Israel lies on a land bridge between Asia and Africa on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean. The capital is Tel Aviv. Neighboring countries are Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories. The country is divided into four regions: the Mediterranean coast, the hilly landscape in the center, the Jordan valley and the Negev desert. The highest mountain is the Hermon at 1,208 meters on the Golan. Bigger cities in Israel are Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Rishon le Tzion, Ashdod, Beersheba and Haifa.
The port city of Haifa is the gateway to the Holy Land for visitors arriving by ship. The landmark, the Bahai Temple with its golden dome, can be seen from afar. The temple complex with the shrines of the remains of the Bahaigrün-the Abdu’l Baha are among the most important pilgrimage sites of the Baha’i devotees. Israel has many other cultural monuments to offer. Among the most popular are “the white city” Tel Aviv, the old town of Akko, Jerusalem and the archaeological site of Massada.
Around 7.4 million people live in Israel, making Israel one of the countries with a rather smaller population. The country is currently in 76th place in the global population ranking. Israel’s land area and population density are roughly comparable to the German state of Hesse. Most of the people in Israel live in cities. Over 91 percent are urban residents.
The Jewish faith prevails in Israel as a religion and belief. Western modernity also has a strong influence on Israel. In addition to the dominant Judaism, there are other religions and cultures in the Middle East in Israel. Who immigrates here can be naturalized. Anyone born here is automatically granted Israeli citizenship. Dual citizenship is also an option in Israel.
Area: 20,770 km² (land: 20,330 km², water: 440 km²)
Population: 7.5 million people (July 2011, COUNTRYAAH.COM), including approximately 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, approximately 20,000 in the Golan Heights occupied by Israel, and slightly less than 177,000 in East Jerusalem). Jews 76.4% (67.1% born in Israel, 22.6% born in Europe or America, 5.9% born in Africa, 4.2% born in Asia), non-Jews 23.6% ( mostly Arabs) (2004).
Population density: 360 inhabitants per km²
Population growth: 1.584% per year (2011, CIA)
Capital: Jerusalem (731,730 inhabitants, 2006)
Highest point: Har Meron, 1,208 m
Lowest point: Dead Sea, -408 m, lowest point on earth
Form of government: Israel has been a republic since its foundation on May 14, 1948. There is no written constitution, but several laws are constitutional in some areas. The Israeli Parliament (Knesset) has 120 members.
Administrative divisions: 6 districts (mehozot, singular: mehoz): Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern and Tel Aviv.
Prime Minister: Benjamin Netanyahu, since March 21, 2009
Head of state: President Schimon Peres, since July 15, 2007
Language: The official languages in Israel are New Hebrew and Arabic. English and Yiddish are widely spoken, as are the languages of the countries of origin of the immigrants (e.g. Hungarian, Romanian, Spanish, Russian, French or German).
Religion: 76.4% Jews, 16% Muslims, 1.7% Arab Christians, 0.4% other Christians, 1.6% Druze, 3.9% unspecified (2004).
Local time: CET + 2 h. Summer time valid from March 28 to October 5: CET
The time difference to Central Europe is + 1 h all year round (except for the period between September 16 and end of October: 0 h).
International dialing code: +972
Mains voltage: 220 V, 50 Hz. Three-pin plugs are used, usually adapters are available in hotels or can be bought on site in shops.
Israel is located on the land bridge between Africa and Asia on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, neighboring countries are Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan in the east and Egypt in the southwest. The Palestinian Autonomous Territories are largely in the West Bank and Gaza. In the south, Israel shares the Gulf of Aqaba and thus the Red Sea.
The southern border strip with Lebanon has been occupied by Israel since the First Lebanon War in 1982. Except for the Shebaa farms, this security zone was cleared by Israel in May 2000.
In the Six Day War of 1967, Israel conquered the southwestern Gaza Strip and the eastern West Bank. Israel also occupied the Golan Heights in Syria and the 60,000 sq km Sinai Peninsula ( Egypt ). The Yom Kippur War in 1973 resulted in shifts in the border line on the Suez Canal and on the Golan Heights. Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 and returned the Sinai Peninsula in 1982. The conflict with Syria over the Golan continues.
In 1994, the Washington Declaration made peace between Jordan and Israel. Since then, Israel has handed over the administration of the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority. The status of the areas has not yet been finalized.
The north-south extension of Israel is 470 km, in the west-east direction 135 km are reached, at the narrowest point only 15 km.
The country can be divided into four regions: Mediterranean coast, central hilly landscape, Jordan valley and Negev desert.
The coastal plain on the Mediterranean stretches from the border to Lebanon to Gaza in the south, only interrupted by the Carmel Cape in Haifa Bay. The plain is about 40 km wide in the region of Gaza, but narrows to the north, and is only 5 km wide at the Lebanese border. The soil is fertile, under subtropical conditions wine and citrus fruits are mainly grown here. The Sharon plane between Haifa and Tel Aviv is the most densely populated. The region’s rivers are short, with the exception of two (Kischon and Jarkon), which only carry seasonal water.
To the east of the coastal plain is a hilly landscape cut through by numerous valleys in the center of the country. In its northern area are the elevations of the upper and lower Galilee, in the southern area the mountains and fertile valleys of Samaria. In the south of Jerusalem is Judea with relatively barren hills. The average height of the hilly landscape is about 610 m, the highest elevation with 1,208 m is the mountain Meron (1208 m) Galilee. The largest valley, the Jezreel plain, which is up to 19 km wide, extends from Haifa 48 km to the southeast to the Jordan.
The Jordan Valley lies to the east of the hilly landscape, a short section of the Great Rift Valley. The 322 km long Jordan is the longest river in the country has three source rivers in the north of Israel: Banijas, Dan and Hazbani, especially the Banyas source is popular with tourists due to the subtropical landscape. After flowing through the Hule Plain, the Jordan reaches the 165 square km lake of Galilee. With a volume of 3 km³, the lake is Israel’s most important water reservoir. The Jordan emerges again in the south of the lake and flows into the dead sea, which is drained and very salty. The 1,020 sq km Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth at -408 m. In the south of the Dead Sea, the rift continues in the Arava valley (border with Jordan) to the Gulf of Aqaba.
The Negev desertbegins approximately at Beerscheba and extends to Eilat in the south. At around 12,000 square kilometers, it takes up more than half of Israel’s area. From a geographical point of view, the Negev belongs to the Sinai desert.
Population in Israel
This map of the population distribution in Israel was created by the Worldmapper team. Densely populated areas appear bloated, the area of sparsely populated areas is reduced. The shape of the grid has been preserved; an underlying map with the original geographical extent helps interpret the map. The distorted map should help to present abstract statistical information clearly.
The climate in Israel is largely influenced by the location between the dry, subtropical Sahara and Arab deserts and the humid, subtropical of the Levant. Despite the small size, there are several climatic zones in Israel, which are mainly determined by the altitude, the geographical latitude and the distance to the Mediterranean. While the climatic conditions in the north are moderate, the southern part of the country is hot. The Mediterranean coast has a subtropical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters.
The coldest month is January with average temperatures between 6 and 15 ° C, in the hottest period from July to August the values reach 22 to 33 ° C. In summer there is high humidity on the Mediterranean coast, in the interior (Jordan Valley and Negev) it remains relatively dry. The most rain (around 70%), some with storms and hail, falls between November and March, while from June to September there is usually no rain. In the extreme south, an average of only 30 mm per year, this value increases in a northerly direction and reaches more than 900 mm in the border region with Lebanon. The rainfall in the Negev desert varies greatly from year to year. Snow can fall at higher altitudes in winter, and snow can lie on the Hermon for several months a year.