Israel & the Palestinian Territories

 

Israel, or Palestine depending on your politics, is one of the world’s oldest travel destinations. Everyone from Moses to Mark Twain has dreamed of going there. The appearance of prophets seems to be dwindling and the Crusaders have long since hung up their swords and shields, but travellers still come in droves, almost magnetically, to this land still considered holy by countless millions. The appeal of Israel’s ancient and holy past may be obvious enough but many new arrivals are surprised to see that it’s much more than a lesson in history. While Jerusalem is a dazzling amalgam of past and present, and a contested hotbed for the world's monotheistic faiths, the whole country is a tightly packed ball of everything from Mt Masada and the Negev desert to the beaches of Eilat. On a leisurely weekend you could surf, ski, sip wine, ride horses, go clubbing in Tel-Aviv or enjoy some cutting-edge theatre, and that’s just the start. You can also work on a kibbutz, volunteer at a West Bank school, float in the Dead Sea, and hike across the Israel National Trail. Somewhere along the line, politics and the bitter facts of life in this uncertain land will nudge their way into your trip. And while Israelis and Palestinians love nothing more than to argue, muse and prognosticate over the latest political currents, it’s best to leave your own opinions at the door. Enter the Holy Land on a clean slate and you’ll never watch the nightly news the same way again.

Official name

Israel & the Palestinian Territories

 

Political Regime

Parliamentary Republic

 

Surface

26.990 km²

 

Population

8.134.100 people.

 

Capital

Jerusalem (623.000 inhabitants)

 

Ethnic Groups

Jewish 80,1% (32,1% originating in the West, Israel 20,8%, 14,6% of African, Asian 12,6%), 19,9% Arabs.

 

Language

Israel has two official languages, Hebrew and Arabic. Hebrew is the primary language of the state and is spoken by the majority of the population, and Arabic is spoken by the Arab minority.

 

Religion

There are three main religions practiced in Israel: Judaism (76%), Islam (16%) and Christianism (2.1%). There are also some other minorities such as Druze, Baha'is and even Buddhists.

 

Information

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