of Israel As of 2021 Israel s population was an estimated 9 426 140 of whom 74 2 were recorded by the civil government as Jews 15 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 15 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 308 but estimates run from 166 000 15 to 203 000 309 By June 2012 approximately 60 000 African migrants had entered Israel 310 About 92 of Israelis live in urban areas 311 Data published by the OECD in 2016 estimated the average life expectancy of Israelis at 82 5 years making it the 6th highest in the world 54 Immigration to Israel in the years 1948 2015 The two peaks were in 1949 and 1990 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 citizenship 312 Retention of Israel s population since 1948 is about even or greater when compared to other countries with mass immigration 313 Jewish emigration from Israel called yerida in Hebrew primarily to the United States and Canada is described by demographers as modest 314 but is often cited by Israeli government ministries as a major threat to Israel s future 315 316 Three quarters of the population are Jews from a diversity of Jewish backgrounds Approximately 75 of Israeli Jews are born in Israel 15 16 are immigrants from Europe and the Americas and 7 are immigrants from Asia and Africa including the Arab world 317 Jews from Europe and the former Soviet Union and their descendants born in Israel including Ashkenazi Jews constitute approximately 50 of Jewish Israelis Jews who left or fled Arab and Muslim countries and their descendants including both Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews 318 form most of the rest of the Jewish population 319 320 321 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 322 Around 4 of Israelis 300 000 ethnically defined as others are 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 323 324 325 The total number of Israeli settlers beyond the Green Line is over 600 000 10 of the Jewish Israeli population 326 In 2016 update 399 300 Israelis lived in West Bank settlements 327 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 328 and 22 000 in the Golan Heights 327 329 Approximately 7 800 Israelis lived in settlements in the Gaza Strip known as Gush Katif until they were evacuated by the government as part of its 2005 disengagement plan 330 Major urban areas For a more comprehensive list see List of cities in Israel View over the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area 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 377 100 331 Israel s largest municipality in population and area is Jerusalem with 936 425 residents in an area of 125 square kilometres 48 sq mi 332 Israeli government statistics on Jerusalem include the population and area of East Jerusalem which is widely recognized as part of the Palestinian territories under Israeli occupation 333 Tel Aviv and Haifa rank as Israel s next most populous cities with populations of 460 613 and 285 316 respectively 332 Israel has 16 cities with populations over 100 000 In all there are 77 Israeli localities granted municipalities or city status by the Ministry of the Interior 334 four of which are in the West Bank 335 Two more cities are planned Kasif a planned city to be built in the Negev and Harish originally a small town that is being built into a large city since 2015 336 vte Largest cities in Israel Israel Central Bureau of Statistics 332 Rank Name District Pop Rank Name District Pop Jerusalem Tel Aviv 1 Jerusalem Jerusalem 936 425a 11 Ramat Gan Tel Aviv 163 480 Haifa Rishon LeZion2 Tel Aviv Tel Aviv 460 613 12 Ashkelon Southern 144 0733 Haifa Haifa 285 316 13 Rehovot Central 143 9044 Rishon LeZion Central 254 384 14 Bat Yam Tel Aviv 129 0135 Petah Tikva Central 247 956 15 Beit Shemesh Jerusalem 124 9576 Ashdod Southern 225 939 16 Kfar Saba Central 101 4327 Netanya Central 221 353 17 Herzliya Tel Aviv 97 4708 Beersheba Southern 209 687 18 Hadera Haifa 97 3359 Bnei Brak Tel Aviv 204 639 19 Modi in Maccabim Re ut Central 93 27710 Holon Tel Aviv 196 282 20 Nazareth Northern 77 445 a This number includes East Jerusalem and West Bank areas which had a total population of 573 330 inhabitants in 2019 337 Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem is internationally unrecognized Language Main article Languages of Israel Road sign in Hebrew Arabic and English Israel has one official language Hebrew Arabic had been an official language of the State of Israel 11 in 2018 it was downgraded to having a special status in the state with its use by state institutions to be set in law 12 13 14 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 immigrants many languages can be heard on the streets Due to mass immigration from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia some 130 000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel 338 339 Russian and Amharic are widely spoken 340 More than one million Russian speaking immigrants arrived in Israel from the post Soviet states between 1990 and 2004 341 French is spoken by around 700 000 Israelis 342 mostly originating from France and North Africa see Maghrebi Jews 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 343 344 345 as may be seen in 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 346 Religion Main articles Religion in Israel and Abrahamic religions Religion in Israelvte Jewish Muslim Christian Druze Other Until 1995 figures for Christians also included Others 347 Israel comprises a major part of the Holy Land a region of significant importance to all Abrahamic religions Judaism Christianity Islam Druze and Bahaʼi Faith The 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 Masorti traditional 13 as Dati religious and 9 as Haredi ultra Orthodox 348 Haredi Jews are expected to represent more than 20 of Israel s Jewish population by 2028 349 Muslims constitute Israel s largest religious minority making up about 17 6 of the population About 2 of the population is Christian and 1 6 is Druze 284 The Christian population is composed primarily of Arab Christians and 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 350 Members of many other religious groups including Buddhists and Hindus maintain a presence in Israel albeit in small numbers 351 Out of more than one million immigrants from the former Soviet Union about 300 000 are considered not Jewish by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel 352 The Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall Jerusalem The city of Jerusalem is of special importance to Jews Muslims and Christians as it is the home of sites that are pivotal to their religious beliefs such as the Old City that incorporates the Western Wall and the Temple Mount the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre 353 Other locations of religious importance in Israel are Nazareth holy in Christianity as the site of the Annunciation of Mary Tiberias and Safed two of the Four Holy Cities in Judaism the White Mosque in Ramla holy in Islam as the shrine of the prophet Saleh and the 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 among them Joseph s Tomb in Nablus the birthplace of Jesus and Rachel s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron The administrative center of the Bahaʼi Faith and the Shrine of the Bab are located at the Bahaʼi World Centre in Haifa the leader of the faith is buried in Acre 354 355 356 A few kilometres south of the Bahaʼi World Centre is Mahmood Mosque affiliated with the reformist 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 other Haifa neighborhoods Harish and Upper Nazareth 357 358 Education Main article Education in Israel Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar Ilan University Education is highly valued in the Israeli culture and was viewed as a fundamental block of ancient Israelites 359 Jewish communities in the Levant were the first to introduce compulsory education for which the organized community not less than the parents was responsible 360 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 361 362 363 In 2015 the country ranked third among 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 51 In 2012 the country ranked third in the world in the number of academic degrees per capita 20 percent of the population 364 365 Israel has a school life expectancy of 16 years and a literacy rate of 97 8 284 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 366 Education is compulsory in Israel for children between the ages of three and eighteen 367 368 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 369 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 370 371 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 372 373 In Arab Christian and Druze schools the exam on Biblical studies is replaced