10 Things About Israel
Stand for Israel | April 24, 2023
This week we celebrate two important Israeli holidays—Yom HaZikaron, which is Israel’s Memorial Day, and Yom HaAtzmaut, which is Israel’s Independence Day. In honor of these special days, we share with you 10 things that you might not know about Israel:
- Israel – Eretz Israel (The Land of Israel) is what the Jewish people have traditionally called the Holy Land, and this name was considered when the modern state of Israel was founded, along with Zion and Judea. But the name “Israel” was decided upon.
- Israel is a tiny country, only the size of the state of New Jersey!
- Israel is also a relatively young country. Despite its thousands of years of history as a people, the modern state of Israel is only 75 years old—having won her independence in 1948.
- Hebrew is the official language of Israel, with 90% of the people able to speak it. Arabic is also recognized. Most signs in Israel feature both languages, as well as English. And on the streets of Israel, you’ll hear many more languages—Israel is a nation of olim (immigrants), so you might run into Israelis from Ukraine and elsewhere around the former Soviet Union, from South America, from Europe, or from Ethiopia!
- While Israel is a Jewish state, for the Jewish people, created from the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel is also the Middle East’s only democracy, and a place that welcomes people of any faith—Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze, or anyone else.
- The Israel Defense Forces is Israel’s military, protecting the nation from her enemies on all sides. At the age of 18, most Israelis enter IDF service—women for two years, and men for almost three years, with reserve duty after their active service ends.
- Israel is often called the “Startup Nation”—it has the most startups per capita of any nation, and the second most overall, behind its greatest ally, the United States.
- Israel’s three largest cities are Tel Aviv (known for its beaches and night life), Haifa (a harbor city, built on the slopes of Mount Carmel), and Jerusalem (the Holy City, known for its Old City).
- But there are biblical sites all across Israel—it IS the Holy Land, after all! From the Sea of Galilee to the Red Sea, God’s Word truly comes alive when you visit Israel, the land where the Bible happened!
- When in Israel, as when visiting anywhere, the food is a highlight. From shakshuka to hummus, from falafel to Israeli salad, Israeli cuisine is flavored by the fact that Israel is a land of immigrants—Mizrachi, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi Jewish traditions mixed with Arab, Ethiopian, and countless others have made Israeli food truly unique.