Israel is a country/territory in the Middle East, located near the eastern coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, where the majority of events chronicled in Christian and Jewish scriptures took place. Israel is one of the major players in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an ongoing territorial dispute between Jews and largely Muslim Arabs in which both populations claim possession of the land. As a result of this dispute, two separate nations were formed: Israel and Palestine (composed of two smaller territories, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip).
Although Israel has been admitted to the United Nations, as of December 2020, Israel was recognized by only 165 of the U.N.'s 193 member countries. A subset of U.N. members—most of which are Arab countries and/or Muslim counties—have refused to recognize Israel as a sovereign nation. This is largely an act of political solidarity with Palestine, whose sovereignty is recognized by approximately 139 U.N. members. Determining which countries do and do not recognize Israel or Palestine is a surprisingly complex task, as some countries have pledged their recognition, but subsequently withdrawn it or simply severed political relations without formally declaring a change of policy.
Countries That Recognize Israel
Note: * denotes a country that is a member of the Arab League.
Recent History of Israel
At midnight on May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel issued the Israeli Declaration of Independence, a proclamation that both established the new State of Israel and declared its independence. On the same day as its creation, the United States became the first country to recognize Israel. President Harry Truman recognized the provisional Jewish government as the de facto authority of the new Jewish state. Israel has the highest Jewish population worldwide. On May 15, 1948, the day following Israel’s declaration, the first Arab-Israeli war broke out.
On May 11, 1949, nearly a year to the day after Israel's creation, the United Nations General Assembly confirmed Resolution 273, which approved Israel’s application for membership, making Israel the 59th member of the United Nations. The vote was 37 to 12 (with nine abstentions), with many countries having already recognized Israel before the official U.N. vote. Of those who voted in favor, Cuba and Venezuela have since withdrawn their recognition of Israel. Of those who voted against Israel’s admittance, six were members of the Arab League. The debate over Israel’s sovereignty continues to this day.
Countries That Do Not Recognize Israel
Note: * denotes a country that is a member of the Arab League. # denotes a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
|Afghanistan #||Indonesia #||Maldives #||Qatar #*|
|Algeria #*||Iran #||Mali #||Saudi Arabia #*|
|Bangladesh #||Iraq #*||Mauritania #*||Somalia #*|
|Brunei #||Kuwait #*||Niger #||Syria #*|
|Comoros #*||Lebanon #*||North Korea||Tunisia #*|
|Cuba||Libya *||Oman #*||Venezuela *|
|Djibouti #*||Malaysia #||Pakistan #||Yemen #*|
Of the countries that do not recognize Israel, 16 belong to the Arab League, which has 22 full members and five observer members (note: Syria's membership is currently suspended and Venezuela is an observer state without voting privileges). Four additional members of the Arab League that had previously withheld recognition: Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, formally recognized Israel in 2020. Moreover, 24 of the countries that do not recognize Israel are members of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.