King Herod, of Edomite extraction, rules as king of Israel from 40 to 4 BCE. He was appointed by Rome after conquest of the Jewish kingdom from the Hasmoneans. When Augustus became Caesar in 30 BCE, persuaded him of his loyalty. Augustus rewarded him by adding Jericho, the coastal region south of Dor and the region east of the Sea of Galilee. In 23 BCE, he was given the Bashan, Horen, and Tarchon regions, and three years later, the Golan Heights.
Israel, in the southwestern corner of Asia and the southeast shore of the Mediterranean sea, has a population of over 9 million and a total area of just over 20,000 square kilometers (slightly more than 8000 square miles), ranks 150th among nations in geographical size and 99th in population size. Its population is 80% Jewish and 20% Muslim.