Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by.
— Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963




Following World War II, the British withdrew from their mandate of Palestine, and the UN partitioned the area into Arab and Jewish states, an arrangement rejected by the Arabs. Subsequently, the Israelis defeated the Arabs in a series of wars without ending the deep tensions between the two sides. The territories Israel occupied since the 1967 war are not included in the Israel country profile, unless otherwise noted. On 25 April 1982, Israel withdrew from the Sinai pursuant to the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. In keeping with the framework established at the Madrid Conference in October 1991, bilateral negotiations were conducted between Israel and Palestinian representatives and Syria to achieve a permanent settlement. Israel and Palestinian officials signed on 13 September 1993 a Declaration of Principles (also known as the "Oslo Accords") guiding an interim period of Palestinian self-rule. Outstanding territorial and other disputes with Jordan were resolved in the 26 October 1994 Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. In addition, on 25 May 2000, Israel withdrew unilaterally from southern Lebanon, which it had occupied since 1982. In April 2003, US President BUSH, working in conjunction with the EU, UN, and Russia - the "Quartet" - took the lead in laying out a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005, based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. However, progress toward a permanent status agreement was undermined by Israeli-Palestinian violence between September 2003 and February 2005. In the summer of 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, evacuating settlers and its military while retaining control over most points of entry into the Gaza Strip. The election of HAMAS to head the Palestinian Legislative Council froze relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Ehud OLMERT became prime minister in March 2006 and presided over a 34-day conflict with Hizballah in Lebanon in June-August 2006 and a 23-day conflict with HAMAS in the Gaza Strip during December 2008 and January 2009. OLMERT, who in June 2007 resumed talks with PA President Mahmoud ABBAS, resigned in September 2008. Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU formed a coalition in March 2009 following a February 2009 general election. Direct talks launched in September 2010 collapsed following the expiration of Israel's 10-month partial settlement construction moratorium in the West Bank. Diplomatic initiatives to revive the negotiations through proximity talks began at the end of 2010.


Israel (Hebrew: מדינת ישראל Medinat Yisra-el; Arabic دولَة إِسرائيل Dawlat Isrā'īl) is a small yet diverse Middle Eastern country with a long coastline on the eastern Mediterranean Sea and a small window on the Red Sea at the Gulf of Eilat (Aqaba). Israel is bordered by Egypt and the Gaza Strip to the southwest, by Jordan and the West Bank to the east, and by Syria and Lebanon to the north. It shares borders to the Jordan River and the Dead Sea with the West Bank and Jordan. The West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip have been under Israeli de-facto rule since 1967. In addition to the majority Palestinian Arab populations living in these regions, the Israeli Government has built many Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as in the annexed Golan Heights.

Although Israel was established specifically for the Jewish people, following the Second World War, Israel is considered part of the Holy Land (together with areas of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Territories). The three major monotheistic religions -Judaism, Christianity, and Islam- all have historical ties to the region. Israel thus contains a vibrant modern history and culture, based in part on the diverse, immigrant origins of its inhabitants returning from the Jewish Diaspora. These aspects make Israel a fascinating destination for many travelers and pilgrims. As a result of this vast mix of culture, in addition to the official languages of Hebrew and Arabic, Russian and Yiddish are also spoken by a significant minority of Israelis. English in many ways acts as second language. Within Israel's recognized pre-1967 borders, about 80% of Israelis identify themselves as Jewish, the remainder classify themselves as either as Arab and or Palestinian, Bedouin or Druze.

Israel is a highly urbanized and economically developed society and is therefore best divided for the traveler into its main cities and towns, followed by the regions and other sites.

Read more about Israel in our Israel travel guide »

A travel warning has been issued for Israel

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Featured journals from


Nippon Express

by yossi

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. After years of thinking about it, months of planning, at least one failed attempt and several bumps in the road, I finally arrived to Japan.

Apr 2010 - Aug 2013  »  Israel | Hong Kong (S.A.R.) | Japan | Germany | United Kingdom

Eastern Winds, Flat Sea

by zohar

Sdot Yam, Israel

Dec 2010  »  Israel

The Rocks of my Childhood

by zohar

Negev, Israel

Feb 2011  »  Israel

Yachting at the Mediterranean

by yigal

What a great way to start your day...

Dec 2011  »  Israel

The Holy Land: A Genesis to a Lifelong Pilgrimage

by TK729

My first introduction to a cultural experience beyond my own was a month and half long university study abroad trip to the Holy Land. As the epicenter of three of the world's great religions, I found myself marveling at history that defined the future of many great nations. Regardless of affiliation to a particular faith, Jerusalem awes and inspires visitors at every corner.

