Israel,officially State of Israel, Hebrew Medinat Yisrael, Arabic Isrl, country in the Middle East, located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bounded to the north by Lebanon, to the northeast by Syria, to the east and southeast by Jordan, to the southwest by Egypt, and to the west by the Mediterranean Sea. Jerusalem is the seat of government and the proclaimed capital, although the latter status has not received wide international recognition.
Israel is a small country with a relatively diverse topography, consisting of a lengthy coastal plain, highlands in the north and central regions, and the Negev desert in the south. Running the length of the country from north to south along its eastern border is the northern terminus of the Great Rift Valley.
The State of Israel is the only Jewish nation in the modern period, and the region that now falls within its borders has a lengthy and rich history that dates from prebiblical times. The area was a part of the Roman Empire and, later, the Byzantine Empire before falling under the control of the fledgling Islamic caliphate in the 7th century ce. Although the object of dispute during the Crusades, the region, then generally known as Palestine, remained under the sway of successive Islamic dynasties until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, when it was placed under British mandate from the League of Nations.
Even before the mandate, the desire for a Jewish homeland prompted a small number of Jews to immigrate to Palestine, a migration that grew dramatically during the second quarter of the 20th century with the increased persecution of Jews worldwide and subsequent Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany. This vast influx of Jewish immigrants into the region, however, caused tension with the native Palestinian Arabs, and violence flared between the two groups leading up to the United Nations plan to partition Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian sectors and Israels ensuing declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948.
Israel fought a series of wars against neighbouring Arab states during the next 35 years, which have resulted in ongoing disputes over territory and the status of refugees. Despite continuing tensions, however, Israel concluded peace treaties with several neighbouring Arab states during the final quarter of the 20th century.
Israel: geographical featuresEncyclopdia Britannica, Inc.Despite its small size, about 290 miles (470 km) north-to-south and 85 miles (135 km) east-to-west at its widest point, Israel has four geographic regionsthe Mediterranean coastal plain, the hill regions of northern and central Israel, the Great Rift Valley, and the Negevand a wide range of unique physical features and microclimates.
The coastal plain is a narrow strip about 115 miles (185 km) long that widens to about 25 miles (40 km) in the south. A sandy shoreline with many beaches borders the Mediterranean coast. Inland to the east, fertile farmland is giving way to growing agricultural settlements and the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa and their suburbs.
In the north of the country, the mountains of Galilee constitute the highest part of Israel, reaching an elevation of 3,963 feet (1,208 metres) at Mount Meron (Arabic: Jebel Jarmaq). These mountains terminate to the east in an escarpment overlooking the Great Rift Valley. The mountains of Galilee are separated from the hills of the Israeli-occupied West Bank to the south by the fertile Plain of Esdraelon (Hebrew: Emeq Yizreel), which, running approximately northwest to southeast, connects the coastal plain with the Great Rift Valley. The Mount Carmel range, which culminates in a peak 1,791 feet (546 metres) high, forms a spur reaching northwest from the highlands of the West Bank, cutting almost to the coast of Haifa.
Dead SeaPeter Carmichael/ASPECTThe Great Rift Valley, a long fissure in the Earths crust, begins beyond the northern frontier of Israel and forms a series of valleys running generally south, the length of the country, to the Gulf of Aqaba. The Jordan River, which marks part of the frontier between Israel and Jordan, flows southward through the rift from Dan on Israels northern frontier, where it is 500 feet (152 metres) above sea level, first into the ula Valley (Hebrew: Emeq ula), then into the freshwater Lake Tiberias, also known as the Sea of Galilee (Hebrew: Yam Kinneret), which lies 686 feet (209 metres) below sea level. The Jordan continues south along the eastern edge of the West Banknow through the Jordan Valley (Hebrew: Emeq HaYarden)and finally into the highly saline Dead Sea, which, at 1,312 feet (400 metres) below sea level, is the lowest point of a natural landscape feature on the Earths surface. South of the Dead Sea, the Jordan continues through the rift, where it now forms the Arava Valley (Hebrew: savannah), an arid plain that extends to the Red Sea port of Elat.
