Israel's long form in French is 'l'Etat d'Israel' which is a bit long so that maybe the reason for shortening to Israel! ( sorry my computer doesn't want to do a 'tréma' on the 'e' today)
Islands and groups of islands don't have an article either...
e.g. Cuba, Haïti, Chypre (Cyprus)
Hope this helps!
You mean, why it doesn't take an article? Good question. I am also waiting for Aurélies answer. But I'm afraid that there probably isn't a good reason except for "that's how it is".
-- Chris (not a native speaker).
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