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.Read more...
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
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.