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The State of Israel is a small, new country in the Middle East. Most of the citizens of Israel are Jewish, and the most of the others are Arabs. Canaanites are the first people recorded in history to have lived in the area. With the help of the United Nations, the country was established in the region that was called Palestine by the British. Israel is on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It shares borders with Lebanon and Syria on the north, Jordan on the east, and Egypt to the southwest. Israel also controls areas on the Jordan River's and West Bank. It shares the coastlines of the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Eilat / Aqaba, the Dead Sea, and the Sea of Galilee.
The story of Israel does not begin in 1948 when the land of Palestine was taken away: it goes back 2,500 years to the destruction of the first Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem in 587 BC, and the scattering of the Jewish people, called the Diaspora; the Jewish people were left without a country.
Since the Diaspora, there have been many attempts to make a homeland for the Jewish people. In the 1880s, this desire for the nation became a movement called Zionism. Jews from all over the world began to come to the area, then taken care of by the British Government. World War II and the Holocaust killed most of the jews in Europe. After that, the Zionist movement asked Great Britain and the U.N to split the area into Arab and Jewish States. They were successful, and the country was split. On May 14th, 1948, the Israelis (under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion) declared independence for the new Jewish state.
The borders of Israel are disputed, and several wars have been fought about where the borders should be. The land is desert in the south with flat in the west near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel also has a range of mountains near its center. The weather is normally warm, but is hot and dry in the desert areas; in the north, the weather is temperate. Two-thirds of the land is covered with desert.