by an exam on Muslim Christian or Druze heritage 374 Maariv described the Christian Arabs sectors as the most successful in education system 375 since Christians fared the best in terms of education in comparison to any other religion in Israel 376 Israeli children from Russian speaking families have a higher bagrut pass rate at high school level 377 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 378 In 2014 61 5 of all Israeli twelfth graders earned a matriculation certificate 379 Mount Scopus Campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel has a tradition of higher education where its quality university education has been largely responsible in spurring the nations modern economic development 380 Israel has nine public universities that are subsidized by the state and 49 private colleges 369 381 382 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel s second oldest university after the Technion 383 384 houses the National Library of Israel the world s largest repository of Judaica and Hebraica 385 The Technion and the Hebrew University consistently ranked among world s 100 top universities by the prestigious ARWU academic ranking 386 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 is the newest university institution upgraded from college status and the first in over thirty years Government and politicsMain articles Politics of Israel and Israeli system of government See also Criticism of the Israeli government President Isaac Herzog Prime Minister Naftali Bennett The Knesset chamber home to the Israeli parliament Israel is a parliamentary democracy with universal suffrage A member of parliament supported by a parliamentary majority becomes the prime minister usually this is the chair of the largest party The prime minister is the head of government and head of the cabinet 387 388 Israel is governed by a 120 member parliament known as the Knesset Membership of the Knesset is based on proportional representation of political parties 389 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 390 and after the 2015 election 10 of the 120 MKs 8 were settlers 391 Parliamentary elections are scheduled every four years but unstable coalitions or a no confidence vote by the Knesset can dissolve a government earlier Political system of state of Israel The Basic Laws of Israel function as an uncodified constitution In 2003 the Knesset began to draft an official constitution based on these laws 284 392 The president of Israel is head of state with limited and largely ceremonial duties 387 Israel has no official religion 393 394 395 but the definition of the state as 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 the balance between state and religion largely as it existed during the British Mandate 396 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 397 Legal system Main articles Judiciary of Israel and Israeli law Supreme Court of Israel Givat Ram Jerusalem Israel has a 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 appellate courts and courts of first instance they are situated in five of Israel s six districts The third and highest tier is the Supreme Court located in Jerusalem it serves a dual role as the highest court of appeals and the 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 398 399 Although Israel supports the goals of the International Criminal Court it has not ratified the Rome Statute citing concerns about the ability of the court to remain free from political impartiality 400 Israel s legal system combines three legal traditions English common law civil law and Jewish law 284 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 398 Marriage and divorce are under the jurisdiction of the religious courts Jewish Muslim Druze and Christian The election of judges is carried out by a committee of two Knesset members three Supreme Court justices two Israeli Bar members and two ministers one of which Israel s justice minister is the committee s chairman The committee s members of the Knesset are 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 401 402 403 Administration of Israel s courts both the General courts and the 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 and liberties in Israel As a result of Enclave law large portions of Israeli civil law are applied to Israeli settlements and Israeli residents in the occupied territories 404 Administrative divisions Main article Districts of Israel Districts of Israel Northern Haifa Central Tel Aviv Judea and Samaria Area Jerusalem Southern vte The State of Israel is divided into six main administrative districts known as mehozot Hebrew מחוזות singular mahoz Center Haifa Jerusalem North South and Tel Aviv districts as well as the Judea and Samaria Area in the West Bank 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 Hebrew נפות singular nafa which are themselves partitioned into fifty natural regions 405 District Capital Largest city Population 327 Jews Arabs Total noteJerusalem Jerusalem 67 32 1 083 300 aNorth Nof HaGalil Nazareth 43 54 1 401 300Haifa Haifa 68 26 996 300Center Ramla Rishon LeZion 88 8 2 115 800Tel Aviv Tel Aviv 93 2 1 388 400South Beersheba Ashdod 73 20 1 244 200Judea and Samaria Area Ariel Modi in Illit 98 0 399 300 b a Including over 200 000 Jews and 300 000 Arabs in East Jerusalem 328 b Israeli citizens only Specific types of settlements Communal settlement Jewish locality Kibbutz Kvutza Moshav MoshavaIsraeli occupied territories Main articles Israeli occupied territories and Israeli occupation of the West Bank Map of Israel showing the West Bank the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights Overview of administration and sovereignty in Israel and the Palestinian territories This box viewtalkedit Area Administered by Recognition of governing authority Sovereignty claimed by Recognition of claimGaza Strip Palestinian National Authority PA currently Hamas led Witnesses to the Oslo II Accord State of Palestine 137 UN member statesWest Bank Palestinian enclaves Areas A B PA currently Fatah led and Israeli militaryArea C Israeli enclave law Israeli settlements and Israeli military Palestinians under Israeli occupation East Jerusalem Israeli government Honduras Guatemala Nauru and the United States China RussiaWest Jerusalem Australia Russia Czech Republic Honduras Guatemala Nauru and the United States United Nations as an international city along with East Jerusalem Various UN member states and the European Union joint sovereignty also widely supportedGolan Heights United States Syria All UN member states except the United StatesIsrael proper 163 UN member states Israel 163 UN member states In 1967 as a result of the Six Day War Israel captured and occupied the West Bank including East Jerusalem the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights Israel also captured the Sinai Peninsula but returned it to Egypt as part of the 1979 Egypt Israel peace treaty 406 Between 1982 and 2000 Israel occupied part of southern Lebanon in what was known as the 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 and 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 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 407 408 The status of East Jerusalem in any future peace settlement has at times been a difficult issue in negotiations between Israeli governments and representatives of the Palestinians as Israel views it as its sovereign territory as well as part of its capital Israeli West Bank barrier separating Israel and the West Bank 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 large part of Israel s civil and criminal laws applied to them and their output is considered part of Israel s economy 409 fn 4 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 409 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 409 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 410 The West Bank was occupied and annexed by Jordan in 1950 following the Arab rejection of the UN decision to create two states in Palestine Only Britain recognized this annexation and Jordan has since ceded its claim to the territory to the PLO The population are mainly Palestinians including refugees of the 1948 Arab Israeli War 411 From their occupation in 1967 until 1993 the Palestinians living in these territories were under Israeli military administration Since the Israel PLO letters of recognition most of the Palestinian population and cities have been under the internal jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and only partial Israeli military control although Israel has on several occasions redeployed its 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 412 When completed approximately 13 of the barrier will be constructed on the Green Line or in Israel with 87 