Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal, are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force, navy, it is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel. The IDF is headed by its Chief of General Staff, the Ramatkal, subordinate to the Defense Minister of Israel. An order from Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion on 26 May 1948 set up the Israel Defense Forces as a conscript army formed out of the paramilitary group Haganah, incorporating the militant groups Irgun and Lehi; the IDF served as Israel's armed forces in all the country's major military operations—including the 1948 War of Independence, 1951–1956 Retribution operations, 1956 Sinai War, 1964–1967 War over Water, 1967 Six-Day War, 1967–1970 War of Attrition, 1968 Battle of Karameh, 1973 Operation Spring of Youth, 1973 Yom Kippur War, 1976 Operation Entebbe, 1978 Operation Litani, 1982 Lebanon War, 1982–2000 South Lebanon conflict, 1987–1993 First Intifada, 2000–2005 Second Intifada, 2002 Operation Defensive Shield, 2006 Lebanon War, 2008–2009 Operation Cast Lead, 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, 2014 Operation Protective Edge.
According to GlobalSecurity.org, the number of wars and border conflicts in which the IDF has been involved in its short history makes it one of the most battle-trained armed forces in the world. While the IDF operated on three fronts—against Lebanon and Syria in the north and Iraq in the east, Egypt in the south—after the 1979 Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty, it has concentrated its activities in southern Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories, including the First and the Second Intifada; the Israel Defense Forces is somewhat unique in its inclusion of mandatory conscription of women and its structure, which emphasizes close relations between the army and air force. Since its founding, the IDF has been designed to match Israel's unique security situation; the IDF is one of Israeli society's most prominent institutions, influencing the country's economy and political scene. In 1965, the Israel Defense Forces was awarded the Israel Prize for its contribution to education; the IDF uses several technologies developed in Israel, many of them made to match the IDF's needs, such as the Merkava main battle tank, Achzarit armoured personnel carrier, high tech weapons systems, the Iron Dome missile defense system, Trophy active protection system for vehicles, the Galil and Tavor assault rifles.
The Uzi submachine gun was invented in Israel and used by the IDF until December 2003, ending a service that began in 1954. Since 1967, the IDF has had close military relations with the United States, including development cooperation, such as on the F-15I jet, THEL laser defense system, the Arrow missile defense system; the Israel Defense Forces are believed to have had an operational nuclear weapons capability since 1967 possessing between 80 and 400 nuclear weapons, with delivery systems forming a nuclear triad, of plane launched-missiles, Jericho III intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine launched cruise missiles. The Israeli cabinet ratified the name "Israel Defense Forces", Tzva HaHagana LeYisra'el "army for the defense of Israel," on 26 May 1948; the other main contender was Tzva Yisra'el. The name was chosen because it conveyed the idea that the army's role was defense, because it incorporated the name Haganah, the pre-state defensive organization upon which the new army was based.
Among the primary opponents of the name were Minister Haim-Moshe Shapira and the Hatzohar party, both in favor of Tzva Yisra'el. The IDF traces its roots to Jewish paramilitary organizations in the New Yishuv, starting with the Second Aliyah; the first such organization was Bar-Giora, founded in September 1907. Bar-Giora was transformed into Hashomer in April 1909, which operated until the British Mandate of Palestine came into being in 1920. Hashomer was an elitist organization with narrow scope, was created to protect against criminal gangs seeking to steal property; the Zion Mule Corps and the Jewish Legion, both part of the British Army of World War I, would further bolster the Yishuv with military experience and manpower, forming the basis for paramilitary forces. After the 1920 Palestine riots against Jews in April 1920, the Yishuv leadership realised the need for a nationwide underground defense organization, the Haganah was founded in June of the same year; the Haganah became a full-scale defense force after the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine with an organized structure, consisting of three main units—the Field Corps, Guard Corps, the Palmach.
