|Israel is a small, narrow, semi-arid
country on the southeastern coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.
It entered history some 35 centuries ago when the Jewish people
forsook their nomadic way of life, settled in the Land and became
a nation. Over the years, the Land was known by many names - Eretz
Israel (Land of Israel); Zion, one of Jerusalem's hills which came
to signify both the city and the Land of Israel as a whole; Palestine,
derived from Philistia, and first used by the Romans; the Promised
Land; and the Holy Land, to mention but a few. However, to most
Israelis today, the country is simply Ha'aretz - the Land. Some
5.9 million people live in Israel today. About 4.7 million are Jews;
most of the rest are Arabs.
This information presented courtesy of the Government of Israel