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The Jewish State of Israel comprises much of the historic region of Palestine, known in ancient times as Canaan. In the years following World War I, Palestine became a British Mandate and Jewish immigration steadily increased, as did violence between Palestine's Jewish and Arab communities. After the Holocaust of Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany during World War II, pressure grew for the international recognition of a Jewish state, resulting in the 1947 United Nations partition plan to divide Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. In May 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed soon after the British quit Palestine. However, much of the history of the region since the creation of the State of Israel has been one of conflict between Israel and Palestinians on one side, and Israel and its Arab neighbors on the other. Several wars were fought between 1948 and 1967 involving Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Israel defeated the Arabs in the wars without ending the deep tensions between the two sides. In 1979 Egypt and Israel signed a peace agreement, and in 1982 Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt. In the summer of 2005, Israel disengaged from the Gaza Strip, evacuating settlers and its military, ending almost four decades of military occupation. However, after the militant Islamic group Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007, Israel intensified its economic blockade of the Strip. Despite limited natural resources, Israel has a diversified and technologically advanced economy.

Country Forecast
Major Cities
City Population
Haifa 267,300
Jerusalem 714,000
West Jerusalem 400,000
Key Data
Region : Middle East
Population : 7,821,850
Area Total : 20,770 km2
Area Land : 20,330 km2
Coast Line : 273 km
Capital : Jerusalem
Climate : Temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas.
Languages : Hebrew (official)
Arab (used officially for Arab minority)
Currency : 1 new Israeli shekel (NIS) = 100 new agorot
Holiday : Independence Day, 14 May (1948)
Average Daily TemperatureBoundaries
January : 8.10°C / 46.60°F
July : 23.50°C / 74.30°F
Annual Rainfall : 657mm / 25.9"
Egypt 255km
Jordan 238km
Lebanon 79km
Syria 76km
Ethnic DivisionsReligions
Various Jewish-Based Ethnicities 80%
Non-Jewish 20%
Judaism 80%
Islam (mostly Sunni) 15%
Christian 3%
Other 2%

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