inside the West Bank 413 414 Area C of the West Bank controlled by Israel under Oslo Accords in blue and red in December 2011 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 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 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 415 416 417 418 419 Following the 2007 Battle of Gaza when Hamas assumed power in the Gaza Strip 420 Israel tightened its control of the Gaza crossings along 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 420 Gaza has a 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 421 The application of democracy to its Palestinian citizens and the selective application of Israeli democracy in the Israeli controlled Palestinian territories has been criticized 422 423 The International Court of Justice principal judicial organ of the UN asserted in its 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 424 Most negotiations relating to the territories have been on the basis of 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 425 426 427 According to some observers weasel words Israel has engaged in systematic and widespread violations of human rights in the occupied territories including the occupation itself 428 and war crimes against civilians 429 430 431 432 The allegations include violations of international humanitarian law 433 by the UN Human Rights Council 434 with local residents having limited ability to hold governing authorities accountable for such abuses by the U S State Department 435 mass arbitrary arrests torture unlawful killings systemic abuses and impunity by Amnesty International and others 436 437 438 439 440 441 and a denial of the right to Palestinian self determination 442 443 444 445 446 In response to such allegations Prime Minister Netanyahu has defended the country s security forces for protecting the innocent from terrorists 447 and expressed contempt for what he describes as a lack of concern about the human rights violations committed by criminal killers 448 Some observers such as Israeli officials scholars 449 United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley 450 451 and UN secretary generals Ban Ki moon 452 and Kofi Annan 453 also assert that the UN is disproportionately concerned with Israeli misconduct excessive detail The international community widely regards Israeli settlements in the occupied territories illegal under international law 454 United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 passed on 23 December 2016 in a 14 0 vote by members of the 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 occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention 455 Foreign relations Main articles Foreign relations of Israel International recognition of Israel and Israeli foreign aid Diplomatic relations Diplomatic relations suspended Former diplomatic relations No diplomatic relations but former trade relations No diplomatic relations Israel maintains diplomatic relations with 164 member states of the United Nations as well as with the Holy See Kosovo the Cook Islands and Niue It has 107 diplomatic missions around the world 456 countries with whom they have no diplomatic relations include most Muslim countries 457 Only a few nations in the Arab League have normalized relations with Israel Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties in 1979 and 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 458 Sudan in October 459 and Morocco in December 460 Despite the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt Israel is still widely considered an enemy country among Egyptians 461 Iran had diplomatic relations with Israel under the Pahlavi dynasty 462 but withdrew its recognition of Israel during the Islamic Revolution 463 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 the Interior 464 As a result of the 2008 09 Gaza War Mauritania Qatar Bolivia and Venezuela suspended political and economic ties with Israel 465 466 though Bolivia renewed ties in 2019 467 China maintains good ties with both Israel and the Arab world 468 The United States and the Soviet Union were the first two countries to recognize the State of Israel having declared recognition roughly simultaneously 469 Diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union were broken in 1967 following the Six Day War and renewed in October 1991 470 The United States regards Israel as its most reliable partner in the Middle East 471 based on common democratic values religious affinities and security interests 472 The United States has provided 68 billion in military assistance and 32 billion in grants to Israel since 1967 under the Foreign Assistance Act period beginning 1962 473 more than any other country for that period until 2003 473 474 475 The United Kingdom is seen as having a natural relationship with Israel on account of the Mandate for Palestine 476 Relations between the two countries were also made stronger by former prime minister Tony Blair s efforts for a two state resolution By 2007 update Germany had paid 25 billion euros in reparations to the Israeli state and individual Israeli Holocaust survivors 477 Israel is included in the European Union s European Neighbourhood Policy ENP which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer 478 Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat at the signing ceremony of the Oslo Accords with then US President Bill Clinton Although Turkey and Israel did not establish full diplomatic relations until 1991 479 Turkey has 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 480 Relations between Turkey and Israel took a downturn after the 2008 09 Gaza War and Israel s raid of the Gaza flotilla 481 Relations between Greece and Israel have improved since 1995 due to the decline of Israeli Turkish relations 482 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 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 483 Cooperation in the world s longest subsea electric power cable the EuroAsia Interconnector has strengthened relations between Cyprus and Israel 484 Azerbaijan is one of the few majority Muslim countries to develop bilateral strategic and economic 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 diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992 and has fostered a strong military technological and cultural partnership with the country since then 485 According to an international opinion survey conducted in 2009 on behalf of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs India is the most pro Israel country in the world 486 487 India is the largest customer of the Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second largest military partner of India after Russia 488 Ethiopia is Israel s main ally in Africa due to common political religious and security interests 489 Israel provides expertise to Ethiopia on irrigation projects and thousands of Ethiopian Jews live in Israel Israel has a history of providing emergency aid and humanitarian response teams to disasters across the world 490 In 1955 Israel began its foreign aid program in Burma The program s focus subsequently shifted to Africa 491 Israel s humanitarian efforts officially began in 1957 with the establishment of Mashav the Israel s Agency for International Development Cooperation 492 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 493 Israel s foreign aid program subsequently shifted its focus to Latin America 491 Since the late 1970s Israel s foreign aid has gradually decreased In recent years Israel has tried to reestablish its aid to Africa 494 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 495 ZAKA 496 The Fast Israeli Rescue and Search Team FIRST 497 Israeli Flying Aid IFA 498 Save a Child s Heart SACH 499 and Latet 500 Between 1985 and 2015 Israel sent 24 delegations of IDF search and rescue unit the Home Front Command to 22 countries 501 Currently Israeli foreign aid ranks low among OECD nations spending less than 0 1 of its GNI on development assistance citation needed The UN has set a target of 0 7 In 2015 six nations reached the UN target 502 The country ranked 43rd in the 2016 World Giving Index 503 Military Main articles Israel Defense Forces and Israeli security forces Further information List of wars involving Israel List of the Israel Defense Forces operations and Israel and weapons of mass destruction The Israel Defense Forces IDF is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces and is headed by its Chief of General Staff the Ramatkal subordinate to the Cabinet The IDF consists of the army air force and navy It was founded during the 1948 Arab Israeli War by consolidating paramilitary organizations chiefly the Haganah that preceded the establishment of the state 504 The IDF also draws upon