Do you know your Israel facts? Interested in the accomplishments of Jewish people throughout history? Win your next round of Israel trivia!
I spent a month in Israel and despite it being a small country, I only feel like a scraped the surface. I started at the “bottom” or south, when I walked across the border from Jordan. I spent several days enjoying the balmy weather of Eilat and then working my way north, I stayed on a Kibbutz in Ketura for a week, visited the ‘grand canyon’ of Israel, the awe-inspiring, Ramon Crater, walked the winding streets of Old Jerusalem, enjoyed the modernity of Tel Aviv and ended at the top in Haifa.
All along the way, I was in awe of this fascinating country. Here are some Israel facts I learned and some things I looked up:
- Israel is the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world’s population.
- Roughly 15% of Israel’s population is Muslim.
- Tiny Israel maintains the fourth largest air force in the world after the United States, Russia, and China.
- Israel actually has TWO official languages – Hebrew and Arabic. Other non-official languages highly spoken: Russian (16% of Israelis speak Russian), Romanian (at least 500,000 speakers), Amharic (spoken by 100,000 Ethiopian Jews).
- Hebrew is read right to left just like Arabic. Even when Googling in the Middle East the searches come back flush right.
- In case it’s not obvious, Israel is the only country in the world where a majority of citizens are Jewish.
- There are 14-18 million Jews (practicing or just by birth) around the world (just 0.22% of the world’s population). There are 2.1 billion Christians (33%).
- The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.
- Israel’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate Arabic neighbors combined.
- Israel has the largest number of start-up companies; more than any other country in the world, except the US (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).
- Twenty-four per cent of Israel’s workforce holds university degrees ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and The Netherlands – and 12 per cent hold advanced degrees.
- Did you know these celebrities are Jewish? Kate Hudson, Zac Efron, Gweneth Paltrow, Rachel Bilson, Jake Gyllenhal, Harrison Ford, Natalie Portman, Elizabeth Banks, Scarlett Johansson, Amanda Peet, Alicia Silverstone, Sarah Jessica Parker, Keri Russell, Zach Braff, Adrien Brody, Neve Campbell, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Leah Remini, Seth Meyers, Jack Black, Lisa Bonet, Phoebe Cates, Gina Gershon, David Duchovny, Sean Penn, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kyra Sedgwick, Ben Stiller, Katie Couric…
- Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews today only make up 0.25% of the world’s population, yet they have won 28% of Nobel prizes for economics, physics, chemistry, and medicine.
- In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews at risk in Ethiopia, to safety in Israel.
- Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth.
- Israel has mandatory Military service right after high school – 2 years for girls and 3 years for boys. That is why college age students in Israel are usually in their early to mid twenties.
- When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world’s second elected female leader in modern times.
- The word “Jerusalem” appears 645 times in the Hebrew Bible, 392 times in the New Testament, and 0 times in the Koran.
- Jerusalem has been sacred to the Jews since the 10th Century BC
- Christianity reveres Jerusalem as the place Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected.
- Jerusalem is the 3rd holiest city to Muslims. It is here that they believe Mohammed was miraculously transported from Mecca to the Temple Mount, where he then ascended to heaven.
- The only research and development for Microsoft outside of the USA is in Israel.
- Which internationally well-known shoe received its name from the Hebrew word for nature? Answer: Teva
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