During World War II, the Yishuv participated in the British war effort, culminating in the formation of the Jewish Brigade. These would form the backbone of the Israel Defense Forces, provide it with its initial manpower and doctrine. Following Israel's Declaration of Independence, Prime Minister and Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion issued an order for the formation of the Israel Defense Forces on 26 May 1948. Although Ben-Gurion had no legal authority to issue such an order, the order was made legal by the cabinet on 31 May; the same order called for the disbandment of all other Jewish armed forces. The two other Jewish underground organizations and Lehi, agreed to join the IDF if they would be able to form independent units and agreed not to make independent arms purchase
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the traditional Jewish name for an area of indefinite geographical extension in the Southern Levant. Related biblical and historical English terms include the Land of Canaan, the Promised Land, the Holy Land, Palestine; the definitions of the limits of this territory vary between passages in the Hebrew Bible, with specific mentions in Genesis 15, Exodus 23, Numbers 34 and Ezekiel 47. Nine times elsewhere in the Bible, the settled land is referred as "from Dan to Beersheba", three times it is referred as "from the entrance of Hamath unto the brook of Egypt”; these biblical limits for the land differ from the borders of established historical Israelite and Jewish kingdoms. Jewish religious belief defines the land as where Jewish religious law prevailed and excludes territory where it was not applied, it holds that the area is a God-given inheritance of the Jewish people based on the Torah the books of Genesis and Exodus, as well as on the Prophets. According to the Book of Genesis, the land was first promised by God to the descendants of Abram.
Abram's name was changed to Abraham, with the promise refined to pass through his son Isaac and to the Israelites, descendants of Jacob, Abraham's grandson. This belief is not shared by most adherents of replacement theology, who hold the view that the Old Testament prophecies were superseded by the coming of Jesus, a view repudiated by Christian Zionists as a theological error. Evangelical Zionists variously claim that Israel has title to the land by divine right, or by a theological and moral grounding of attachment to the land unique to Jews; the idea that ancient religious texts can be warrant or divine right for a modern claim has been challenged, Israeli courts have rejected land claims based on religious motivations. During the League of Nations mandatory period the term "Eretz Yisrael" or the "Land of Israel" was part of the official Hebrew name of Mandatory Palestine. Official Hebrew documents used the Hebrew transliteration of the word “Palestine” פלשתינה followed always by the two initial letters of "Eretz Yisrael", א״י Aleph-Yod.
The Land of Israel concept has been evoked by the founders of the State of Israel. It surfaces in political debates on the status of the West Bank, referred to in official Israeli discourse as the Judea and Samaria Area, from the names of the two historical Jewish kingdoms; the term "Land of Israel" is a direct translation of the Hebrew phrase ארץ ישראל, which occurs in the Bible, is first mentioned in the Tanakh in 1 Samuel 13:19, following the Exodus, when the Israelite tribes were in the Land of Canaan. The words are used sparsely in the Bible: King David is ordered to gather'strangers to the land of Israel' for building purposes, the same phrasing is used in reference to King Solomon's census of all of the'strangers in the Land of Israel'. Ezekiel, though preferring the phrase'soil of Israel', employs eretz israel twice at Ezekiel 40:2 and Ezekiel 47:18. According to Martin Noth, the term is not an "authentic and original name for this land", but instead serves as "a somewhat flexible description of the area which the Israelite tribes had their settlements".
According to Anita Shapira, the term "Eretz Yisrael" was a holy term, vague as far as the exact boundaries of the territories are concerned but defining ownership. The sanctity of the land developed rich associations in rabbinical thought, where it assumes a symbolic and mythological status infused with promise, though always connected to a geographical location. Nur Masalha argues that the biblical boundaries are "entirely fictitious", bore religious connotations in Diaspora Judaism, with the term only coming into ascendency with the rise of Zionism; the Hebrew Bible provides three specific sets of borders for the "Promised Land", each with a different purpose. Neither of the terms "Promised Land" or "Land of Israel" are used in these passages: Genesis 15:13–21, Genesis 17:8 and Ezekiel 47:13–20 use the term "the land", as does Deuteronomy 1:8 in which it is promised explicitly to "Abraham and Jacob... and to their descendants after them," whilst Numbers 34:1–15 describes the "Land of Canaan", allocated to nine and half of the twelve Israelite tribes after the Exodus.
The expression "Land of Israel" is first used in a book, 1 Samuel 13:19. It is defined in detail in the exilic Book of Ezekiel as a land where both the twelve tribes and the "strangers in midst", can claim inheritance; the name "Israel" first appears in the Hebrew Bible as the name given by God to the patriarch Jacob. Deriving from the name "Israel", other designations that came to be associated with the Jewish people have included the "Children of Israel" or "Israelite"; the term'Land of Israel' occurs in one episode in the New Testament, according to Shlomo Sand, it bears the unusual sense of'the area surrounding Jerusalem'. The section in which it appears was written as a parallel to the e
Tel Aviv is the second most populous city in Israel—after Jerusalem—and the most populous city in the conurbation of Gush Dan, Israel's largest metropolitan area. Located on the country's Mediterranean coastline and with a population of 443,939, it is the economic and technological center of the country. Tel Aviv is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, headed by Mayor Ron Huldai, is home to many foreign embassies, it is ranked 25th in the Global Financial Centres Index. Tel Aviv has the third- or fourth-largest economy and the largest economy per capita in the Middle East; the city has the 31st highest cost of living in the world. Tel Aviv receives over 2.5 million international visitors annually. A "party capital" in the Middle East, it has 24-hour culture. Tel Aviv is home to Tel Aviv University, the largest university in the country with more than 30,000 students; the city was founded in 1909 by the Yishuv as a modern housing estate on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa part of the Jerusalem province of Ottoman Syria.
