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Geography >> Middle East >> Israel History and Timeline


Capital: Jerusalem

Population: 8,519,377

The Geography of Israel

Borders: Egypt, Jordan, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza Strip, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea

Country of Israel Map
Total Size: 20,770 square km

Size Comparison: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Geographical Coordinates: 31 30 N, 34 45 E

World Region or Continent: Middle East

General Terrain: Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley

Geographical Low Point: Dead Sea -408 m

Geographical High Point: Har Meron 1,208 m

Climate: temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas

Major Cities: Tel Aviv-Yafo 3.219 million; Haifa 1.027 million; JERUSALEM (capital) 768,000 (2009), Rishon LeZion

Major Landforms: Negev Desert, Judean Desert, Judean Hills, Israeli Coastal Plain, Mount Carmel, Jezreel Valley, Hula Valley, Galilean Hills, Mount Herman, Mount Meron

Major Bodies of Water: Jordan River, Dan River, Yarmouk River, Sea of Galilee, Lake Hula, Dead Sea, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea

Famous Places: Jerusalem, Masada, Western Wall, Sea of Galilee, Temple Mount, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Mount of Olives, Tower of David, Gethsemane, Church of the Nativity, Dead Sea, Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, Caesarea National Park, Dome of the Rock

Economy of Israel

Major Industries: high-technology projects (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics, fiber optics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, and tobacco, caustic soda, cement, construction, metals products, chemical products, plastics, diamond cutting, textiles, footwear

Agricultural Products: citrus, vegetables, cotton; beef, poultry, dairy products

Natural Resources: timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand

Major Exports: machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles and apparel

Major Imports: raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, consumer goods

Currency: new Israeli shekel (ILS); note - NIS is the currency abbreviation; ILS is the International Organization

Districts of Israel
(click for larger view)
National GDP: $237,000,000,000

Government of Israel

Type of Government: parliamentary democracy

Independence: 14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

Divisions: The country of Israel is divided into six districts including Northern, Haifa, Center, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Southern, and Judea and Samaria. Each district is then further divided into sub-districts. The largest of the districts by population is the Center district. The largest by area is the Southern district.

National Anthem or Song: Hatikvah (The Hope)

National Symbols:
Country of Israel Flag
Description of flag: The flag of Israel was adopted on October 28, 1948. It has a white background (field) with two horizontal blue stripes across the top and the bottom. At the center of the flag is a blue Star of David. The Star of David represents the religion of Judaism and the stripes represent the stripes on a Jewish prayer shawl called a tallit.

National Holiday: Independence Day, 14 May (1948); note - Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday may occur in April or May.

Other Holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kipper, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Hanukkah, Fast of Esther, Passover, Independence Day, Feast of Weeks, Purim

The People of Israel

Languages Spoken: Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language

Nationality: Israeli(s)

Religions: Jewish 76.4%, Muslim 16%, Arab Christians 1.7%, other Christian 0.4%, Druze 1.6%, unspecified 3.9% (2004)

Origin of the name Israel: The name "Israel" comes from the patriarch Jacob in the Bible. Jacob was given the name Israel from God after he wrestled with an angel. Jacob had twelve sons who then became the twelve tribes of Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu
Famous People:

Geography >> Middle East >> Israel History and Timeline

** Source for population (2019 est.) is United Nations. GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.

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