Location: Middle East
Capital: Jerusalem (for now only partly recognized)
Area: 22 072 km2
Population: 8 920 780
Official language: Hebrew
Other spoken languages: Arabic (mainly in the Palestinian territories). English and Russian are widely spread, since many Jews settled in Israel came from Russia.
Ethnic groups: Jews, Arabs (Palestinian and other). Minorities: Samarithans
Currency: ILS (1 USD = 3,64 ILS; 1 EUR = 4,21 ILS)
Basic facts: Israel is a democratic state, formed to be a home for the Jewish people in their land. There are two Palestinian autonomous regions: West Bank and Gaza. Its borders are still in dispute in some areas, as well as the status of the Palestinian territories, which is a part of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
- Israel is a part of the Biblical Holy land, which makes it the spiritually the most special territory on the Earth.
- Although there is a conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews, Israel is still one of the safest countries in the world (currently with the exepcion of Gaza area).
- Israel is one of the most expensive countries in the world.
- Here is the lowest place on the Earth’s dryland: Dead Sea (430 m below sea level), shared between Israel and Jordan.
- Israel authorities don’t put stamps on the passports of the visitors, thus avoiding any evidence that they have been in Israel (however there is still a visa on the passports of the citizens from countries, which are no visa free), to make them possible to travel to Israel’s enemy countries like Iran and few others.
10 best places in Israel:
- Jerusalem: The capital of Israel and the most spiritual city in the world. Full of history and must visit sites like: the Western (Wailing) Wall, Temple Mount (Moriah), Old City, Tower of David, Mount of Olives, Garden Tomb, Church of Holy Sepulchre, Israel Museum, Yad Vashem complex and many others.
- Sea of Galilee: A large lake in the North part of the country, famous with the ministry of Jesus there. Contains many important New Testament sites like Capernaum, Bethsaida, Tabgha, Chorazin, Magdala and others. There is a 60 km road around the lake.
- Tel Aviv: The second largest city of Israel, temporarily recognized as its capital by UN. It is a modern city with a lot of young people’s life, some of the best sea beaches, as well as the old town of Jaffa.
- Haifa: The third largest city of Israel, famous with its Bahaii gardens, as well as the sites related with Prophet Elijah.
- Mount Carmel: A beautiful hill chain southeast of Haifa, with a lot of ancient history and stunning views to the whole North Israel.
- Dead Sea: The lowest dryland place on the Earth. Famous with its super salty water, making you to lie on the surface without sinking. There are few nearby must visit sites like Qumran, Ein-Gedi and Massada fortress.
- Jordan river: The lowest flowing river on the Earth, famous with its history and its baptism sites.
- West Bank historic sites: Some of the main West Bank historic sites include Bethlehem, Herodion (the Tomb of Herod) and Hebron- famous historic and Biblical places in the Palestinian territory.
- Southern desert national parks: The Southern part of Israel is mainly a desert wilderness. There are few national parks worth to visit there, among which the most important is Timna.
- Eilat: The southernmost point of Israel, on the coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea, a famous sea resort. Here you can see some of the most transparant waters in the world, with the local coral reefs and rich sea wildlife.