Israel (Hebrew: יִשְׂרָאֵל, Yisra'el), officially the State of Israel (Hebrew: מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל , Medinat Yisra'el; Arabic: دَوْلَةْ إِسْرَائِيل, Dawlat Isrā'īl), is a country in Southwest Asia located on the southeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It has borders with Lebanon in the north, Syria and Jordan in the east, and Egypt on the southwest, and contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Also adjacent are the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are partially administrated by the Palestinian National Authority. With a population of about 7.1 million, the majority of whom are Jews, Israel is the world's only Jewish state. It is also home to Muslims, Christians and Druze, mostly of local Arab background, as well as other religious and ethnic minority groups. Jerusalem is the nation's capital, seat of government, and largest city.
The modern state of Israel has its roots in the Land of Israel, a concept central to Judaism for over three thousand years. After World War I, the League of Nations approved the British Mandate of Palestine with the intent of creating a "national home for the Jewish people". In 1947, the United Nations approved the partition of the Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Arab League rejected the plan, but on May 14, 1948, Israel declared its independence. The new country's victory in the subsequent Arab-Israeli War expanded the borders of the Jewish state beyond the original configuration. Since then, Israel has been in conflict with many of the neighboring Arab countries, resulting in several major wars and decades of violence. Throughout the conflict, Israel's boundaries have been subject to dispute, although Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and efforts are being made to reach a permanent accord with the Palestinians.
Despite its political problems, Israel is a developed country and a liberal democracy., and has been ranked as the most progressive in the region in such parameters as freedom of the press, economic competition, and overall human development.