Overview | History | Innovations | Opposition | Accusations | Controversial Issues
Israel is a diverse, highly developed democracy, situated at the crossroads between Africa and Asia. It has been settled for millennia, with some archaeological finds dating back as far as ten thousand years. Civilizations have come and gone in that time, have conquered the land, then lost it to other invaders, as has happened everywhere throughout human history.
The modern state of Israel is defined as Jewish, yet it is home to people with a wide variety of religious beliefs and ethnic origins. It may use the same language, follow the same religion, and share the same name and location as the Jewish state from two thousand years ago, but its outlook is very much on the progressive side of things.
Women are equal to men in all respects – they even have to do military service; it is the only country in the Middle East where homosexuals and other gender non-conforming people are free to be, and to love, whomever they want; and everyone is free to practice – and proselytize – their religion.
Freedom House consistently ranks Israel as free; it is the only country in the Middle East with that status, though Tunisia became the first Arab country to achieve it in 2014. It also ranks Israel’s press as free, again the only country in the Middle East with that status – and a score better than much of Southern Europe.