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Territory in southwest Asia, ruled since 1948 by the Medīnat Yisrā'el

Israel (Hebrew: יִשְׂרָאֵל‬; Arabic: إِسْرَائِيل‎), officially the State of Israel, is a country in the Middle East, 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.

Geographical type: Territory

Latitude: 31° N — Longitude: 35° E

Area: 20,770 km²

ISO 3166-2 code: IL

Measures of Freedom

Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2023: A Global Measurement of Personal, Civil, and Economic Freedom
2021: 7.43, Rank: 59, Personal freedom: 7.32, Economic freedom: 7.57
Israel | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2024
2016: Status: Free, Aggregate Score: 80, Political Rights: 1, Civil Liberties: 2
Early elections in March 2015 did little to change the balance of political power, despite suggestions in preelection polling that the center-left opposition bloc would prevail over the governing right-wing coalition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau's Likud party remained the largest single grouping with 30 seats, followed by the opposition Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog, with 24 seats.
Level of Economic Freedom, Economic Freedom of the World
2014: 7.39, Rank: 45


America Must Reject Netanyahu's War Cry on Iran, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Mar 2015
Counters Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at the U.S. Congress about Iran's nuclear weapons intentions, discussing reasons behind his push for war
[T]his ignored fact seems rather important—Israel is the nuclear monopolist of the Mideast. That hardly anyone talks about this is at once remarkable and unsurprising ... Israel has hundreds of nuclear warheads—some of them on invulnerable submarines capable of surviving a first strike. Even if Iran built one warhead, it would be useless—except as a deterrent against Israel—and the country's rulers know it. Israel has not signed the NPT and does not submit to IAEA inspections. It is a nuclear rogue state. As Gideon Rose ... said on CNN recently Israel could "destroy Iran this afternoon."
Related Topics: Iran, Middle East, War
Americans Have Lost Their Country, by Paul Craig Roberts, 1 Mar 2007
Discusses (and lists) the neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration and the rationale for their actions furthering wars in the Middle East
The Israeli relationship is perhaps even more important. In 1996 Richard Perle and the usual collection of neocons proposed that all of Israel's enemies in the Middle East be overthrown. "Israel's enemies" consist of the Muslim countries not in the hands of US puppets or allies. For decades Israel has been stealing Palestine from the Palestinians such that today there is not enough of Palestine left to comprise an independent country. The US and Israeli governments blame Iran, Iraq, and Syria for aiding and abetting Palestinian resistance to Israel's theft of Palestine.
Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Oct 2003
Historical account of the Middle East and Northern Africa since Napoleon's invasion of Egypt at the end of 18th century to the liberation of Damascus near the end of World War I
Zionism is the international movement for a national Jewish homeland in Palestine, which developed in Europe as a response to a rising tide of anti-Semitism. ... A new breed of Jewish intellectual was arising: the reform Jew ... some called for Jews to claim the Holy Land as their birthright. ... But the fledgling colonies sparked Arab resentment. ... The first World Zionist Congress ... program began with the sentence 'The aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a publicly, legally assured home in Palestine.' But prominent voices within Zionism doubted the wisdom of merely importing Jews into Israel ...
Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Nov 2003
Continues the historical account of the Middle East from the territorial deals during World War I to the Palestine riots of 1929
In 1920, the ... League of Nations established what was called the British Mandate; that is, it commissioned Britain to administer Palestine ... Sir Herbert Samuel — significantly, a Zionist and a Jew — was appointed High Commissioner for Palestine ... By 1929, 156,000 Jewish settlers were in Palestine — approximately double the number of ten years before. These settlers owned approximately 4 percent of Palestine but about 14 percent of all agricultural land. How they acquired the land was a point of bitter contention. ... Zionists purchased the villages from the absentee landlords and evicted the inhabitants.
Background of the Middle East Conflict, Part 3, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Dec 2003
Concludes the historical account of the Middle East from the 1930s to the establishement of Israel in 1948
Menachem Begin — later prime minister of Israel — was the leader of the ... National Military Organization and the mastermind behind the most infamous act of Jewish terrorism: the bombing of the British headquarters at the King David Hotel in 1946. ... Against the advice of the American State Department, Truman supported the establishment of a Jewish state. The State Department worried that a pro-Zionist stand would drive the Arabs toward the Soviets. ... On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the area known as Palestine into two nations: one Jewish (Israel), one Arab (Palestine).
Related Topics: Middle East, Saudi Arabia
Bill Clinton and the Bogus Iranian Threat, by Sheldon Richman, 8 May 2014
Another chapter in the Iran "manufactured crisis" saga (based on Gareth Porter's book): how the Clinton administration was influenced by Israelis in framing U.S. policy towards Iran
