Israel at a glance |

Israel at a glance


Population: 6,426,679, including 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, another 20,000 in the Golan Heights and less than 177,000 in East Jerusalem. Life expectancy is 77.44 years for men and 81.85 years for women.

Size: Slightly smaller than New Jersey and bordering Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The Mediterranean Sea forms the western border.

Capital: Jerusalem, but many countries, including the U.S., keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.

Major religions: Judaism, 76.4 percent. Of the Jews in Israel, 67.1 percent were born in Israel, 22.6 percent were born in America or Europe, 5.9 percent were born in Africa and 4.2 percent were born in Asia. Muslims make up 16 percent and Christians 2.1 percent.

Independence: May 14, 1948

Government: Led by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, with the 120-seat Knesset being the legislative body.

Military: There are 1,492,125 men available for service between the ages of 17 and 49 and 1,443,916 women between the ages. Military service is required for Jews and voluntary for Christians and Muslims. Men must serve three years and women 21 months.

Source: The World Factbook, CIA

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