country in Middle East
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For Patriarch of the Israelites, see Jacob.

Israel, officially the State of Israel, is a country in the Middle East, situated at the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. It shares land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan on the east, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, which are claimed by the Palestine, and Egypt to the southwest. It contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's financial and technology center is Tel Aviv, while Jerusalem is both its self-designated capital (though unrecognised by the United Nations) and its most populous individual city under the country's governmental administration. Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem is internationally disputed. In its Basic Laws, Israel defines itself as a "Jewish and Democratic State". Its head of state is President Isaac Herzog and its head of government is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It doesn't matter what the world says about Israel; it doesn't matter what they say about us anywhere else. The only thing that matters is that we can exist here on the land of our forefathers. ~ David Ben-Gurion

See Also: 2023 Israel–Hamas war

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The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems... But only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel, they can get everything. ~ Geert Wilders
You don't need to do nation building in Israel, we're already built. ~ Benjamin Netanyahu
You don't need to export democracy to Israel, we've already got it. ~ Benjamin Netanyahu
Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East, Israel is what is right about the Middle East. ~ Benjamin Netanyahu
For the rest of our lives, and the lives of our children, we are going to be confronted by people who don't want to live peacefully in a secular pluralistic world because they are desperate to get to paradise, and they are willing to destroy the very possibility of human happiness along the way. The truth is, we are all living in Israel; it's just that some of us haven't realized it yet. ~ Sam Harris
If the light of Israel is extinguished, we will all face darkness... That is why we are all Israel. ~ Geert Wilders
Israel remains and embattled democracy in the midst of authoritarian states, and the birthplace of the kibbutz to which tens of thousands of youth from around the world have turned for a living lesson in human equality. ~ Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin
Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
What would the Israelis do if they could do what they want? They would live in peace with their neighbors. ~ Sam Harris
The Israeli people understand now what I always say... We will defend ourselves on every front, defensively and offensively. ~ Benjamin Netanyahu
Israel is not just fighting for itself. Israel is fighting for all of us. ~ Geert Wilders
Israelis take great pains not to kill children and other noncombatants. The Israelis do not want to kill non-combatants, because they could kill as many as they want, and they’re not doing it. ~ Sam Harris
You talk about Hamas, what they did in Israel but don't talk about Israel and what they did in Palestinian Territories, and they commit assassinations from time to time and in public. ~ Bashar al-Assad
  • I feel Israel should have the arms it needs, but the long-range solution for peace is in direct negotiations with the Arabs. Period."
    • Bella Abzug Bella!: Ms. Abzug Goes to Washington (1972)
  • Israel is the only place that Jews can live where they don't have always to be thinking about being Jewish.
  • The Jewish people have married Israel, this land. But as in a real marriage, things have cooled down. Complaining about it sounds like an old man complaining about his age. An old couple should just live together. That's all. It is, after all, perfectly normal. We have, after all, passed the honeymoon stage, passed the romance, but this is, nonetheless, a true marriage. Such is my Zionism. I am, you see, beyond illusions. In America people, without the slightest intention of doing so, every year repeat "Next year in Jerusalem." Now that is what I call true cynicism.
  • The West needed a handle in the Middle East. And they created the state as a European pawn. It is tragic that the Jews should allow themselves to be used in this fashion, because no one cares what happens to the Jews. No one cares what is happening to the Arabs. But they do care about the oil.
  • It doesn't matter what the world says about Israel; it doesn't matter what they say about us anywhere else. The only thing that matters is that we can exist here on the land of our forefathers. And unless we show the Arabs that there is a high price to pay for murdering Jews, we won't survive.
  • This life as a simple citizen and laborer has its benefits not only for the person himself but perhaps also for his country. After all, there is room for only one Prime Minister, but for those who make the desert bloom there is room for hundreds, thousands and even millions. And the destiny of the state is in the hands of the many rather than of a single individual. There are times when an individual feels he should do those things which only can and should be done by the many.
    • David Ben-Gurion, "Why I Retired to the Desert", The New York Times Magazine (28 March 1954), p. 47.
  • In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.
    • David Ben-Gurion, interview on CBS (5 October 1956), as quoted in Israel: Years of Crisis Years of Hope (1973) by Roman Frister, p. 45.
  • Israel is in an existential crisis. It can wall itself off and annex what it wants on the West Bank, and leave Palestinians in tiny truncated, nonviable bantustans that will become the spawning pools of terror. Or it can give the Palestinians what Oslo, Camp David, Taba and the 'roadmap' promised; a homeland, a nation and a state of their own. Israel is free to choose.
    • Pat Buchanan, Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency (2004)
  • I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.
  • It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically-burdened land….I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives.
    • Sigmund Freud Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren Ha Yassod, Vienna (Feburary 26, 1930)
Before 1948, world geography knew of no state such as Israel. ~ Muammar Gaddafi
  • In order to start again in this land, the idealists wanted to forget, to obliterate their past. But when you amputate your past, you pay a price. Part of that is the failure of empathy.
  • We declare that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People's Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called "Israel".
  • The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
    • Israeli Declaration of Independence (1948).
  • Like prosperous and peaceful Japan on the one hand, and war-torn and poverty-wracked Armenia on the other, Israel is a classic national-ethnic organism.
  • I've been to Palestine. It exists, right next to Israel. The problem is not that Palestine threatens or erases Israel. The problem is that there are Israeli soldiers all over Palestine.
  • We must remember: what is beautiful is the resistance, and that people can-and must-resist from their own authentic place in the world. We must reach out to Israelis fighting for peace, civil rights, and feminism without secretly feeling the Palestinians are more beautiful, because more besieged. One of the hardest acts of self-love for American radical Jews is to identify in this with Israelis, and I have come to believe it is a crucial stretch, for the alternative is denial of the Jewish connection. It is from this solid, self-knowing place that we can work towards peace and justice in the Middle East.
    • Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz "To Be a Radical Jew in the Late 20th Century" (1986) in The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology
  • Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.

