Largest City Jerusalem
Land Area 8,019 mi2
* Statistics by Wolfram|Alpha. "Christianity" is used in the statistical sense and includes Catholics, Protestants, and true Christians.
Listing in Israel
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Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a parliamentary republic in Western Asia, located 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 the world's only Jewish-majority state, and is defined as "a Jewish and democratic state" by Israeli constitutional law.
The modern State of Israel was declared in 1948, and traces its historical and religious roots to the Biblical Land of Israel, also known as Zion, a concept central to Judaism since ancient times. Political Zionism took shape in the late-19th century Europe under Theodor Herzl, and the Balfour Declaration of 1917 formalized British policy preferring the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people. Following World War I, the League of Nations granted Great Britain the Mandate for Palestine, which included responsibility for securing "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people". In November 1947, the United Nations voted in favor of the partition of Palestine, proposing the creation of a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a UN-administered Jerusalem. Partition was accepted by the Zionist leadership but rejected by Arab leaders, and a civil war began. Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948 and neighboring Arab states invaded the next day. 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. The border between Israel and the neighboring West Bank is not formally defined by the Israeli government, as a result of a complex and unresolved political situation. Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but efforts by elements within both parties to diplomatically solve the problem have so far only met with limited success.
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Israel controlled areas within the Green Line as defined in the 1949 Armistice Agreements. Israel later annexed East Jerusalem, and applied Israeli law, jurisdiction and administration to the Golan Heights in 1981. The annexation of East Jerusalem has not been recognized by the international community, which also regards the Golan Heights as remaining under occupation. Most East Jerusalem Arabs have declined Israeli citizenship, as has much of the Druze population of the northern Golan. Israel has also effectively annexed the largely suburban Israeli-populated Seam Zone which is today largely separated from the West Bank by the separation barrier. Citizens of the State of Israel also live in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The population, defined by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics to include all citizens and permanent residents within Israel and in Israeli settlements was estimated in May 2010 to be 7,602,400 people, of whom 5,776,500 are Jewish. Arab citizens of Israel form the country's second-largest ethnic group, which includes Muslims, Christians, Druze, and Samaritans. According to the May 2010 population estimate, including 300,000 non-citizen Arabs living in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, this minority numbers 1,551,400.
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 legislative body. The economy, based on the nominal gross domestic product, was the 41st-largest in the world in 2008. Israel ranks highest among Middle Eastern countries on the UN Human Development Index, and it has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Jerusalem is the country's capital, although it is not recognized internationally as such. In 2010, Israel joined the OECD.
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