Flag of Israel


The State of Israel is a country in the Western Asian Levant, on the southeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the south-west. Israel declared independence in 1948 and although its population includes citizens of many ethnic and religious backgrounds, it is the world's only Jewish state.

The name 'Israel' comes from the Hebrew Bible, Genesis 32:28, where Jacob is renamed Israel after successfully wrestling with an angel of God. The biblical nation fathered by Jacob was then called 'The Children of Israel' or the 'Israelites'. Some rejected name proposals for the new State included Judea, Zion and Eretz Israel.

Israel is a bustling, noisy, modern country. It's best not to arrive with preconceptions of spiritual epiphany. If you do, you'll almost certainly have them confirmed, but in doing so you run the risk of missing the best that this fascinating country has to offer.

Everyone has their own perception of what Israel and the Palestinian Territories are about: it's the Promised Land of the Jews; it's the birthplace of Christ; it's a travel agency package of beaches and sun; it's a ticking time bomb. And whilst it is all of these things, it's much more besides.

If you want to understand Israel, take time to visit the new, cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv, dive the Red Sea at Eilat, explore some of the country's thriving national parks and float for hours in the salty stillness of the Dead Sea.

Map of Israel