A country in the Western Middle East of 20,7000 sq km.  A further 7540 sq km of the West bank, Gaza and Golan Heights have been controlled by Israel since 1967.  The modern State of Israel has its historical and religious roots in the Biblical Land of Israel, also known as Zion.  In 1947, the United Nations voted for the partition of Palestine, creating a Jewish state, Arab state and a UN-administered Jerusalem.  Israel declared independence in 1948 and neighbouring Arab states attacked the next day. Since then, Israel has fought a series of wars with neighbouring Arab states.  Efforts to resolve conflicts with the Palestinians have met with limited success and some of Israel’s international borders remain in dispute.  The threat of violence and war from outside persists (Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Iran).


Jews 75.5%, Arabs 20.4%, Minority groups 4.1% Official languages are Hebrew and Arabic.  Numerous immigrant languages from all over the world are spoken, mainly due to the return of Jews to Israel.  Jews from the former Soviet Union and Poland are now the largest component of the population, and comprise the majority of Messianic Jews.  The Ethiopian Jews have become a disillusioned, largely impoverished urban underclass since their immigration a decade ago.


Over 90% of Arabs are Muslim, yet they also comprise the majority of Christians in the Holy Land. There is pressure from the Ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews to limit freedom of religion through anti-convers ion laws and persecution of Messianic Jews. Followers of Jesus in Israel are a mix of Messianic Jews (12000 churchaffiliates), foreign believers and Arab-Israeli Christians. The Christian churches of about 149,000 affiliates are fragmented, although sounds of unity are beginning. 1500 of those affiliates are with the Assemblies of God.

Donna Siemens


Operation World, Jason Mandryk. Colorado Springs: Biblica Publishing, 2010.

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