About Israel

Israel
The state Israel is located in the Middle East on the junction of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.

It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea (273 km), Egypt (226 km), Gaza Strip (51 km), Jordan (238 km), Lebanon (238 km), Syria (altitudes of Golan) (76 km), and the West Bank (307 km).

Israel is a narrow, irregularly shaped strip of land with a surface of: 22.770 km²; the country is about 470 kilometers in length from north to south and some 135 kilometers across at its widest point between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean coast and its narrowest point is 10 kilometers.

Israel has four principal regions:

1. The plain along the Mediterranean coast with cities like Tel-Aviv and Netanya.
2. The mountains, which are east of this coastal plain with Jerusalem.
3. The portion of Israel that forms part of the Jordan Valley,
in turn a part of the Great Rift Valley.
4. The Negev which comprises the southern half of the country.

East of the coastal plain lies the central highland region. In the north of this region lie the mountains of Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee; farther in the south are the Samarian Hills and south of Jerusalem are the mainly barren hills of Judea.

The central highlands average is 610 meters in height and reach their highest elevation at Mount Meron, at 1208 meters, in Galilee near Zefat.

East of the central highlands lies the Jordan Rift Valley, what is a small part of the 6500-kilometer-long Syrian-East African Rift. In Israel the Rift Valley is dominated by the Jordan River, Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is the lowest point in the world (-408m).

The Negev desert comprises approximately 12000 square kilometers, more than half of Israel’s total land area. Geographically it is an extension of the Sinai Desert, forming a rough triangle with its base in the north near Beersheba, the Dead Sea and the southern Judean Hills and it has its apex in the southern tip of the country at Eilat.

Climate
Israel’s climate is mediterranean, with mild, moist winters from october through april and hot, dry summers from may through september. The climatic conditions vary by location and terrain, however, and range from subtropical to desert. The northern mountainous areas have great temperature variations, with some freezing and even occasional snow. The mediterranean coastal areas are more humid and mild than most areas inland, with temperatures ranging from about 29° C in august to about 16° C in january. The Negev is hot and dry year-round. The average high temperature there in august is about 40° C. and it sometimes reaches 46° C. In january daytime temperatures in the Negev reach about 21° C. Parts of the southern Negev receive only 2.5 cm. of rain annually. However, the large cities along the mediterranean coast generally get about 50 cm. of rain per year, and the Upper Galilee region receives as much as 112 cm. During some summers, the country receives less rainfall than usual and severe water shortages occur.

Population
Israel has approximately 6.912000 inhabitants.
The population is comprised of 77.2% jews and 15.5% muslims,
2.1% christians (mostly arabs), 1.6% druze and 3.6% not classified by religion.

Languages
Official languages in Israel are hebrew and arabic.
Street names and traffic signs are generally trilingual: hebrew, english and arabic.