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Unit 6 Middle East Vocabulary
Golan Heights
A hilly plateau overlooking the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. Strategic location that
has been the site of many conflicts. Supplies Israel with 1/3 of its water.
One of the most important rivers of Southwest Asia (Middle East). Supported several
ancient river valley civilizations. Flows through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria
A river that runs near the Tigris. One of the important rivers of Southwest Asia (Middle
East). Supported several ancient river valley civilizations. Flows through Turkey, Iraq, and
A river that serves as the natural boundary between Israel and Jordan, flows into the
Dead Sea
Jordan River
Dead Sea
A landlocked salt lake between Israel and Jordan that is so salty that almost nothing can
live in its waters. It is the lowest place on the exposed crust of the Earth.
Rub al-Kali
Also known as the Empty Quarter. One of the largest sandy deserts in the world. Located
on the Arabian peninsula
A place where water from an aquifer has reached the desert. It supports vegetation and
Salt Flat
Flat land made of chemical salts that remain after winds evaporate moisture in the soil
Fossil Water
The removal of salt from ocean water
Water pumped from underground aquifers
Crude Oil
Petroleum that has not yet been processed
A place where crude oil is converted into useful products
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. A group established in 1960 by oil
producing nations to coordinate policies on selling petroleum products.
The holiest city of Islam, located in Saudi Arabia, where people make full pilgrimage
Journey or search for moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or
location of importance to a person’s beliefs or faith.
A monotheistic religion based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad
Five Pillars of
The founder and prophet of Islam, who lived part of his life in the city of Mecca
Represented in the Qur’an (Islam’s holy book). It is a framework for worship and a sign of
commitment to the faith.
1. Islamic Creed
2. Daily Prayers
3. Tithes
4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
5. Pilgrimage to Mecca
The Islamic place of worship, where Muslims pray facing towards the holy city of Mecca
The act of willingly abstaining (not doing) from some or all food, drink, or both, for a
period of time.
One of the oldest monotheistic religions and claims a history spanning more than 3,000
years. Its text, traditions, and values strongly influenced later religions including
Christianity and Islam. Many aspects of Judaism also directly or indirectly influence
secular law.
Unit 6 Middle East Vocabulary
Western Wall/
Wailing Wall
For Jews, it is the holiest site in Jerusalem. It is the only remaining portion of the Second
Temple, built in 538 BCE and was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans
Dome of the Rock
A shrine in Jerusalem, which houses the spot where Muslims believe Muhammad rose
into heaven and where Jews believe Abraham prepared to sacrifice his soon Isaac to God
A movement that began in the 19th century to create and support a Jewish homeland in
Stateless Nation
West Bank
Gaza Strip
Arab Spring
A group formed in the 1960s to regain the Arab land in Israel for Palestinian Arabs
A region in the Middle East between the Tigris and the Euphrates, which was the location
of some of the earliest civilizations in the world. Part of the fertile crescent.
One of the two main branches of Islam, compromising about 83% of all Muslims, including
those in Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
One of the two main branches of Islam including most Iranians, and some populations of
Iraq and Afghanistan (minority group)
Often used as a popular term for resistance to oppression, uprising, rebellion, etc.
A strict Muslim group in Afghanistan that imposed rigid rules on society, including
prescribed clothing styles, restrictions on the appearance of women in public, and
regulations on television, music, and videos.
A nation of people that does not have a territory to legally occupy. For example:
A displaced group of Arabs who lived or still live in the area formerly called Palestine and
now called Israel.
In Israel, a strip of land on the west side of the Jordan River. Originally controlled by
Jordan, and is now a part of the land set aside for Arab Palestinians
A territory along the Mediterranean Sea just northeast of the Sinai peninsula. This is part
of the land set aside for Palestinians, and is argued over between Palestinians and Israelis
Saddam Hussein
A revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world in 2012.
Many protests have broken out in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Yemen, Eqypt, and Libya.
President of Iraq from 1979-2003. Widely condemned for his brutality as a dictator. In
March 2003, a coalition of countries led by the US and the UK invaded Iraq to depose
Saddam after being accused od possessing weapons of mass destruction.
Golda Meir
David Ben-Gurion
Prime Minister of Israel from 1969-1974. Known as the Iron Lady of Israeli politics.
Main founder and the first Prime Minister of Israel. Passion for Zionism.
Muammar el
Hosni Mubarek
Ruler (dictator) of Libya from 1969-2011. Assassinated in 2011.
Former Egyptian president (dictator) from 1981-2011. Was ousted during Arab Spring in