  • I want to see a flowering of Arab and Jewish cultures in a country without racism or anti-Semitism, without rich or poor or spat-upon: everyone beneath the vine and fig tree living in peace and unafraid. A homeland for each and every one of us between the mountains and the sea. A multilingual, multireligious, many-colored and peopled land where the orange tree blooms for all. I will not surrender this vision for any lesser compromise. No separate-but-equal armed camps turning their backs on each other across a pitted buffer zone. No Palestinian exile burning with dreams of return, injustice embittering generations of children who yearn always for the place of their ancestors: next year in the Galilee. No graveyard the size of a nation, Palestinian blood burning the ground and steaming up each morning, reeking of death. No fortress-state of Jews against all the rest of the world, generations of children growing up soldiers, believing themselves holy, believing there is no one outside the walls, believing fear is the only force that binds people together. I will accept nothing less than freedom.
  • We have always said that in our war with the Arabs we had a secret weapon — no alternative. The Egyptians could run to Egypt, the Syrians into Syria. The only place we could run was into the sea, and before we did that we might as well fight.
    • Golda Meir, as quoted in LIFE magazine (3 October 1969), p. 32.
  • Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!
    • Golda Meir, at a dinner honoring West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, as reported in The New York Times (10 June 1973).
  • We are awaiting aggression by Israel and any supporters of Israel. We will make it a decisive battle and get rid of Israel once and for all… This is the dream of every Arab.
  • "I think the word is intractable. I blame the lack of live and let live. And which side is it coming from more than the other side? I think it is coming from people who call other people infidels. That's how it strikes me." Was she moved the first time she went to Israel? "Yes. Probably not like my father, who was simply swept away. He couldn't get over that he had ascended Mount Zion. I don't see any solution here. I'm despairing. That's where I stand."
  • Neither Israeli nor Palestinian society is a seamless, monochrome garment: hope as well as difficulty lies in this recognition.
    • Adrienne Rich "Jewish Days and Nights" in Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon, eds., Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2003) and A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society, 1997-2008 (2009)
  • Israel is a very small place, as you know, there’s something that can feel very familial about it, which is both positive and not so positive at different times and different instances.
  • The sea is such a big part of life in Israel, of Israeli culture. You can actually taste it in the air.
  • If it is proper to 'reconstitute' a Jewish State which has not existed for two thousand years, why not go back another thousand years and reconstitute the Canaanite state? The Canaanites, unlike the Jews, are still there.
    • H. G. Wells, Palestine Dilemma, Sakran, Frank C., p.204

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