The State of Israel is a unitary parliamentary republic in Western Asia, with its capital at the city of Jerusalem. Declared on 14 May 1948 by Ashkenazi immigrants from Europe shortly after the end of World War II, the state of Israel is home to many European Jews who fled persecution in Europe and in the Arab League countries. Since 1948, its independence has been disputed by neighboring Arab Muslim countries and it has been involved in the Arab-Israeli Conflict ever since its creation. However, the state of Israel has been around ever since biblical times.
Israel was declared independent from British Palestine on 14 May 1948 by David Ben-Gurion, who became the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Its capital was declared to be at the holy city of Jerusalem, which was partially occupied by forces from neighboring Transjordan. Because many Arab Palestinians rejected the Israeli government, the neighboring Arab League countries declared war on Israel. Troops from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Transjordan, and Iraq invaded Israel shortly after its proclamation of independence. Israel had no strong central army yet, but Haganah and Palmach militia forces defended the land against the poorly-led Arab troops and won decisive victories in Jerusalem and the Negev. By 1949, the independence of Israel was secure from the Arab nations, starting the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
In 1956, Israel resumed its warfare with the Arab League when they allied with France and the United Kingdom to secure the Suez Canal from Egypt, whose nationalization of French and British assets led to the de facto blockade of Eilat, the only Israeli port on the Red Sea. The Egyptian forces were defeated at Port Said by the French and British paratroopers and Israeli forces occupied the Sinai Peninsula. However, international pressure by the United States and the United Nations led to the two sides making a peace treaty and Egyptian troops being replaced by UN peacekeepers in the Sinai. Egypt resumed its clashes with Israel, as did Syria, and counter-terrorist and terrorist operations resumed as the Arab League nations recovered from their defeats. The Israelis allied with the United States, Britain, and France, importing tanks and aeroplanes from the three nations. Israel became home to an increasing amount of Jews that resided in Europe and the Arab World, and Israel became a second home for many American Jews who made aliyah (returning to Israel).
In 1965, the War over Water began with Syria and Lebanon, resulting in additional casualties for both sides. Israel continued to fight against the Arabs in the 1967 Six-Day War when Egypt forced the UN troops out of the Sinai and prepared to once more invade Israel, and Syria, Egypt, and Iraq invaded Israel. The Israelis defeated them with American aid, and they were able to gain more-defensable positions in the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, and the northern portions of Israel.
In 1970, the War of Attrition broke out between Israel and Egypt, with both sides trading artillery fire across the Suez Canal. Three years later, Egypt and Syria teamed up to invade Israel during the Yom Kippur Holiday, resulting in the Yom Kippur War. The USA once again supported Israel, causing an oil embargo that drove oil prices from $.34 to $3.40 within one year. Summers were hot and winters cold in the USA until 1977. However, Israel once more defeated Egypt and they occupied the whole of the Sinai Peninsula and gained territory in the Golan Heights within 40 kilometers of the Syrian capital of Damascus.
However, in 1972 a tragedy occurred at the Summer Olympics in Munich, where neo-Nazis and Palestinians killed the Israeli Olympic team. The result was an Israeli manhunt of the perpetrators, leading to a 1982 invasion of Lebanon and many sanctioned assassinations overseas. In 2014, Israel avenged the deaths of three Israeli teenagers by invading the Gaza Strip in Operation Protective Edge and shelling the city.
Today, Israel is made up of 8,904,373 people. 16% are Muslim, 2% are Christian, and 1.5% are Druze, while the remaining 80.5% of the population are Jewish. It has experienced a large population growth through aliyah, meaning the return of Jews to the Promised Land. In 1948, Israel had 716,678 Jews and 65,000 Arabs; in 1950, there were 1,029,000 Jews and 150,000+ Arabs; in 1961 there were 1,932,400 Jews and 170,800 Muslim Arabs, Bedouin, and Circassians, 24,000 Christian Arabs, and 24,000 Druze. Israel has many laws that are based on religion, with pork products only being found in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem or other Christian areas; pork is not kosher (Judaism) or halal (Muslim).