Israel ( Hebrew : יִשְרָאֵל, Israel ), and officially the "state" of Israel ( Hebrew : מְדִינַת יִשְרָאֵל; cities of Israel ), is a state in western Asia , located on the southeastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern coast of the Red Sea . It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country has geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel's economic and technological center is located in Tel Aviv , while its government headquarters and the declared capital are Jerusalem , although state sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition.
The country has evidence of early migration of people from Africa . The Canaanite tribes are famous archaeologically since the Middle Bronze Age , while the kingdoms of Israel and Judah emerged during the Iron Age . The modern Assyrian Empire destroyed the Kingdom of Israel in around 720 BC.The kingdom of Judah was later conquered by the Babylonian , Persian, and Hellenistic empires and existed as independent Jewish provinces. The successful Maccabean revolt led to the independent Hasmonean dynasty by 110 BC which in 63 BC became a state of the Roman Republic and later erected the Herodian dynasty in 37 BC, and in 6 CE established Romanian province of Judea . Judea continued as a Roman province until the failed Jewish revolutions led to widespread destruction, and the expulsion of the Jewish population, and the renaming of the area from Judea to Syria Palestine . The Jewish presence in the area continued to some extent over the centuries. In the 7th century, the Arabs captured the Byzantine Empire and the country remained in Muslim control until the First Crusade in 1099 , followed by the Ayyubid conquest in 1187 . The Egyptian Mamluks extended their control over Bilad al-Sham in the thirteenth century until its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517 . During the 19th century , the national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement in the Diaspora, followed by waves of emigration to Ottoman Syria and later Mandatory Palestine .