the resources of the Military Intelligence Directorate Aman which works with Mossad and Shabak 505 The Israel Defense Forces have been involved in several major wars and border conflicts in its short history making it one of the most battle trained armed forces in the world 506 507 Squad commanders exercise at Eliakim training base in 2012 Most Israelis are drafted into the military at the age of 18 Men serve two years and eight months and women two years 508 Following mandatory service Israeli men join the reserve forces and usually do up to several weeks of reserve duty every year until their forties Most women are exempt from reserve duty Arab citizens of Israel except the Druze and those engaged in full time religious studies are exempt from military service although the exemption of yeshiva students has been a source of contention in Israeli society for many years 509 510 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 511 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 50 Iron Dome is the world s first operational anti artillery rocket defense system The nation s military relies heavily on high tech weapons systems designed and manufactured in Israel as well as some foreign imports The Arrow missile is one of the world s few operational anti ballistic missile systems 512 The Python air to air missile series is often considered one of the most crucial weapons in its military history 513 Israel s Spike missile is one of the most widely exported anti tank guided missiles ATGMs in the world 514 Israel s Iron Dome anti missile air defense system gained worldwide acclaim after intercepting hundreds of Qassam 122 mm Grad and Fajr 5 artillery rockets fire by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip 515 516 Since the Yom Kippur War Israel has developed a network of reconnaissance satellites 517 The success of the Ofeq program has made Israel one of seven countries capable of launching such satellites 518 Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons 519 as well as chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction 520 Israel has not signed the Treaty on the Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons 521 and maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity toward its nuclear capabilities 522 The Israeli Navy s Dolphin submarines are believed to be armed with nuclear Popeye Turbo missiles offering second strike capability 523 Since the Gulf War in 1991 when Israel was attacked by Iraqi Scud missiles all homes in Israel are required to have a reinforced security room Merkhav Mugan impermeable to chemical and biological substances 524 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 525 In 2016 Israel ranked 6th in the world by defense spending as a percentage of GDP with 5 7 526 and 15th by total military expenditure with 18 billion 527 Since 1974 the United States has been a particularly notable contributor of military aid to Israel 528 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 529 Israel ranked 5th globally for arms exports in 2017 530 The majority of Israel s arms exports are unreported for security reasons 531 Israel is consistently rated low in the Global Peace Index ranking 144th out of 163 nations for peacefulness in 2017 532 EconomyMain article Economy of Israel The Diamond Exchange District in Ramat Gan Israel is considered the most advanced country in Western Asia and the Middle East in economic and industrial development 533 534 Israel s quality 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 361 In 2010 it joined the OECD 48 535 The country is ranked 16th in the World Economic Forum s Global Competitiveness Report 536 and 54th on the World Bank s Ease of Doing Business index 537 Israel was also ranked 5th in the world by share of people in high skilled employment 538 Israeli economic data covers the economic territory of Israel including the Golan Heights East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank 19 Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Its building is optimized for computer trading with systems located in an underground bunker to keep the exchange active during emergencies 539 Despite limited natural resources intensive development of the 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 66 76 billion in 2017 include raw materials military equipment investment goods rough diamonds fuels grain and consumer goods 284 Leading exports include machinery and equipment software cut diamonds agricultural products chemicals and textiles and apparel in 2017 Israeli exports reached 60 6 billion 284 The Bank of Israel holds 113 billion of foreign exchange reserves 284 Since the 1970s Israel has received 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 one of the lowest external debts in the developed world and is a lender in terms of net external debt assets vs liabilities abroad which in 2015 update stood at a surplus of 69 billion 540 Israel has the second largest number of startup companies in the world after the United States 541 and the third largest number of NASDAQ listed companies after the U S and China 542 Intel 543 and Microsoft 544 built their first overseas research and development facilities in Israel and other high tech multi national corporations such as IBM Google Apple Hewlett Packard Cisco Systems Facebook and Motorola have opened 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 acquisition outside the United States for 4 billion 545 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 546 Science and technology Main articles Science and technology in Israel and List of Israeli inventions and discoveries Matam high tech park in Haifa Israel s development of cutting edge technologies in software communications and the life sciences have evoked comparisons with Silicon Valley 547 548 Israel is first in the world in expenditure on research and development as a percentage of GDP 52 It is ranked 13rd in the Global Innovation Index in 2020 down from 10th in 2019 and 5th in the 2019 Bloomberg Innovation Index 549 550 551 552 55 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 100 000 553 554 555 Israel has produced six Nobel Prize winning scientists since 2004 556 and has been frequently ranked as one of the countries with the highest ratios of scientific papers per capita in the world 557 558 559 Israel has led the world in stem cell research papers per capita since 2000 560 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 386 In 2012 Israel was ranked ninth in the world by the Futron s Space Competitiveness Index 561 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 562 Some of Israel s satellites are ranked among the world s most advanced space systems 563 Shavit is a space launch vehicle produced by Israel to launch small satellites into low Earth orbit 564 It was first launched in 1988 making Israel the 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 fatal mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia 565 The ongoing shortage of water in the country has spurred innovation in water conservation techniques and a substantial agricultural modernization drip irrigation was 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 facility in the world 566 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 567 As of 2015 update more than 50 percent of the water for Israeli households agriculture and industry is artificially produced 568 The country hosts an annual Water Technology and Environmental Control Exhibition amp Conference WATEC that attracts thousands of people from across the world 569 570 In 2011 Israel s 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 exporter of water in the coming years 571 The world s largest solar parabolic dish at the Ben Gurion National Solar Energy Center 572 Israel has embraced solar energy its engineers are on the cutting edge of solar energy technology 573 and its solar companies work on projects around the world 574 575 Over 90 of Israeli homes use solar energy for hot water the highest per capita in the world 305 576 According to government figures the country saves 8 of its electricity consumption per year because of its solar energy use in heating 577 The high annual incident solar irradiance at its geographic latitude creates ideal conditions for what is an internationally renowned solar research and development industry in the Negev Desert 573 574 575 Israel had a modern 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 578 579 580 The Israeli model was being studied by several countries and being implemented in Denmark and Australia 581 However Israel s trailblazing electric car company Better Place shut down in 2013 582 Transportation Main article Transport in Israel Ben Gurion International