May 2008  »  Israel

(Mis)adventures in Jerusalem, 2.0

by ashantur

Hopefully nobody will notice the dumb American trailing after her father trying not to incite further tension among the terrorists and infidels.

Jun 2010  »  United States | Israel | Palestinian territories | Germany

Short 2 days trip to northern Israel

by yigal

The Golan Heights, Kiryat Shmona & Manara Cliff

Aug 2010  »  Israel


by leora

קורס איטלקית בפירנצה

Oct 2011  »  Israel

Fishing day at the north!

by ivry3

Its a beautiful fishing day at Tsfat!

Apr 2010  »  Israel

Featured hotels in


IsraelHerods Hotel Tel Aviv 

155 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv 63453

Price (US$): $215 - $454 / night

Check rates »

Location. Herods Hotel Tel Aviv is located on the beach in central Tel Aviv, close to Gordon Beach, Hilton Beach, and Frishman Beach. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Nordau Beach and Metzitzim Beach. Hotel Features. Dining options at Herods Hotel Tel Aviv include a restaurant and a coffee shop/café. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include a health club, a sauna, and a steam room. The property's full… more »

IsraelPark Plaza Orchid Tel Aviv 

79 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv 63903

Price (US$): $171 - $320 / night

Check rates »

Location. Park Plaza Orchid Tel Aviv is located on the beach in Tel Aviv's Neve Tzedek neighborhood, close to Frishman Beach, Gordon Beach, and Rabin Memorial. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Azrieli Center. Hotel Features. Park Plaza Orchid Tel Aviv's restaurant serves breakfast and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts each morning in the breakfast area… more »

IsraelDan Tel Aviv 

99 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv 63432

Price (US$): $295 - $425 / night

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Location. Located in central Tel Aviv, Dan Tel Aviv is near the beach and within walking distance of Frishman Beach and Gordon Beach. Additional points of interest include Bauhaus Center and Dizengoff Square. Hotel Features. Dan Tel Aviv features a poolside bar, a bar/lounge, and a snack bar/deli. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary buffet breakfast each morning in the breakfast area. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a… more »

IsraelThe David Citadel Hotel 

7 King David St
Jerusalem 94101

Price (US$): $430 - $750 / night

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Location. The David Citadel Hotel is a business friendly hotel located in central Jerusalem, close to New Gate, Knesset, and Western Wall. Additional points of interest include Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock. Hotel Features. Dining options at The David Citadel Hotel include 3 restaurants. A poolside bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. A complimentary breakfast is served each morning in the restaurant. Recreational amenities include an… more »

IsraelRenaissance Tel Aviv 

121 Hayarkon St
Tel Aviv 63453

Price (US$): $375 - $395 / night

Check rates »

Location. Located on the beach, Renaissance Tel Aviv is in central Tel Aviv, within walking distance of Gordon Beach and Frishman Beach. Other points of interest near this luxury hotel include Hilton Beach and Nordau Beach. Hotel Features. Dining options at Renaissance Tel Aviv include a coffee shop/café and a snack bar/deli. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts each morning in the dining room (surcharges apply).… more »

Browse more hotels in Israel »


Full name
State of Israel

Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon

Geographic coordinates

31 30 N, 34 45 E

Area comparative

slightly smaller than New Jersey

Border countries

Egypt 266 km, Gaza Strip 51 km, Jordan 238 km, Lebanon 79 km, Syria 76 km, West Bank 307 km


273 km


temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas


Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley

Lowest point

Dead Sea -408 m

Highest point

Har Meron 1,208 m

Natural resources

timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand


7,353,985 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

Jewish 76.4% (of which Israel-born 67.1%, Europe/America-born 22.6%, Africa-born 5.9%, Asia-born 4.2%), non-Jewish 23.6% (mostly Arab) (2004)


Jewish 75.5%, Muslim 16.8%, Christian 2.1%, Druze 1.7%, other 3.9% (2008)


Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language

Government type

parliamentary democracy


14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

National holiday

Independence Day, 14 May (1948); note - Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday may occur in April or May

Chief of state

President Shimon PERES (since 15 July 2007)

Head of government

Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU (since 31 March 2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

4.525 million (2009)


48 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Ashdod, Elat (Eilat), Hadera, Haifa

Other countries in the region