81 Facts About Israel


Israel, officially the State of Israel (, ;, ), is a country in Western Asia.

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Israel has effectively annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, though these actions have been rejected as illegal by the international community, and established settlements within the occupied territories, which are considered illegal under international law.

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Israel is a developed country and an OECD member, with a population of over 9 million people as of 2021.

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People named Israel appear for the first time in the Merneptah Stele, an ancient Egyptian inscription which dates to about 1200 BCE.

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The Kingdom of Israel was the more prosperous of the two kingdoms and soon developed into a regional power; during the days of the Omride dynasty, it controlled Samaria, Galilee, the upper Jordan Valley, the Sharon and large parts of the Transjordan.

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Nachmanides, the 13th-century Spanish rabbi and recognized leader of Jewry, greatly praised the Land of Israel and viewed its settlement as a positive commandment incumbent on all Jews.

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Israel wrote "If the gentiles wish to make peace, we shall make peace and leave them on clear terms; but as for the land, we shall not leave it in their hands, nor in the hands of any nation, not in any generation.

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Since the existence of the earliest Jewish diaspora, many Jews have aspired to return to "Zion" and the "Land of Israel", though the amount of effort that should be spent towards such an aim was a matter of dispute.

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Israel was admitted as a member of the UN by majority vote on 11 May 1949.

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The need to solve the crisis led Ben-Gurion to sign a reparations agreement with West Germany that triggered mass protests by Jews angered at the idea that Israel could accept monetary compensation for the Holocaust.

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In May 1967, Egypt massed its army near the border with Israel, expelled UN peacekeepers, stationed in the Sinai Peninsula since 1957, and blocked Israel's access to the Red Sea.

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Later that year, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat made a trip to Israel and spoke before the Knesset in what was the first recognition of Israel by an Arab head of state.

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In return, Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula and agreed to enter negotiations over an autonomy for Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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Israel responded by launching an invasion of southern Lebanon to destroy the PLO bases south of the Litani River.

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Israel carried out numerous retaliatory attacks by air and on the ground.

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The Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, passed in 1980, was believed by some to reaffirm Israel's 1967 annexation of Jerusalem by government decree, and reignited international controversy over the status of the city.

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In 1981 Israel effectively annexed the Golan Heights, although annexation was not recognized internationally.

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In 1985, Israel responded to a Palestinian terrorist attack in Cyprus by bombing the PLO headquarters in Tunisia.

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Under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu at the end of the 1990s, Israel withdrew from Hebron, and signed the Wye River Memorandum, giving greater control to the Palestinian National Authority.

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Israel started another operation in Gaza following an escalation of rocket attacks by Hamas in July 2014.

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Israel has signed free trade agreements with the European Union, the United States, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Jordan, and Egypt, and in 2007, it became the first non-Latin-American country to sign a free trade agreement with the Mercosur trade bloc.

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Israel is located in the Levant area of the Fertile Crescent region.

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However Israel is so narrow that the exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean is double the land area of the country.

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Israel contains four terrestrial ecoregions: Eastern Mediterranean conifer-sclerophyllous-broadleaf forests, Southern Anatolian montane conifer and deciduous forests, Arabian Desert, and Mesopotamian shrub desert.

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Israel was established as a homeland for the Jewish people and is often referred to as a Jewish state.

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Israel has four major metropolitan areas: Gush Dan, Jerusalem metropolitan area (population 1, 253, 900), Haifa metropolitan area (population 924, 400), and Beersheba metropolitan area (population 377, 100).

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Israel has a school life expectancy of 16 years and a literacy rate of 97.

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Israel has a tradition of higher education where its quality university education has been largely responsible in spurring the nation's modern economic development.

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Israel has nine public universities that are subsidized by the state and 49 private colleges.

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Israel is governed by a 120-member parliament, known as the Knesset.

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President of Israel is head of state, with limited and largely ceremonial duties.

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Israel has no official religion, but the definition of the state as "Jewish and democratic" creates a strong connection with Judaism, as well as a conflict between state law and religious law.

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Administration of Israel's courts is carried by the Administration of Courts, situated in Jerusalem.

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In 1967, as a result of the Six-Day War, Israel captured and occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights.

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Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula, but returned it to Egypt as part of the 1979 Egypt–Israel peace treaty.

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Between 1982 and 2000, Israel occupied part of southern Lebanon, in what was known as the Security Belt.

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Israel has applied civilian law to both areas and granted their inhabitants permanent residency status and the ability to apply for citizenship.

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Amnesty's report was criticized by politicians and government representatives from Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Germany, while it was welcomed by Palestinians, representatives from other states, and organizations such as the Arab League.

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Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties in 1979 and 1994, respectively, but Israel remains formally in a state of war with Syria, a status that dates back uninterrupted to 1948.

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In late 2020, Israel normalized relations with four more Arab countries: the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in September, Sudan in October, and Morocco in December.

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Israel is included in the European Union's European Neighbourhood Policy, which aims at bringing the EU and its neighbours closer.

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Israel provides expertise to Ethiopia on irrigation projects and thousands of Ethiopian Jews live in Israel.

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Israel has a history of providing emergency aid and humanitarian response teams to disasters across the world.

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Between 1985 and 2015, Israel sent 24 delegations of IDF search and rescue unit, the Home Front Command, to 22 countries.

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Since the Yom Kippur War, Israel has developed a network of reconnaissance satellites.

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Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons and per a 1993 report, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.

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Israel has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity toward its nuclear capabilities.

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Since the Gulf War in 1991, when Israel was attacked by Iraqi Scud missiles, all homes in Israel are required to have a reinforced security room, Merkhav Mugan, impermeable to chemical and biological substances.

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In 2016, Israel ranked 6th in the world by defense spending as a percentage of GDP, with 5.

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Israel is consistently rated low in the Global Peace Index, ranking 141st out of 163 nations for peacefulness in 2021.

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Israel is considered the most advanced country in Western Asia and the Middle East in economic and industrial development.

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Israel was ranked 5th in the world by share of people in high-skilled employment.

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Since the 1970s, Israel has received military aid from the United States, as well as economic assistance in the form of loan guarantees, which now account for roughly half of Israel's external debt.

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Israel has the second-largest number of startup companies in the world after the United States, and the third-largest number of NASDAQ-listed companies after the U S and China.

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Days of working time in Israel are Sunday through Thursday, or Friday (for a six-day workweek).

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Israel is first in the world in expenditure on research and development as a percentage of GDP.

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Israel has 140 scientists, technicians, and engineers per 10, 000 employees, the highest number in the world, for comparison the U S has 85 per 100, 000.

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Israel has produced six Nobel Prize-winning scientists since 2004 and has been frequently ranked as one of the countries with the highest ratios of scientific papers per capita in the world.

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Israel has led the world in stem-cell research papers per capita since 2000.

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In 2012, Israel was ranked ninth in the world by the Futron's Space Competitiveness Index.

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Some of Israel's satellites are ranked among the world's most advanced space systems.

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Israel is at the technological forefront of desalination and water recycling.

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Israel has embraced solar energy; its engineers are on the cutting edge of solar energy technology and its solar companies work on projects around the world.

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Israel had a modern electric car infrastructure involving a countrywide network of charging stations to facilitate the charging and exchange of car batteries.

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Israel has 5, 715 buses on scheduled routes, operated by several carriers, the largest and oldest of which is Egged, serving most of the country.

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Israel is served by two international airports, Ben Gurion Airport, the country's main hub for international air travel near Tel Aviv, and Ramon Airport, which serves the southernmost port city of Eilat.

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Israel began producing natural gas from its own offshore gas fields in 2004.

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In 2013, Israel began commercial production of natural gas from the Tamar field.

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Israel had 199 billion cubic meters of proven reserves of natural gas as of the start of 2016.

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Housing prices in Israel are listed in the top third, with an average of 150 salaries required to buy an apartment.

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Israel is the only country in the world where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar.

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Israel has been the home of Emile Habibi, whose novel The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist, and other writings, won him the Israel prize for Arabic literature.

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Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest nearly every year since 1973, winning the competition four times and hosting it twice.

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Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world.

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Together with non-kosher fish, rabbits and ostriches, pork—often called "white meat" in Israel—is produced and consumed, though it is forbidden by both Judaism and Islam.

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Israel hosted and won the 1964 AFC Asian Cup; in 1970 the Israel national football team qualified for the FIFA World Cup, the only time it participated in the World Cup.

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The 1974 Asian Games, held in Tehran, were the last Asian Games in which Israel participated, plagued by the Arab countries that refused to compete with Israel.

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Israel was excluded from the 1978 Asian Games and since then has not competed in Asian sport events.

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Israel has won nine Olympic medals since its first win in 1992, including a gold medal in windsurfing at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

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Israel has won over 100 gold medals in the Paralympic Games and is ranked 20th in the all-time medal count.

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Israel lost the World Chess Championship 2012 to reigning world champion Anand after a speed-chess tie breaker.

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