What Is the Levant?

What Is the Levant?

You may have heard the term “Levant” before and wondered exactly what it refers to. The Levant is a geographic region—also referred to as the Levant region—that has been a center point for civilization for thousands of years. So, where is the Levant?

The Levant’s area is approximate, and has been used to refer to different areas in different times throughout history. First, it was a term used in reference to ancient lands along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the Old Testament of the Bible during the Bronze Age. During that time the Levant was made up of different kingdoms, including:

  • The Kingdom of Israel
  • The Kingdom of Ammon
  • The Kingdom of Moab
  • The Kingdom of Judah
  • The Kingdom of Edom
  • The Kingdom of Aram
  • The Phoenician States
  • The Philistine States

This region also held many important cities, like Jerusalem, Beersheba, Petra, Jericho, Ashkelon, Damascus, Rabbath-Ammon, and Tyre. You can see exactly where these kingdoms were located using this map.

The Levant region got its name from the French lever, which means “to rise.” It can be traced even farther back to the Latin levare, which means “lift, raise.” The term “Levant” was first used in English in 1497, referring to “the East,” or “Mediterranean lands east of Italy.”

In this instance, this refers to the direction of the east, where the sun rises each day. From the western Mediterranean, the Levant was to the east—where the sun rose—and thus how it received its name.

The modern-day Levant includes countries instead of kingdoms. These Levant countries include:

  • Israel
  • Palestine
  • Lebanon
  • Part of Syria
  • Western Jordan

It is estimated that over 44 million people live in the area encompassing this understanding of the Levant region.

However, some individuals have a broader definition of the area, one that can include some or all of the following countries:

  • Cyprus
  • Turkey
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Greece
  • Iraq

Land in this area of the world has always been coveted throughout history, with it often leading to conflict over who controls it. This is still true for countries making up the Levant region, especially for Palestine and Israel. These conflicts can lead to humanitarian crises that affect all those who get caught in the middle, including children.

The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) continues to provide humanitarian aid to children and their families through our hospitals, pediatric medical programs, health initiatives, hospital infrastructure projects, orphan and refugee sponsorships, and medical missions. These efforts help to ensure that children in need get the vital assistance they require.

PCRF is not a political or religious organization. Our mission is to provide medical and humanitarian relief collectively and individually to Arab children throughout the Middle East, regardless of their nationality, politics, or religion. We rely on charitable giving to provide medical treatment, surgeries, safety, shelter, and support to children and their families in the Levant. Find out how you can get involved and help make a difference in children’s lives today!