Airport Israel has 19 224 kilometres 11 945 mi of paved roads 583 and 3 million motor vehicles 584 The number of motor vehicles per 1 000 persons is 365 relatively low with respect to developed countries 584 Israel has 5 715 buses on scheduled routes 585 operated by several carriers the largest of which is Egged serving most of the country Railways stretch across 1 277 kilometres 793 mi and are operated solely by government owned Israel Railways 586 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 586 Israel is served by two international 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 587 Ben Gurion Israel s largest airport handled over 15 million passengers in 2015 588 On the Mediterranean coast the Port of Haifa is the country s oldest and largest port while Ashdod Port is one of the few deep water ports in the world built on the open sea 587 In addition to these the smaller Port of Eilat is situated on the Red Sea and is used mainly for trading with Far East countries 587 Tourism Main article Tourism in Israel See also List of archaeological sites in Israel and the Palestinian territories Ein Bokek resort on the shore of the Dead Sea Tourism especially religious tourism is an important industry in Israel with the country s temperate climate beaches archaeological other historical and 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 589 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 590 591 592 593 Energy Main article Energy in Israel 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 of 2011 14 In 2009 a natural gas reserve Tamar was found near the coast of Israel A second natural gas reserve Leviathan was discovered in 2010 594 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 As of 2014 update Israel produced over 7 5 billion cubic meters bcm of natural gas a year 595 Israel had 199 billion cubic meters bcm of proven reserves of natural gas as of the start of 2016 596 Ketura Sun is Israel s first commercial solar field Built in early 2011 by the Arava Power Company on 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 photovoltaic panels made by Suntech which will produce about 9 gigawatt hours GWh of electricity per year 597 In the next twenty years the field will spare the production of some 125 000 metric tons of carbon dioxide 598 The field was inaugurated on 15 June 2011 599 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 600 CultureMain article Culture of Israel 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 601 Arab influences are present in many cultural spheres 602 603 such as architecture 604 music 605 and cuisine 606 Israel is the only country in the world where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar Work and school holidays are determined by the Jewish holidays and the official day of rest is Saturday the Jewish Sabbath 607 Calendar Main article Hebrew calendar This section needs expansion You can help by adding to it April 2021 Literature Main article Israeli literature Shmuel Yosef Agnon laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature Israeli literature is primarily poetry and prose written in Hebrew as part of the 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 608 In 2016 89 percent of the 7 300 books transferred to the library were in Hebrew 609 In 1966 Shmuel Yosef Agnon shared the Nobel Prize in Literature with German Jewish author Nelly Sachs 610 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 citation needed 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 611 612 Music and dance Main articles Music of Israel and Dance in Israel Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta Israeli music contains musical influences from all over the world Mizrahi and Sephardic music Hasidic melodies Greek music jazz and pop rock are all part of the music scene 613 614 Among Israel s world renowned 615 616 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 617 Itzhak Perlman Pinchas Zukerman and Ofra Haza are among the internationally acclaimed musicians born in Israel Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest nearly every year since 1973 winning the competition four times and hosting it twice 618 619 Eilat has hosted its own international music festival the Red Sea Jazz Festival every summer since 1987 620 The nation s canonical folk songs known as Songs of the Land of Israel deal with the experiences of the pioneers in building the Jewish homeland 621 Cinema and theatre Main article Cinema of Israel Ten Israeli films have been final nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards since the establishment of Israel The 2009 movie Ajami was the third consecutive nomination of an Israeli film 622 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 citation needed 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 623 Media Main article Media of Israel The 2017 Freedom of the Press annual report by Freedom House ranked Israel as the Middle East and North Africa s most free country and 64th globally 624 In the 2017 Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders Israel including Israel extraterritorial since 2013 ranking 625 was placed 91st of 180 countries first in the Middle East and North Africa region 626 Museums For a more comprehensive list see List of Israeli museums Shrine of the Book repository of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Jerusalem The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is one of Israel s most important cultural institutions 627 and houses the Dead Sea Scrolls 628 along with an extensive collection of Judaica and European art 627 Israel s national Holocaust museum Yad Vashem is the world central archive of Holocaust related information 629 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 630 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 is the largest art museum in the north of the country 631 Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world 632 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 633 A cast of the skull is on display at the Israel Museum 634 Cuisine Main article Israeli cuisine A meal including falafel hummus French fries and Israeli salad Israeli cuisine includes local dishes as well as Jewish cuisine brought to the country by immigrants from the diaspora Since the establishment of the state in 1948 and particularly since the late 1970s an Israeli fusion cuisine has developed 635 Israeli cuisine has adopted and continues to adapt elements of the Mizrahi Sephardi and Ashkenazi styles of cooking It incorporates many foods traditionally eaten in the Levantine Arab Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines such as falafel hummus shakshouka couscous and za atar Schnitzel pizza hamburgers French fries rice and salad are also common in Israel citation needed Roughly half of the Israeli Jewish population attests to keeping kosher at home 636 637 Kosher restaurants though rare in the 1960s make up around a quarter of the total as of 2015 update perhaps reflecting the largely secular values of those who dine out 635 Hotel restaurants are much more likely to serve kosher food 635 The non kosher retail market was traditionally sparse but grew rapidly and considerably following the influx of immigrants from the post Soviet states during the 1990s 638 Together with non kosher fish rabbits and ostriches pork often called white meat in Israel 638 is produced and consumed though it is forbidden by both Judaism and Islam 639 Sports Main article Sport in Israel Teddy Stadium of Jerusalem The most popular spectator sports in Israel are association football and basketball 640 The Israeli Premier League is the country s premier football league and the Israeli Basketball Premier League is the premier basketball league 641 Maccabi Haifa Maccabi Tel Aviv Hapoel Tel Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem are the largest 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 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 participated plagued by the Arab countries that refused to compete with Israel Israel was excluded from the 1978 Asian Games and since then has not competed in Asian sport events 642 In 1994 UEFA agreed to admit Israel and its football teams now compete in Europe citation needed Maccabi Tel Aviv B C has won the European championship in basketball six times 643 In 2016 the country was chosen as a host for the EuroBasket 2017 Israel has won nine Olympic medals since its first win in 1992 including a gold medal in windsurfing at the 2004 Summer Olympics 644 Israel has won over 100 gold medals in the Paralympic Games and is ranked 20th in the all time medal count The 1968 Summer Paralympics were hosted by Israel 645 The Maccabiah Games an Olympic style event