Israel

Israel

Reference Information

Population

8.7 Million

Official Language

Hebrew

Primary Language

Hebrew

Currency

New Shekel

Capital

Jerusalem

Current Time in Jerusalem

08:08:48, 12/07/2019

Overview

Few countries have been surrounded by as much controversy as Israel. The area currently occupied by the modern state has been ruled by many different nations, often finding itself as the center of both cultural and political struggles.

The modern state of Israel was founded in 1948, transferred from its status as a British protectorate as nations sought to find a way to provide a homeland for the millions of European Jews who were left without homes after Germany's attempts at genocide.

Today's Israel is a nation that almost always courts controversy, yet it has both a strong economy and strong ties to many other nations in the international community.

Quick Facts about Israel

  • 40 out of the 41 kosher McDonald's in the world are in Israel. The other one is in Buenos Aires.
  • Over 500 million birds migrate across Israel every year.
  • The lowest place in the world, the Dead Sea, borders Israel.
  • Israel has more museums per capita than any other country in the world.
  • Despite the fact that it's a democracy, Israel has no official constitution. This makes it one of only three democracies in the world without a written constitution, alongside the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

Borders

Israel is located on the Mediterranean Sea and borders four different nations. On Israel's north is Lebanon, on its northeast is Syria, on the east is Jordan, and on the southwest is Egypt. As with many things concerning Israel, actually determining where some of these borders lie is in dispute.

Area

Israel is a fairly small country, with its total area reaching just 8,020 square miles. This makes it the 150th largest nation on the planet. Almost half of the country is covered by the Negev desert.

It should be noted that the actual area of Israel is in some dispute, as the country both occupies some areas that are not recognized by the international community and it has annexed some areas that many of its neighbors considered to still be under disputed control.

Languages

The official language of Israel is Modern Hebrew, and it is spoken by every citizen of the country. Arabic, however, is largely spoken by Israel's large Arab community, which composes about twenty percent of the population.

A large percentage of Israelis also speak Russian (about twenty percent), and English is almost omnipresent in the country. Despite these four languages being spoken by the majority of Israelis, there are a total of thirty-six languages spoken throughout Israel.

Weather & Climate

Israel typically only has two seasons. The summer runs from April to September, while the winter runs from October to March. The coastal cities have long, hot summers and short, wet winters, while the more inland cities tend to be arider and typically milder. The areas on the Red Sea also tend to have desert climates that trend towards both extremely hot and extremely dry.

Government

Israel's government is a parliamentary democracy. In this type of government, the President is the ceremonial head of state. The real power of the head of government is held by the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's cabinet. The legislature of Israel is a unicameral parliament called the Knesset.

Israel is divided into six districts, which are subdivided into fifteen sub-districts and fifty regions. Local government happens on the regional and municipal level, with each level of locality having specific powers and areas of governance for which it is held responsible.