Major Rivers of Israel

River Jordan is the longest and most famous river in Israel.
River Jordan is the longest and most famous river in Israel.

Israel is a Middle Eastern country bordering the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Although Israel is relatively small in size, the country hosts a range of geographic features from fertile valleys, coastal plains, central highlands, and desert. The Negev desert covers the southern half of Israel. We look into the five major rivers in Israel. Israel is home to many rivers snaking through the country. The five major rivers of Israel are discussed below.

Five Major Rivers of Israel

River Jordan

River Jordan is the longest and most famous river in Israel. The river is considered to be one of the worlds most sacred rivers by many people. The river is of high significance in Judaism and Christianity as this is the place where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. It measures 251 kilometers. The river originates from the southern slopes of Mount Hermon in the Anti-Lebanon mountains. The Dan and Banias, which flow from Mount Hermon, and the Hasbani and Iyyon which flow from Mount Lebanon, are the northern tributaries to River Jordan. The river flows through the Sea of Galilee and drains into the Dead Sea. River Jordan is the second largest water resource in Israel after the Mediterranean Sea. An organization, Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) has listed River Jordan as one of the world’s 100 most endangered ecological sites. This is due to lack of cooperation in protecting the river from other Middle East countries.

Kishon River

Kishon River flows through a distance of 70 kilometers. The river originates from the Gilboa Mountains and drains into the Haifa Bay in the Mediterranean Sea. It has a drainage basin which includes Jezreel Valley and the Western Galilee, and some parts of Mount Carmel. Kishon River has been identified as the most polluted river in Israel by various government agencies. The water is contaminated with mercury and organic chemicals from nearby chemical plants. However, in 2012, the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection announced a project to clean up the river which was mostly funded by the companies responsible for the pollution.

Lakhish River

Lakhish River, also known as Wadi Kabiba and Wadi Sukhrir in Arabic, is about 70km long and has a basin square of 1020 km. Lakhish drains into the Mediterranean Sea and arises from West Bank. In 2017, there were thousands of dead fish in the river due to water contamination.

Ayalon River

The 50 km Ayalon River is a perennial stream shared by Israel and Palestine. It originates in the Judean hills and empties its waters into the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv. Ayalon was polluted, but a project was started in 2004 to clean up the river. This project is considered one of the biggest environmental rehabilitation projects on the globe.

Nahal Alexander

Nahal Alexander is a river in Israel and has a length of about 45 km. The river originates from the western side of the Samaria Mountain belt located in West Bank and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. River Nahal Alexander has a beach called Beit Yanai where the river drains into the sea. Due to its clean waters, it is home to several water animals such as soft-shell turtles, swamp cats, nutrias, and indigenous fish such as catfish, tilapia, and mullet among others.

Importance of Rivers In Israel

Much of Israel being a desert, the rivers are highly regarded. The rivers are used as water sources for both domestic and industrial use. The water from the rivers also support the local flora and fauna. Fishing in the rivers of Israel also supplement the food resources of the country's people.

Major Rivers of Israel

RankRiverLength (km)
2Kishon River70
3Lakhish 70
4Ayalon 50
5Nahal Alexander45

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