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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Mister Slinkman
Susan Knopf
Daniel Chejfec
Susan Ottwell
Reinhard Stroh
lonnie bean


  • Mister Slinkman says:

    Mister Slinkman said…

    What is written here are not facts…
    Facts are unbiased, here this site mentioned “hostile Islamic Nations.”
    Israel is only “technologically advanced” and has a high GDP due to one thing, MONEY, not “Jewish tradition” which is total nonsense. Most of the Israelis living in the settlements are simply shallow, many of the population are in the army. The money comes from extremely high taxes (more than 100% for anything with a motor, e.g. for cars, it is 117% for those things), Israel also charges books, newborn and infant equipment with large taxes (which is totally against the concept of a “civilized” nation), it also does not have welfare, no free health insurance, which is very common in economically able countries. I realized this articles mixes up between wealth and advancement. Many of this article’s claimed Israeli population is living in the United States and other Countries with Israeli Passports.

    • Reinhard Stroh says:

      Reinhard Stroh said…

      As to “hostile Islamic Nations”: Would you accept, that the term “hostile” is applicable, if a country officially declares that another country should be extinguished or at least has no right to exist? If so, I cannot see any problem in the term “hostile Islamic Nations”. I am certainly sad about it, but it comes close to the truth.

    • Leonidas says:

      Leonidas said…

      Your comment is ignorant in the extreme.
      Israel has the highest number of foreign listed companies on the NASDAQ – after China. It’s technology is grounbreaking in several areas, from pharmaceuticals to water treatment to computer networking.
      When you write that Israel’s GDP comes from taxes – it is clear that you don’t understand the first thing about economics, nor do you understand what GDP means and how it is measured.
      As I said, your comment betrays amazing ignorance.

    • Susan Knopf says:

      Susan Knopf said…

      whoops don’t know where you got your facts. But I know people who have immigrated to Israel and their real on the ground facts differ from yours. They have health care. Yes taxes are high, but like many European countries many things are provided that are not provided in the USA, like education. It’s much less expensive in Israel. So much so I know Americans who chose to matriculate there to save money!! And if it is so expensive to have babies in Israel why do so many Arabs want to go to Israeli hospitals to have their babies, and complain when checkpoint traffic impedes their jouneys? There is no free lunch in a capitalist economy.

  • Daniel Chejfec says:

    I actually do find it unbiased. While it is true that Israel is wealthier than the surrounding Arab countries, one of the reasons for this wealth is in fact “Jewish Tradition”. The connection between cultural background, social structure and the creation of wealth is a known sociological fact. In the case of Israel, it has been described by Dan Senhor’s book “The Start Up Nation”; I highly recommend it to you. As for the rampage against taxes, one of the reasons Israel has high taxes is the needs for defense, in spite of which Israel DOES HAVE a free Health Care system. Google “Kupat Cholim”. Even if you are in Israel as a tourist, you will never be denied free access to medicine. Actually Israel treats patients from Arab countries, the West Bank and Gaza for free, and even Hadassah Hospital – arguably the most advanced Hospital in the Middle East – offers free care for people who cannot afford it. Israel also has rule of law and a functioning democracy. That is what makes Israel an Advanced Society…

  • Susan Ottwell says:

    Susan Ottwell said…

    Israel most certainly has welfare; it’s referred to as “National Insurance”. Every person is required to pay approximately $50 a month; this covers health and welfare benefits. Employers usually pay this. There is an extra $15 or so a month if one wants the “gold star” extended medical plan. A large and growing number of religious “students” and their large families receive welfare and heavily subsidized housing, and another large population of Bedouin and other Arabs receive welfare and housing subsidies for their multiple wives and numerous children. For example, one Arab suicide bomber’s two wives and all their children went on welfare. Actually, I find living here isn’t all that different from living in Hialeah, just outside of Miami, except it’s Hebrew instead of Spanish and the weather is better.

  • Raymond says:

    Raymond said…

    Reinhard, would you consider that if you had ethnically cleansed a peoples of their lands in 1948 blaming defense against “Arab hordes” as the reason for the war, and the fact that the indigenous population there did not “voluntarily leave” to make room for Arab army invaders to have anything to do with it? The calling of “hostile Islamic Nations” is inflammatory just as it is meant to be, leaving out the terrorism of the Israelis in the occupied territories, to paint a derogatory view of non Israelis? And should any nation who ethnic cleansed an entire peoples be allowed to exist in that manner of domination as a nation who displaced 800,000 people from Palestinian lands in six months of 1948, should they be allowed to live as a normal peace loving nation that developed without decimating the previous indigenous people there? The phrase “having a right to exist,” can’t that mean in the manner that produced them, as in for them to exist they had to be involved in forcibly removing, raping and intimidating, setting homes on fire, laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centers, planting mines so no one will return and if they do will blow up due to the planting of mines in the rubble left behind in all the destruction, leaving 531 villages destroyed, 11 urban areas emptied of people that used to live there. No one has a “right to exist” if their existence is based on the ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples and the taking of these peoples lands for their own. Doubtful this comment will remain on this site for long if at all, part of the revision of history by the Zionists. This site is a fantasy a factfree site biased completely and in denial of what actually happened beginning in 1948. And, no I am not anti-semitic, but I am anti inequality, and anti-injustice.

