Israel: Diverse, creative and free

Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world’s
population, can make claim to the following.

About Israel

Israel stands at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Geographically,
it belongs to the Asian continent. Its western border is the Mediterranean Sea. To the north it is bound by Lebanon and Syria, to the east by
Jordan, and to the south by the Red Sea and Egypt.

Long and narrow in shape, Israel is about 290 miles (470 km) long and
85 miles (135 km) across at its widest point. Its total area is 22,072 sq. km
of which 21,643 sq. km is land area (Sea of Galilee: 164 sq. km.; Dead Sea:
265sq.km.).

Israel’s total land border measures 857 km., its Mediterranean coastline
194 km, and 12 km on the Red Sea.

The majority of Israelis (92%) live in urban communities. One quarter of
the Israeli population lives either in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Rishon LeZion.
Jerusalem is the largest city with 719,900 residents. Most of Israel’s
population is concentrated in the center of the country around Tel Aviv, which
has a population of 378,900.

Largest Cities by Population

Jerusalem 746,300
Tel Aviv –Yafo 392,000
Haifa 267,000
Rishon LeZion 219,500
Ashdod 200,600

Latest Population Figures for Israel

On its Independence Day, April 24th, 2012 the State of Israel’s
population stood at approximately 7,881,000 inhabitants – compared to
806,000 residents who lived in Israel in 1948, according to the Central
Bureau of Statistics data.

Of the total population, 5,931,000 are Jews (75.3 percent) while 1,623,000
million (20.6 percent) are Arabs.  327,000 (4.1 percent) of the people were
classified as “others”, mostly non-Jewish immigrants from the former
Soviet Union or those whose Jewish status is still undetermined by Interior Ministry.

This year the Israeli population grew by 135,000.

The large contributer to the increase was due to natural births. There
were 161,000 births recorded in Israel between the 2011 and 2012 Independence Days. During that same period, 19,000 new immigrants made aliyah to Israel, accounting for the rest of the growth in Israel’s population.

Israel is the only country that…

Israel is the only country that… has a majority of Jews in its population.

Israel is the only country that…is no bigger than Massachusetts, but often gets bigger newspaper headlines than the world’s largest countries.

Israel is the only country that… is very old and very young. The old land of Israel was conquered and destroyed 2,000 years ago. The new, young Israel is being rebuilt by the descendants of the ancient Israelites – the Jews.

Israel is the only country that… plants millions of trees and hardly ever chops any down. The Jews found no forests, only bare, eroded hillsides, when they returned to the Land. Since then they’ve planted more than 150 million trees.

Israel is the only country that… contains the major holy places of the Jewish and Christian religions and is the third holiest site of the Muslim religion.

Israel is the only country that… uses the Hebrew and Arabic words for peace – Shalom and Salaam – Aleikem- as a daily greeting, even though the country has been at war for much of its short life.

Israel is the only country that… prints more than one book each year for each 1,000 in population. Nearly 4,500 books were printed in 1983. That’s the greatest number of books per person in the world.

Israel is the only country that… had to teach many of its citizens their own national language – Hebrew. Israeli scholars had to push, pull and stretch the vocabulary of ancient Hebrew until it could be used to operate computers and jet planes as well as camels and water wheels.