[Israel's] government had previously, if covertly, cooperated with the Shiite Islamic Republic on the grounds that both countries had a common enemy in Sunni extremism ... Porter's detailed and documented chapter on this aspect of the manufactured crisis concludes, "The history of the origins and early development of Israel's Iran nuclear scare and threat to attack Iran over its nuclear and missile programs highlights a pattern in which both the [Yitzhak] Rabin and [Benjamin] Netanyahu governments deliberately exaggerated the threat from Iran, in sharp contradiction with the Israeli intelligence assessment ..."
Related Topics: Bill Clinton, Iran, Terrorism
Can Iran Trust the United States?, by Sheldon Richman, 2 Oct 2013
Turns around the question of whether the United States can trust Iran, by examining the "covert and proxy war" led by former against the latter
The U.S. government, or its closest Middle East ally, Israel, has helped ethnic insurgents to attack Iran's regime ... Covert warfare has also taken the form of the assassination of Iranian scientists and cyber warfare. (It strains credulity to think that Israel, which annually receives billions in U.S. military assistance, acts without the knowledge of U.S. officials.) ... Israeli intelligence agrees that Iran has not decided to build a bomb ... Israel, a nuclear power whose government (along with its American lobby) agitates for war between America and Iran, is not a member of the NPT.
Related Topics: Iran, Barack Obama, Transportation
Congress Must Not Cede Its War Power to Israel, by Sheldon Richman, 26 Dec 2013
Examines the reasons behind the U.S. Senate bill proposed as the "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013"
Netanyahu and Israel's American supporters in and out of Congress loathe the prospect of an American-Iranian rapprochement ... The Israeli government, AIPAC, and the Republicans and Democrats who do their bidding in Congress are on record opposing any agreement that would leave intact Iran's ability to enrich uranium, even at low levels for peaceful civilian purposes. But insisting that Iran cease all enrichment of uranium is equivalent to obliterating any chance of a peaceful settlement ... Americans should refuse to let Congress give Israel the power to drag the United States into war.
Related Topics: Iran, War
Does Obama Have the Courage to Pursue Peace with Iran?, by Sheldon Richman, 23 Oct 2013
Examines how the warmongers in the U.S. Congress as well Netanyahu's government put pressure on Barack Obama not to reach a peaceful agreement with Iran on the nuclear issue
[The] obstacles would remain formidable. The two biggest are the U.S. Congress and the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu ... Just as things are beginning to look promising, Netanyahu is stepping up his war talk, deepening his conflict with Obama. The Guardian reports, "Just days after the first round of global nuclear talks with Iran, a rift appears to be emerging between Israel and its closest ally, the United States. Israel's prime minister ... called on the US to step up pressure on Iran, even as American officials hinted at the possibility of easing tough economic pressure."
Related Topics: Iran, Barack Obama
Hating Arabs, by Justin Raimondo, 22 Feb 2006
Counters the criticism of the Dubai Ports World deal coming from both Democratic and Republican politicians, as well as pro-union sympathizers and Christian fundamentalists
Yet it seems as if the security-conscious [Schumer] isn't against outsourcing when Israel is the beneficiary: Israeli companies, as well as direct input from the Israeli government, practically dominate the burgeoning homeland security industry. And the newly installed congressional phone system is franchised to an Israeli company, yet no one is making much of a stink about the security concerns raised by people like Philip Giraldi, who writes: "One of the more intriguing aspects of the federal investigation into the activities of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff is his Israeli connections. ..."
Related Topics: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Here's How the U.S. Can Help Rid the World of Chemical Weapons, by Sheldon Richman, 11 Sep 2013
Argues that the U.S. government could set a better example by destroying all its chemical weapons, encouraging Israel and Egypt to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, and itself ratifying the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions
[T]he United States should go even further ... by publicly telling its closest Middle East allies, Egypt and Israel, to ratify the CWC and destroy their ... arsenals ... It is outrageous for the U.S. government to make high and mighty pronouncements about chemical weapons with regard to Syria while winking its eye at Israel (which also has biological and nuclear weapons) and Egypt ... Why would the United States have vetoed the resolution [for a "weapons of mass destruction-free zone" for the entire Middle East]? Because ally Israel refuses to acknowledge, much less give up, its WMD arsenal.
Related Topics: Syria, United States, War
Hidden Government, by Sheldon Richman, 1 Sep 2006
Discusses the July 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon, which resulted in 800 dead and which, according to Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker, was carried out with assistance and approval of the Bush administration
Israel’s goal was to destroy Hezbollah, an organization formed to resist Israel's illegal and brutal 18-year occupation of Lebanon that began in 1982 and formally ended in 2000. Israel pursued its goal on two tracks ... Neither strategy worked ... In the Bush/neoconservative worldview, Israel's occupation of Arab lands, dating back at least 40 years, and its bullying of Lebanon for 30 years play no part in the region's problems ... The Bush administration has denied Hersh's account, but reports from Israel's Jerusalem Post say that the administration tried to get Israel to attack Syria as well as Lebanon.
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Government, Lebanon