for 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 646 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 647 Chess Boris Gelfand chess Grandmaster Chess is a leading sport in Israel and is enjoyed by people of all ages There are many Israeli grandmasters and Israeli chess players have won a number of youth world championships 648 Israel stages an annual international championship and hosted the World Team Chess Championship in 2005 The Ministry of Education and the World Chess Federation agreed upon a project of teaching chess within Israeli schools and it has been introduced into the curriculum of some schools 649 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 chess grandmasters of any city in the world 650 651 The Israeli chess team won the silver medal at the 2008 Chess Olympiad 652 and the bronze coming in third among 148 teams at the 2010 Olympiad Israeli grandmaster Boris Gelfand won the Chess World Cup 2009 653 and the 2011 Candidates Tournament for the right to challenge the world champion He lost the World Chess Championship 2012 to reigning world champion Anand after a speed chess tie breaker See alsoIndex of Israel related articles Outline of IsraelFootnotes Recognition by other UN member states Australia West Jerusalem 1 Russia West Jerusalem 2 the Czech Republic West Jerusalem 3 Honduras 4 Guatemala 5 Nauru 6 and the United States 7 In September 2020 it was reported that Serbia would be moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem 8 9 Jerusalem is Israel s largest city if including East Jerusalem which is widely recognized as occupied territory 10 Arabic previously had been an official language of the State of Israel 11 In 2018 its classification was changed to a special status in the state with its use by state institutions to be set in law 12 13 14 a b c d e f g h i Israeli population and economic data covers the economic territory of Israel including the Golan Heights East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank 19 20 The Jerusalem Law states that Jerusalem complete and united is the capital of Israel and the city serves as the seat of the government home to the President s residence government offices supreme court and parliament United Nations Security Council Resolution 478 20 August 1980 14 0 U S abstaining declared the Jerusalem Law null and void and called on member states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from Jerusalem see Kellerman 1993 p 140 See Status of Jerusalem for more information References Australia recognises West Jerusalem as Israeli capital BBC News 15 December 2018 Retrieved 14 August 2020 Foreign Ministry statement regarding Palestinian Israeli settlement www mid ru 6 April 2017 Czech Republic announces it recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel s capital Jerusalem Post 6 December 2017 Retrieved 6 December 2017 The Czech Republic currently before the peace between Israel and Palestine is signed recognizes Jerusalem to be in fact the capital of Israel in the borders of the demarcation line from 1967 The Ministry also said that it would only consider relocating its embassy based on results of negotiations Honduras recognizes Jerusalem as Israel s capital The Times of Israel 29 August 2019 Guatemala se suma a EEUU y tambien trasladara su embajada en Israel a Jerusalen Guatemala joins US will also move embassy to Jerusalem Infobae in Spanish 24 December 2017 Guatemala s embassy was located in Jerusalem until the 1980s when it was moved to Tel Aviv Nauru recognizes J lem as capital of Israel Israel National News 29 August 2019 Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel s Capital and Orders U S Embassy to Move The New York Times 6 December 2017 Retrieved 6 December 2017 Frot Mathilde 4 September 2020 Kosovo to normalise relations with Israel The Jewish Chronicle Retrieved 4 September 2020 Kosovo and Serbia hand Israel diplomatic boon after US brokered deal The Guardian 4 September 2020 Retrieved 4 September 2020 The Legal Status of East Jerusalem PDF Norwegian Refugee Council December 2013 pp 8 29 a b Arabic in Israel an official language and a cultural bridge Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs 18 December 2016 Retrieved 8 August 2018 a b Israel Passes National Home Law Drawing Ire of Arabs The New York Times 19 July 2018 a b Lubell Maayan 19 July 2018 Israel adopts divisive Jewish nation state law Reuters a b Press Releases from the Knesset Knesset website 19 July 2018 The Arabic language has a special status in the state Regulating the use of Arabic in state institutions or by them will be set in law a b c d e f Israel s Independence Day 2019 PDF Report Israel Central Bureau of Statistics 6 May 2019 Retrieved 7 May 2019 Surface water and surface water change Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development OECD Retrieved 11 October 2020 Home page Israel Central Bureau of Statistics Retrieved 20 February 2017 Population Census 2008 PDF Report Israel Central Bureau of Statistics 2008 Retrieved 27 December 2016 a b OECD 2011 Quarterly Economic and Social Monitor Volume 26 October 2011 p 57 When Israel bid in March 2010 for membership in the Organization for Economic Co operation and Development some members questioned the accuracy of Israeli statistics as the Israeli figures relating to gross domestic product spending and number of the population cover geographical areas that the Organization does not recognize as part of the Israeli territory These areas include East Jerusalem Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Golan Heights a b World Economic Outlook Database October 2019 International Monetary Fund Retrieved 23 March 2020 Income inequality data oecd org OECD Retrieved 29 June 2020 a b Human Development Report 2020 The Next Frontier Human Development and the Anthropocene PDF United Nations Development Programme 15 December 2020 pp 343 346 ISBN 978 92 1 126442 5 Retrieved 16 December 2020 Palestinian Territories State gov 22 April 2008 Retrieved 26 December 2012 GaWC The World According to GaWC 2008 Globalization and World Cities Research Network Retrieved 1 March 2009 Akram Susan M Michael Dumper Michael Lynk and Iain Scobbie eds 2010 International Law and the Israeli Palestinian Conflict A Rights Based Approach to Middle East Peace Routledge p 119 UN General Assembly Resolution 181 recommended the creation of an international zone or corpus separatum in Jerusalem to be administered by the UN for a 10 year period after which there would be a referendum to determine its future This approach applies equally to West and East Jerusalem and is not affected by the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967 To a large extent it is this approach that still guides the diplomatic behaviour of states and thus has greater force in international law Jerusalem Opposition to mooted Trump Israel announcement grows BBC News 4 December 2017 Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally Charles A Repenning amp Oldrich Fejfar Evidence for earlier date of Ubeidiya Israel hominid site Nature 299 344 347 23 September 1982 Encyclopaedia Britannica article on Canaan a b Jonathan M Golden Ancient Canaan and Israel An Introduction OUP 2009 pp 3 4 a b c d Finkelstein Israel Silberman Neil Asher 2001 The Bible unearthed archaeology s new vision of ancient Israel and the origin of its stories 1st Touchstone ed New York Simon amp Schuster ISBN 978 0 684 86912 4 a b 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 a b Broshi Maguen 2001 Bread Wine Walls and Scrolls Bloomsbury Publishing p 174 ISBN 978 1 84127 201 6 a b British Museum Cuneiform tablet with part of the Babylonian Chronicle 605 594 BCE Archived from the original on 30 October 2014 Retrieved 30 October 2014 Jon L Berquist 2007 Approaching Yehud New Approaches to the Study of the Persian Period Society of Biblical Lit pp 195 ISBN 978 1 58983 145 2 a b c Peter Fibiger Bang Walter Scheidel 2013 The Oxford Handbook of the State in the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean Oxford University Press pp 184 187 ISBN 978 0 19 518831 8 Abraham Malamat 1976 A History of the Jewish People Harvard University Press pp 223 239 ISBN 978 0 674 39731 6 Yohanan Aharoni 15 September 2006 The Jewish People An Illustrated History A amp C Black pp 99 ISBN 978 0 8264 1886 9 Erwin Fahlbusch Geoffrey William Bromiley 2005 The Encyclopedia of Christianity Wm B Eerdmans Publishing pp 15 ISBN 978 0 8028 2416 5 a b Resolution 181 II Future government of Palestine United Nations 29 November 1947 Retrieved 21 March 2017 a b Morris 2008 p 66 at 1946 The League demanded independence for Palestine as a unitary state with an Arab majority and minority rights for the Jews p 67 at 1947 The League s Political