It was at first called'Ahuzat Bayit', a name changed the following year to'Tel Aviv'. Its name means "Ancient Hill of Spring". Other Jewish suburbs of Jaffa established outside Jaffa's Old City before Tel Aviv became part of Tel Aviv, the oldest among them being Neve Tzedek. Immigration by Jewish refugees meant that the growth of Tel Aviv soon outpaced that of Jaffa, which had a majority Arab population at the time. Tel Aviv and Jaffa were merged into a single municipality in 1950, two years after the Israeli Declaration of Independence, proclaimed in the city. Tel Aviv's White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world's largest concentration of International Style buildings, including Bauhaus and other related modernist architectural styles. Tel Aviv is the Hebrew title of Theodor Herzl's Altneuland, translated from German by Nahum Sokolow. Sokolow had adopted the name of a Mesopotamian site near the city of Babylon mentioned in Ezekiel: "Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Aviv, that lived by the river Chebar, to where they lived.
The name was chosen in 1910 from several suggestions, including "Herzliya". It was found fitting. Aviv is Hebrew for "spring", symbolizing renewal, tel is a man-made mound accumulating layers of civilization built one over the other and symbolizing the ancient. Although founded in 1909 as a small settlement on the sand dunes north of Jaffa, Tel Aviv was envisaged as a future city from the start, its founders hoped that in contrast to what they perceived as the squalid and unsanitary conditions of neighbouring Arab towns, Tel Aviv was to be a clean and modern city, inspired by the European cities of Warsaw and Odessa. The marketing pamphlets advocating for its establishment in 1906, wrote: In this city we will build the streets so they have roads and sidewalks and electric lights; every house will have water from wells that will flow through pipes as in every modern European city, sewerage pipes will be installed for the health of the city and its residents. Jaffa, now a part of Tel Aviv, was an important port city in the region for millennia.
Archaeological evidence shows signs of human settlement there starting in 7,500 BC. Its natural harbour has been used since the Bronze Age. By the time Tel Aviv was founded as a separate city during Ottoman rule of the region, Jaffa had been ruled by the Canaanites, Philistines, Assyrians, Persians, Ptolemies, Hasmoneans, Byzantines, the early Islamic caliphates, Crusaders and Mamluks before coming under Ottoman rule in 1515, it had been fought over numerous times. The city is mentioned in ancient Egyptian documents, as well as the Hebrew Bible. During the First Aliyah in the 1880s, when Jewish immigrants began arriving in the region in significant numbers, new neighborhoods were founded outside Jaffa on the current territory of Tel Aviv; the first was Neve Tzedek, founded by Mizrahi Jews due to overcrowding in Jaffa and built on lands owned by Aharon Chelouche. Other neighborhoods were Neve Shalom, Yafa Nof, Ohel Moshe, Kerem HaTeimanim, others. Once Tel Aviv received city status in the 1920s, those neighborhoods joined the newly formed municipality, now becoming separated from Jaffa.
The Second Aliyah led to further expansion. In 1906, a group of Jews, among them residents of Jaffa, followed the initiative of Akiva Aryeh Weiss and banded together to form the Ahuzat Bayit society; the society's goal was to form a "Hebrew urban centre in a healthy environment, planned according to the rules of aesthetics and modern hygiene." The urban planning for the new city was influenced by the Garden city movement. The first 60 plots were purchased in Kerem Djebali near Jaffa by Jacobus Kann, a Dutch citizen, who registered them in his name to circumvent the Turkish prohibition on Jewish land acquisition. Meir Dizengoff Tel Aviv's first mayor joined the Ahuzat Bayit society, his vision for Tel Aviv involved peaceful co-existence with Arabs. On 11 April 1909, 66 Jewish families gathered on a desolate sand dune to parcel out the land by lottery using seashells; this gathering is considered the official date of the establishment of Tel Aviv. The lottery was organised by president of the building society.
