Israel - At a glance


Israel at a glance

Location Middle East

Neighbouring countries Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Area 20,330km²

Climate Varies according to latitude: temperate in central and northern regions, hot and dry in the south

Status Parliamentary democracy

Population 8,654,900 (Central Bureau of Statistics April 2017)

Life expectancy Women 84.4, men 80.6 (2016)

Capital Tel Aviv (de facto), Jerusalem (contested)

Other main towns Haifa, Ashdod, Beersheba, Netanya, Hadera, Nazareth, Eilat, Tiberias, Safed

Economy Cut diamonds, technology and agricultural products are the major exports

GDP Purchasing power parity US$297 billion; per capita US$34,800 (2016)

Languages Hebrew and Arabic are official languages. English and Russian are widely spoken.

Religion Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Druze

Currency New Israeli Shekel (₪/NIS); for up-to-date rates, go to www.xe.com.

National airline El Al

National airport Ben-Gurion International Airport

International telephone code +972

Time GMT +2

Electrical voltage 220V/50Hz

Weights and measures Metric

Flag White and blue with the Star of David in the centre

National anthem Hatikvah

National emblem Menorah

National memorial site Mount Herzl

National sport Football (soccer)

Public holidays Rosh Hashanah (September), Yom Kippur (September/October), Sukkot (September/October), Simchat Torah (September/October), Hanukkah (December), Purim (February/March), Passover (March/April), Holocaust Memorial Day (April/May), National Memorial Day (April/May), Independence Day (April/May), Shavuot (May/June), Tisha Bav (July/August). Dates vary according to the Jewish calendar.

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Israel articles

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The world’s best lesser-known wine regions

We’ve all heard of Burgundy and Tuscany, but what about Kosovo and Israel? 

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The world’s best Roman sites (outside Rome)

Rome may have been the epicentre of the Roman Empire, but the reach of this vast civilisation was far greater than just the Italian capital.

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A weekend in Tel Aviv

A trip to Israel would most certainly be a biased one without a stop in Tel Aviv, the most Israeli of Israel’s cities; here's how to spend a weekend. 

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Related guides and other books

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