officially the State of Israel is a parliamentary republic in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, Egypt and the Gaza Strip on the southwest, and the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea to the south, and it contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel is defined as a Jewish and Democratic State in its Basic Laws and is the world's only Jewish-majority state.
Israel's financial centre is Tel Avivwhile Jerusalem is the country's most populous city and its capital (although not recognized internationally as such). The population of Israel, as defined by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, was estimated in 2012 to be 7,933,200 people, of whom 5,978,600 are Jewish. Arabs form the country's second-largest ethnic group with 1,636,600 people (including Druze and Bedouins). The great majority of Israeli Arabs are settled-Muslims, with smaller but significant numbers of semi-settled Negev Bedouins and Arab Christians. Other minorities include various ethnic and ethno-religious denominations such as Druze, Circassians, Black Hebrew Israelites,Samaritans, Maronites and others.
Israel is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system, proportional representation and universal suffrage. The Prime Minister serves as head of government and the Knesset serves as Israel's unicameral legislative body. Israel has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. It is a developed country, an OECD member, and its economy, based on the nominal gross domestic product, was the 40th-largest in the world in 2011.Israel has the highest standard of living in the Middle East.