Upon independence in 1948, the country formally adopted the name "State of Israel" (
Hebrew: מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל
Arabic: دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل Dawlat Isrāʼīl
[dawlat ʔisraːˈʔiːl]) after other proposed historical and religious names including Eretz Israel ("the
Land of Israel"),
Judea, were considered but rejected.
 In the early weeks of independence, the government chose the term "
Israeli" to denote a citizen of Israel, with the formal announcement made by
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Land of Israel and
Children of Israel have historically been used to refer to the biblical
Kingdom of Israel and the
entire Jewish people respectively.
name "Israel" (
Standard Yisraʾel, Isrāʾīl;
Greek: Ἰσραήλ Israēl; 'El(God) persists/rules', though after Hosea 12:4 often interpreted as "struggle with God")
 in these phrases refers to the patriarch
Jacob who, according to the
Hebrew Bible, was given the name after he successfully wrestled with the angel of the Lord.
 Jacob's twelve sons became the ancestors of the
Israelites, also known as the
Twelve Tribes of Israel or Children of Israel. Jacob and his sons had lived in
Canaan but were forced by famine to go into
Egypt for four generations, lasting 430 years,
Moses, a great-great grandson of Jacob,
 led the Israelites back into Canaan during the "
Exodus". The earliest known archaeological artifact to mention the word "Israel" as a collective is the
Merneptah Stele of
ancient Egypt (dated to the late 13th century BCE).
The area is also known as the
Holy Land, being holy for all
Abrahamic religions including
Islam and the
Bahá'í Faith. From 1920, the whole region was known as
Palestine (under British Mandate)
[fn 4] until the
Israeli Declaration of Independence of 1948.
 Through the centuries, the territory was known by a variety of other names, including
Syria Palaestina and