Israel is a nation in the Middle East, but is unlike any other nation in the region. The country is known for its rich history and culture, diverse geographical features, and scientific and technological achievements. Some interesting facts about Israel are highlighted below.
10. The Lowest Point on Earth Is Located in Israel
The Dead Sea is a massive salt lake located at the border between Jordan and Israel. The shores and surface of the Dead Sea are located at an elevation of 1,412 ft below sea-level, making it the lowest place on Earth. The sea has a depth of about 997 ft. The Dead Sea is also one of the world’s saltiest water bodies, and thus it is possible to float in the sea without the need of any support.
9. Israel Is the World’s Only Jewish State
Although Israel does not have a constitution, the Basic Laws of Israel serve as a set of constitutional laws, and define Israel is a Jewish state. Nearly 75% of Israel's population practice Judaism.
8. Israel Entered the 21st Century with a Net Gain of Trees
The Jewish tradition promotes the planting of trees, and it appears that the Jewish population of modern Israel strictly adhere to this tradition. While most other nations of the world struggled to reduce deforestation, Israel emerged as a nation with a net increase in its number of trees in the 21st century. A major afforestation campaign by the Jewish National Fund was critical in achieving this positive outcome.
7. The World’s Largest Makhtesh Is Located in Israel
Makhtesh Ramon is geological feature located on the peak of Mount Negev in the Negev desert of Israel. Although the feature closely resembles an impact crater of a meteor or a volcanic crater, it is just an erosional feature called a makhtesh. With a length of 40 km, a width of 2 to 10 km, and a depth of 500 m, Makhtesh Ramon is the world’s largest makhtesh. Such features are formed when erosional forces wash away softer rock material underneath a harder surface of a rock. As a hollow is created below, the surface layer of rock collapses to form a crater called a makhtesh.
6. Israel Has Some of the World’s Brightest Minds
Israel is highly advanced in the science and technology sector. The country ranks 13th in the world in terms of the number of scientific publications per capita. Israel also has one of the world’s highest per capita patent filing rates. In Israel, there are approximately 140 technicians and scientists for every 10,000 employees. The country invests heavily in its research and development sector. Similarly, Israel has one of the most technologically educated populations in the world.
5. Israel Has the World’s Highest Number of Museums Per Capita
Israel has more than 200 museums that receive millions of visitors annually. The country has the highest number of museums per capita in the world. The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is one of the country’s most famous museums, and is notable for its excellent collection of religious art and manuscripts, sculptures, and Israeli art and artifacts.
4. Israel Was the First Country in the World to Ban Underweight Models
In 2012, Israel became the first country to actively promote the image of a healthy body. A new national law banned underweight models from participating in adverts and catwalks. According to the new law, only men and women with a BMI of 18.5 or higher could be used for modeling. With the help of this law, the government wanted to discourage the country's youth from aiming at a "size zero” figure that often leads to eating disorders and other detrimental side effects on the body and mind.
3. Israel Is One of the World’s Few Countries Without a Codified Constitution
Israel operates under an unwritten constitution. The country has a set of basic laws that guide the governmental activities in the country and protect the rights of its people.
2. Israel Is Part of the Holy Land, a Major Pilgrimage Site of All Abrahamic Religions
The Holy Land is an area that roughly stretches from the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. Most parts of the Holy Land are located within the modern-day boundaries of Israel. The region is of great significance to the followers of Judaism, Christianity, the Bahá'í Faith, Druze, and Islam. Thousands of visitors, mainly pilgrims, visit the Holy Land every year.
1. Israel Has One of the Most Tolerant LGBT Rights in Asia
Israel legalized same-sex sexual activities in 1988 and became the first Asian country to recognize any form of same-sex union. In 1992, discrimination of any kind on the grounds of an individual’s sexual orientation was prohibited in Israel. Adoptions by same-sex couples were legalized in 2008. Individuals of the LGBT community can work for the country’s military without any need to hide their sexual orientation.