Israel is an independent state in the Middle East with historic Jewish, Christian, Druze and Muslim populations, all of whom consider it to be the Holy Land of their religion. Israel shares land borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Gaza Strip and West Bank (aka Palestine), and Egypt. It exercises military control over the Golan Heights, West Bank, and East Jerusalem as well as the waters surrounding the Gaza Strip. [[File:FileFlag_of_Israel.png|thumb|Flag of Israel]]Israel does not exercise political control over these areas.
Israeli economy is based on natural resources and exports taken mainly from the territories which are under its occupation.
Israel is a multi-party democracy. It has a historically tumultuous relationship with its neighbors, particularly the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip (collectively referred to as Palestine). It also has very tense relations with Syria, due to the fact that Israel occupies the Syrian territory of the Golan Heights.
Israel has one of the largest ground forces in the regions, although its navy, air force, and anti-air force are somewhat dwarfed by those of some of it's neighbors, such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.