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General information
Common nameIsrael
Local nameמְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל
Medīnat Yisrā'el
دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل
Dawlat Isrā'īl
Nameמְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל
Medīnat Yisrā'el
دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل
Dawlat Isrā'īl

Hatikvah (הַתִּקְוָה)
Largest citycapital
Official languagesHebrew, Arabic
Ethnic groups75.3% Jewish
20.5% Arab
4.2% other
GovernmentParliamentary democracy
PresidentShimon Peres
Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu
Knesset SpeakerReuven Rivlin
Supreme Court PresidentDorit Beinisch
IndependenceIndependence (from British Mandate for Palestine)
Declaration14 May 1948
Total Area8,019 / 8,522 sq mi (20.7 km2) (151st)
Water %~2%
Population Est.7,797,400 (97th)
Population census7,406,900|population_census_year=2008 (2008)
Density (pop.)365.2/km2 (30th) (946.1/sq mi)
GDP PPP$235.446 billion (2011)
GDP (PPP) per capita$31,004
GDP (nominal)$245.266 billion (2011)
GDP (nominal) per capita$32,297
Other information
Gini39.2 (2008)
HDI(+) 0.872 (2010) (very high) (15th)
CurrencyShekel ( ) (ILS)
Time zoneIST (UTC+2)
- Summer (DST)IDT (UTC+3)
Drives on theright
Calling code972

     Home | Country | Israel

The State of Israel (Hebrew: , Medīnat Yisrā'el; , ), is a parliamentary republic in the Middle East, on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, Egypt and the Gaza Strip on the southwest, and contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel is defined as a Jewish and democratic state in its Basic Laws and is the world's only Jewish-majority state.

Following the 1947 United Nations decision to partition Palestine, on 14 May 1948 David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared Israel a state independent from the British Mandate for Palestine. Neighboring Arab states invaded the next day in support of the Palestinian Arabs. Since then, Israel has fought a series of wars with neighboring Arab states, and has occupied territories, including the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, beyond those delineated in the 1949 Armistice Agreements. Portions of these territories, including Jerusalem, have been annexed by Israel but the border with the neighboring West Bank is still not formally defined, as a result of the complex and unresolved political situation. Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but efforts by elements on both sides of the Israeli � Palestinian conflict to solve the problem diplomatically have so far met with little or no success.

The population of Israel, defined by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics to include all citizens or nationals, but not foreign workers, within Israel itself and in the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, was estimated in June 2011 to be 7,751,000 people, of whom 5,818,200 are Jewish. Arabs form by far the country's second-largest ethnic group, which includes Muslims and Christians. Other minorities are Druze, Circassians and Samaritans. At the end of 2005, 93% of the Arab population of East Jerusalem had permanent residency and 5% had Israeli citizenship. In the Golan Heights, Druze are entitled to citizenship but most of them have rejected it in favor of "loyalty to Syria."

Israel is a developed country and a representative democracy with a parliamentary system and universal suffrage. The Prime Minister serves as head of government and the Knesset serves as Israel's unicameral legislative body. Israel has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. The economy, based on the nominal gross domestic product, was the 42nd-largest in the world in 2010, and has a very high rating on the Human Development Index. Jerusalem is the country's capital, although it is not recognized internationally as such. In 2010, Israel joined the OECD.

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