GENERAL /

Date Established: May 14, 1948

US Aid: Until August 2019, Israel received $142.3b from the U.S.

The US signed an MOU for FY 2019 – FY 2028 in the amount of $38b

GOVERNMENT /

Chief of State: President Reuben Rivlin

Head of Government: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Government Type: Parliamentary democracy

Capital: Jerusalem

Legislature: Knesset (120 seats)

Judiciary: Supreme Court (15 Justices)

Ambassador to US: Ambassador Ron Dermer

US Ambassador: Ambassador David Melech Friedman

PEOPLE & SOCIETY /

Population: 9.2 million

Language: Hebrew (official), Arabic (special status), English (most common foreign language)

Ethnicity: Ethnicity Jewish 74.4% (of which Israel-born 76.9%, Europe/America/Oceania-born 15.9%, Africa-born 4.6%, Asia-born 2.6%), Arab 20.9%, other 4.7%

Religion: 74% Jews, 18% Muslims, 2% Christians, and others

Christian Communities: The Orthodox Churches, Eastern Churches, Protestant Churches, Eastern Catholic Churches, and Roman Catholic Churches.

Israel

Israel

BACKGROUND

Israel proclaimed its independence on May 14, 1948, after the British agreed to withdraw from Mandatory Palestine and turned to the United Nations to determine the future status of the land. After millennia in the diaspora, the Jewish people were finally able to return to their ancestral homeland. Born into war and surrounded by neighbors resistant to the Jewish state, Israel’s history is riddled with conflict and survival. Historically, its land served as a meeting point for cultures and civilizations that revolutionized the world as we now know it. Jerusalem, the holiest place for both Judaism and Christianity and one of the three most important places for Islam, served many times as a stepping stone for major developments. Israel’s demography includes 74% Jews, 18% Muslims, 2% Christians, in addition to other minorities (2020). Despite its complex background and small size (equivalent to the size of New Jersey), in just over 70 years, Israel has become prosperous and a global beacon for innovation and cutting-edge technologies, while remaining on a quest to balance its Jewish and democratic identity.

LATEST NEWS

  • Benny Gantz and PM Netanyahu are bumping heads again: Minister of Defense Gantz from Blue and White political party sent a formal letter to the PM, urging him to continue the discussion on the 2021 appropriations bill. He added that by not doing so, Netanyahu is being led by personal consideration contrary to the people’s best interests. The Likud say Blue and White are engaging in “small politics” on the backs of the people and that they should spend more effort fixing their internal strife instead of creating havoc. - Ynet

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi of Blue and White calls on the Palestinians to returns to the negotiation table: In a meeting with his counterparts in the UAE and Germany, Ashkenazi stressed the importance of not waiting to conduct negotiations and direct talks with the Palestinians. In addition, the three discussed financial cooperation and building respective embassies soon. - Haaretz

  • The government will vote on allowing 2,000 Falash Mura Ethiopians to come to Israel: The government will vote on allocating 370 million NIS towards bringing back the Falash Murians, who are not normally eligible under the law of return, in response to an initiative of the Minister of Aliyah and Integration. The Falash Murians are Ethiopian Jews residing in Ethiopia who converted to Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries, partially consensually and partially forcefully. - Maariv

Israel

Israel

GENERAL /

Date Established: May 14, 1948

US Aid: Until August 2019, Israel received $142.3b from the U.S.

The US signed an MOU for FY 2019 – FY 2028 in the amount of $38b

GOVERNMENT /

Chief of State: President Reuben Rivlin

Head of Government: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Government Type: Parliamentary democracy

Capital: Jerusalem

Legislature: Knesset (120 seats)

Judiciary: Supreme Court (15 Justices)

Ambassador to US: Ambassador Ron Dermer

US Ambassador: Ambassador David Melech Friedman

PEOPLE & SOCIETY /

Population: 9.2 million

Language: Hebrew (official), Arabic (special status), English (most common foreign language)

Ethnicity: Ethnicity Jewish 74.4% (of which Israel-born 76.9%, Europe/America/Oceania-born 15.9%, Africa-born 4.6%, Asia-born 2.6%), Arab 20.9%, other 4.7%

Religion: 74% Jews, 18% Muslims, 2% Christians, and others

Christian Communities: The Orthodox Churches, Eastern Churches, Protestant Churches, Eastern Catholic Churches, and Roman Catholic Churches.

