- Population: 7.2 million
- Area: :20,700 km
- Capital: Jerusalem
- Major languages: Hebrew, Arabic
- Major religion: Judaism
- Life expectancy: 77 (men), 81 (women)
- Monetary unit: 1 New Israeli Shakel
The State of Israel is one travel destination that is popular not simply for its amazing sights, sounds, and smell. The tiny-but-never-trivial nation is important to billions of people for its key role in shaping and moving the faith and culture of modern societies the world over. It is acknowledged the accolade of “The Holy Land” for not only is this birthplace of Christianity and Judaism, but of Christ more significantly. Israel is also one of the holiest sites for Islam. Indeed, Israel is a feast for the eyes, the mind and the heart because apart from its nature spectacle, the whole lot of Israel seems to have a story and history to tell. This small democratic nation is perhaps the single most country where every city or cliff is legendary and known to man. Its fame is by itself and not just because of Zohan, which no less portrayed in parody the power and advancement of the Israeli Defense Forces. Israel’s modern fame also circumscribes its great Jewish invention, the martial art of Krav Maga.
Thus called the the land chosen by God for more reasons than one, this place is truly breathtaking and touching for its people, landscape, and energy. No wonder as Israel maintains its peaceful stance in the face of violence. Israel is a vibrant rainbow- beautiful, colourful, and present forever. Israel, or Palestine, whatever your politics, is one perfect travel destination for its fantastic mystical blend of the past and present. Every stone has indeed seen so much. The biblical promise seems to come into fruition as Israel has fully become a rich and developed democratic nation. Will it pay to add that Israel has an incredible beach scene? I figured.
Israel (31 30 N, 34 45 E), despite its small size and location, is geographically diverse in many ways possible of this 22,072 km2 land. Highlands and mountains like the ranges of Carmel, Galilee, and Golan graze the north of Israel, while the Negev desert shrouds the south. Coastal plains (Israeli) roll out from inland to the shores of the Mediterranean-the abode of more or less 70% of the country’s population.
The highest point in all of Israel is the Har Meron with an altitude of 1,208 metres. Aside from this, the Dead Sea is also a very important geo feature because it is the lowest point on the surface of the earth, well below sea level -408 metres down. And while the Dead Sea connotes death and the non-living, Lake TIberia is the source of life for the Israelis. This great diverse landscape explains why of all the Mediterranean states, Israel has the most number of plant species in the region.
Israel has an average temperate Mediterranean climate temperate, especially to the coast, cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa wherein summers are stinking hot, and the winters, rainy. To the northern mountainous regions, even in Jerusalem, winters get exceptionally cold, windy and snowy. In very rare occasions, summers get really hot that temperature at one point rose to 53.7°C-the highest recorded temperature in Asia. Be calm to know this was back in the 40’s though. Utilizing what seems like a disadvantage, Israel is the leading nation in solar energy use.
In 2010, the number of Israelis climbed to 7.5 million, 5.7 million or which are Jewish, 10% are Russian immigrants, and the rest are mostly Arab. Correspondingly, HEBREW is the official language, the language of the state, of the majority of the people here, whereas ARABIC, of the Arab minority. ENGLISH is proficiently and widely used here, with television programs mostly broadcasted in English. English is also taught from primary school, while RUSSIAN is usually spoken by the Russian minority.
Truthfully, Israel is the quintessence of amity of religions and cultures as Jews (80.5%) coexist with Muslims (16%), Christians (2%), and Druze (1.5%), as in Jerusalem’s shared significance among Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Israel is vital like that, the venue of the pivotal events to these religions to be exact. Hence, it is the most celebrated religious destination in the whole world.
Religious tourism or tourism per se, is one of the best industries in Israel. It is a pilgrimage destination for the Christian world as this is the historical place where Christianity’s foundation was built for thousands of years. The most famous historical sites are those read from the bible, from Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem to these other places where he and other prophets and disciples lived and moved such as the Sea of Galilee, Nazareth Village, Capernaum, Cana, Armageddon, Mount Karkom, the Fortress of Masada and the Mount of the Beatitudes. Jerusalem is the jewel to Israel’s crown, and the ideal site to start the traveller’s Israeli voyage. Israel is also a famous site for archaeological finds like Jesus’ boat at Ginosar or the Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran.
Need it be said, the country also pride on its beach, sand, and sun as one of the best getaways in the Mediterranean like FIlat, while its desert and mountain terrains, like the Negev Desert with its Ramon Crater and Mount Arabel have been the favourites among new frontier trekkers. Ein Gedi is a wonderful cliff and fall landscape where David and the modern Israelis and tourists come for a secret hideaway, or the Dead Sea, a renowned nature spa experience. Extreme sports are a budding activity here like surfing, sailing, and skiing and what better venue than, say, the Sea of Galilee or the Jordan River, the holiest of waters!
And what better activity than to explore the prized and delectable cuisine of the times enjoyed by the legendary Jesus Christ, Moses, etc. Israeli cuisine, which generally refers to the entire gastronomy of the land, takes from the influence of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Spanish, German and Eastern European. Falafel served in pita is the national dish. These are small fried balls of fun made from mashed chickpeas and is served in a round pita bread with a combination hummus, salad, and potato fries. Hummus which is pureed chickpeas and olive oil is a ubiquitous side and dip as pointed out by Zohan himself. Tehina or ground sesame seeds might seem a little powerful, flavour, and aromatic, but it is a standard condiment, while matbuha or cooked red peppers and tomatoes and baba ganoush are Israeli specialities that are meant not to be missed. Shawarma is Israel’s version of a complete meal in a sandwich, and the streets leave the best place to enjoy this. The aroma of freshly grilled beef or lamb will tell you that no one makes it better, just like their desserts.
Israelis having a sweet tooth might perhaps be an indication that Jesus did too. But the most famous desserts to date are of the middle-eastern varieties like bakhlava. European cuisine also found its way to the Israelis holy stomachs through the rolled-up chocolate or cinnamon pastry, the rugelach. Krembos, a round biscuit topped with egg foam and coated with chocolate is a winter time favourite, and for the sweltering summer months, colourful popsicles called kartivim.
Isreali cuisine is diverse, rich, and essentially Mediterranean, even now, more than ever when world cuisine is at hand, from Chinese, Japanese, French and Italian which can only mean a good direction for Israeli cuisine as it foresees a development of more variations, more flavours. Take the bagel, for instance, which has been a part of Jewish cuisine for the last 400 years or so. This diversity, for the most part, is restricted to Kosher Laws which forbid the common South-Central Asian combination of meat and dairy, and, in addition, the consumption of pork and shellfish. Perhaps this has something to do with Jesus casting off the evil spirits, driving them to the pigs’ bodies. Surprising, however, is the fact that Israel is a world leader in the dairy industry, but to not enjoy it with meat is a true sin.
In the midst of security concerns, many people are undaunted about coming here, as it is the greatest key to understanding the past, as well as who we have become as modern beings of the world as a result of this one nation’s thousands of years of wars and undertaking. To most, navigating through the land and the roads less travelled in the midst of conflict is fun, original, and terribly irresistible. The people more so make it so worth the while of being here, for it gets pretty interesting to see and be amongst the modern Israelis of this once and ever incredible ancient civilization. Now is the time to be in the chosen land of Israel.
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