Theme Week Israel

Monday, 21 December 2015 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Theme Weeks, Union for the Mediterranean

Tel Aviv © flickr.com - Smirnova Ksenia/cc-by-2.0

Tel Aviv © flickr.com – Smirnova Ksenia/cc-by-2.0

Israel is a country in the Middle East, on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, Palestine (West Bank, (East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip) to the east and west, respectively, and Egypt to the southwest. The country contains geographically diverse features within its small area. Geographically, the country is located in Western Asia, but geologically on the African continent. Israel’s economy and technology center and de jure capital is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government, self-proclaimed and de facto capital is West Jerusalem. The state’s sovereignty over West Jerusalem is internationally tolerated, Jerusalem as a whole remain internationally unrecognized. Israel considers itself as “the only democracy in the Middle East” and “start-up nation”, with neither goals being achieved yet.

In 1947, the United Nations adopted a Partition Plan for Mandatory Palestine recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and an internationalized Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine, and rejected by Arab leaders. Next year, the Jewish Agency declared “the establishment of a Jewish state, to be known as the State of Israel.” Israel has since fought several wars with neighboring Arab states, in the course of which it has occupied territories including the West Bank, Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip (still considered occupied after 2005 disengagement). It extended its laws to the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, but not the West Bank. Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is the world’s longest military occupation in modern times. Efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have not resulted in peace. However, peace treaties between Israel and both Egypt and Jordan have successfully been signed. The population of Israel is at 7.8 million. It is the world’s only Jewish-majority state, with 74.8% being designated as Jewish. The country’s second largest group of citizens are Arabs, at 20.8% (BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions)).

Sea of Galilee © Pacman Jerusalem © Berthold Werner Haifa - Bahai Gardens © EdoM Caesarea Maritima © Larisa sklar giller/cc-by-sa-4.0 Akkon © Yigal Dekel Tel Aviv © flickr.com - Smirnova Ksenia/cc-by-2.0
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Caesarea Maritima © Larisa sklar giller/cc-by-sa-4.0
Tourism, especially religious tourism, is an important industry in Israel, with the country’s temperate climate, beaches, archaeological, other historical and biblical sites, and unique geography also drawing tourists. Israel’s security problems have taken their toll on the industry, but the number of incoming tourists is on the rebound. Israel’s diverse culture stems from the diversity of its population: Jews from diaspora communities around the world have brought their cultural and religious traditions back with them, creating a melting pot of Jewish customs and beliefs. Israel is the only country in the world where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar. Work and school holidays are determined by the Jewish holidays, and the official day of rest is Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Israel’s substantial Arab minority has also left its imprint on Israeli culture in such spheres as architecture, music, and cuisine. The Israel Museum in Jerusalem is one of Israel’s most important cultural institutions and houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, along with an extensive collection of Judaica and European art. Israel’s national Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, is the world central archive of Holocaust-related information. Beit Hatfutsot (“The Diaspora House”), on the campus of Tel Aviv University, is an interactive museum devoted to the history of Jewish communities around the world. Apart from the major museums in large cities, there are high-quality artspaces in many towns and kibbutzim. Mishkan LeOmanut in kibbutz Ein Harod Meuhad is the largest art museum in the north of the country. Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world.

Israeli cuisine includes local dishes as well as Jewish cuisine brought to the country by immigrants from the diaspora. Since the establishment of the state in 1948, and particularly since the late 1970s, an Israeli fusion cuisine has developed. Israeli cuisine has adopted, and continues to adapt, elements of the Mizrahi, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi styles of cooking. It incorporates many foods traditionally eaten in the Levantine, Arab, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, such as falafel, hummus, shakshouka, couscous, and za’atar. Roughly half of the Israeli-Jewish population attests to keeping kosher at home. Kosher restaurants, though rare in the 1960s, make up around 25% of the total as of 2015, perhaps reflecting the largely secular values of those who dine out. Hotel restaurants are much more likely to serve kosher food. The non-kosher retail market was traditionally sparse, but grew rapidly and considerably following the influx of immigrants from the post-Soviet states during the 1990s. Together with non-kosher fish, rabbits and ostriches, pork—often called “white meat” in Israel—is produced and consumed, though it is forbidden by both Judaism and Islam.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Government of Israel, TouristIsrael.com, Israeli cuisine, Israeli dishes, The German Colony in Palestine, U.S. Department of State – Israel, The West Bank and Gaza Travel Warning, Wikivoyage Israel and Wikipedia Israel. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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