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From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel
Coast of Tel Aviv
Timna, in southerin Israel

Israel (officially the State of Israel) is a country in Western Asia located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan in the east, and Egypt on the southwest, and contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area.

Israel has a population of about 7.5 million people, of whom approximately 5.7 million are Jewish. The largest ethnic minority group is the segment denominated as Arabs, while minority religious groups include Muslims, Christians, Druze, Samaritans, most of whom are found within the Arab segment.

Israel approximately 20,770 square kilometers (8,019 sq mi) in area, of which two percent is water.

Despite its small size, Israel is home to a variety of geographic features, from the Negev desert in the south to the mountain ranges of the Galilee, Carmel, and the Golan in the north. The Coastal Plain on the shores of the Mediterranean is home to seventy percent of the nation's population. East of the central highlands lies the Jordan Rift Valley, which forms a small part of the 6,500-kilometer (4,040-mi) Great Rift Valley. The Jordan River runs along the Jordan Rift Valley, from Mount Hermon through the Hulah Valley and the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the surface of the earth.