Geography and Population Basics
Israel, officially known as the State of Israel, is a republic in the Middle East that is situated along the shore of Mediterranean Sea. To its north lies Lebanon, it borders Syria in the northeast, to its east lies the West Bank and Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Egypt lies in the southwest and from the south it is bordered by the Gulf of Aqaba. Although Israel is spread over a relatively small area, around the same size as New Jersey, it encompasses diverse geographical features. Israel is a democratic state and the only one in the world with a Jewish majority.
Declaration of an independent state of Israel was made in May 1948 through a resolution by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The declaration was made by the president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine and the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization, David Ben-Gurion. Knesset serves as the primary legislative body of Israel while the government is headed by the prime minister. The financial centre of Israel is Tel Aviv while Jerusalem is considered to be the capital and is the most populous city. Haifa and Rishon Letzion are among the largest cities as well. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, the population of Israel as of 2012 is 7,890,600 people with Jewish number being 5,938,000 of the total figure. The second largest population of the country is Arab, amounting to 1,625,200 people. Of these, majority are settled-Muslims while the semi-settled population consisting of Arab Christians and Negev Bedouins. Moreover, Samaritans, Black Hebrew Israelites, Circassians and Druze form the minorities of the country. Of this, half the population resides in the coastal strip. The most under-developed and under-populated regions are Negev and Galilee. Since 1948, the time the state was established, the population has increased approximately six times. The independent territory of Israel makes up the land area of approx. 20,770 sq. km, exclusive of the territories captured in the Six-Day War in 1967. These captured territories include the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. A developed country, life expectancies in Israel is the highest in the world. It is a member of OECD and as of 2011; its economy was on 40th number in the world’s progressing economies. Israel is also the most thriving country in the Middle East.
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