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Country in West Asia / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Israel, officially the State of Israel,[fn 5] is a country in West Asia. It is bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, the Red Sea to the south, Egypt to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, and the Palestinian territories  the West Bank along the east and the Gaza Strip along the southwest.[21] Tel Aviv is the financial, 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.[22][fn 6]

Quick facts: State of Israelמְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל (Hebr...
State of Israel
מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל (Hebrew)
دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل (Arabic)
Anthem: הַתִּקְוָה (Hatīkvāh; "The Hope")
Israel within internationally recognized borders shown in dark green; Israeli-occupied territories shown in light green
and largest city
(limited recognition)[fn 1][fn 2]
31°47′N 35°13′E
Official languageHebrew[8]
Recognized languageArabic[fn 3]
Ethnic groups
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
Isaac Herzog
Benjamin Netanyahu
Amir Ohana
Uzi Vogelman (acting)
14 May 1948
11 May 1949
21,937[13][14] km2 (8,470 sq mi)[lower-alpha 1] (149th)
 Water (%)
2.71 (as of 2015)[15]
 2024 estimate
9,852,320[16][fn 4] (93rd)
 2008 census
7,412,200[17][fn 4]
446/km2 (1,155.1/sq mi) (29th)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
Increase $537.140 billion[18] (47th)
 Per capita
Increase $54,771[18] (30th)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
Increase $521.688 billion[18] (29th)
 Per capita
Increase $53,195[18] (16th)
Gini (2018)34.8[fn 4][19]
HDI (2021)Increase 0.919[20]
very high · 22nd
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 occupied Golan Heights (c. 1,200 km2 (460 sq mi)) and East Jerusalem (c. 64 km2 (25 sq mi)).

Israel is located in the Southern Levant, a region known historically as Canaan, Palestine, or the Holy Land. In antiquity, it was home to several Canaanite, Israelite and Jewish kingdoms, and is referred to as the Land of Israel in Jewish tradition. The region was ruled by powers such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Achaemenids, Greeks, and Romans. During Roman rule, Jews became a minority in Palestine. The region later came under Byzantine and Arab rule. In the Middle Ages, it was part of the Islamic Caliphates, the Crusader Kingdom, and the Ottoman Empire. The late 19th century saw the rise of Zionism, a movement advocating for the establishment of a Jewish homeland. Under the British Mandate placed by the League of Nations after World War I, Jewish immigration to the region increased considerably leading to intercommunal conflict between Jews and the Arab majority.[24] The UN-approved 1947 partition plan triggered a civil war between these groups which would see the expulsion or fleeing of most Palestinians from Mandatory Palestine. The British terminated the Mandate on 14 May 1948, and Israel declared independence on the same day.

On 15 May 1948, the armies of five neighboring Arab states invaded the area of the former Mandatory Palestine, starting the First Arab–Israeli War. An armistice in 1949 left Israel in control of more territory than the U.N. partition plan had called for;[25] no new Arab state was created, as the rest of the former Mandate territory was divided between Egypt, which occupied the Gaza Strip, and Jordan, which annexed the West Bank.[26][fn 7][27] The 1967 Six-Day War ended with Israel occupying both the West Bank and Gaza alongside the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights. Israel has since effectively annexed both East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and has established settlements across the occupied territories, actions which are deemed illegal under international law. Since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt, returning the Sinai Peninsula, and with Jordan, and more recently normalized relations with several Arab countries. However, efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have not succeeded. Israel's practices, in the longest military occupation in modern history, have drawn international condemnation for violating the human rights of the Palestinians.[28]

The country has a parliamentary system elected by proportional representation. The prime minister serves as head of government, and is elected by the Knesset, Israel's unicameral legislature.[29] Israel has the highest Human Development Index of all countries in the Middle East and is one of the richest countries in the Middle East and Asia,[30][31][32][33] and an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member since 2010.[34] It has the highest standards of living in the Middle East, and has been ranked as one of the most advanced and technological countries,[35][36][37] with a population of nearly 10 million people, as of 2023.[38] It has the world's 29th-largest economy by nominal GDP and 16th by nominal GDP per capita.[18]

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