Israel

Israel is a Mediterranean sunny country with a warm climate, golden sandy beaches, incredibly beautiful canyons, deserts and blooming gardens and sacred cities. The lands of Israel are considered holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, and millions of pilgrims visit the sacred sites every year.

Popular destinations in Israel

Top places and attractions in Israel

Street in Tel Aviv
Rothschild Boulevard
Market in Tel Aviv
Carmel Market
Church in Tel Aviv
Saint Peter Church, Jaffa
Street in Tel Aviv
Dizengoff Street
Museum in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Museum in Tel Aviv
Liebling Haus
Fountain in Tel Aviv
Mosaic fountain
Square in Tel Aviv
Dizengoff Square
Museum in Tel Aviv
Ilana Goor Museum
Bridge in Tel Aviv
The Bridge of Desires
Recreation Park in Tel Aviv
Abrasha Park
Recreation Park in Tel Aviv
Charles Clore Park
Recreation Park in Tel Aviv
Midron Jaffa Park
Square in Tel Aviv
Kedumim Square
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Port in Tel Aviv
Jaffa Port
Tower in Tel Aviv
Jaffa Clock Tower

Israel on map

The TOP 20 most popular places of Israel are displayed on the map. Show all

Overview

The Wailing Wall (The Western Wall of the Temple Mount)

The population of Israel is more than 9 million people, most of whom are Jews (about 75%), followed by Arabs (about 22%). At the same time, more than a quarter of Jews are repatriates (people who returned from emigration) in the first generation. Most of the repatriates were from the USSR (894,000 people), who had a significant impact on the development of science and economy of the country after 1970.

Cities of Israel

Israel is divided into 7 administrative districts, which include 75 cities and agglomerations. The capital is Jerusalem, which is also the most populous city. Other major cities are Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Petah Tikva, Ashdod and Netanya.

Taelat Beach and Promenade in Tel Aviv

Economy

Israel is one of the most industrially and economically developed countries in the Middle East. Public investments in the development of the high-tech defense industry, IT, research, medical and other projects with high export income have allowed the country to achieve high GDP and growth rates.

The country attracts the largest investments – scientific and research centers of the largest IT giants are located in Israel. Israel is considered the second Silicon Valley and the forge of "startups" – it has the largest number of "unicorn companies" (companies with a market valuation of more than 1 billion US dollars) per capita in the world.

The Old city of Jaffa is one of the most beautiful areas of Tel Aviv

Since 2020, Israel has been among the ten most expensive countries in the world to live in, and in 2022 Tel Aviv was recognized as the most expensive city in the world, overtaking Paris, Singapore and Zurich.

Climate

Israel, despite its relatively small territory (about 22 thousand km2), is located in four climatic zones: The climate is temperate in the north, subtropical near the Mediterranean Sea, and semi-arid and desolate in the south.

Depending on the location, average temperatures can range from +24 to +37 in summer, and +6 to +24 in winter. There is almost no precipitation in summer, and in winter cyclones from the Mediterranean Sea can bring prolonged, but not heavy rains with hail and thunderstorms.

The History of Israel

The Emergence of Israel

Almost everything we know about the ancient history of Israel is described in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). The origin of Israel can be traced back to Abraham, who was a descendant of Shem (son of Noah) and is the father of many nations. He is considered both the father of Judaism (through his son Isaac) and Islam (through his son Ishmael).

It is believed that the descendants of Abraham were enslaved by the Egyptians for hundreds of years before settling in Canaan (a historical area that in ancient times was located from the northern Phoenician city of Arvad, to the southern city of Gaza), which is located partly on the territory of modern Israel, also Palestine, Lebanon, western Jordan and western Syria.

The word Israel comes from Abraham's grandson, Jacob, whom the Jewish God in the Bible called "Israel" for the steadfastness and strength of Jacob. The tribes of Israel were named after the 12 descendants of Jacob, who divided the lands and formed the state of Israel on the server, where King David ruled.

King Solomon and the First Temple

King David's son, King Solomon, built the First Temple in ancient Jerusalem, which was subsequently destroyed by the Babylonian Empire under the leadership of King Nebuchadnezzar II, and the people were expelled.

