Country profile for Israel

a map of Israel

Israel, a nation on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, is the only country in the world where the majority of the population is Jewish.

Since its founding in 1948, it has been at odds with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors over ownership of land regarded as sacred by many Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

The Zionist movement, which sought to establish a homeland for the previously dispersed Jews of the world, reached its zenith with the division of the former British Mandate of Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel in the years following the conclusion of World War Two.

In a political climate characterized by unstable coalition governments, security worries regarding the Palestinian conflict are a recurring issue. Israel experiences hostility from a large portion of the Arab world, and the US offers vital diplomatic and military support. There are still some disputed borders.

  • with capital letters. Despite limited international recognition, Jerusalem has been declared.
  • Area:. (Pre-1967 borders) 20,770 sq km.
  • Population:. 926 000.
  • Languages:. Arabic as well as Hebrew.
  • the length of life. (Men) 84 years old; (Women) 80 years old.

Its leader is Isaac Herzog.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog

Although the office of the presidency is largely ceremonial and is theoretically above party politics, some presidents have intervened in public discussions by leveraging both their personal standing and the power of their position.

In 2021, the position of Isaac Herzog was chosen by the legislature. In 2013–2017, he served as the leader of the center-left Labour Party. He is the son of a former president. In addition, between 2005 and 2011, he held a number of government positions.

Netanyahu is the current prime minister.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Since December 2022, Benjamin Netanyahu, the chairman of the right-wing Likud party, has served as prime minister of Israel, heading what is thought to be the most right-wing administration in the country's history. The longest-serving prime minister in Israel's history, he served as leader from 1996 to 1999 and once more from 2009 to 2021.

Mr. Netanyahu's unparalleled success is in large part due to the reputation he has built as the person best able to protect Israel from hostile forces in the Middle East.

With regard to the Palestinians, he has adopted a tough stance, prioritizing security considerations over any discussions of peace, and has long warned that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel.

Though he vehemently denies the accusations, a criminal trial for alleged bribery, fraud, and breach of trust hangs over his political successes.

Israeli newspapers' front pages report on Israel establishing diplomatic relations with Morocco, December 2020

Israel's press and broadcasters are numerous and diverse, reflecting variations in linguistic, political, and religious perspectives.

Commercial networks dominate the ratings in TV, which is the dominant medium. In 2017, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (IPBC) took over the operations of the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), which had been in operation for more than 50 years.

Palmach armoured unit fighting with the Israel Defence Forces during the 1948 War of Independence
There were several tense armistices that ended Israel's 1948 war for independence.

After the Nazi Holocaust, there was increasing pressure for the establishment of a Jewish state, and in 1948, Israel proclaimed its independence after the UN decided to divide Palestine.

Since then, the region's history has been largely characterized by conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors on the one hand, and the Palestinians on the other.

The fighting in 1948, when Israel's Arab neighbors aided the Arab Higher Committee in Palestine, resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Arabs from Palestine. In the fighting, which resulted in a number of uneasy armistices, Israel lost 1% of its population.

Jewish ceremony in Jerusalem
A Jewish man participates in a ritual in Jerusalem.

In the past 70 years, Israel has transformed from an agrarian state run on collectivist principles to a high-tech economy. Along the way, it has absorbed Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union as well as from Europe, the rest of the Middle East, North America, and the rest of the Middle East.

However, its political life has been dominated by the conflict with its Arab neighbors, which has included major regional wars in 1948, 1967, and 1973 as well as numerous smaller-scale conflicts, such as the 1956 invasion of Egypt and the Lebanon Wars of 1982 and 2006.   .

Map of region after 1982 Israel-Egypt peace treaty

Foreign and security policy have heavily relied on the relationship with the Palestinians. Israel has occupied the West Bank and the eastern part of Jerusalem since 1967, housing Palestinians there.

Israel disputes that the settlements it has established in the West Bank, which are home to 500,000 people, are unlawful under international law.

Israel ended its nearly forty-year military presence in Gaza in 2005 when it evacuated its settlers and retreated its troops. Due to Israel's continued control over Gaza's airspace and coastal approaches, the international community still views Gaza as an occupied territory.

Israel and Egypt tightened their economic embargo on the Gaza Strip following the Hamas military takeover of Gaza in June 2007. In an effort to stop cross-border rocket attacks, it has participated in numerous offensives against militants in Gaza.

Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979, but the Palestinians weren't included in the peace process until the early 1990s, years after the intifada, a protracted uprising that lasted for years. A final agreement has not yet been reached despite the transfer of Gaza and some West Bank territory to Palestinian administration.

The main obstacles are the status of Jerusalem, what will happen to Palestinian refugees and their offspring, Jewish settlements, and Palestinian armed group attacks.

Hilltop fortress of Masada
Israel is home to numerous historical sites, including the ancient hilltop fortress of Masada.

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