Committee met in Sofar Lebanon on 16 19 September and urged the Palestine Arabs to fight partition which it called aggression without mercy The League promised them in line with Bludan assistance in manpower money and equipment should the United Nations endorse partition p 72 at December 1947 The League vowed in very general language to try to stymie the partition plan and prevent the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine a b Morris 2008 p 75 The night of 29 30 November passed in the Yishuv s settlements in noisy public rejoicing Most had sat glued to their radio sets broadcasting live from Flushing Meadow A collective cry of joy went up when the two thirds mark was achieved a state had been sanctioned by the international community a b c Morris 2008 p 396 The immediate trigger of the 1948 War was the November 1947 UN partition resolution The Zionist movement except for its fringes accepted the proposal The Arab war aim in both stages of the hostilities was at a minimum to abort the emergence of a Jewish state or to destroy it at inception The Arab states hoped to accomplish this by conquering all or large parts of the territory allotted to the Jews by the United Nations And some Arab leaders spoke of driving the Jews into the sea and ridding Palestine of the Zionist plague The struggle as the Arabs saw it was about the fate of Palestine the Land of Israel all of it not over this or that part of the country But in public official Arab spokesmen often said that the aim of the May 1948 invasion was to save Palestine or save the Palestinians definitions more agreeable to Western ears a b Gilbert 2005 p 1 Israel Freedom in the World Freedom House 2020 Retrieved 13 October 2020 How Israel s electoral system works CNN com edition cnn com Retrieved 14 October 2021 staff T O I Israel s population rises to over 9 3 million on Rosh Hashanah eve www timesofisrael com Retrieved 14 October 2021 a b c Israel s accession to the OECD Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development Retrieved 12 August 2012 Current conflicts 13 June 2019 a b IISS 2018 pp 339 340 a b Education at a Glance Israel Report Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development 15 September 2016 Retrieved 18 January 2017 a b Research and development R amp D Gross domestic spending on R amp D OECD Data data oecd org Retrieved 10 February 2016 Australia Chris Pash Business Insider 2017 The 10 safest countries in the world for women Business Insider Retrieved 23 March 2019 a b Health status Life expectancy at birth OECD Data theOECD a b These Are the World s Most Innovative Countries Bloomberg com 22 January 2019 Retrieved 24 January 2019 Report World Happiness 14 March 2018 World Happiness Report 2018 World Happiness Report Retrieved 26 February 2019 Noah Rayman 29 September 2014 Mandatory Palestine What It Was and Why It Matters TIME Retrieved 5 December 2015 Popular Opinion The Palestine Post Jerusalem 7 December 1947 p 1 Archived from the original on 15 August 2012 One Day that Shook the world Archived 12 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine The Jerusalem Post 30 April 1998 by Elli Wohlgelernter On the Move Time New York 31 May 1948 Archived from the original on 16 October 2007 Retrieved 6 August 2007 Levine Robert A 7 November 2000 See Israel as a Jewish Nation State More or Less Democratic The New York Times Retrieved 19 January 2011 William G Dever Did God Have a Wife Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel Wm B Eerdmans Publishing 2005 p 186 Geoffrey W Bromiley Israel in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia E J Wm B Eerdmans Publishing 1995 p 907 R L Ottley The Religion of Israel A Historical Sketch Cambridge University Press 2013 pp 31 32 note 5 Wells John C 1990 Longman pronunciation dictionary Harlow England Longman p 381 ISBN 978 0 582 05383 0 entry Jacob And he said Thy name shall be called no more Jacob but Israel for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men and hast prevailed Genesis 32 28 35 10 See also Hosea 12 5 Exodus 12 40 41 Exodus 6 16 20 Barton amp Bowden 2004 p 126 The Merneptah Stele is arguably the oldest evidence outside the Bible for the existence of Israel as early as the 13th century BCE Tchernov Eitan 1988 The Age of Ubeidiya Formation Jordan Valley Israel and the Earliest Hominids in the Levant Paleorient 14 2 63 65 doi 10 3406 paleo 1988 4455 Rincon Paul 14 October 2015 Fossil teeth place humans in Asia 20 000 years early BBC News Retrieved 4 January 2017 Bar Yosef Ofer 7 December 1998 The Natufian Culture in the Levant Threshold to the Origins of Agriculture PDF Evolutionary Anthropology 6 5 159 177 doi 10 1002 SICI 1520 6505 1998 6 5 lt 159 AID EVAN4 gt 3 0 CO 2 7 Retrieved 4 January 2017 Dever William 2001 What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It Eerdmans pp 98 99 ISBN 978 3 927120 37 2 After a century of exhaustive investigation all respectable archaeologists have given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham Isaac or Jacob credible historical figures archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus has similarly been discarded as a fruitless pursuit Braunstein Susan L 2011 The Meaning of Egyptian Style Objects in the Late Bronze Cemeteries of Tell el Farʿah South Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 364 364 1 36 doi 10 5615 bullamerschoorie 364 0001 JSTOR 10 5615 bullamerschoorie 364 0001 S2CID 164054005 Miller James Maxwell Hayes John Haralson 1986 A History of Ancient Israel and Judah Westminster John Knox Press ISBN 978 0 664 21262 9 Tubb 1998 pp 13 14 Mark Smith in The Early History of God Yahweh and Other Deities of Ancient Israel states Despite the long regnant model that the Canaanites and Israelites were people of fundamentally different culture archaeological data now casts doubt on this view The material culture of the region exhibits numerous common points between Israelites and Canaanites in the Iron I period c 1200 1000 BCE The record would suggest that the Israelite culture largely overlapped with and derived from Canaanite culture In short Israelite culture was largely Canaanite in nature Given the information available one cannot maintain a radical cultural separation between Canaanites and Israelites for the Iron I period pp 6 7 Smith Mark 2002 The Early History of God Yahweh and Other Deities of Ancient Israel Eerdman s Rendsberg Gary 2008 Israel without the Bible In Frederick E Greenspahn The Hebrew Bible New Insights and Scholarship NYU Press pp 3 5 Gnuse Robert Karl 1997 No Other Gods Emergent Monotheism in Israel England Sheffield Academic Press Ltd pp 28 31 ISBN 1 85075 657 0 McNutt 1999 p 35 Bloch Smith Elizabeth 2003 Israelite Ethnicity in Iron I Archaeology Preserves What Is Remembered and What Is Forgotten in Israel s History Journal of Biblical Literature 122 3 401 425 doi 10 2307 3268384 ISSN 0021 9231 JSTOR 3268384 S2CID 160020536 Lehman in Vaughn 1992 pp 156 162 full citation needed McNutt 1999 p 70 Miller 2012 p 98 McNutt 1999 p 72 Miller 2012 p 99 Miller 2012 p 105 Lipschits Oded 2014 The History of Israel in the Biblical Period In Berlin Adele Brettler Marc Zvi eds The Jewish Study Bible 2nd ed Oxford University Press ISBN 978 0 19 997846 5 Kuhrt Amiele 1995 The Ancient Near East Routledge p 438 ISBN 978 0 415 16762 8 K L Noll Canaan and Israel in Antiquity A Textbook on History and Religion A amp C Black 2012 rev ed pp 137ff Thomas L Thompson Early History of the Israelite People From the Written amp 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 The personal name Israel appears much earlier in material from Ebla Hasel Michael G 1 January 1994 Israel in the Merneptah Stela Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 296 296 45 61 doi 10 2307 1357179 JSTOR 1357179 S2CID 164052192 Bertman Stephen 14 July 2005 Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia OUP ISBN 978 0 19 518364 1 and Meindert Dijkstra 2010 Origins of Israel between history and ideology In Becking Bob Grabbe Lester eds Between Evidence and Ideology Essays on the History of Ancient Israel read at the Joint Meeting of the Society for Old Testament Study and the Oud Testamentisch Werkgezelschap Lincoln July 2009 Brill p 47 ISBN 978 90 04 18737 5 As a West Semitic personal name it existed long before it became a tribal or a geographical name This is not without significance though is it rarely mentioned We learn of a maryanu named ysr il Yi sr a ilu from Ugarit living in the same period but the name was already used a thousand years before in Ebla The word Israel originated as a West Semitic personal name One of the many names that developed into the name of the ancestor of a clan of a tribe and finally of a people and a nation Lemche