Weiss collected 120
The Gaza Strip, or Gaza, is a self-governing Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, that borders Egypt on the southwest for 11 kilometers and Israel on the east and north along a 51 km border. Gaza and the West Bank are claimed by the State of Palestine; the territories of Gaza and the West Bank are separated from each other by Israeli territory. Both fell under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, but Gaza has since June 2007 been governed by Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic organization which came to power in free elections in 2006, it has been placed under an Israeli and U. S.-led international economic and political boycott from that time onwards. The territory is 41 kilometers long, from 6 to 12 kilometers wide, with a total area of 365 square kilometers. With around 1.85 million Palestinians on some 362 square kilometers, Gaza ranks as the 3rd most densely populated polity in the world. An extensive Israeli buffer zone within the Strip renders much land off-limits to Gaza's Palestinians.
Gaza has an annual population growth rate of 2.91%, the 13th highest in the world, is referred to as overcrowded. The population is expected to increase to 2.1 million in 2020. By that time, Gaza may be rendered unliveable. Due to the Israeli and Egyptian border closures and the Israeli sea and air blockade, the population is not free to leave or enter the Gaza Strip, nor allowed to import or export goods. Sunni Muslims make up the predominant part of the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip. Despite the 2005 Israeli disengagement from Gaza, the United Nations, international human rights organisations, the majority of governments and legal commentators consider the territory to be still occupied by Israel, supported by additional restrictions placed on Gaza by Egypt. Israel maintains direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza: it controls Gaza's air and maritime space, six of Gaza's seven land crossings, it reserves the right to enter Gaza at will with its military and maintains a no-go buffer zone within the Gaza territory.
Gaza is dependent on Israel for its water, telecommunications, other utilities. The system of control imposed by Israel is described as an "indirect occupation"; some other legal scholars have disputed the idea. In addition, the extent of self-rule exercised in the Gaza Strip has led some to describe the territory as a de facto independent state; when Hamas won a majority in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, the opposing political party Fatah refused to join the proposed coalition, until a short-lived unity government agreement was brokered by Saudi Arabia. When this collapsed under joint Israeli and United States pressure, the Palestinian Authority instituted a non-Hamas government in the West Bank while Hamas formed a government on its own in Gaza. Further economic sanctions were imposed by the European Quartet against Hamas. A brief civil war between the two groups had broken out in Gaza when under a U. S.-backed plan, Fatah contested Hamas's administration. Hamas emerged the victor and expelled Fatah-allied officials and members of the PA's security apparatus from the Strip, has remained the sole governing power in Gaza since that date.
Gaza was part of the Ottoman Empire, before it was occupied by the United Kingdom and Israel, which in 1994 granted the Palestinian Authority in Gaza limited self-governance through the Oslo Accords. Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been de facto governed by Hamas, which claims to represent the Palestinian National Authority and the Palestinian people; the territory is still considered to be occupied by Israel by the United Nations, International human rights organisations, the majority of governments and legal commentators, despite the 2005 Israeli disengagement from Gaza. Israel maintains direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza: it controls Gaza's air and maritime space, six of Gaza's seven land crossings, it reserves the right to enter Gaza at will with its military and maintains a no-go buffer zone within the Gaza territory. Gaza is dependent on Israel for its water, telecommunications, other utilities; the Gaza Strip acquired its current northern and eastern boundaries at the cessation of fighting in the 1948 war, confirmed by the Israel–Egypt Armistice Agreement on 24 February 1949.
Article V of the Agreement declared. At first the Gaza Strip was administered by the All-Palestine Government, established by the Arab League in September 1948. All-Palestine in the Gaza Strip was managed under the military authority of Egypt, functioning as a puppet state, until it merged into the United Arab Republic and dissolved in 1959. From the time of the dissolution of the All-Palestine Government until 1967, the Gaza Strip was directly administered by an Egyptian military governor. Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the Six-Day War in 1967. Pursuant to the Oslo Accords signed in 1993, the Palestinian Authority became the administrative body that governed Palestinian population centers while Israel maintained control of the airspace, territorial waters and border crossings with the exception of the land border with Egypt, controlled by Egypt. In 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip under their unilateral disengagement plan. In July 2007, after winning the 2006 Palestinian legislative election, Hamas became the elected government.
