Learn more about Israel
| מדינת ישראל|
State of Israel
|Anthem: Hatikvah ("The Hope")|
|Capital|| Jerusalem<ref name="capital">Jerusalem is Israel's official capital. The presidential residence, government offices and parliament (Knesset) are all located there.
In 1980, as part of the Basic Law: Jerusalem — Capital of Israel the Knesset asserted that "Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel". The United Nations does not recognize this designation. Most nations maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv (see CIA Factbook) arguing that Jerusalem is still legally an international corpus separatum whose final status is pending future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which claims East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. The two remaining countries with embassies in Jerusalem have announced that they will move them to Tel Aviv too. See Positions on Jerusalem for more information.</ref>
|Official languages||Hebrew, Arabic|
|- President||Moshe Katsav|
|- Prime Minister||Ehud Olmert|
|Independence||from the United Kingdom|
|- Declaration||14 May 1948 (05 Iyar 5708)|
|- Total|| 22,1451 km² (151th)|
8,5501 sq mi
|- Water (%)||~2|
|- May 2006 estimate||7,047,0012 (99th)|
|- 1995 census||5,548,523|
|- Density|| 324/km² (34th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2005 estimate|
|- Total||$163.45 billion (53rd)|
|- Per capita||$23,416 (28th)|
|HDI (2006)||0.927 (high) (23rd)|
|Currency|| New Israeli sheqel (₪) (|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+2)|
|- Summer (DST)||(UTC+3)|
| 1 Includes the Golan Heights (UN figure).|
2 Includes Israeli population living in the West Bank.
The State of Israel (Hebrew: , Medinat Yisra'el; Arabic: دَوْلَةْ إِسْرَائِيل, Dawlat Isrā'īl) is a country in the Western Asian Levant, on the southeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon on the north, Syria and Jordan on the east, and Egypt on the south-west. It has a population of over seven million people.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Israel declared independence in 1948 and is the world's only Jewish state, although Israeli citizens include many other ethnic and religious backgrounds. Israel is the most industrially developed country in the Middle East and the region's only liberal democracy.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
The name "Israel" is rooted in the Hebrew Bible, Genesis 32:28, where Jacob is renamed Israel after successfully wrestling with an angel of God.<ref name="israelname">This adversary was "a man", and later "God" according to Genesis 32:24–30; or "the angel", according to Hosea 12:4</ref> The biblical nation fathered by Jacob was then called "The Children of Israel" or the "Israelites."
The modern country was named State of Israel, and its citizens are referred to as Israelis in English. Other rejected name proposals included Eretz Israel, Zion, Judea and New Judea.<ref name=PalestinePost>The Palestine Post December 7, 1947, page 1. "Popular Opinion" column.</ref> The use of the term Israeli to refer to a citizen of Israel was decided by the Government of Israel in the weeks immediately after independence and announced by Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok.<ref>"On the Move", TIME Magazine, May 31, 1948.</ref>
- Main article: History of Israel
- See also: History of ancient Israel and Judah, Jewish history, and History of the Jews in the Land of Israel
The first historical record of the word "Israel" comes from an Egyptian stele documenting military campaigns in Canaan. Although this stele which referred to a people (the determinative for 'country' was absent) is dated to approximately 1211 BCE,<ref name="stones">Template:Cite web</ref> Jewish tradition holds that the Land of Israel has been a Jewish Holy Land and Promised land for three thousand years. The land of Israel holds a special place in Jewish religious obligations, encompassing Judaism's most important sites (such as the remains of the First and Second Temples of the Jewish King, Solomon). Connected with these two versions of the temple are religiously significant rites which stand as the origin for many aspects of modern Judaism.<ref name="land">Template:Cite web</ref> Starting around the eleventh century BCE, the first of a series of Jewish kingdoms and states established intermittent rule over the region that lasted more than a millennium.
Under Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and (briefly) Sassanian rule, Jewish presence in the region dwindled because of mass expulsions. In particular, the failure of the Bar Kokhba's revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 CE resulted in a large-scale expulsion of Jews. It was during this time that the Romans gave the name Syria Palaestina to the geographic area, in an attempt to erase Jewish ties to the land.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Nevertheless, the Jewish presence in Palestine remained constant. The main Jewish population shifted from the Judea region to the Galilee. The Mishnah and Jerusalem Talmud, two of Judaism's most important religious texts, were composed in the region during this period. The Muslims conquered the land from the Byzantine Empire in 638 CE. The Hebrew niqqud was invented in Tiberias during this time. The area was ruled by the Omayyads, then by the Abbasids, Crusaders, the Kharezmians and Mongols, before becoming part of the empire of the Mamluks (1260-1516) and the Ottoman Empire in 1517.
Zionism and Immigration
|Image:Coat of arms of Israel.png State of Israel Image:Flag of Israel.svg|
|Arab-Israeli conflict · Proposals|
|Demographics · Culture|
|Laws · Politics|