The Return of the Israelites and the Second Temple

During the reign of Cyrus II, the Persians conquered the New Babylonian Kingdom, which allowed the Jews to return to their lands. At the same time, the construction of the Second Temple began.

A few centuries after Alexander the Great captured the Persian Empire, an uprising took place, led by Matthias (Hebrew for "gift of Yahweh") and his son Judah (Maccabee). Judas rededicated the desecrated Temple and founded the royal family of the Hasmonean Jews (or Maccabees), who ruled Judea until the capture of Jerusalem by the Roman commander Pompeii.

King Herod and the reconstruction of the Second Temple

Being part of the Roman Empire, the Senate appointed Herod governor (procurator) of Judea. It was under Herod that the reconstruction of the Second Temple began, which was continued by his grandson Agrippa I and great-grandson Agrippa II. Herod doubled the area of the Temple Mount by building two powerful supporting walls: the southern wall 280 meters long and the western wall 485 meters long. Stones weighing up to 100 tons were used in the construction. The reconstruction work turned the Temple into an extraordinarily beautiful architectural structure that amazed the imagination.

The Jewish Uprising and the destruction of the Second Temple

The subsequent constant changes of procurators, looting of the temple and executions caused outrage among the people. The spontaneous uprising soon turned into a full-scale war that spread throughout Judea. To suppress the uprisings, Rome sent legate Vespasian, who, along with his son Titus, besieged Jerusalem for almost a year. Subsequently, the city was captured, the Second Temple was destroyed, and the Jews were expelled.

The southwestern part of the Temple Mount and the ruins of the Second Temple after its destruction

After those events, for many centuries the territories of present-day Israel were ruled by Arabs, Fatimids, Seljuk Turks, Crusaders, Egyptians, Mamelukes, Islamists and the Ottoman Empire until 1917.

The modern history of Israel

In 1917, at the height of the First World War, British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour presented a letter of intent in support of the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, which later became known as the Balfour Declaration.

After the end of the war, Britain took control of the territories of Palestine (modern Israel, Palestine and Jordan) and ruled Palestine until the United Nations approved a plan to partition Palestine into a Jewish-Arab state in 1947.

Israeli independence and the Arab-Israeli war

In May 1948, Israel was officially declared an independent State. David Ben-Gurion, who was at that time the leader of the Jewish labor movement in Palestine and chairman of the Jewish Agency of Israel, became Prime Minister.

After the declaration of independence of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon invaded the region during the so-called Arab-Israeli war of 1948. The war continued until 1949, when, as part of a temporary armistice agreement, the West Bank became part of Jordan, and the Gaza Strip became the territory of Egypt.

The Suez crisis

In 1956, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser seized the Suez Canal, but with the help of British and French troops, Israel attacked the Sinai Peninsula and retook the Suez Canal.

The Six-Day War

In 1967, Israel defeated the main parts of the armed forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria in six days. After this short war, Israel more than doubled its territory, taking control of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank and the Golan Heights and the eastern part of Jerusalem.

The Doomsday War

In 1973, Egypt and Syria launched air strikes against Israel on the holy day of Yom Kippur. The fighting continued for two weeks until the UN adopted a resolution to end the war.

The struggle for disputed territories

Since 1981, there have been two wars with Lebanon, wars with Hamas and years of Palestinian intifadas, accompanied by violence and terrorist attacks.

Clashes between Israelis and Palestinians are still an urgent problem. Key territories are divided, but some of them, including Jerusalem, are claimed by both groups.

What language is spoken in Israel

The official language of Israel is Hebrew, while a special status is legally assigned to Arabic: official documents are translated into it, part of the airtime of television and radio is broadcast on it, middle and high school classes are taught in schools, all medicines and product descriptions are duplicated in Arabic.

On road signs and signage, you can find transliteration of Hebrew into Latin, or directly the Hebrew text and its translation into Arabic and English.

The sign is in three languages

Russian Russians have a large number of repatriates in the country (according to some estimates, about 20% of the population), therefore, in some ATMs and payment machines for transport, you can also see a translation into Russian.

