Israel (Hebrew: יִשְׂרָאֵל Yisrā'el), officially the State of Israel (Hebrew: מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל Medīnat Yisrā'el), is a sovereign country in the Middle East, bordered by the Arab Federation to its east and south, Syria to its north and the Mediterranean Sea to its west. Israel's history began in biblical times, when it was the homeland of the Jewish people ruled by David, Solomon, and the other great Jewish kings of the Old Testament.
In its current incarnation, however, Israel was conceived as the solution of the Jewish question which became a prominent problem in Europe during and immediately after the Great War. As rampant antisemitism was on the rise all over the continent (with Jews being blamed as the instigators of the conflict), Jewish cultural associations demanded the creation of a Jewish homeland: after several proposals were rejected (including Madagascar and the Northern Territory of Australia) it became clear that the only solution would be returning the Jews to their ancestral homeland. The territory of Israel was carved up through international negotiations and extenuating diplomatic meetings (punctuated by guerrilla actions by Jewish militias such as Lehi and threats of wars by nations of the Concert of Europe) from the crumbling Ottoman Empire and the nascent Arab Federation, before its current borders were established.
Most of the population today is Jewish and Hebrew-speaking (with Hebrew being the state's official language), but there is still a small Muslim minority and an even smaller Christian one. Most of the land was settled through the kibbutz system (Hebrew: קִבּוּץ, plural קִבּוּצִים kibbutzim), communal farms which developed into settlements and towns: many kibbutzim still dot the Israeli territory today. The economy of the country is based on agriculture, manufacturing and financial services.