What Continent Is Israel Located In?

The flag of Israel.
The flag of Israel.

Israel is a country in the Middle East and is considered the Holy Land by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The country’s capital city is Jerusalem, while its financial and technology hub is Tel Aviv. The official languages spoken in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic. Israel has a total land area of 20,770-22,072 square kilometers, 440 square kilometers of which are water. In 2017, the country has an estimated population of 8,760,000, and a population density of 395 people per square kilometer. Israel is located on the continent of Asia.

Where Is Israel Located?

Israel is geographically located in Asia. The country borders Lebanon to the north, Jordan to east, Syria to the northeast, and Egypt to the southwest. Israel also borders the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank to the west and east, respectively. The continent of Asia covers regions that range from Turkey in the far west, through Japan and Russia, to the islands of Indonesia in the south. Israel is located on the far left of Asia.

Politically, Israel does not have ties with the rest of Asia, specifically the Middle East. Since Israel's independence in 1948, it has been in conflict with most of its Arab neighbors in the Middle East. Moreover, in spite of Israel being located in Asia, the country has strong cultural, historical, and economic ties with Europe. In fact, since the 1990s, Israel has been competing in European sporting contests. Currently, the country is a member of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Furthermore, Israel borders one of Africa’s largest countries. As such, there is some level of confusion about the continent in which Israel is located. This confusion was further increased by a 2013 article by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs claiming that Israel “…lies at the location of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa.”

Misconceptions About the Continent in Which Israel Is Located

One misconception is that Israel lies in the continent of Europe. However, most Jews who live in Israel today or their ancestors lived in Europe before they moved to Israel. Subsequently, Israel has close ties with Europe’s political organizations such as the European Union. In sports, Israel is part of Europe’s UEFA championships and the Eurovision Song Contest.

Another misconception is that Israel is located in Africa. This claim draws on the biblical reference of Israel as the land of Canaan. Canaan was the son of Ham, who the father of Africa, and therefore Israel should be part of Africa. Furthermore, Israel borders Egypt, which is part of both Africa and Asia.


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