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Introduction

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Israel (/ˈɪzriəl, ˈɪzrəl/; Hebrew: יִשְׂרָאֵל; Arabic: إِسْرَائِيل‎), officially the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition.

Israel has evidence of the earliest migration of hominids out of Africa. Canaanite tribes are archaeologically attested since the Middle Bronze Age, while the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah emerged during the Iron Age. The Neo-Assyrian Empire destroyed Israel around 720 BCE. Judah was later conquered by the Babylonian, Persian and Hellenistic empires and had existed as Jewish autonomous provinces. The successful Maccabean Revolt led to an independent Hasmonean kingdom by 110 BCE, which in 63 BCE however became a client state of the Roman Republic that subsequently installed the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE, and in 6 CE created the Roman province of Judea. Judea lasted as a Roman province until the failed Jewish revolts resulted in widespread destruction, expulsion of Jewish population and the renaming of the region from Iudaea to Syria Palaestina. Jewish presence in the region has persisted to a certain extent over the centuries. In the 7th century CE, the Levant was taken from the Byzantine Empire by the Arabs and remained in Muslim control until the First Crusade of 1099, followed by the Ayyubid conquest of 1187. The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt extended its control over the Levant in the 13th century until its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. During the 19th century, national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement in the diaspora followed by waves of immigration to Ottoman Syria and later British Mandate Palestine.

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In the news

11 April 2019 –
Israel's Beresheet lunar lander crashes at Mare Serenitatis on the surface of the Moon. The crash resulted from a failure in the lander's main engine, resulting in the total loss of the spacecraft. (The New York Times)
9 April 2019 – 2019 Israeli legislative election
Israelis go to the polls to elect the new members of the Knesset (Israel's parliament) and a new Prime Minister. (Reuters)
31 March 2019 – United States recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel
During the 30th Arab League summit held in Tunisia, leaders condemn the United States' claim that the Golan Heights belong to Israel, and stated the establishment of a Palestinian state is essential for stability. (Reuters) (Al Jazeera) (The Washington Post)
30 March 2019 – 2019 Midwestern U.S. floods
This month, at least 400,000 hectares (1 million acres) of U.S. farmland were flooded from the early March blizzard storm that affected nine major grain-producing states, according to Israel Cleantech Ventures' Gro Intelligence. (Reuters)
30 March 2019 – 2018 Gaza border protests, Gaza–Israel conflict
On the one year anniversary of the Gaza border protests, tens of thousands of Palestinians gather on the border to commemorate the weekly gatherings. Four Palestinian protesters have been killed and more than 300 wounded according to Palestinian health officials. (BBC) (Sky News)
26 March 2019 – Iran–Israel proxy conflict, Gaza–Israel conflict, Iran and state-sponsored terrorism
Acording to Israel Today, a senior Hamas official, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed that Iran's rulers ordered the rocket attack on Mishmeret in central Israel on March 25, 2019, which injured seven Israelis. The rocket attack was carried out by Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, which is heavily financed by Iran. The Hamas official said that Hamas's goal was to hurt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chances of getting reelected in the April 9 elections. (The Jerusalem Post) (Israel National News)

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