Israel (/ˈɪzriəl, ˈɪzrəl/; 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,[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 Israel
  • מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל‎ (Hebrew)
  • دولة إسرائيل (Arabic)
Anthem: Hatikvah
(English: "The Hope")
1949 armistice border (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 constitutional republic
Isaac Herzog
Naftali Bennett
Yair Lapid
Mickey Levy
Esther Hayut
Independence from the British Empire
14 May 1948
11 May 1949
20,770–22,072 km2 (8,019–8,522 sq mi)[a] (150th)
 Water (%)
2.71 (as of 2015)[16]
 2021 estimate
9,440,540[17][fn 4] (99th)
 2008 census
7,412,200[18][fn 4]
428/km2 (1,108.5/sq mi) (35th)
GDP (PPP)2020[19] estimate
$372.314 billion[fn 4] (51st)
 Per capita
$40,336[fn 4] (34th)
GDP (nominal)2020[19] estimate
$410.501 billion[fn 4] (31st)
 Per capita
$44,474[fn 4] (19th)
Gini (2018)34.8[fn 4][22]
medium · 48th
HDI (2019) 0.919[fn 4][23]
very high · 19th
CurrencyNew shekel () (ILS)
Time zoneUTC+2 (IST)
 Summer (DST)
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)).

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.[citation needed] The successful Maccabean Revolt led to an independent Hasmonean kingdom by 110 BCE,[34] 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.[35] Judea lasted as a Roman province until the failed Jewish revolts.[36] Jewish presence in the region has persisted to a certain extent over the centuries.[citation needed] In the 7th century CE, the Levant was taken from the Byzantine Empire by the Rashidun Caliphate 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.[37] The plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency but rejected by Arab leaders.[38][39][40] 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,[41] 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.[42] 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.[43] With a population of over 9 million as of 2021,[44] Israel is a developed country and an OECD member.[45] It has the world's 31st-largest economy by nominal GDP, and is the most developed country currently in conflict.[46] 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,[47] percentage of citizens holding a tertiary education degree,[48] research and development spending by GDP percentage,[49] women's safety,[50] life expectancy,[51] innovativeness,[52] and happiness.[53]

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