In 2007, Hamas expelled the rival party Fatah from Gaza. This broke the Unity Governmen
1992 Israeli legislative election
Elections for the 13th Knesset were held in Israel on 23 June 1992. The election resulted in the formation of a Labor government, led by Yitzhak Rabin, helped by the failure of several small right wing parties to pass the electoral threshold. Voter turnout was 77.4%. 1 Two MKs left the Labor Party to establish the Third Way, whilst Nava Arad left the party. 2 Two MKs left Likud to establish Gesher, whilst Efraim Gur left the party. 3 Three MKs left Tzomet to establish Yiud. One MK left Yiud to establish Atid. 4 Yosef Azran left Shas. 5 United Torah Judaism split into Degel HaTorah. 6 One MK left Moldet to establish Yamin Yisrael, whilst Yosef Ba-Gad left the party. Labour's Yitzhak Rabin formed the twenty-fifth government on 13 July 1992, including Meretz and Shas in his coalition, which had 17 ministers. Hadash and the Arab Democratic Party supported the government despite not being coalition members. Shas left the coalition in September 1993, Yiud joined in January 1995. Rabin's government advanced the peace process to unprecedented levels.
The government's willingness to make peace with Syria and concede the Golan Heights led to Avigdor Kahalani and Emanuel Zisman leaving the party to form the Third Way. After Rabin's assassination on 4 November 1995, Shimon Peres took over as Prime Minister and formed a new government on 22 November 1995, his coalition was the same as before. Peres called early elections in 1996 in order to seek a mandate to continue the peace process, in which he lost. Historical overview of the Thirteenth Knesset Knesset website Election results Knesset website
Yitzhak Rabin was an Israeli politician and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995. Rabin was born in Jerusalem to Ukrainian-Jewish immigrants and was raised in a Labor Zionist household, he excelled as a student. He led a 27-year career as a soldier; as a teenager he joined the commando force of the Yishuv. He rose through its ranks to become its chief of operations during Israel's War of Independence, he joined the newly formed Israel Defense Forces in late 1948 and continued to rise as a promising officer. He helped shape the training doctrine of the IDF in the early 1950s, led the IDF's Operations Directorate from 1959 to 1963, he was appointed Chief of the General Staff in 1964 and oversaw Israel's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. Rabin served as Israel's ambassador to the United States from 1968 to 1973, during a period of deepening U. S.–Israel ties. He was appointed Prime Minister of Israel after the resignation of Golda Meir.
In his first term, Rabin ordered the Entebbe raid. He resigned in 1977 in the wake of a financial scandal. Rabin was Israel's minister of defense for much of the 1980s, including during the outbreak of the First Intifada. In 1992, Rabin was re-elected as prime minister on a platform embracing the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, he signed several historic agreements with the Palestinian leadership as part of the Oslo Accords. In 1994, Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize together with long-time political rival Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Rabin signed a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994. In November 1995, he was assassinated by an extremist named Yigal Amir, who opposed the terms of the Oslo Accords. Amir was convicted of Rabin's murder. Rabin was the first native-born prime minister of Israel, the only prime minister to be assassinated and the second to die in office after Levi Eshkol. Rabin has become a symbol of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process. Rabin was born at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem on 1 March 1922, Mandatory Palestine, to Nehemiah and Rosa Rabin, immigrants of the Third Aliyah, the third wave of Jewish immigration to Palestine from Europe.
Nehemiah was born Nehemiah Rubitzov in the shtetl Sydorovychi near Ivankiv in the southern Pale of Settlement. His father Menachem died when he was a boy, Nehemiah worked to support his family from an early age. At the age of 18, he emigrated to the United States, where he joined the Poale Zion party and changed his surname to Rabin. In 1917, Nehemiah Rabin went to Mandatory Palestine with a group of volunteers from the Jewish Legion. Yitzhak's mother, Rosa Cohen, was born in 1890 in Mogilev in Belarus, her father, a rabbi, opposed the Zionist movement and sent Rosa to a Christian high school for girls in Gomel, which gave her a broad general education. Early on, Rosa took an interest in social causes. In 1919, she traveled to Palestine on the steamship Ruslan. After working on a kibbutz on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, she moved to Jerusalem. Rabin's parents met in Jerusalem during the 1920 Nebi Musa riots, they moved to Tel Aviv's Chlenov Street near Jaffa in 1923. Nehemiah became a worker for the Palestine Electric Corporation and Rosa was an accountant and local activist.
