Population: 8.2 million
Capital: Tel Aviv
Language: Ivrit and Arabic
- to enjoy opera at the Dead Sea. At Herod’s fortress Masada, opera is performed with a magnificent historical backdrop.
- one of the world’s oldest cities, Jericho, is located here. On the West Bank you can visit the ruins of the ancient city.
Nature and climate in Israel
The state of Israel constitutes only a small part of Sweden’s area, but has many more inhabitants and a very varied nature. To the south is the dry Negev Desert and to the west, towards the Mediterranean coast, the soil is fertile and diligently cultivated. A mountain range of up to 1,000 meters stretches through the country and plunges steeply into the Jordan Valley and the world’s lowest point, the Dead Sea to the west. The climate is as varied as nature. The southern part of the country has a desert-like climate with minimal rainfall, hot days and chilly nights. The narrow strip of land facing the Mediterranean has a wonderful Mediterranean climate where summer lasts well into October. In the mountain areas further east, it is more chilly and windy and snowy during the winter period. Snow is also not an uncommon sight in Jerusalem, which is located at an altitude of 800 meters. Visit sunglasseswill for Israel Travel Guide.
The biblical story of Israel tells of a land of twelve different peoples with numerous enemies and various kings with well-known names such as Saul, David and Solomon. The historical events of reality probably differ somewhat from the presentation of the Bible. However, it is certain that Israel, or Palestine as the area was called before Israel was founded, was under well-known conquerors such as Alexander the Great, Roman General Pompey, Herod the Great and Byzantine Emperor Constantine the Great. The Roman amphitheaters and Byzantine churches that still exist in Israel date from this time. In 634, an Arab army and thus Islam entered the holy land of the Jews, and in the following years, magnificent mosques were built, especially in Jerusalem. In 1099, Jerusalem, closely accompanied by Israel, again fell into Christian hands in the wake of the Crusaders’ advance. 400 years later, Israel was Muslim again when it became part of the Ottoman Empire. This remained the case until 1917, when the British conquered the country and promised to try to create a homeland for the Jews of the world.
Through all these changing centuries, Jews from all over the world have traveled hundreds of miles to settle in the Promised Land. Jewish immigration only began in earnest when the current state was established in 1948. Since then, the country’s population has grown by two and a half million inhabitants. Most of these are Jews who have immigrated from Russia and other Eastern European countries as well as Ethiopia, North Africa. Israel is the only country in the world that gives residents of all nationalities the right to immigrate to the country and become Israeli citizens – as long as they are Jews. Today, 80 percent of the country’s residents profess the Jewish faith and one-fifth of these are Orthodox.
The present Israel was born on May 14, 1948. Not everyone was happy with the UN decision to divide what was then Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. Therefore, the newly founded Israel was forced to spend its first years of life in war against, among others, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. A trend that still lives on and explains why the surface of Israel is no longer the same as it was in 1948. Due to the many wars and sieges and the general tension between Jews and Muslims, many shekels are spent on maintaining a strong military. Israel is the only country in the world that has compulsory military service for both men and women, at least the majority. Jews and Druze must spend 36 months (men) or 21 months (women) in the military, while Muslims and Christians are allowed to volunteer. The conscription service is crucial for whether an Israeli can benefit from social benefits such as unemployment benefits or child benefits. This is especially a problem for the Arab part of the population, which often does not have access to the same state aid as the Jewish one. Most Israelis living on the border of poverty belong to the Arab minority.