Israel Introduction

After 2,000 years in the Diaspora, and having endured countless pogroms and acts of genocide culminating in the Holocaust, the U.N declared the state of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish People in November 1947.

Israel is a parliamentary democracy in the Middle East, since 1948, when it declared its independence. The state defines itself as both Jewish & democratic. Most of its population is Jewish with a large Arab minority. Israel's Capital (and the largest city) is Jerusalem – Declared as the capital of the Jewish state by King David – over 3,000 years ago during Biblical times. This stands in disagreement, due to Palestinian's claim on Eastern Jerusalem as their future Palestinian state's capital.

The official languages are Hebrew, Arabic and English and the Israeli currency is the New Shekel (1 EURO = +/- 5 ILS).

The state of Israel is located on the south-eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan in the east, Egypt and the Gaza Strip on the southwest, and the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea to the south. It ranges over 22,072 / 20,770 km (with/out the Golan Heights & Eastern Jerusalem) and captures quite a diverse collection of geographical features within its relatively small area, due to its special position on the Great Rift Valley.

The Israeli climate is typically Mediterranean, with a hot and dry summer and a humid winter.

Israel's population counts 8 million residents (2013, including the Israeli Arabs in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights & West Bank residents), from which 75.3% Jews, 20.7% Arabs and around 4% Christians and religiously-untitled. Besides the Israeli- Arab conflict, The Israeli population is also categorized with a deep economic, ethnic, religious (between secular and orthodox Jews), political and gender- oriented polarization.

Israel has fought several wars that forced recruitment of its reserve units in its 65 years of existence; therefore, it should not be taken for granted that the Israeli economy has been relatively strong and growing even throughout the current financial world crisis.