Israel is located in the Middle East, bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the southwest. To the west, it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, and to the south by the Red Sea. The country’s strategic location has played a significant role in its history and geopolitical importance.

Geography

Climate:

Israel has a diverse climate, ranging from Mediterranean along the coast to desert in the south and semi-arid in the east. Summers are hot and dry, while winters are mild and rainy, especially in the northern and coastal regions. In the desert areas, temperatures can be extremely high during the day and drop significantly at night.

Fauna:

The wildlife in Israel is varied, with species adapted to the country’s diverse habitats. Common mammals include gazelles, hyenas, foxes, and wild boars. Birdwatchers can spot migratory birds as well as native species like hoopoes, falcons, and bulbuls. Reptiles such as snakes and lizards are also prevalent.

Longest Rivers:

The Jordan River is the longest river in Israel, flowing from the north to the Dead Sea in the south. Other significant rivers include the Yarkon and Kishon, which provide water to the coastal plains.

Highest Mountains:

Mount Hermon, located in the north near the border with Lebanon and Syria, is the highest peak in Israel, reaching an elevation of 2,236 meters (7,336 feet) above sea level.

History

Prehistory:

The region now known as Israel has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Archaeological evidence indicates human presence dating back hundreds of thousands of years. Early civilizations, including the Canaanites, Phoenicians, and Philistines, settled in the area.

Ancient Israel:

Israel is steeped in biblical history, with Jerusalem as its focal point. It was here that King David established his kingdom around 1000 BCE, and his son, King Solomon, built the First Temple. The region was later conquered by the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans.

Diaspora and Exile:

Following the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 CE, Jews were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire in a period known as the Diaspora. Over the centuries, Jewish communities thrived in various locations, maintaining their religious and cultural identity.

Modern Israel:

The modern state of Israel was established in 1948, following the end of British rule in Palestine and the United Nations partition plan. Since then, Israel has faced numerous conflicts with its neighbors, including the Arab-Israeli wars, the Six-Day War, and ongoing tensions with the Palestinians.

Demographics

Israel has a diverse population, consisting of Jews, Arabs, Druze, Bedouins, and other ethnic groups. The majority of the population is Jewish, with significant Arab and Palestinian minorities. Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages, reflecting the country’s multicultural character.

Administrative Divisions

Israel is divided into six administrative districts, each with its own local government. These districts are further subdivided into municipalities, regional councils, and local councils. The six districts are:

  1. Northern District
  2. Haifa District
  3. Central District
  4. Tel Aviv District
  5. Jerusalem District
  6. Southern District

10 Largest Cities by Population

Israel’s largest cities by population include:

  1. Jerusalem
  2. Tel Aviv
  3. Haifa
  4. Rishon LeZion
  5. Petah Tikva
  6. Ashdod
  7. Netanya
  8. Beersheba
  9. Holon
  10. Bnei Brak

Education Systems

Education in Israel is free and compulsory from ages 3 to 18. The country has a well-developed education system, with both secular and religious schools. Israel is home to several top universities, including the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

Transportation

Airports:

Israel has several international airports, with Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv being the busiest. Other major airports include Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv, Haifa Airport, and Eilat Airport.

Railways:

Israel Railways operates passenger and freight services throughout the country. The rail network connects major cities such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Beersheba.

Highways:

Israel has an extensive network of highways and roads, including the Trans-Israel Highway (Highway 6) and the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway (Highway 1). These highways facilitate transportation between cities and regions.

Ports:

The Port of Haifa is Israel’s largest and busiest port, handling the majority of the country’s maritime trade. Other major ports include the Port of Ashdod and the Port of Eilat.

Country Facts

  • Population: Approximately 9.3 million
  • Capital: Jerusalem
  • Official Languages: Hebrew, Arabic
  • Religion: Judaism, Islam, Christianity
  • Currency: Israeli Shekel (ILS)
  • ISO Country Code: IL
  • International Calling Code: +972
  • Top-Level Domain: .il