Where is Israel?

Located in the Middle East, Israel has a 1,068.00 km border with Egypt (208 km), Gaza Strip (59 km), Jordan (307 km), Lebanon (81 km), Syria (83 km) and West Bank (330 km). It has a 273.00 km coastline. The West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement.

The capital and biggest city in Israel is Jerusalem. It is among the oldest cities globally and is found on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. The city was declared capital on December 5, 1949, by the country’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, and later in the 1980 Jerusalem Law. However, its status as the capital of Israel is still under dispute with both Israelis and Palestinians claiming the city as their own. Approximately 92% of Israeli inhabitants live in the urban areas. The population of Jerusalem is about 890,000. More than one million people live in the metropolitan area. Major attractions in Jerusalem include the Israel Museum, Yad Vashem, the Dead Sea, the Wailing Wall, the Temple Mount, the Tower of David Museum, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Garden Tomb. The capital features a Mediterranean climate characterized by wet, gentle winters and hot, dry summers. Compared to the summer season, there is a higher amount of precipitation in winter. June is the driest month while August is the warmest with a mean temperature of 24.0 °C. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 8.8 °C and is also the wettest month.

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Israel is an Asian country covering 20,770.00 km2 of which 2.12% is water and 20,330.00 km2 is land. This makes it the 46th smallest country in the world and slightly larger than New Jersey. Its geographic coordinates are 31 30 N, 34 45 E and Jerusalem is the capital city.

The country is named for the ancient Kingdom of Israel.

Its ISO code is IL.

Geography

Israel has a mean elevation of 508 m above sea level.

It has a temperate climate which is hotter and drier in the desert areas of the east and south. Its terrain consists of desert in the south, low coastal plains, and central mountains.

Population

Israel has a population of 8,174,527 making it the 98th largest in the world. The majority of the population is concentrated in and around Tel-Aviv.

Hebrew is the spoken language. The major ethnic group reported is Jewish. The majority of the population is Jewish.

The official languages used in Israel are Hebrew and Arabic, but other languages in the country include Russian, English, Spanish, Italian and 35 other minority languages. English is used widely in Israel because it is taught in schools. Besides, many TV programs air in English. According to statistics, 49% of the population speak Hebrew, 18% speak Arabic, 15% speak Russian, 2% speak English, Yiddish and French. 1.6% speaks Spanish while the rest 10% speak other languages. When visiting any country, it is advisable to learn a few local phrases to help in communicating. The common phrase used in Israel are “shalom” which means peace, “l’chaim” which means cheers, “tobas/toba raba” which means thank you, “sababa” which means alright, and “tov” which means good. The minority languages used in Israel are Kayla or Qwara, German, Greek, Malayalam, Ladino, Yiddish, Jewish Neo-Aramaic, Amharic among others. There are also several sign languages in use in Israel like Ghardaia and Al-Sayyid Bedouin. The two languages are categorized as near extinction, and they are Kayla and Qwara spoken by Ethiopian immigrants. Israel is a multicultural country made up of different languages.

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The dialing code for the country is 972.

Government

Israel is an independent country. It gained independence from the League of Nations in 1948. There is no formal constitution for Israel.

Israel is a parliamentary democratic state, with a Prime Minister and a unicameral house of representatives elected directly for a seven-year and a four-year term respectively. The Knesset, however, chooses the president by secret ballot. The country has several political parties, but Likud party is the dominant party. Jerusalem is the seat of government as it hosts the Knesset and the Prime Minister's official residence.

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Economy

Factoring in Purchasing Power Parity, Israel's GDP is $297,000,000,000.00 (USD) with $34,800.00 (USD) per capita. This makes it the 56th largest economy and its citizens the 52nd richest in the world. The currency of Israel is the Shekel (ILS).

Its major export partners are the United States, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. Its main exports are machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, and agricultural products. Its major import partners are the United States, China, and Switzerland. Its major imports include raw materials, military equipment, and investment goods.

Flag

The flag of Israel is called Degel Yisra'el (the flag of Israel), and it was officially adopted in 1948 just a few months after the State of Israel was established. The flag has a white with blue stripes and a Star of David at the center. The Star of David is a widely recognized Jewish symbol and according to Gershom Solem, its popularity was due to its ability to represent the Jews in the same way that the Cross has represented the Christian religion. The flag was first used in a concert hall that held the first meeting of the Zionist movement in 1897. When the design proposed by Theodor Herzl, the father of the Zionist movement, failed to gain any support, David Wolffsohn, a prominent leader in the campaign, came up with the design drawing the inspiration from a prayer shawl.

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This page was last modified on January 17th, 2018