This is a high-level introduction to Israel, including geography, fun facts, and popular recipes to make.
Hi Reader! This article is written at a very high level regarding life in Israel. This can be a contentious topic, but I tried to remain as neutral and factual in this article as possible. If you have thoughts regarding this conflict, please feel free to share them in the comments. HOWEVER, hate speech and harmful rhetoric will be automatically deleted. Please be respectful in your comments.
Additionally, I am not an expert on Israeli culture or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This article was written with the help of internet research and talking to people on both sides, but I am in no way claiming to know everything about this topic. Keep that in mind as you are reading, and find reputable sources to do a more in-depth dive on this topic in your pursuit to learn more.
- Israel has the highest percentage of recycled water usage with nearly 90% of wastewater being recycled. This is necessary due to the low levels of rainfall for 5 months out of the year.
- Israel has more museums per capita than any other country
- The national animal in Israel is the Israeli Gazelle
- The glue on Israel’s stamps are kosher
- Israel is one of the only countries that has male and female conscription requirements starting at age 18 (meaning that everyone age 18 must serve in the military for 2-3 years)
Israel is a country located in the Middle East and bordered by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. It also borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba.
It is located in a region of the Middle East called the Levant. The geography of the country is made up of the Central Plains, the Judean Hills, the Negev Desert, and the Jordan Rift Valley.
Israel is located on a tectonic fault line, which means that it can be prone to destructive earthquakes. The Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth at 430 meters below sea level, borders Israel and Jordan.
Israeli and Palestinian Conflict
The borders of Israel are one of the most contentious parts of the country due to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. At its bare bones, Israelis and Palestinians have an ongoing argument regarding the borders and control of their two desired nations. Extremists on both sides have resorted to physical acts of violence in the fight to control the land, resulting in tens of thousands of fatalities since 1948.
Israel is defending their Jewish nation, and feels they are owed the land because of its importance in their Jewish history and ancestry and the fact that it was prescribed for this purpose by Britain.
The Palestinians defending the land feel they are owed it because they had control of the land before British colonial involvement handed it over to Israel.
I am not a qualified party to speak on this topic (so much so that my summary probably had issues in itself), so I will share some helpful resources with you that assisted my personal understanding of the topic.
This video from Vox was the most digestible resource for understanding the history of the conflict and what brought it about.
This video from Geography Now, especially from 13:02 – 16:54, details great arguments that support both sides of the conflict so that you can hear where each party is coming from.
Once you understand the basics from the Vox video, this video from Crash Course provides about 2x as much detail (it was only more digestible to me once I understood the conflict on a basic level).
Religion in the Country
Israel is the world’s only Jewish-run state in the world and over half of the world’s entire Jewish population lives there! 73.6% of the country identifies as Jewish, and the remainder of the population identifies mostly as Arabs.
Not all Israelis are Jewish, and the terms “Israeli” and “Palestinian” are more ethnic titles rather than religious. These groups can be made up of people of many religions.
Israel is one of the only countries in the Middle East without abundant access to oil, leaving them to differentiate their economy from other countries located in the same region.
The land in the country is not conducive to agriculture or industrial jobs, so the majority of the economy in the country is fueled by entrepreneurship and tech jobs. Tel Aviv is one of the largest tech hubs in the world, falling shortly below Silicon Valley.
Life in Israel
Life in Israel is, of course, impacted by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in ways. However, everyday life in the country tends to remain fairly civil and calm as long as the conflict is not discussed.
There are about 9 million people living in Israel and 4.9 million people living in the West Bank area.
33% of the population of Israel was born abroad. This is because Israel boasts a unique immigration policy called the Law of Return, or Aliyah, which states that any Jewish person has the right to come to the country as an immigrant. Many nonprofits even sponsor birthright trips in which Jewish young adults can visit Israel for 10 days to learn more about their heritage and history.
Israel has one of the highest standards of living in the Middle East and also a life expectancy of 82.70 years, the 10th highest in the world.
Israel is home to the 3rd largest number of vegans per capita with around 5% of the total population being completely vegan. This goes hand in hand with the kosher laws that many people in Israel follow in which pork is restricted and meat and dairy have to be eaten separately.
Israel is known for being a popular food destination and features some the world’s most beloved foods. Notable foods to order in Israel include