I think you can make a pretty legitimate argument for inclusion of the ancient hebrew state (the time of david and whatnot) as a civ4 civilization. Though not on par with china or egypt as some said, they could be compared in world power to the inca or zulu certainly. The reason why those civs are included while the hebrews are not, IMO, is the desire to spread the civs around the world. I'm surprised noone mentioned it (that I noticed anyway), but the main thing the inca or zulu have going for them is that they're the most significant civilizations we know about on their respective continents (zulu only for sub-saharan africa, but in practical terms the sahara is a far greater divider than the mediterranean). The hebrew country is not at all the greatest nation we know of from the middle east. They shouldn't be compared to either china or zulu, but to the babylonians and hittites when determining whether or not they should be included on the merits. Their major accomplishment, monotheism, is already represented in the inclusion of judaism as one of the religions. It's never really been a major religion historically as far as the number of followers go, but being a basis for other monotheistic religions it counts as one of the top seven, which seems logical to me. Also, you can't really attribute the success of monotheism to the jews. They started it and held on, but it grew because a roman emporer latched on to it and used the power of the roman empire to make it strong. Atleast for the christianity half of it. I don't know enough about the growth of islam but I doubt it was because of something the jews did that islam became a powerful religion. The civs that are included from the middle east/europe, where there have been a lot of civilizations and so there is a lot of competition to get included, usually flare up to be pretty darn impressive in their time, then fizzle out. The golden age of the hebrew civilization just wasn't that impressive compared to some of the other ones around that area. As far as modern Israel, given their situation it's an accomplishment just to hold out and survive. But I don't think that just holding out against any odds is very civ-worthy. If in 100 years the israelis have risen up to conquer most of the middle east (I wouldn't be that surprised, really) that would qualify them for civ. As it is it's a small country beset by small countries. Think of the other civs/leaders that are in the game based on their achievments in the modern world (by modern world I mean the past 50ish years). America, maybe china(for the mao part), soviet russia would prolly have made the bar if they didn't have a history that qualified them. Would you guys advocating Israel for inclusion say that their role as a power in the world is on par with any of those nations? IMO the argument to show that a civ should be included should describe their power and influence over the people around them. Some people made that argument in this thread and I found it very interesting. I certainly learned some things about the ancient middle east. IMO the hebrew nation described in this thread doesn't quite cut it. I wonder how many other nations have existed through history that you could describe similarly? They conquered another tribe in an area and established a kingdom which lasted quite a while. Practices/beliefs/culture from that kingdom survive today amongst the descendents of that area. As a footnote, I noticed that someone said that america isn't really an empire. I disagree. Given the subject of this thread, Israel seems like a good example to point out as a part of the american empire. We don't have any specific control over them or any other country in our "empire" but they depend on us and so we get to poke our nose in their business when we feel like it. There are quite a few countries around the world with a similar relationship.