Iran: It's Not about Nuclear Weapons, by Sheldon Richman, 26 Nov 2013
Examines the 2013 Joint Plan of Action agreement between Iran P5+1 countries and the rationales of the deal's main opponents: the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel
Israel, the world's largest recipient of U.S. military armaments, a nuclear power, and thus the most potent country in the region, has used its might to subjugate the Palestinians, systematically steal their land, and intimidate its neighbors, for example, by periodically invading Lebanon. Its leadership needs to manufacture enemies to distract the world from its inhumane policies ... Yoel Guzansky, a former member of Israel's National Security Council, revealed much when he condemned the interim agreement as giving "Iran ... a signature that it's a legitimate country." How hypocritical.
Related Topics: Iran, Barack Obama, Saudi Arabia
John Fund vs. the Truth, by Justin Raimondo, 26 Apr 2006
Discusses John Fund's writings against Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, an Afghani student at Yale University, and University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, who had been nominated to teach at Yale; plus a personal tale from Fund's past
What really riles Fund ... is what he contends is a "recurring theme" on Cole's part that "The [AIPAC] effectively controls Congress and much of U.S. foreign policy. In an article titled 'Dual Loyalties,' he wrote, 'I simply think that we deserve to have American public servants who are centrally committed to the interests of the United States, rather than to the interests of a foreign political party,' namely Israel's right-wing Likud, which was the ruling party until Ariel Sharon formed the centrist Kadima Party. Mr. Cole claims that 'pro-Likud intellectuals' routinely 'use the Pentagon as Israel's Gurkha regiment ...'"
Related Topics: Afghanistan, Libertarian Party
A Legacy of Anti-Terrorist Failure in Lebanon, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, Oct 2006
In the wake of a July 2006 invasion of Lebanon by Israeli forces, details Israeli and U.S. involvement in Lebanon, starting with the 1982 Operation Peace for Galilee, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, and the 1983 attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine HQ
Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel exploited the shooting in London to send the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) into Lebanon to crush the PLO ... Defense Minister Ariel Sharon told the Israeli cabinet that his 1982 "Operation Peace for Galilee" would extend only 40 kilometers into Lebanon. However, Sharon sent his tanks to Beirut, determined to destroy the PLO once and for all ... The Begin government initially blocked proposals in the Knesset for a formal inquiry into the massacre ... Former Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban denounced the invasion of Beirut as "the most deadly failure in Israel's modern history."
Related Topics: Lebanon, Ronald Reagan, Terrorism
The Middle East Harvests Bitter Imperialist Fruit, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 20 Jun 2014
Describes how the seeds of the current turmoil in the Middle East were planted a century ago by British and French imperialists
[I]n the ... 1917 Balfour Declaration the British government expressed its approval of "the establishment ... of a national home for the Jewish people" ... [It] also stated that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine ..." ... Note that the declaration was issued before the British army conquered Palestine. The government was making promises about land it did not yet control—and this promise to the Zionist movement conflicted with the promises made earlier to the Arabs, again setting the stage for later conflict.
A Nightmare in Iraq, by Sheldon Richman, 24 Sep 2003
Examines the situation in Iraq six months after the March 2003 invasion, including the Bush administration reportedly "considering using Israel as a model for managing an occupied people"
According to the AP, "In an apparent search for pointers on how to police a hostile population, the U.S. military that's trying to bring security to Iraq is showing interest in Israeli software instructing soldiers on how to behave in the West Bank and Gaza, an Israeli military official said." ... Amnesty International just released a report documenting how Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip routinely violates the rights of Palestinians with curfews and military checkpoints. The ability of Palestinian workers even to make a living is hampered daily by the arbitrary power Israeli troops exercise over their movement.
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Iraq War
The Ominous Republican Hold on Congress, by Sheldon Richman, 7 Jan 2015
Comments on what may be expected with respect to war and foreign intervention from the Republican-controlled Senate in 2015, considering also the inconsistent policy stances of Barack Obama
But the Obama administration, under pressure from Israel's supporters in the United States, seems determined to push Iran further than it could possibly go ... If the regimes in Israel and Saudi Arabia fear they will be less important in a Middle East that does not feature a U.S.-Iranian cold war, let them get over it. Peace trumps petty politics. And if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that without his bête noir, Iran, his systematic abuse of the Palestinians might get closer American scrutiny, all I can say is: let's hope so. Republicans of course will back Netanyahu.
Preventing War with Iran Is Top Priority, by Sheldon Richman, 13 Nov 2013
After a brief look at Iraq, Libya, Syria and North Korea, examines the 2013 situation between the Obama administration and Israel on one side and Iran on the other
