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Israel is a small, narrow, semi-arid country on the southeastern coastline o\ue003 the Mediterranean Sea. It entered history some 35 centuries ago when the Jewish people \ue003orsook its nomadic way o\ue003 li\ue003e, settled in the Land and became a nation. Over the years, the Land was known by many names \u2014Eretz Yisrael (Land o\ue003 Israel); Zion, one o\ue003 Jerusalem\u2019s hills which came to signi\ue003y both the city and the Land o\ue003 Israel as a whole; Palestine, derived \ue003rom Philistia, and \ue002rst used by the Romans; the Promised Land; and the Holy Land, to mention but a \ue003ew. However, to most Israelis today, the country is simply Ha\u2019aretz \u2014 the Land. Over 7 million people live in Israel today; some 5.4 million Jews and 1.4 million Arabs. A wide spectrum o\ue003 li\ue003estyles characterizes the country, ranging \ue003rom religious to secular, \ue003rom modern to traditional, \ue003rom urban to rural, \ue003rom communal to individual.
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