Israel is a part of the Mesopotamian civilization. The country is small yet diverse. Israel has a long coastline on the eastern Mediterranean Sea and a small window on the Red Sea at the Gulf of Eilat. Israel is bordered by Egypt and the Gaza Strip to the southwest, Jordan to the east, and Syria and Lebanon to the north.
Israel contains geographically diverse features within its small area. The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth. Its’ extremely salty water allows people to float while reading the newspaper. Israel’s Mediterranean coastline comes with sandy beaches and some with cliffs. The Red Sea coastline gives you the chance to snorkel around coral reefs and swim with dolphins. The Galilee is a scenic forested mountain with the deep blue Sea of Galilee. And the Negev desert contains stark canyons and beautiful oases, including the Ramon crater which is the world’s largest erosion crater.
The country is considered part of the Holy Land (together with areas of Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Territories). The three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have historical ties to the region.
Israel contains numerous fascinating historical and biblical sites from its thousands of years of recorded history. The City of David in Jerusalem contains remains from when King David conquered the city and made it his capital (1000 BCE). In Jerusalem, you can explore the underground water supply systems, and tunnel them through rock. Some of the most impressive ruins in Israel are from the Roman period. And the Crusaders who invaded later left castles in different places. An impressive Nimrod fortress in the Golan Heights was built by Muslim rivals. Other ruins from the Muslim period included the iconic walls of Jerusalem, and an underground cistern, which you can explore by boat. And many other sites to visit and learn about.
As a result of this vast mix of cultures, the official languages are many including Hebrew, Arabic, and other ethnic minority languages Yiddish, Amharic, Russian, French, and Spanish. English is a second language for all.
The modern State of Israel was established in 1948 as a homeland for the Jewish people. There has been a 53-year struggle over sovereignty between the Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs. A peace agreement has been signed.
Israeli cuisine has adopted various cooking styles of diaspora Jewish cuisine, particularly from the Mizrahi, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi, and also prepares many foods that are traditionally eaten in the Levantine, Arab, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines, such as falafel, hummus, shakshouka, couscous, and za’atar.