The flag of Israel

It was adopted on October 28, 1948. According to the official version, the hexagram "Magen David" (translated as "Shield of David") is placed between two blue stripes on a canvas resembling the Jewish prayer bandage talit. Its more common name is the "Star of David".

The flag of Israel

National currency

The monetary unit of Israel and the Palestinian Authority is the "New Israeli Shekel" (abbreviated NIS or ש'ח), which was put into circulation on September 4, 1985. The symbolic designation is — ₪. According to ISO standards, the name ILS has been assigned. All options are used to indicate the cost of goods and services.

Shabbat

The seventh day of the week in Judaism, which falls on the Sabbath. On this day, the Torah prescribes Jews to abstain from work, so almost all shops are closed in the country, many cafes and restaurants, gas stations, banks and government agencies do not work. Public transport does not work, except for taxis. Shabbat begins with the onset of Friday evening and ends with the onset of Saturday night (an hour after sunset).

When traveling to Israel, be aware of possible restrictions on Shabbat — Gidza

National holidays in 2023

In Israel, holidays are determined by the cycles of the moon and sun of the Jewish calendar. The Jewish calendar day begins with the sunset of the day before and ends with the onset of night. When visiting the country, keep this fact in mind.

The tenth Tevet (Asara-Betevet) is a day of mourning in memory of the siege of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (Nebuchadnezzar) of Jerusalem and the collapse of the Jerusalem Temple. It is customary to fast and repent on this day. Eating and drinking water is prohibited from dawn until nightfall. In 2023, it falls on January 3 and December 22.

Tu bi-Shvat or "Rosh Hashana la'Ilanot" in Hebrew means "New Year of Trees". The 15th day of the Jewish month of Shvat is celebrated. In 2023, it falls on February 6th. It is not forbidden to work on this day.

Purim is the feast of the salvation of the Jews from King Ahasuerus (Artaxerxes). It is forbidden to work on this day. The celebration in 2023 begins on the evening of March 6 and ends on the night of March 7.

Passover is the holiday of the Exodus from Egypt and the birth of the Jewish people. The holiday celebrates liberation from physical and spiritual slavery. The holidays begin on the evening of April 5 and last until the night of April 13. It is forbidden to work on these days.

Pesach-Sheni or the Second Pesach. It is celebrated a month after the Passover holiday. It is not forbidden to work on this day. In 2023, it falls on May 5th.

Lag ba-Omer is the anniversary of the death of the great sage and Kabbalist Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the book of the Zohar. It is celebrated as a day of great joy: it is customary to have picnics and have fun. It is not forbidden to work. In 2023, it falls on May 9th.

Shavuot — the day of the Sinai Revelation is celebrated. The celebration begins on the evening of May 25 and ends on the night of May 27. It is forbidden to work.

Three weeks of mourning — mourning for the destroyed Temple is coping. It starts on July 6 and ends on July 27. It is not forbidden to work except on Shabbat.

The fifteenth of Ava is celebrated on August 2, it is not forbidden to work.

Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year. It is celebrated from the evening of September 15 to the night of September 17. It is forbidden to work.

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It starts on the evening of September 24 and ends on the night of September 25. It is forbidden to work.

Sukkot or "The Time of our joy." It is celebrated from the evening of September 29 to the night of October 6. It is forbidden to work.

Shmini-Atzeret and Simchat-Torah. It is celebrated from the evening of October 6 to the night of October 8. It is forbidden to work.

Hanukkah is a celebration of light, purity, sincerity and spirituality. It is celebrated from the evening of December 7 to the night of December 15. It is not forbidden to work except on Shabbat.

How to get

By plane

There are three international airports in Israel, the largest of which is Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. Others are located in Eilat and Haifa.

On the ship

A large number of cruise and ferry ships sailing the Mediterranean are moored in Israel.

By car

It is quite difficult to get to Israel by car because of the difficult political relations between Lebanon and Syria. If you have a stamp in your passport about crossing these countries, you will not be allowed to enter Israel. And there is no checkpoint, but there is an option to transport a car by ferry from Greece and Italy.

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April 01, 2024

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