BACKGROUND

Israel proclaimed its independence on May 14, 1948, after the British agreed to withdraw from Mandatory Palestine and turned to the United Nations to determine the future status of the land. After millennia in the diaspora, the Jewish people were finally able to return to their ancestral homeland. Born into war and surrounded by neighbors resistant to the Jewish state, Israel’s history is riddled with conflict and survival. Historically, its land served as a meeting point for cultures and civilizations that revolutionized the world as we now know it. Jerusalem, the holiest place for both Judaism and Christianity and one of the three most important places for Islam, served many times as a stepping stone for major developments. Israel’s demography includes 74% Jews, 18% Muslims, 2% Christians, in addition to other minorities (2020). Despite its complex background and small size (equivalent to the size of New Jersey), in just over 70 years, Israel has become prosperous and a global beacon for innovation and cutting-edge technologies, while remaining on a quest to balance its Jewish and democratic identity.

LATEST NEWS

  • Israel has dodged an election bullet, for now: After a fierce and highly public political clash between the Likud and Blue and White over the 2020-2021 budget, a compromise has been made. The compromise brought by MK Houser from Blue and White postpones the decision on the budget for 100 days and halts senior appointments in the government. The parties will return to the drawing table for an extra 100 days in an attempt to avoid a fourth round of elections. - Ynet

  • The government is contemplating a mandatory quarantine amid the upcoming holiday season: In an attempt to mitigate the aggressive outbreak of the pandemic in Israel, the newly appointed COVID-19 task force is considering new restrictions. One of them relates to tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews who intend to fly to Uman in Ukraine. In the meantime, Ukraine closed its borders and postponed an internal political catastrophe around that decision. - Walla

  • Hezbollah will not stop until an Israeli soldier dies: In a series of attempted attacks, Hezbollah’s forces attempted to target IDF forces at the border with Lebanon. These attacks brought a larger IDF presence to the border, but no change in the lifestyle of the civilians residing in the area. Israel’s ambassador to the UN issued an official complaint to the United Nation’s Security Council, as UNIFIL is not succeeding in creating a buffer between the two countries. - Maariv

  • Thousands protest in front of the official residence of the PM calling for his resignation: In what has become a tradition, thousands are calling for PM Netanyahu to resign. Previous protests in Jerusalem have encountered a harsh response by the police. While the majority of the protests are non-violent, some of the protestors and police officers reverted to what seems to be an unnecessary use of force. - Ynet

  • Another round of Molotov balloons and rockets from Gaza hitsIsrael: In what has become an intolerable routine, balloons carrying Molotov like materials were launched from the Gaza strip to Israel, burning fields and crops in the vicinity of the strip. In response, the IDF attacked Hamas’ underground infrastructure in the Gaza strip. These attacks were retaliated by 6 rockets launched towards Israel, with no injuries to civilians. - Haaretz

  • Israel is in lockdown again: Amid an exponential increase in COVID cases, the coronavirus Cabinet approved a 14-day lockdown in Israel. While the government still needs to approve these measures, it seems as though Israelis will spend the Jewish New Year alone. - Ynet 

  • The Arab League refused the condemn the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE: The Palestinian Authority introduced an official request to the Arab League to condemn the agreement between Israel and the UAE. After a 3-hour debate with no agreement, the request was quashed, and not included in the convention’s concluding statement. The agreement between Israel and the UAE will be signed in Washington DC on September 15. - Haaretz

  • PM Netanyahu is going after the Office of the State Attorney: In a continuation of his line of attacks against the Police and Ministry of Justice officials, PM Netanyahu cited an expose by a channel 12 news reporter, accusing prosecutors of politicized decisions meant to remove him from power. The Minister of Defense from Blue and White, Benny Gantz, along with the head of the opposition, the attorney general, the former State Attorney, and the Office of the State Attorney, all condemned his statement separately - Maariv

  • Thousands are protesting in front of the PM’s residence in Jerusalem: Protestors are chanting against the destruction of democracy and for the execution of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. - Ynet

  • The Likud is attacking the Attorney General: Likud Knesset members are attacking the Attorney General as there are rumors that he is re-contemplating whether PM Netanyahu is incapacitated to stay PM during his trial. Some of the comments call for the AG’s resignation, and the destruction and rebuilding of the Ministry of Justice. The AG stated a few weeks ago that PM Netanyahu is not incapacitated as long as he avoids conflicts of interest with regards to his trial - Haaretz