It extended its laws to the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, but not the West Bank.
Efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have not resulted in peace.
The country's second largest group of citizens are Arabs, numbering 1,775,400 people (including the Druze and most East Jerusalem Arabs).
The area is also known as the Holy Land, being holy for all Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá'í Faith.
From 1920, the whole region was known as Palestine (under British Mandate) Through the centuries, the territory was known by a variety of other names, including Judea, Samaria, Southern Syria, Syria Palaestina, Kingdom of Jerusalem, Iudaea Province, Coele-Syria, Djahy, and Canaan.
The population of Israel, as defined by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, was estimated in 2016 to be 8,541,000 people.
It is the world's only Jewish-majority state, with 6,388,800 citizens, or 74.8%, being designated as Jewish.
This "Israel" was a cultural and probably political entity of the central highlands, well enough established to be perceived by the Egyptians as a possible challenge to their hegemony, but an ethnic group rather than an organised state; Mc Nutt says, "It is probably safe to assume that sometime during Iron Age a population began to identify itself as 'Israelite'", differentiating itself from the Canaanites through such markers as the prohibition of intermarriage, an emphasis on family history and genealogy, and religion.
Around 930 BCE, the kingdom split into a southern Kingdom of Judah and a northern Kingdom of Israel.
From the middle of the 8th century BCE Israel came into increasing conflict with the expanding neo-Assyrian empire.
Under Tiglath-Pileser III it first split Israel's territory into several smaller units and then destroyed its capital, Samaria (722 BCE).
Jacob and his sons had lived in Canaan but were forced by famine to go into Egypt for four generations, lasting 430 years, led the Israelites back into Canaan during the "Exodus".