Israel, officially known as the State of Israel, a bit less than 8,000 square miles in size, with geographically diverse features within its relatively small area, most of which is desert, has a population of a bit more than 8 million people. Located in the Middle East, Israel is land bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the southwest. Israel is located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea.
The modern State of Israel was founded in 1948 by a UN mandate. Although Israel is the world’s only Jewish state, its people are very diverse, including citizens from a variety of ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds. Israel has earned world recognition as having a rich and vibrant cultural life. A tremendous source of pride for the State of Israel is its enviable number of inventions and innovations that contribute immeasurably to global advancements in myriad arenas: medical, agricultural, economical, technological, to highlight a representative sampling. This young nation has reached world-acclaim for having produced more high-tech start-ups and a larger venture capital industry per capita than any other country in the world.
Over the years, Israel was known by many names, Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel); Zion, (pronounced Tzion), the location where God’s presence will reside; the Promised Land, the Land of Milk’n’Honey, and the Holy Land. Today its citizens refer to the country quite simply as, ‘Ha’aretz,’ meaning ‘the Land.’