She became a member of the Tel Aviv City Council. The family moved again in 1931 to a two-room apartment on Hamagid Street in Tel Aviv. Rabin grew up in Tel Aviv, he enrolled in the Tel Aviv Beit Hinuch Leyaldei Ovdim in 1928 and completed his studies there in 1935. The school taught the children agriculture as well as Zionism. Rabin received good marks in school, but he was so shy that few people knew he was intelligent. In 1935, Rabin enrolled at an agricultural school on kibbutz Givat Hashlosha that his mother founded, it was here in 1936 at the age of 14 that Rabin joined the Haganah and received his first military training, learning how to use a pistol and stand guard. He joined HaNoar HaOved. In 1937, he enrolled at the two-year Kadoorie Agricultural High School, he excelled in a number of agriculture-related subjects but disliked studying English language—the language of the British "enemy." He aspired to be an irrigation engineer, but his interest in military affairs intensified in 1938, when the ongoing Arab revolt worsened.
A young Haganah sergeant named Yigal Allon a general in the IDF and prominent politician, trained Rabin and others at Kadoorie. Rabin finished at Kadoorie in August 1940. For part of 1939, the British closed Kadoorie, Rabin joined Allon as a military policeman at Kibbutz Ginosar until the school re-opened; when he finished school, Rabin considered studying irrigation engineering on scholarship at the University of California, although he decided to stay and fight in Palestine. Rabin married Leah Schlossberg during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Leah Rabin was working at the time as a reporter for a Palmach newspaper, they had two children and Yuval. Rabin was non-religious. In 1941, during his practical training at kibbutz Ramat Yohanan, Rabin joined the newly formed Palmach section of the Haganah, under the influence of Yigal Allon. Rabin could not yet operate a machine gun, drive a ca
Israel the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west and Egypt to the southwest; the country contains geographically diverse features within its small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition. Israel has evidence of the earliest migration of hominids out of Africa. Canaanite tribes are archaeologically attested since the Middle Bronze Age, while the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah emerged during the Iron Age; the Neo-Assyrian Empire destroyed Israel around 720 BCE. Judah was conquered by the Babylonian and Hellenistic empires and had existed as Jewish autonomous provinces.
The successful Maccabean Revolt led to an independent Hasmonean kingdom by 110 BCE, which in 63 BCE however became a client state of the Roman Republic that subsequently installed the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE, in 6 CE created the Roman province of Judea. Judea lasted as a Roman province until the failed Jewish revolts resulted in widespread destruction, expulsion of Jewish population and the renaming of the region from Iudaea to Syria Palaestina. Jewish presence in the region has persisted to a certain extent over the centuries. In the 7th century CE, the Levant was taken from the Byzantine Empire by the Arabs and remained in Muslim control until the First Crusade of 1099, followed by the Ayyubid conquest of 1187; the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt extended its control over the Levant in the 13th century until its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. During the 19th century, national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement in the diaspora followed by waves of immigration to Ottoman Syria and British Mandate Palestine.
In 1947, the United Nations adopted a Partition Plan for Palestine recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and an internationalized Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency, rejected by Arab leaders; the following year, the Jewish Agency declared the independence of the State of Israel, the subsequent 1948 Arab–Israeli War saw Israel's establishment over most of the former Mandate territory, while the West Bank and Gaza were held by neighboring Arab states. Israel has since fought several wars with Arab countries, since the Six-Day War in 1967 held occupied territories including the West Bank, Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip, it extended its laws to the Golan East Jerusalem, but not the West Bank. Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories is the world's longest military occupation in modern times. Efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have not resulted in a final peace agreement. However, peace treaties between Israel and both Egypt and Jordan have been signed.
In its Basic Laws, Israel defines itself as a democratic state. The country has a liberal democracy, with a parliamentary system, proportional representation, universal suffrage; the prime minister is head of government and the Knesset is the legislature. Israel is a developed country and an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member, with the 32nd-largest economy in the world by nominal gross domestic product as of 2017; the country benefits from a skilled workforce and is among the most educated countries in the world with one of the highest percentages of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. Israel has the highest standard of living in the Middle East, has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Furthermore, Israel ranked 11th in the UN's 2018 World Happiness Report. Upon independence in 1948, the country formally adopted the name "State of Israel" after other proposed historical and religious names including Eretz Israel and Judea, were considered but 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 been used to refer to the biblical Kingdom of Israel and the entire Jewish people respectively; the name "Israel" in these phrases refers to the patriarch Jacob who, according to the Hebrew Bible, was given the name after he wrestled with the angel of the Lord. Jacob's twelve sons became the ancestors of the Israelites 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, lasting 430 years, 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" as a collective is the Merneptah Stele of ancient Egypt. The area is known as the Holy Land, being holy for all Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith.
Under British Mandate, the whole region was known as Palestine (Hebre