Israel (/ˈɪzri.əl, -r-/; Hebrew: יִשְׂרָאֵל, Yīsrāʾēl; Arabic: إِسْرَائِيل, ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel (מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل, Dawlat ʾIsrāʾīl), 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 to the east, and Egypt to the southwest; it is also bordered by the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively. Tel Aviv is the economic and technological center of the country, while its seat of government is in its proclaimed capital of Jerusalem, although Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem is unrecognized internationally.[19][fn 5]

State of Israel
מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל (Hebrew)
دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل (Arabic)
Anthem: הַתִּקְוָה
"The Hope"
Israel within internationally recognized borders shown in dark green; Israeli-occupied territories shown in light green
Map of Israel (Green Line)
and largest city
(limited recognition)[fn 1][fn 2]
31°47′N 35°13′E
Official languagesHebrew
Recognized languagesArabic[fn 3]
Ethnic groups
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
Isaac Herzog
Yair Lapid
Naftali Bennett
Mickey Levy
Esther Hayut
Independence out of British Palestine
14 May 1948
11 May 1949
20,770–22,072 km2 (8,019–8,522 sq mi)[a] (149th)
 Water (%)
2.71 (as of 2015)[13]
 2022 estimate
9,611,900[14][fn 4] (92nd)
 2008 census
7,412,200[15][fn 4]
435/km2 (1,126.6/sq mi) (35th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
$496.84 billion[16] (50th)
 Per capita
$52,173[16] (29th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
$527.18 billion[16] (28th)
 Per capita
$55,359[16] (14th)
Gini (2018)34.8[fn 4][17]
HDI (2019) 0.919[fn 4][18]
very high · 19th
CurrencyNew shekel () (ILS)
Time zoneUTC+2:00 (IST)
 Summer (DST)
UTC+3:00 (IDT)
Date format
  • יי-חח-שששש (AM)
  • dd-mm-yyyy (CE)
Driving sideright
Calling code+972
ISO 3166 codeIL
  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)).

The land held by present-day Israel witnessed some of the earliest human occupations outside Africa and was among the earliest known sites of agriculture.[20] It was inhabited by the Canaanites during the Bronze Age.[21][20] During the Iron Age, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah emerged,[22][23] and later fell, respectively, to the Neo-Assyrian Empire (c. 720 BCE) and Neo-Babylonian Empire (586 BCE).[24][25] During that period, much of the Hebrew Bible was written. The region was then ruled by the Achaemenid, Macedonian, Ptolemaic, and Seleucid empires. A successful Maccabean revolt led to the rise of an independent Hasmonean kingdom, but it was gradually incorporated into the Roman Republic.[26][27] A series of large-scale Jewish revolts against Roman rule were unsuccessful, leading to wide-scale destruction, a high toll of life, and mass displacement. In the Middle Ages, the region was part of the Byzantine Empire, Rashidun Caliphate, Umayyad Caliphate, Abbasid Caliphate, and Fatimid Caliphate. With the First Crusade, Crusader states were established. The Ayyubids pushed back the crusaders before Muslim rule was fully restored by the Mamluk Sultanate, which ceded the territory to the Ottoman Empire at the outset of the early modern period.

During the 19th century, the Zionist movement began promoting the creation of a Jewish homeland in Ottoman Syria. Following World War I, Britain was granted control of the region by the League of Nations mandate, in what became known as Mandatory Palestine. 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.[28] Partition was accepted by the Jewish leadership, but rejected by Palestinian Arab leaders and the Arab states.[29] Following a civil war within Mandatory Palestine between Yishuv and Palestinian Arab forces, Israel declared independence at the termination of the British Mandate. A day later, several surrounding Arab countries intervened, leading to the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, which 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. Over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs, about half of the pre-war Arab population, were expelled from or fled the territory Israel would come to control. During and immediately after the war, around 260,000 Jews emigrated or fled from the Arab world to Israel.[30][fn 6]

Israel has since fought wars with several Arab countries,[31] and since the 1967 Six-Day War has occupied 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 effectively annexed 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 are also considered illegal under international law. While Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and has normalized relations with a number of other Arab countries, it remains formally at war with Syria and Lebanon, and efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have thus far stalled.

In its Basic Laws, Israel defines itself as a Jewish and democratic state, and as the nation-state of the Jewish people.[32] The country has a parliamentary system, proportional representation, and universal suffrage. The prime minister serves as head of government, while the Knesset is the unicameral legislature.[33] Israel is a developed country and an OECD member,[34] with a population of over nine million people as of 2021.[35] It has the world's 29th-largest economy by nominal GDP,[16] and ranks nineteenth in the Human Development Index.[18]

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