Israel

Article

May 29, 2022

Israel (Hebrew: יִשְׂרָאֵל, Yisra'el; Arabic: إِسْرَائِيلُ, Isrā'īl), officially State of Israel (Hebrew: ? מדינת ישראל, transl Medīnát Isra'él; إسرائيل, Dawlát Isrā'īl, pronounced: [dawlat ʔisraːˈʔiːl]), is a parliamentary democracy located in the Middle East, along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The country borders Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank to the east, Egypt and the Gaza Strip to the southwest, and the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea to the south. Geographically, it contains several features within its relatively small territory. Israel is defined as a "Jewish and Democratic State" in its Basic Laws and is the only Jewish-majority State in the world. of the Partition Plan for Palestine to replace the British Mandate, on May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the chief executive of the World Zionist Organization and chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel, an entity independent of British control. Neighboring Arab nations invaded the newly created country the next day in support of Palestinian Arabs. Israel has since fought several wars with the surrounding Arab states, in the course of which it has occupied the territories of the West Bank, the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. Parts of these occupied areas, including East Jerusalem, have been annexed by Israel, but the border with the neighboring West Bank has yet to be permanently defined. Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have so far not resulted in peace. Israel's financial center is Tel Aviv, while Jerusalem is the country's most populous city and capital (although not recognized as such by the international community). The Israeli population, as defined by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, was estimated in 2019 at 9 million people, of which 6.7 million were Jewish. Arabs form the second largest ethnic group in the country, with 1.9 million people. The vast majority of Israeli Arabs are Muslims, in addition to a smaller but significant population of Negev Bedouins and Christian Arabs. Other minorities include various ethnic and ethno-religious denominations such as the Druzes, Circassians, Samaritans, Maronites, among others. Israel is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system, proportional representation and universal suffrage. The prime minister serves as the head of government and the Knesset as the country's unicameral legislative body. Israel has one of the highest life expectancies in the world and is considered a developed country, being a member of the OECD and the UN. Its nominal gross domestic product (GDP) was the 40th highest in the world in 2011, while the country has the highest standard of living in the Middle East. However, organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been critical of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians, while the US government and some European countries such as the UK and Germany generally support warlike Israel and financially.

Etymology

The first known historical record of the term Israel appears on the Merneptah Stele, a monument that celebrates the military victories of the pharaoh Merneptah, dating from the end of the 13th century BC. The name Israel is the only one preceded by the determinative for people, indicating its distinction from the populations of city-states present in the same inscription, which suggests an identity against