Israel is a land and a people. The history of the Jewish people, and its roots in the Land of Israel, spans some 35 centuries. In this land, its cultural, national and religious identity was formed; here, its physical presence has been maintained unbroken throughout the centuries, even after the majority was forced into exile. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence, lost almost 2,000 years earlier, was renewed.
Long and narrow in shape, the country is about 290 miles (470 km.) in length and 85 miles (135 km.) in width at its widest point. Although small in size, Israel encompasses the varied topographical features of an entire continent, ranging from forested highlands and fertile green valleys to mountainous deserts and from the coastal plain to the semitropical Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. Approximately half of the country’s land area is semi-arid.
Thousands of years of history, the ingathering of the Jews from over 70 countries, a society of multi-ethnic communities living side by side and an unending flow of international input via satellite and cable have contributed to the development of an Israeli culture which reflects worldwide elements while striving for an identity of its own. Cultural expression through the arts is as varied as the people themselves, with literature, theater, concerts, radio and television programming, entertainment, museums and galleries for every interest and taste.
The official languages of the country are Hebrew and Arabic, but in the country’s streets many other languages can be heard, especially English and French. Hebrew, the language of the Bible, long restricted to liturgy and literature, was revived a century ago, accompanying the renewal of Jewish life in the Land.
The major places of attraction in Israel can be categorized into three, the cities, the historical sites and the natural sites. While cities like Jerusalem and Nazareth boasts of a breathtaking biblical history, others like Tel Aviv and port cities of Ashdod and Haifa reflect a perfect blend of heritage and modernity. The visitors are awestruck by the beauty of the Byzantine churches, fortresses, mosques and synagogues that abound the city of Jerusalem. Eliat, the city nestled in the exotic tropical surroundings and overlooking the Red Sea can well be termed as the Goa of Middle East.
There are several sites of scenic beauty in Israel which are worth-visiting. The Dead Sea of Israel is the lowest point on earth and its water is used for curing many diseases. It is because of the water of the sea that truly works wonder, there are many natural spas and hot springs available around the Dead Sea. The Red Sea and the Sea of Galilee are two other places ensuring their position in the itinerary of the tourists visiting Israel. There are several beaches sprawling with golden sands, and the luxury seaside resorts of Israel serves a perfect haven for unwinding.
For more information on the areas of Israel and important places to visit, please visit: