Israel (; Hebrew: יִשְׂרָאֵל Yisrāʾēl [jisʁaˈʔel]; Arabic: إِسْرَائِيل ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel (מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל Medīnat Yisrāʾēl [mediˈnat jisʁaˈʔel]; دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل Dawlat Isrāʾīl), is a country in West Asia. It is bordered by Lebanon to the north, by Syria to the northeast, by Jordan to the east, by the Red Sea to the south, by Egypt to the southwest, by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, and by the Palestinian territories – the West Bank along the east and the Gaza Strip along the southwest. Tel Aviv is the financial, economic, and technological center of the country, while its seat of government is in its proclaimed capital of Jerusalem, although Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem is unrecognized internationally.Israel is located in the Southern Levant, a region known historically as Canaan, Palestine, or the Holy Land. In antiquity, it was home to several Israelite and Jewish kingdoms, including Israel and Judah and Hasmonean Judea, and is referred to as the Land of Israel in Jewish tradition. Over the ages, the region was ruled by powers such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Achaemenids, Greeks, and Romans. During Roman rule, Jews became a minority in Palestine. The region later came under Byzantine and Arab rule. In the Middle Ages, it was part of the Islamic Caliphates, the Crusader Kingdom, and the Ottoman Empire. The late 19th century saw the rise of Zionism, a movement advocating for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, during which the Jewish people began purchasing land in Palestine. Under the British Mandate placed by the League of Nations after World War I, Jewish immigration to the region increased considerably, leading to tensions between Jews and the Arab majority population. The UN-approved 1947 partition plan triggered a civil war between these two peoples. The British terminated the Mandate on 14 May 1948, and Israel declared independence on the same day.
On 15 May 1948, the armies of five neighboring Arab states invaded the area of the former Mandatory Palestine, starting the First Arab–Israeli War. An armistice in 1949 left Israel in control of more territory than the U.N. partition plan had called for; and no new independent Arab state was created as the rest of the former Mandate territory was held by Egypt and Jordan, respectively the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The conflict resulted in the expulsion or flight of most of Palestinian, while Israel absorbed Jewish immigrants and refugees. The 1967 Six-Day War resulted in the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, along with the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights. Israel has since effectively annexed both East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and has established settlements across the occupied territories, actions which are deemed illegal under international law. Since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt, returning the Sinai Peninsula, and with Jordan, and more recently normalized relations with several Arab countries, though efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have not succeeded. Israel's practices, in the longest military occupation in modern history, have drawn international condemnation for violating the human rights of the Palestinians.The country has a parliamentary system elected by means of proportional representation. The prime minister serves as head of government, and is elected by the Knesset, Israel's unicameral legislature. Israel is the most developed and one of the richest countries in the Middle East, and an OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) member since 2010. It has the highest standards of living in the Middle East, and is one of the most advanced and technological countries, with a population of nearly 10 million people, as of 2023. It has the world's 29th-largest economy by nominal GDP and 18th by nominal GDP per capita.
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