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

  • The IDF retaliated against Hamas attacks: 20 Molotov balloons and an improvised explosive device (IED) also carried by a balloon were aired from the Gaza strip to the depth of Israel, setting fire to hundreds of acres of fields. In response, IDF attacked several military targets of Hamas. -Ynet

  • Four terrorists were killed while placing explosives in Israel’s northern border with Syria: The four men armed with weapons and explosives were spotted by the IDF in an attempt to booby trap soldiers in the demilitarized zone between Syrian and Israel. The IDF lookout in the area spotted them in advance and engaged accordingly. -Haaretz

  • The Likud is losing ground: Recent polls show that if the elections were to take place today, the Likud will lose 6-7 mandates. These numbers correlate with how the public rates PM Netanyahu’s leadership during the pandemic and throughout the recent financial crisis. -Maariv

  • Thousands of records went missing from the country’s archives: Among the missing files are records of the assassination of Chaim Arlosorov, a Zionist leader in the time of the British mandate, the Eichmann trial, and PM Itzhak Rabin’s assassination. The archives manager insists there is no guiding hand behind the disappearances. They were merely misplaced. -Haaretz

  • Doctors question the involvement of the IDF in the creation of the vaccine: They cite such testing should be transparent and available for peer review along the way while the military is holding back information and conducting tests covertly. -Ynet

  • Israel’s national debt reaches a peak of 7.2 percent: The current debt is three times higher compared to the same period in the previous year. -04news

  • A Canadian Polish language newspaper has accused Jews for starting the pandemic: Another instance of the rising open antisemitism around the world. -Jerusalem Post

  • Protests in front of PM Netanyahu’s residence are not going away: In the last few weeks, protests in front of the PM’s residence in Jerusalem are becoming the norm. While the number of protestors is thinning, they promise that the turnout at the weekend will be much more significant. Last Saturday, 15,000 people gathered outside of the PM’s house, today, only a few hundred arrived. Are people getting tired or are they just saving power towards the weekend? -Ynet