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Israel - Country facts

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Flag

Capital

Jerusalem; note - Israel proclai

Currency

new Israeli shekel (ILS); note -

Internet Code

.il

Location

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

Background

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 occupied by Israel 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. 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 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. On 24 June 2002, US President BUSH laid out a "road map" for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which envisions a two-state solution. However, progress toward a permanent status agreement has been undermined by Palestinian-Israeli violence ongoing since September 2000. The conflict may have reached a turning point with the election in January 2005 of Mahmud ABBAS as the new Palestinian leader following the November 2004 death of Yasir ARAFAT.

Climate

temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas

Terrain

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

Population

6,276,883
note: includes about 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, about 20,000 in the Israeli-occupied Go

Ethnic Groups

Jewish 80.1% (Europe/America-born 32.1%, Israel-born 20.8%, Africa-born 14.6%, Asia-born 12.6%), non-Jewish 19.9% (mostly Arab) (1996 est.)

Religions

Jewish 80.1%, Muslim 14.6% (mostly Sunni Muslim), Christian 2.1%, other 3.2% (1996 est.)

Languages

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

Map of Israel


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