Israel (Hebrew: מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל (help·info); Medinat Yisra'el), officially the State of Israel, is a small country in Western Asia on the southeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria and Jordan to the east, and Egypt and the State of Palestine to the south-west and has a population of over seven million people. The capital of Israel is Jerusalem.
The Land of Israel was the birthplace of Judaism in the 10th century BCE or earlier and of Christianity at the beginning of the 1st century CE. The modern State of Israel was founded in 1948 with a UN mandate. Today, Israel is the world's only Jewish state, although its population is very diverse, including citizens from many ethnic and religious backgrounds. Israel is a parliamentary democracy with multi-party system and separation of powers, and is consistently rated as "Free" by Freedom House. In 2006 Reporters Without Borders ranked it 50th out of 168 countries in freedom of the press, but by 2010 increased restrictions meant that ranking had dropped to 93 out of 178 and Israel was no longer the highest-ranked of any country in the Middle East. Israel has a technologically advanced economy as well as a vibrant cultural life. Israel was ranked 15th out of 177 countries in the 2010 United Nations Human Development Index, the highest ranking in the Middle East and 3rd highest in all of Asia.
The 69 "Hammers" Squadron is an Israeli Air Force squadron operating the F-15I Thunder out of Hatzerim. It was formed in July 1948 to operate three B-17 Flying Fortresses which the fledgling Israeli Air Force had acquired in the United States. The squadron flew the Flying Fortress, a type credited with propelling the IAF into the realm of modern aerial warfare, during both the 1948 Arab–Israeli War and 1956 Suez Crisis. Disbanded in early 1957, 69 Squadron reformed in 1969 to fly the F-4 Phantom II. 69 Squadron operated the Kurnass (Sledgehammer), as the Phantom was known in Israel, for 25 years and its Phantoms saw extensive action during the War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War, First Lebanon War and numerous engagements in between. The squadron often played a central role in IAF Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) efforts and took part in repeated battles against Egyptian and Syrian air defense arrays. The squadron retired its Phantoms in 1994 but reformed shortly thereafter to operate the F-15I Thunder. Described as the "long-range, heavy bombing element of Israeli air power", 69 Squadron is reputed to have carried out Operation Orchard, the 6 September 2007 airstrike on a nuclear site in Syria.
Operation Entebbe, also known as the Entebbe Raid or Operation Thunderbolt, was a counter-terrorism hostage-rescue mission carried out by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on the night of July 3 and early morning of July 4, 1976. In the wake of the hijacking of Air France flight 139 and the hijackers' threats to kill the hostages if their prisoner release demands were not met, a plan was drawn up to airlift the hostages to safety. These plans took into account the likelihood of armed resistance from Ugandan military troops.
Originally codenamed Operation Thunderbolt (or Operation Thunderball) by the IDF, the operation was retroactively renamed Operation Yonatan in memory of the Sayeret Matkal commander Lieutenant Colonel Yonatan "Yoni" Netanyahu who was killed in action. Three hostages were killed and five Israeli commandos were wounded. A fourth hostage was murdered by Ugandan army officers at a nearby hospital. (more...)
, or Matsah
) Hebrew מַצָּה
, in Ashkenazi matzo
, and, in Yiddish
) is a cracker-like flatbread
made of white plain flour
. The dough is pricked in several places and not allowed to rise before or during baking, thereby producing a hard, flat bread
. It is similar in preparation to the Southwest Asian lavash
and the Indian chapati
Matza is the substitute for bread during the Jewish holiday of Passover, when eating chametz—bread and leavened products—is forbidden. Eating matza on the night of the seder is considered a positive mitzvah, i.e., a commandment. In the context of the Passover Seder meal, certain restrictions additional to the chametz prohibitions are to be met for the matza to be considered "mitzva matza", that is, matza that meets the requirements of the positive commandment to eat matza at the seder. (more...)
"America’s commitment to Israel’s security flows from a deeper place -- and that’s the values we share." - Barack Obama 
Yad Vashem (Hebrew: יד ושם; "Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority") is Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust established in Jerusalem in 1953 through the Memorial Law passed by the Knesset, Israel's parliament. The new Holocaust History Museum (shown above) was built as a prism-like triangular structure. It is 180 meters long, with stark walls made from reinforced concrete. The museum covers an area of more than 4,000 square meters and is mostly situated below ground level.
- ...That Israel has the 8th longest life expectancy in the world: 82.0 years. More than the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany.
- ...That there are 26 official Muslim States, 18 official Christian States, but there is only 1 Jewish State - Israel.
- ...That relative to its size, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on Earth, it has absorbed 350% of its population in 60 years.
- ...That Israel has more Nobel Prizes per capita than the United States, France and Germany. It has more laureates, in real numbers, than India, Spain and China.
- ...That Israel's capital city, Jerusalem, is a holy city for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
- ...That Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain of trees, made more remarkable by the fact that it is 60% desert.
- ...That 93% of Israeli homes use Solar energy for water heating, the highest percentage in the world.
- ...That Israeli scientific research institutions are ranked 3rd in the world.
- ...That Israel is ranked 2nd in space sciences.
- ...That Israel is one of the ten countries in the world capable of launching its own satellites.
- ...That Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin -109 per 10,000 people - as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.
- ...That Israel has the 3rd highest rate of entrepreneurship amongst women in the world.
- ...That Israel has attracted the most venture capital investment per capita in the world, 30 times more than Europe.
- ...That Israel leads the world in patents for medical equipment.
- ...That Israel has more NASDAQ listed companies than any other country, besides the US. More than all of Europe, India, China and Japan combined.
- ...That in proportion to its population Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute numbers Israel has more startup companies than any other country besides the US.
- ...That Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world.
- ...That Israel is the 8th happiest country on Earth.
- ...That Israel has one of the best healthcare systems in the world according to OECD.
- ...That Israel is ranked 16th in the Human Development Index. It's the highest standard of living in the Middle East, and the third highest in Asia.
- ...That Israel is among the top three countries in cyber attack defense.
- ...That Israel is the country which offers the best conditions for clean technology startup companies after Denmark.
- ...That Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to population in the world.
- ...That Israeli universities are among the best of the world.
- ...That Israel is the second-most educated country after Canada.
- ...That Israel is the Middle East’s only "free" state, according to Freedom House annual report.
- ...That Israel's $300 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.
- ...That Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.
- ...That Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."
- ...That Israel has the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the US, numbering 250.
- ...That the proportion of women among R&D workers in Israel is approximately 23.4%. This puts Israel in second place behind Denmark. Women earned 37% of all degrees granted in science and engineering in Israel, one of the highest proportions in the world.
- ...That the military of Israel is ranked the 11th most powerful military in the world. 
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See also Articles needing translation from Hebrew Wikipedia.
- Geographical coordinates : Add geographic coordinates to Israel articles missing geocoordinate data.
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- Update : Basic Law proposal: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People
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