Israel Country Facts

יִשְׂרָאֵל‎ – Yisrā’el
Capital city Jerusalem
Surface 20,770 km²
Population 9,439,000
Road network length 17,870 km
Length of highway network 571 km
First highway 1969
Motorway name כωש מσυgl
Traffic drives Right
License plate code IL

Israel is a country in Asia, in the Middle East. The country has more than 9 million inhabitants and the capital is Jerusalem.

The highways of Israel.


Israel is an elongated country in the north-south direction. The country borders Lebanon and Syria to the north, Jordan to the east and Egypt to the south. The country is also bordered by two seas, the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea, and the Dead Sea is also partly located in Israel. Israel also borders the Palestinian territories, which are partially under Israel’s control, especially in the West Bank (West Bank of the Jordan River). Gaza has self-government. The capital of Israel is Jerusalem, centrally located in the country, and partly on the West Bank. Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital is not internationally recognized, so most foreign embassies are in Tel Aviv, but the bulk of the Israeli government is based in Jerusalem. There are no definite borders with the Palestinian territories. Israel also controls the Golan Heights, and there are UN-controlled buffer zones with Lebanon and Syria.

The country measures 425 kilometers from north to south and a maximum of 110 kilometers from east to west. Some parts of the country are much narrower, parts of the West Bank and the Mediterranean coast are only 15 kilometers away. The southern Eilat is only 10 kilometers between Jordan and Egypt. Saudi Arabiais also only 15 kilometers from Eilat. The country has various climates: the most striking is the Mediterranean climate along the coast and in the north and the desert climate in the south. The north of the country is hilly to mountainous and in the middle are the hills of Samaria and Judea, which are partly in Israel. The highest point is Mount Meron with 1208 meters, the lowest point is the Dead Sea which is 408 meters below sea level. The highest point on the Golan Heights controlled by Israel is Mount Hermon at 2,236 meters. The main river is the Jordan, there are no other rivers of importance. Large parts of Israel have become urbanized, especially in the center of the Gush Dan conurbation with Tel Aviv, among others, and in the north around cities such as Haifa and Nazareth.


City Population (2018)
Jerusalem 901,000
Tel Aviv 444,000
Haifa 281,000
Rishon LeZion 250,000
Petah Tikva 240,000
Ashdod 223,000
Netanya 214,000
Be’er Sheva 208,000
Bnei Brak 194,000
Holon 193,000
Ramat Gan 156,000
Rehovot 138,000
Ashkelon 138,000
Bat Yam 129,000
Beit Shemesh 114,000
Kfar Saba 100,000

Israel has a rapidly growing population. 1.4 million inhabitants were registered in 1950, which grew to 6.4 million in 2000 and is now 9 million. Israel is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Israel’s population is highly concentrated in the center and, to a lesser extent, the north of the country. The south consists largely of the Negev desert, which is virtually unpopulated except for a few places. At its center is the Gush Dan conurbation around Tel Aviv, Israel’s economic center. The port city of Haifa is the largest city in the north.

In Israel there are 16 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, relatively many for a country with 9 million inhabitants. As a result, the country is highly urbanized. Jerusalem is the largest city with 901,000 inhabitants (including East Jerusalem).

The country is seen as the homeland of the Jews and is therefore also called the Jewish State. About 75% of the inhabitants are Jewish, 20% Arab and 5% other. This includes East Jerusalem and excludes the population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the 1990s, Israel’s population grew strongly due to the migration of Jews from the former Soviet Union.

Hebrew is spoken in Israel. Arabic has a special status. Many immigrant languages ​​are also spoken, especially Russian due to migration from the former Soviet Union and Amharic due to the migration of Jews from Ethiopia. French is also spoken. English was an official language in the early 20th century, but has lost that status. However, it is still relatively widely spoken and many Israeli media also have an English version.


Israel has a highly developed economy and is considered the most developed country in the Middle East and Western Asia. The country has been a member of the OECD since 2010. Israel is known for science and technology. The country has a very large start-up sector and the country develops a lot of technology, making it less dependent on other countries. Spending on research & development as a percentage of GDP is the highest in the world. The country has a space program and in 1988 was the 8th country to put satellites into orbit. The country also has a developed agricultural sector to be self-sufficient. Due to the low rainfall, many water-saving technologies have been developed in Israel. Tourism plays an important role in Israel’s economy, especially religious tourism,


The territory of what is now Israel has been occupied since ancient times by tribes, kingdoms, dynasties and empires of various origins. The area has been under the rule of the Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and Arabs. From the late Middle Ages, the area came under the rule of the Ottomans. The area remained under Turkish rule until the end of World War I, when the Ottomans were defeated by the British, who established a British Mandate territory there. From the late Middle Ages, streams of Jewish migrations to Israel, also known as the aliyah, followed. The British limited Jewish migration to Palestine from 1939. During World War II, many Jews fled illegally to Palestine. Immediately after World War II, UN-led plans were made to divide Israel into Arab and Jewish parts. This led to a civil war in 1947-1948. In 1948 David Ben-Gurion declared independence from Israel, after which Egypt, Transjordan, Iraq and Syria occupied parts of the area. This led to the first Israeli-Arab War of 1948. The war ended in 1949 with a ceasefire. Israel established itself as an independent state, Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip. The war ended in 1949 with an armistice. Israel established itself as an independent state, Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip. The war ended in 1949 with an armistice. Israel established itself as an independent state, Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s population grew explosively during the 1950s as many Jews migrated to Israel. During the Suez Crisis of 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal and blocked the Strait of Tiran from Israeli ships. In conjunction with the French and British, Israel invaded the Sinai to regain Western control of the Suez Canal. The military objectives were achieved, but intense pressure from the United States and the Soviet Union ended the conflict, Israel gained better control over the border with Egypt. The Six Day War followed in 1967, in which Israel waged a war on three fronts and won it all, taking control of the West Bank, Sinai and Golan Heights. The Yom Kippur War followed in 1973. in which a coalition of Arab states attacked Israel in the Sinai and Golan Heights. This war ended in an Israeli victory. Although Israel was superior to the Arab armies in military conflicts, it became clear that Israel could not wage war indefinitely with neighboring countries. This led to peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. In 1979 Israel signed a peace agreement with Egypt in which it returned the Sinai. In 1994 a peace agreement with Jordan followed. This resolved major international conflicts, but not internal conflicts with the Palestinians. Israel was also regularly involved in conflicts, such as wars in Lebanon in 1982 and 2006. In 1981, Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear power plant under construction and during the First Gulf War, Iraq fired Scudra missiles at Israel. The unrest in the West Bank was reduced by military operations and terrorist attacks greatly reduced by the construction of a separation wall. Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and destroyed Israeli settlements in the area, but military operations have continued in the Gaza Strip with some regularity since then.


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