Niels Peter 1998 The Israelites in History and Tradition Westminster John Knox Press p 35 ISBN 978 0 664 22727 2 Wright Jacob L July 2014 David King of Judah Not Israel The Bible and Interpretation Archived from the original on 1 March 2021 Retrieved 15 May 2021 ABC 5 Jerusalem Chronicle Livius www livius org a b Second Temple Period 538 BCE to 70 CE Persian Rule Biu ac il Retrieved 15 March 2014 Harper s Bible Dictionary ed by Achtemeier etc Harper amp Row San Francisco 1985 p 103 Grabbe Lester L 2004 A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period Yehud A History of the Persian Province of Judah v 1 T amp T Clark p 355 ISBN 978 0 567 08998 4 Wolfe 2011 From Habiru to Hebrews and Other Essays p 65 Beck 2012 True Jew Challenging the Stereotype p 18 Armstrong 2011 Jerusalem One City Three Faiths p 163 Oppenheimer A haron and Oppenheimer Nili Between Rome and Babylon Studies in Jewish Leadership and Society Mohr Siebeck 2005 p 2 Cohn Sherbok Dan 1996 Atlas of Jewish History Routledge p 58 ISBN 978 0 415 08800 8 Lehmann Clayton Miles 18 January 2007 Palestine Encyclopedia of the Roman Provinces University of South Dakota Archived from the original on 7 April 2013 Retrieved 9 February 2013 Morcol 2006 p 304 Judaism in late antiquity Jacob Neusner Bertold Spuler Hady R Idris Brill 2001 p 155 Gil Moshe 1997 A History of Palestine 634 1099 Cambridge University Press ISBN 978 0 521 59984 9 Allan D Cooper 2009 The geography of genocide University Press of America p 132 ISBN 978 0 7618 4097 8 Retrieved 1 January 2012 Carmel Alex The History of Haifa Under Turkish Rule Haifa Pardes 2002 ISBN 965 7171 05 9 pp 16 17 Moshe Gil 1992 A History of Palestine 634 1099 Cambridge University Press p 829 ISBN 978 0 521 40437 2 Retrieved 17 May 2015 Haifa was taken in August 1100 or June 1101 according to Muslim sources which contradict one another Albert of Aachen does not mention the date in a clear manner either From what he says it appears that it was mainly the Jewish inhabitants of the city who defended the fortress of Haifa In his rather strange Latin style he mentions that there was a Jewish population in Haifa and that they fought bravely within the walls of the city He explains that the Jews there were protected people of the Muslims the Fatimids They fought side by side with units of the Fatimid army striking back at Tancred s army from above the walls of the citadel Judaei civis comixtis Sarracenorum turmis until the Crusaders overcame them and they were forced to abandon the walls The Muslims and the Jews then managed to escape from the fortress with their lives while the rest of the population fled the city en masse Whoever remained was slaughtered and huge quantities of spoils were taken Note 3 Albert of Aachen Albericus Albertus Aquensis Historia Hierosolymitanae Expeditionis in RHC Occ IV p 523 etc Irven M Resnick 2012 Marks of Distinctions Christian Perceptions of Jews in the High Middle Ages CUA Press pp 48 49 ISBN 978 0 8132 1969 1 citizens of the Jewish race who lived in the city by the favour and consent of the king of Egypt in return for payment of tribute got on the walls bearing arms and put up a very stubborn defence until the Christians weighed down by various blows over the period of two weeks absolutely despaired and held back their hands from any attack the Jewish citizens mixed with Saracen troops at once fought back manfully and counter attacked Albert of Aachen Historia Ierosolimitana 7 23 ed and transl Susan B Edgington Oxford Clarendon Press 2007 516 and 521 Sefer HaCharedim Mitzvat Tshuva Chapter 3 Maimonides established a yearly holiday for himself and his sons 6 Cheshvan commemorating the day he went up to pray on the Temple Mount and another 9 Cheshvan commemorating the day he merited to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron Abraham P Bloch 1987 Sultan Saladin Opens Jerusalem to Jews One a day an anthology of Jewish historical anniversaries for every day of the year KTAV Publishing House Inc p 277 ISBN 978 0 88125 108 1 Retrieved 26 December 2011 Benzion Dinur 1974 From Bar Kochba s Revolt to the Turkish Conquest In David Ben Gurion ed The Jews in their Land Aldus Books p 217 Retrieved 26 December 2011 Geoffrey Hindley 2007 Saladin hero of Islam Pen amp Sword Military p xiii ISBN 978 1 84415 499 9 Retrieved 26 December 2011 Alex Carmel Peter Schafer Yossi Ben Artzi 1990 The Jewish settlement in Palestine 634 1881 L Reichert p 31 ISBN 978 3 88226 479 1 Retrieved 21 December 2011 Samson ben Abraham of Sens Jewish Encyclopedia Moshe Lichtman 2006 Eretz Yisrael in the Parshah The Centrality of the Land of Israel in the Torah Devora Publishing p 302 ISBN 978 1 932687 70 5 Retrieved 23 December 2011 a b Kramer Gudrun 2008 A History of Palestine From the Ottoman Conquest to the Founding of the State of Israel Princeton University Press p 376 ISBN 978 0 691 11897 0 M Sharon 2010 Al Khalil Encyclopedia of Islam Second Edition Koninklijke Brill NV International Dictionary of Historic Places Middle East and Africa by Trudy Ring Robert M Salkin Sharon La Boda pp 336 339 Dan Bahat 1976 Twenty centuries of Jewish life in the Holy Land the forgotten generations Israel Economist p 48 Retrieved 23 December 2011 Fannie Fern Andrews 1976 The Holy Land under mandate Hyperion Press p 145 ISBN 978 0 88355 304 6 Retrieved 25 December 2011 Joel Rappel History of Eretz Israel from Prehistory up to 1882 1980 vol 2 p 531 In 1662 Sabbathai Sevi arrived to Jerusalem It was the time when the Jewish settlements of Galilee were destroyed by the Druze Tiberias was completely desolate and only a few of former Safed residents had returned Palestine Ottoman rule www britannica com Encyclopedia Britannica Retrieved 27 November 2018 Macalister and Masterman 1906 p 40 The Covenant of the League of Nations Article 22 Retrieved 18 October 2012 Mandate for Palestine Encyclopaedia Judaica Vol 11 p 862 Keter Publishing House Jerusalem 1972 Rosenzweig 1997 p 1 Zionism the urge of the Jewish people to return to Palestine is almost as ancient as the Jewish diaspora itself Some Talmudic statements Almost a millennium later the poet and philosopher Yehuda Halevi In the 19th century a b Geoffrey Wigoder G G ed Return to Zion The New Encyclopedia of Judaism Retrieved 8 March 2010 via Answers com An invention called the Jewish people Haaretz Archived from the original on 18 April 2010 Retrieved 9 March 2010 Gilbert 2005 p 2 Jews sought a new homeland here after their expulsions from Spain 1492 Eisen Yosef 2004 Miraculous journey a complete history of the Jewish people from creation to the present Targum Press p 700 ISBN 978 1 56871 323 6 Morgenstern Arie 2006 Hastening redemption Messianism and the resettlement of the land of Israel Oxford University Press p 304 ISBN 978 0 19 530578 4 Barnai Jacob 1992 The Jews in Palestine in the Eighteenth Century Under the Patronage of the Istanbul committee of Officials for Palestine University Alabama Press p 320 ISBN 978 0 8173 0572 7 a b c d Immigration to Israel Jewish Virtual Library Retrieved 29 March 2012 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 Aliyah During World War II and its Aftermath Kornberg 1993 How did Theodor Herzl an assimilated German nationalist in the 1880s suddenly in the 1890s become the founder of Zionism Herzl 1946 p 11 Chapter One The Jewish Agency for Israel1 21 July 2005 Retrieved 21 September 2015 Stein 2003 p 88 As with the First Aliyah most Second Aliyah migrants were non Zionist orthodox Jews Romano 2003 p 30 Macintyre Donald 26 May 2005 The birth of modern Israel A scrap of paper that changed history The Independent Retrieved 20 March 2012 Yapp M E 1987 The Making of the Modern Near East 1792 1923 Harlow England Longman p 290 ISBN 978 0 582 49380 3 Schechtman Joseph B 2007 Jewish Legion Encyclopaedia Judaica 11 Detroit Macmillan Reference p 304 Retrieved 6 August 2014 Scharfstein 1996 p 269 During the First and Second Aliyot there were many Arab attacks against Jewish settlements In 1920 Hashomer was disbanded and Haganah The Defense was established League of Nations The Mandate for Palestine July 24 1922 Modern History Sourcebook 24 July 1922 Retrieved 27 August 2007 Shaw J V W 1991 1946 Chapter VI Population A Survey of Palestine Reprint ed Washington DC Institute for Palestine Studies p 148 ISBN 978 0 88728 213 3 OCLC 22345421 Lay summary Volume I Prepared in December 1945 and January 1946 for the information of the Anglo American Committee of Inquiry CS1 maint postscript link Report to the League of Nations on Palestine and Transjordan 1937 British Government 1937 Archived from the original on 23 September 2013 Retrieved 14 July 2013 span, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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