Israel has an arsenal of at least 200 nuclear warheads, some mounted on submarines for a second-strike capability ... The Israeli government wants to prevent any change that would limit its freedom of action in the region—which has included repeated mass violence against the Palestinians and the Lebanese—and the U.S. government ... backs Israel to the hilt ... Despite early signs of progress in the negotiations, Netanyahu and his biggest supporters in Congress want even more sanctions ... One gets the feeling that ... they want war and regime change, no matter what the Iranian government does.
Related Topics: Iran, War
The Real 'Existential Threat', by Justin Raimondo, 30 Mar 2007
Comments on media coverage of the Iranian seizure of British Royal Navy personnel in the Persian Gulf and subsequent political maneuvering
[A]n American attack on Iran will signal the beginning of a new and terrible world war, one that will not only embroil the Middle East ... And for what? Or, rather, for whom? There is only one country on earth that benefits in any way from a Western collision with the Persians, and its current rulers haven't been shy about openly calling for war. The Israelis have stated, loudly and often, that Iranian possession of nuclear technology represents an "existential threat" to the Jewish state, and they've threatened to take out Iran's nuclear facilities if we fail in our duty to do so.
Related Topics: Democratic Party, Iran, War
The Roots of Iran's Nuclear Secrecy, by Sheldon Richman, 2 Apr 2014
Further commentary based on Gareth Porter's Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, discussing why the Iranian government wanted secrecy for its civilian nuclear program
"Iran's secrecy about Natanz," Porter writes, "was linked to both the continued US ... interventions ... and the initial threats Israel had made, in the late 1990s, to use military force against the Iranian nuclear program ..." ... In 1981 Israel had attacked Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, which was "explicitly designed by the French enineer ... to be unsuitable for making bombs," according to Harvard University physicist Richard Wilson ... (Emphasis added.) Porter adds, "Israeli officials circulated rumors through diplomatic channels and planted stories in the news media of plans for a strike against [Iranian] nuclear targets."
Related Topic: Iran
U.S.-Egyptian "Historic Partnership" Reeks with Hypocrisy, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Jun 2014
Examines events in Egypt from the 2011 revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak to the 2013 coup d'état that removed Mohamed Morsi and the 2014 announcement by the Obama administration of continued military support for General el-Sisi
[In] 1978 Israel and Egypt signed an accord at Camp David under prodding by then-president Jimmy Carter in return for billions of dollars in annual military aid from America's taxpayers. With the two countries putting aside their historic differences, Egypt was removed as an ally of the Palestinians in their struggle for an independent state on the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, and in the Gaza Strip, whose borders are controlled by Israel. Mubarak helped enforce the brutal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip imposed in 2007. For that reason, Palestinians welcomed the dictator's ouster and the election of Morsi ...
Related Topic: Egypt
U.S. Foreign Policy Is a Shambles, by Sheldon Richman, 7 Jan 2014
Examines the 2014 status of United States foreign policy in various Middle East countries
Speaking of Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry seems to be going all out for a peace agreement between the government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinians, but Kerry's effort has a fatal flaw at its core. Netanyahu & Co. don't want the Palestinians to have a viable, autonomous state free of Israeli domination. We know this because the prime minister keeps announcing plans for more illegal Jewish-only residences on Palestinian land acquired through war. Kerry won't condemn this flagrant undermining of "peace" talks because he, like so many American politicians, is beholden to Israel's powerful American lobby.
Will the Democrats Become Part of the Problem?, by Paul Craig Roberts, 10 Nov 2006
Discusses the outcome of the 2006 U.S. mid-term elections and offers recommendations primarily for congressional Democrats
The Israelis have isolated themselves with their genocidal policies against the Palestinians. Intelligent Israelis are already sending their children out of the country. Israeli peace groups have thrown up their hands in the face of the persistent intransigence of the Israeli government and the disregard of common sense ... Israel can save itself if its political leaders will stop pushing Palestinians off of their own land by destroying their homes and orchards and murdering their children, thus turning more Palestinians into refugees.


Libertarian Profile: Richard Maybury, by Richard Maybury, Jim Elwood, Freedom Network News, 2003
Topics discussed include: how Maybury became a libertarian, his "Uncle Eric" books and homeschooling, the "packaging" needed to sell liberty and his Early Warning Report investment newsletter
Maybury: Israel is a Jewish state in the center of the Islamic world, and it contains Jerusalem, which is Islam's third holiest city. Israelis number about six million. Moslems number more than a billion ... To avert this catastrophe, the Israeli government could try my plan. The first step in the plan is to renounce the idea of a Jewish state–that is, enact a constitution that requires separation of church and state, and a non-religious name for the state, so that Israel is remade into a genuinely free country with no religious affiliation whatsoever. But, again, I think it is too late.

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Israel" as of 24 Sep 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.