Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Israel's population in 2008 was about 7 million, some 80 percent Jews and about 20 percent Arabs and other minorities. While the official language of Israel is Hebrew, its residents speak dozens of languages. Israel is a parliamentary democracy, with elections to its parliament—the Knesset—conducted every four years. Freedom House lists Israel among nations enjoying freedom of the press. Israel's printed media date to the nineteenth century, when Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. The first two Hebrew newspapers, Halevanon (The Lebanon) and Havatzelet (Sand-Lily), both of them monthlies, began publication in 1863, but authorities closed them down about a year later, on the grounds that they lacked a license. The Hebrew press developed very slowly under Ottoman rule, the number of newspapers and periodicals increasing only gradually. The development of the press in Arabic was even slower, primarily due to the low level of literacy among the Shortly ...