- Country name : Israel
- Official name : State of Israel
- System of government : Parliamentary democracy.
- National anthem :
- Area : 20,770 km².
- Capital : West Jerusalem.
- Border countries : bounded on the north by Lebanon, on the northeast by Syria, on the east by Jordan, and on the southwest by Egypt.
- Population : 6,1 millions (2003)
- Language(s) : Hebrew (official), Arabic, English
- Religions : Judaism (82%), Islam (14%), Christian (2%), others (2%)
>Israel became a knowledge-based economy, with internationally competitive telecommunications, high-tech, and agro-technology industries. It has the most diversified economy of the Middle East.
>The main industries are : food processing, diamond cutting and polishing, textiles and apparel, chemicals, metal products, military equipment, transport equipment, electrical equipment, potash mining, high-technology electronics, tourism
>Despite limited natural resources, Israel has intensively developed its agricultural and industrial sectors over the past 20 years. Israel is largely self-sufficient in food production except for grains. Diamonds, high-technology equipment, and agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) are leading exports.
>Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East, but a large portion of the population lives under very modest conditions, often surviving only on aid from the government's side.
>Palestine has been settled continuously for tens of thousands of years. Fossil remains have been found of Homo Erectus, Neanderthal and transitional types between Neanderthal and modern man.
>About 2000 B.C. : Amorites, Canaanites, and other Semitic peoples related to the Phoenicians of Tyre entered the area, which became known as the Land of Canaan.
>King David conquered Jerusalem about 1000 B.C. and established an Israelite kingdom over much of Canaan including parts of Transjordan. The kingdom was divided into Judea in the south and Israel in the north following the death of David's son, Solomon.
>722 B.C. : The Assyrians conquered Israel.
>Around 586 B.C. : The Babylonians conquered Judah, destroyed Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, and exiled a large number of Jews.
>About 61 B.C. : The land came under Roman control. The Romans called the area Judea.
>In A.D. 135 : The Romans drove the Jews out of Jerusalem. They named the area Palaestina, at about this time. Palestine was governed by the Roman Empire until the fourth century A.D. (300's) and then by the Byzantine Empire.
>During the seventh century (A.D. 600's), Muslim Arab armies moved north from Arabia to conquer most of the Middle East, including Palestine. Jerusalem was conquered about 638 by the Caliph Umar (Omar) who gave his protection to its inhabitants. Muslim powers controlled the region until the early 1900's. Most of the local population gradually accepted Islam and the Arab-Islamic culture of their rulers.
>In 1099 : The Crusaders invaded Palestine, capturing Jaffa and Jerusalem until 1187, when the Muslim ruler Saladin attacked Palestine and took control of Jerusalem. Successive crusades tried to recapture Jerusalem and were defeated. The Crusaders were finally evicted with the capture of Acre by Muslim forces in 1291.
>In 1517, Palestine became part of the Ottoman Empire.
>In the 19th cent. : Rise of Zionism. Beginnings of Jewish settlement under various Zionist and proto-Zionist movements. Both Arab and Jewish population increased. Oppression of Jews in Eastern Europe catalyzed emigration of Jews to Palestine.
>1917 : The Balfour Declaration which stated Britain's support for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine, without violating the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities.
>In 1922, Britain received a mandate over Palestine. Growing Jewish immigration, in the 1930s, driven by persecution in Eastern Europe.
>During World War II (1939-1945), many Palestinian Arabs and Jews joined the Allied forces. Zionist underground groups used force to try to drive the British out of Palestine and to make them allow immigration. The British found Palestine to be ungovernable and returned the mandate to the United Nations.
>1947 : The UN General Assembly adopted the plan that recommended that Palestine be divided into an Arab state and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem under international administration. The Arab League rejected it.
>On May 14, 1948 : The Jews proclaimed the independent State of Israel, and the British withdrew from Palestine. In the following days and weeks, neighboring Arab nations invaded Palestine and Israel.
>1967 : 6-Day War. Israeli troops quickly conquered the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan heights and the West Bank.
>1969 : Beginning of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
>1973 : Yom Kippur War. Egypt and Syria launched another war against Israel, after the Israeli government headed by Golda Meir rebuffed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's offers to negotiate a settlement.
>1978 : Peace With Egypt. Egypt led by Anwar Sadat, and Israel, led by Menahem Beigin, signed the Camp David Accords, leading to a Peace treaty in 1979. Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982.
>1982 : War in Lebanon (Peace for the Galilee) in retaliation for PLO attacks on Israel.
>1987 : The First Intifada. Palestinians in the occupied territories began a revolt againt the Israeli occupation.
>In 1993 and 1995, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Declaration of Principles and The Oslo Interim Agreement. The peace process with the Palestinians led to the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and most cities and towns of the West Bank by early 1996.
>1995 : Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right wing university student.
>2000 : The Second Intifada. Palestinian violence erupted on September 28, 2000, triggered by a visit of Ariel Sharon to the temple mount in Jerusalem, which is also the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque, holy to Muslims.
>2003 : The Security Barrier. Erection of a security barrier (a cement wall) along the 1948 armistice Green line to help to prevent suicide attacks in Israel. Palestinian groups and Israeli peace groups began an intense protest campaign.