Israel


Israel has such a great history behind it. There has been a great deal of events that have occurred in this one country. A lot of the history is still standing today and if not it is still being talked about. The country today has a very different culture than the one that Americas are a costume to.

The formal name of Israel is Medinat Yisrael, which means “State of Israel”. They have a prime minister and a president that help rule the country. Ariel Sharon is the Prime Minister while Moshe Katsav is the president. The country has a landmass of 20,330 square km and a population of 5,842,454. Israel’s normal life expectancy is 76.57 years for males and 80.67 years for females. There are many religions that make up Israel such as Jewish at 80.1%, Muslim at 14.6%, Christian at 2.1%, and the rest is only 3.2%. Israel also has foreign trade with the US. The US exports $23.5 billion worth of products. The products that are being exported are software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, textiles and different apparel. The US imports $30.6 billion worth of products such as military equipment, rough diamonds, investment goods, fuels, consumer goods, and raw materials.

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Israel is a democratic republic. The country’s system of government is based on British common law. Its parliament, the Knesset, is made up of 120 members. Those members are elected for 4-year. The chief of state is the President, who is elected by the Knesset for a five-year term. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is elected for a four-year term. On March 7, 2001, the Knesset passed an amendment that would return elections for Prime Minister to the1996 system. Under this amendment, the Israeli public will vote only for Members of the Knesset. After that the Knesset will pick the Prime Minister.

The government also keeps the people in good health because the health and cleanliness standards of Israel are up to Western standards. Many Israeli pharmaceuticals are even licensed directly by the American FDA. Except in some Arab areas, hospitals in Israel are all up to Western standards.

Israel has two official languages and they are Hebrew and Arabic. However, the country only practices two languages, which are Hebrew and English. Most signs in Israel are in Hebrew and English. Also, most Israelis speak Hebrew as their mother tongue, and English is the most popular second language.

Israel’s currency is the New Israeli Shekel. The current exchange rate is US$1 per 4.2 NIS. However, American dollars are used a great deal in Israel. For example, real estate prices are in dollars and payment is in shekels, according to the current exchange rate. Also, many industries set their prices according to the current dollar-shekel exchange rate. In addition, many businesses do accept U.S. dollars.

There are many historical places in Israel such as Galilee, which is where Jesus Christ grew up. It is also where Tzefat and Tiberias are, two of the holiest cities in Judaism. Despite its importance, it has not always been a particularly beautiful place. Much has changed since the day of Christ. Over the last century, Jewish settlers have cultivated the land in Galilee, allowing it to be use to its full potential. The breathtaking views everywhere in Galilee.

There is also an ancient seaport called Akko, which is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. The first recorded of Akko dates back to the reign of the pharaoh Thumtose III, who ruled from 1504 to 1450 BC. Since that time Akko has been captured several times and has been placed under the leadership of many empires and countries. The Assyrians captured Akko in 700 BC. Not too long afterward, Ptolemy of Egypt captured Akko, changing the city’s name to Ptolemais. That name was kept until the Middle Ages. Following the period of Egyptian rule, Akko (Ptolemais) became a Roman colony.

In 1918, the British captured Akko and made it part of the British mandate in Palestine. By 1920, Akko became the area for the British central prison in the Middle East. The prison itself was housed in a citadel that had been built by the Crusaders. Many members of the Jewish Underground were imprisoned in the Akko citadel, and, over the course of the period of British rule, nine people were hung there.

In 1948 there was an Arab invasion the Arabs not only rejected partition, but also attacked Israel from all sides. On the day that Israel declared its independence, the Arab League Secretary, General Azzam Pasha declared a holy war. The armies of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq invaded the country with the intention of tearing it apart.

The Jewish religion plays a great part in Israel and its formation. Jewish history began about 4,000 years ago with Abraham, his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. Documents were dug up from the ground in Mesopotamia, dating back to 2000-1500 B.C., that confirm aspects of their traveling way of life as described in the Bible. The Book of Genesis relates how Abraham was summoned from Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan to start a new group of people that would follow God. When a famine spread through Canaan, Jacob (Israel), his twelve sons and their families settled in Egypt, where their descendants were made to work and become slaves.

After 400 years of slavery, the Israelites were led to freedom by Moses who, according to the bible, was chosen by God to take his people out of Egypt and back to the Land of Israel promised to their forefathers. They wandered for 40 years in the Sinai desert, where they were forged into a nation and received the Ten Commandments. The exodus from Egypt left an indelible imprint on the national memory of the Jewish people and became a universal symbol of liberty and freedom. Every year Jews celebrate Passover, Shavuot and, commemorating events of that time.

During the next two centuries, the Israelites conquered most of the Land of Israel and stopped their traveling to become farmers and craftsmen. Their economical and social condition raised to a peak during this time. There were times of peace and there were times of war during which the people rallied behind leaders chosen for their political and military skills as well as for their leadership qualities. The weakness inherent in this tribal organization in face of a threat caused by the Philistines generated the need for a ruler, who would unite the tribes and make the position permanent, that would be carried on by inheritance.

Israel was and is truly a historical landmark. Their way of life now reflects the decisions of their leaders in past centuries. Their government has the skills and the organization to provide for its people. They know how to fight when it is needed and they know how to be still when it is demanded. Israel came from a nomadic form where the people traveled from land to land to a great civilization that still stands strong today.


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