The sparsely populated Negev comprises the southern half of Israel. Arrow-shaped, this flat, sandy desert region narrows toward the south, where it becomes increasingly arid and breaks into sandstone hills cut by wadis, canyons, and cliffs before finally coming to a point where the Arava reaches Elat.
London Mayor Boris Johnson will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories this November, according to the UK’s new ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey.
According to the London Evening Standard, the trip is an attempt to “repair his leadership credentials” among Tories by dealing with a politically sensitive region. The trip, however, will also focus on strengthening business ties.
Israel and the UK’s ties have been warming; last year, Israel led foreign IPOs on the London Stock Exchange.
Quarrey, who announced the trip at a welcoming ceremony in Tel Aviv Wednesday evening, said that increasing ties and high-tech collaboration were not only good for both countries, but represented the best argument against those who would boycott Israel.
Asked about the recent Iran nuclear deal, Quarrey said he was pleased that British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond promptly visited Israel after the signing of the deal, to show that friends could maintain strong ties while disagreeing.
Pressed on the sunset clause of the deal, which would allow Iran to build up enriched uranium reserves after 10-15 years, Quarrey said it was his belief that the nature of the Iranian regime would change in time. The country’s relatively young and educated population, he said, were more interested in prosperity than supporting a repressive regime.
Story highlights Hamas tunnels are the battleground of the future, Israel fears Israel is testing a secret new tunnel detection system
They knew that Palestinian militants had been digging tunnels for years, but they didn’t expect anything so elaborate.
The tunnel’s walls, floors, and ceiling were made of concrete, and the tunnel was wired for electricity and communication.
It was wide enough and tall enough to move quickly; a person could run with weapons, or even ride a motorcycle.
“This tunnel is perfectly safe to be inside, which means that it is a very good building procedure,” Israel Defense Forces Capt. Daniel Elbo says. And he would know — Israeli military engineers briefed him after they checked it out.
During the 2014 Gaza war, Hamas militants launched surprise attacks from tunnels that crossed under Israel’s security fence and into Israel.
Identifying and destroying the tunnels became a major goal of the war for the IDF, which found many tunnels that were more than a mile long and 60 feet deep. By war’s end, the IDF had destroyed 32 tunnels.
Now, along the Gaza border, the Israeli military is testing a new tunnel detection system a year after the end of the Gaza war.
Israel’s intelligence officials say Hamas is building new tunnels, and finding them has become a top priority for the IDF.
“Just like a game of hide-and-seek,” says Maj. Nir Peled. “We manage to find one tunnel, so we know that Hamas are digging the next tunnel in a different way, in a different depth.”
Israel ( or ), officially the State of Israel (Hebrew: , Mednat Yisr’el, IPA:[medinat jisael]( listen); Arabic: , Dawlat Isrl, IPA:[dawlat israil]), is a country in Western Asia, situated at the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It shares land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories comprising the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, Egypt to the southwest, and the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea to the south. It contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel’s financial center is Tel Aviv, while Jerusalem is both its designated capital and the most populous individual city under the country’s governmental administration. Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem is internationally disputed.[note 2]
On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly recommended the adoption and implementation of the Partition Plan for Mandatory Palestine. This UN plan specified borders for new Arab and Jewish states and also specified an area of Jerusalem and its environs which was to be administered by the UN under an international regime. The end of the British Mandate for Palestine was set for midnight on 14 May 1948. That day, David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel,” which would start to function from the termination of the mandate. The borders of the new state were not specified in the declaration. Neighboring Arab armies invaded the former Palestinian mandate on the next day and fought the Israeli forces. Israel has since fought several wars with neighboring Arab states, in the course of which it has occupied the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula (195657, 196782), part of South Lebanon (19822000), Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. It extended its laws to the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, but not the West Bank.Efforts to resolve the IsraeliPalestinian conflict have not resulted in peace. However, peace treaties between Israel and both Egypt and Jordan have successfully been signed. Israels occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem is the world’s longest military occupation in modern times.[note 3]
The population of Israel, as defined by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, was estimated in 2014 to be 8,146,300people. It is the world’s only Jewish-majority state; 6,212,000 citizens, or 74.9% of Israelis, are designated as Jewish. The country’s second largest group of citizens are denoted as Arabs, with 1,718,400 people (including the Druze and most East Jerusalem Arabs). The great majority of Israeli Arabs are settled Muslims, with smaller but significant numbers of semi-settled Negev Bedouins; the rest are Christians and Druze. Other minorities include Maronites, Samaritans, Dom people and Roma, Black Hebrew Israelites, other Sub-Saharan Africans,Armenians, Circassians, Vietnamese boat people, and others. Israel also hosts a significant population of non-citizen foreign workers and asylum seekers from Africa and Asia.
