The State of Israel (Hebrew: מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל (help·info); Medinat Yisra'el; Arabic: دَوْلَةْ إِسْرَائِيل, Dawlat Isrā'īl) is a country in Western Asia on the southeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a parliamentary democracy and the world's only Jewish state.
The name "Israel" is rooted in the Hebrew Bible, where Jacob is renamed Israel after wrestling with a mysterious adversary. The biblical nation fathered by Jacob was then called "The Children of Israel" or the "Israelites". Citizens of the modern State of Israel are referred to, in English, as "Israelis".
In an interlinear, literal translation of Genesis 32:28, the first mention of the word "Israel" in the Bible reads as follows: "And-he-is-saying not Jacob he-shall-be-said further name-of-you but rather Israel that you-are-upright with Elohim and with mortals and-you-are-prevailing." Thus one literal translation of ישראל, Israel, is "Upright (with) God" (ישר-אל; Ishr-al).
Israel is bordered by Lebanon in the north, Syria and Jordan in the east, and Egypt in the south-west. It has coastlines on the Mediterranean in the west and the Gulf of Eilat (also known as the Gulf of Aqaba) in the south.
During the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured the West Bank from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria, Gaza Strip (which was under Egyptian occupation), and Sinai from Egypt. It withdrew all troops and settlers from Sinai by 1982 and from the Gaza Strip by September 12, 2005. The future status of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights remains to be determined.
The total area of the sovereign territory of Israel — excluding all territories captured by Israel in 1967 — is 20,770 km² or 8,019 mi²; (1% water). The total area under Israeli law — including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights — is 22,145 km² or 8,550 mi²; with a little less than one per cent being water. The total area under Israeli control — including the military-controlled and Palestinian-governed territory of the West Bank — is 28,023 km² or 10,820 mi² (~1% water).
As of 2004, The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics defines three metropolitan areas: Tel Aviv (population 2,933,300), Haifa (population 980,600) and Jerusalem (population 706,368).
Israel has a technologically advanced market economy with substantial government participation. It depends on imports of fossil fuels (crude oil, natural gas, and coal), grains, beef, raw materials, and military equipment. 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 and beef. Diamonds, high technology, military equipment, software, pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals, and agricultural products (fruits, vegetables and flowers) are leading exports. Israel usually posts sizable current account deficits, which are covered by large transfer payments from abroad and by foreign loans (although some economists would say the deficit is a sign of Israel's advancing markets). Israel possesses extensive facilities for oil refining, diamond polishing, and semiconductor fabrication.
Israeli Bedouin soldiers chat with Arab civilians in Galilee, 1978Main articles: Demographics of Israel and Languages of Israel
According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, as of May 2006, of Israel's 7 million people, 77% were Jews, 18.5% Arabs, and 4.3% "others". Among Jews, 68% were Sabras (Israeli-born), mostly second- or third-generation Israelis, and the rest are olim — 22% from Europe and the Americas, and 10% from Asia and Africa, including the Arab countries. 
Israel has two official languages; Hebrew and Arabic. Hebrew is the major and primary language of the state and is spoken by the majority of the population. Arabic is spoken by the Arab minority and by some members of the Mizrahi Jewish community. English is studied in school and is spoken by the majority of the population as a second language. Other languages spoken in Israel include Russian, Yiddish, Ladino, Amharic, Romanian, Polish and French. American and European popular television shows are commonly presented. Newspapers can be found in all languages listed above as well as others, such as Persian.
As of 2004, 224,200 Israeli citizens lived in the West Bank in numerous Israeli settlements, (including towns such as Ma'ale Adummim and Ariel, and a handful of communities that were present long before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and were re-established after the Six-Day War such as Hebron and Gush Etzion). Around 180,000 Israelis lived in East Jerusalem,  which came under Israeli law following its capture from Jordan during the Six-Day War. About 8,500 Israelis lived in settlements built in the Gaza Strip, prior to their forcible removal by the government in the summer of 2005 as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan.
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