The small (densely populated) State of Israel occupies about 75% of an area long known as Canaan. This historic, volatile spot is significant for Christians, Muslims and Jews alike, as Jerusalem is recognized as a holy city by all three religious faiths. AdditionalCanaan/Palestine/Israel history. The Old Testament of the Bible (the Jewish Torah), describes how, after being led out of Egypt by Moses into this land of Canaan, Hebrew tribes, descendants of the 12 sons of Jacob, settled, and later formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Centuries passed, and then (by decree) on May 14, 1948, (an agreed to partition of Palestine) between the Jews and Arabs, and one later recommended by a special committee of the United Nations in 1947, was the force that formed the official State of Israel. A map of that suggested land division. That agreement was later summarily rejected by the Arabs, as it conflicted with their long-held historical ties to Palestine. Today the West Bank (shown on the map above) is partially Israeli occupied, but Israel, in September, 2005, withdrew all Israeli settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip. Nonetheless, Israel controls maritime, airspace, and most access to the Gaza Strip. Recently, the country of Israel and Hezbollah forces within Lebanon are fighting a bloody war; one with thousands of civilians caught in the middle. On Monday, August 14th, 2006, a cease fire took effect, and hopefully, it will prevail until an international peace-keeping force is put in place.
Facts and Figures
- Name Israel (long form)
- State of Israel
- Population 6,276,900
- Population & Density (all countries) here
- Capital City Jerusalem (712,000)
- Currency New Israeli Shekel (ILS)
- Currency Converter here
- Languages Hebrew (official) Arabic and English (widely spoken)
- Flag here
- National Day May 12
- Religions Jewish (75%), Muslim (15%), others
Latitude/Longitude (Capital City) 31� 46′ N, 35� 14′ E Relative Location Israel is in both the northern and eastern hemispheres. It’s positioned in the Middle East, a recognized geographical region of western Asia. The country is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Aqaba, Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee, Jordan River, and by the countries of Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.
Coastline 170 miles (273 km)
Land Areas (land) 7,849 sq miles (20,330 sq km)
(water) 170 sq miles (440 sq km)
(TOTAL) 8,019 sq miles (20,770 sq km)
Land Area (all countries) here
Landforms The country of Israel has four distinct geographical areas:
A fertile (and mostly flat) coastal plain fronts the Mediterranean Sea coastline; rolling hills dissect the country, including the central Samarian hills and the mountains and hills of Galilee in the north; the Great Rift Valley runs south to the Gulf of Aqaba along its southern border with Jordan, and the Negev Desert (part of the Sinai Desert) dominates the southern landscape.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point (below sea level) on the planet. The River Jordon is the most significant river, and it forms the natural border between Israel and Jordan.
- Highest Point Mt. Meron – 3,963 ft. (1,208m)
- Lowest Point Dead Sea – (-1,349 ft.) (- 411 m) below sea level
- Land Divisions 6 districts, including: Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern and Tel Aviv.