In its Basic Laws, Israel defines itself as a Jewish and Democratic State. Israel is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system, proportional representation and universal suffrage. The Prime Minister serves as head of government and the Knesset serves as Israel’s legislative body. Israel is a developed country and an OECD member, with the 37th-largest economy in the world by nominal gross domestic product as of 2012. The country benefits from a highly skilled workforce and is among the most educated countries in the world with the one of the highest percentage of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. The country has the highest standard of living in the Middle East and the fifth highest in Asia, and has the one of the highest life expectancies in the world.
Upon independence in 1948, the country formally adopted the name “State of Israel” (Medinat Yisrael) after other proposed historical and religious names including Eretz Israel (“the Land of Israel”), Zion, and Judea, were considered and rejected. In the early weeks of independence, the government chose the term “Israeli” to denote a citizen of Israel, with the formal announcement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Sharett.
The names Land of Israel and Children of Israel have historically been used to refer to the biblical Kingdom of Israel and the entire Jewish nation respectively. The name “Israel” in these phrases refers to the patriarch Jacob (StandardYisrael, Isrl; Septuagint Greek: Isral; “struggle with God”) who, according to the Hebrew Bible, was given the name after he successfully wrestled with the angel of the Lord. Jacob’s twelve sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel or Children of Israel. Jacob and his sons had lived in Canaan but were forced by famine to go into Egypt for four generations until Moses, a great-great grandson of Jacob, led the Israelites back into Canaan during the “Exodus”. The earliest known archaeological artifact to mention the word “Israel” is the Merneptah Stele of ancient Egypt (dated to the late 13th century BCE).
The area is also known as the Holy Land, being holy for all Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bah’ Faith. From 1920 the whole region was known as Palestine (under British Mandate) until the Israeli Declaration of Independence of 1948. Through the centuries, the territory was known by a variety of other names, including Judea, Samaria, Southern Syria, Syria Palaestina, Kingdom of Jerusalem, Iudaea Province, Coele-Syria, Retjenu, and Canaan.
The notion of the “Land of Israel”, known in Hebrew as Eretz Yisrael, has been important and sacred to the Jewish people since Biblical times. According to the Torah, God promised the land to the three Patriarchs of the Jewish people. On the basis of scripture, the period of the three Patriarchs has been placed somewhere in the early 2nd millenniumBCE, and the first Kingdom of Israel was established around the 11th century BCE. Subsequent Israelite kingdoms and states ruled intermittently over the next four hundred years, and are known from various extra-biblical sources.
The first record of the name Israel (as ysrr) occurs in the Merneptah stele, erected for Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah c. 1209 BCE, “Israel is laid waste and his seed is not.” This “Israel” was a cultural and probably political entity of the central highlands, well enough established to be perceived by the Egyptians as a possible challenge to their hegemony, but an ethnic group rather than an organised state; Ancestors of the Israelites may have included Semites native to Canaan and the Sea Peoples. McNutt says, “It is probably safe to assume that sometime during Iron Age a population began to identify itself as ‘Israelite'”, differentiating itself from the Canaanites through such markers as the prohibition of intermarriage, an emphasis on family history and genealogy, and religion.
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