    • Daniel Chejfec says:

      Daniel Chejfec said…

      Raymond, if (as you claim) you are anti-injustice and anti-inequality, I’d like your opinion on the dispossession of 1,000,000 who used to live in such countries as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Lebanon and Yemen. Please notice, NONE of these countries is European, and the descendants of those Jews, who were there before the Arabs arrived, are today living in Israel (most of them). Many of those Jews left behind homes, lands, factories, etc, valued at about 10 Billion dollars or more. I’d also like your opinion about the facts that you don’t seem to see any injustice in denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination. I’m also curious, if what is happening started in 1948, was the Ethnic cleansing of Hebron in 1929, when the entire Jewish population was either massacred or expelled not part of the equation? How about the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem in 1948? or the Gush Etzion?

    • Sokol says:

      Sokol said…

      Richard, a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine will be by definition a non-aggression treaty, and will have at the very, very least as many guarantees of Israel’s security as the treaties w/Egypt and Jordan did. I really think this goes w/out saying.

  • Joel says:

    Joel said…

    Raymond, please stop. No offense. I am not a Jew. Palestine could have accepted 85% of the region as their own in the early 1900s. Today, approximately one in five Israeli residents are Arab and that is what is was in 1948 also. Check your facts, Raymond, please. Don’t just hate. Learn for yourself what the facts are. Many Jews and Palestinians have lived in that land together for thousands of years. Palestinians are in their predicament primarily because they let the surrounding Arab nations use them for political reasons at the Palestinians expense. You refused to allow Israel to have a recognized state you let your Arab brother nations manipulate you. That is why you have no recognized nation of your own. They (the Arab nations) did everything they could think of to keep you from organizing in a peaceful way. Yes terrible things have happened in the last century to the present day (my heart aches), but most of it could have been avoided had you accepted to live in peace with Israel rather than in war and hate. Now, because of past choices and continually attacking Israel, your choices are not as desireable as they once were. I hope your leaders will some day refuse to be manipulated by the surrounding Arab nations, stand on their own feet and reperesent the people of Palestine truthfully who really want to live in peace. Historical facts show that Palestine has not been willing to share and now has nothing. Fom the outset you chose war. Now your living with the decisions of your fathers. I hope your present day leaders will learn from history to Love Peace. You cannot blame Israel as much as you’d like to. We all try to blame some power outside ouselves, but ultimately we have to bear the burden our our own decisions, some of our fathers’ decisions, and some of our nations’ decisions. I sometimes cringe at having to bear the weight of unjust decision of my nation’s leaders. My hope is for peace.

    • Marieta says:

      Marieta said…

      You know ff, that’s beautiful. And rational. And it will never happen. After all, the Holocaust never happened. And even if it did, which it didn’t, it didn’t happen in Palestine so what’s it got to do with the Palestinians?

    • cindy says:

      Cindy said…

      Thank you Joel, because I believe Raymond is making the inflammatory statements and making controversy on this site.
      It is true that the Palestinian’s rejected all offers from Israel and choose instead inplacable hatred. We in the United States are
      fortunate that at the end of the civil war, when Lee’s troops offered to continue fighting in a guerilla warfare and continue the hate and possibly a never-ending battle; Lee told the soldiers to lay down their guns. What a wise leader. I believe the leaders of Palestine and their children have been indoctrinated to continue this war instead of joining a peaceful coalition. It is utter insanity and I don’t know how many hundreds of years they want to waste in war…I consider their suffering self-inflicted. Also, just a question: didn’t Israel gain territory when attacked? ? not sure on the next as it has been a long time since I read the history of Israei war, but I believe they were attacked and when the they defeated the agressors; they agressors wanted their land back? I didn’t think warfare worked that way…If a country is so foolish as to start war and anticipate the loss of territory and life of their enemy, how can they complain when they are the losers?

  • nerise1 says:

    Raymond, you are whinging!
    Refugees all around the globe have existed for a long time and continue to exist – it’s a tragic fact of life but they dont whinge. Ever heard a whinge from the Burmese refugees who live in camps on the Thai-Burma border?
    In my case, my family, yes Jewish, were killed by the Nazis and their local helpers in Poland; their homes and their land stolen by their neighbours. This was a scenario repeated a good million times (no exaggeration here) but we have not made demands to have the land back etc. Instead we dusted ourselves down and got on with life in many other countries around the globe and made a success of it. Yes, the loss still hurts in some ways (and I am second generation ex-Polish Jewish) but in other ways this resilience is a source of pride and strength.
    Arabs/Palestinians should do the same – it could be liberating!

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  • lonnie bean says:

    Lonnie Bean said…

    the holocaust was a terrible tradgedy . With that being said for the jews to now do it to the palistinian’s is worse than a tragedy is a crime !

    • cindy says:

      I believe it was the other way around. Sorry, but historical facts are against you. Israel from the beginning made many generous offers to share and to make peace with the Palestinians and the Palestinians were inplacable and would not agree to cooperate in any sharing of land. Crazy.

  • Samah says:

    Why should Palestinian share their land, why not in any other (lets say) European country, or even one of US states?!!!!!!!!!!!

    why it has to be Palestine. Killing don’t set economical facts and forget the basic simple human facts. Killing innocent people just because they are defending their home land (Palestinians) does not give Jews the right to exist their at all. It is all a carefully studied political scheme. and it will be revealed one day.

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