Israel is a Jewish state with a large Arab minority. This minority, some 20 percent of the population, has equal rights under the law and enjoys all personal freedoms, including freedom of religion and worship.

However, the State of Israel is a Jewish state, established as the independent state of the Jewish people exercising the right of self-determination in the Land of Israel, its ancestral homeland.

Israel is also a Jewish state according to international undertakings and resolutions, including the Balfour Declaration, in which the British Government undertook to establish a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine; and UN Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, in which the General Assembly resolved to terminate the British Mandate over Palestine (Eretz Israel) and to establish two states there, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews accepted the resolution joyfully and, when the Mandate lapsed, David Ben-Gurion declared "the establishment of the Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel".

Israel's Declaration of Independence pledged to maintain a democratic Jewish state that would ensure equality irrespective of religion, race, sex, or nationality. This pledge has withstood the test of reality to this day.

(Israel MFA)