It’s now been 66 amazing, triumphant, heart-breaking, awe-inspiring, jubilant, soul searching, transcendent, glorious years since the Jewish people returned to their ancestral homeland. To celebrate the “miracle on the Mediterranean”, here are 66 fascinating facts about the State of Israel:
1 Israel is the one and only Jewish state in the world.
2) The State of Israel is the youngest on the planet (only 66 years old).
3) Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.
4) Israel is only 1/6 of 1% of the landmass of the Middle East.
5) Israel is only about 290 miles (470 km.) in length and 85 miles (135 km.) in width at its widest point.
6) Israel’s population is half the size of Metro New York City.
7) While the Negev makes up 60% of Israel’s land, only 8% of the country’s population resides there.
8) Israel is roughly half the size of Lake Michigan.
9) Israel has fought seven wars since its establishment in 1948.
10) Israel spends more money for security than any other country in the world.
11) Israel has the fourth largest Air Force in the world (after the U.S., Russia and China).
12) Israel is the only nation in the world with an operational anti-ballistic missile defense system to intercept and destroy rockets headed for population centers within Israel.
13) Over 150 nature reserves and 65 national parks are established throughout the country covering some 400 square miles.
14) Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees.
15) The Dead Sea in Israel is the lowest point on earth, at 1,315 feet below sea level at its lowest point.
16) The Sea of Galilee, at 695 ft. below sea level, is the lowest freshwater lake in the world.
17) Over 500 million migrating birds, more than 230 species, fly in Israeli air space on annual migrations between Europe, western Asia and Africa.
18) Israel’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.
19) Apart from the US and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.
20) With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and start-ups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world (apart from the Silicon Valley).
21) Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the US.
22) The cell phone was developed in Israel by Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.
23) Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.
24) Both the Pentium-4 and Centrino processors were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel.
25) The first anti-virus software was developed in Israel in 1979.
26) Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.
27) Israel is the world’s largest wholesale diamond center; most cut & polished diamonds in the world come from Israel.
28) Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as “conflict free.”
29) Israeli bank notes have brail on them so the blind can identify them.
30) Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on Earth.
31) Hebrew is the only case of a dead national language being revived in all of world history.
32) 34 political parties participated in Israel’s 2013 elections.
33) One-third of Israelis are volunteers.
34) Israel publishes more books per capita than any other nation in the world.
35) Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.
36) Israel has more in-vitro fertilization per capita than anywhere in the world, and it’s free.
37) Israel is ranked first place in the world in the survival of cancer patients.
38) The most independent and free Arabic press in the Middle East is in Israel.
39) Israel receives more media coverage per capita than any other country in the world.
40) Israel is the only country in the Middle East where women enjoy full political rights.
41) Talking on a cellular phone while driving is against the law in Israel.
42) All Israeli citizens, regardless of race, gender or religion, have the right to vote.
43) Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.
44) Israel has more orchestras per capita than any other nation in the world.
45) Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.
46) Israel has the highest number of scientists and technicians per capita in the world.
47) Israel has the highest number of engineers per capita in the world.
48) Israel has the highest number of PhD’s per capita in the world.
49) Israel has the highest number of physicians per capita in the world.
50) Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin -109 per 10,000 people.
51) The Weizmann Institute of Science has been voted the best university in the world for science research.
52) Israel produces 93% of its own food requirements.
53) There are more than 40 kosher McDonald’s in Israel. (The only one outside the Jewish state is in Buenos Aires).
54) Israelis, per capita, are the world’s biggest consumers of fruits and vegetables.
55) Israeli cows produce more milk per cow than almost any country in the world.
56) Cherry tomatoes were originally engineered in Israel in 1973.
57) Breeding and raising pigs in Israel is illegal for Jews.
58) The glue on Israeli stamps is kosher.
59) Bamba, a peanut butter flavored snack made exclusively in Israel, is considered by many to be Israel’s national food.
Did You Know?
60) Albert Einstein was offered presidency of Israel in 1952; however, he declined the invitation.
61) The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is the world’s oldest continuously used cemetery.
62) Jericho is the oldest continuously inhabited town in the world.
63) Jerusalem is home to over 2,000 archeological sites.
64) Golda Meir was only the 3rd woman in history to serve as a country’s prime minister.
65) In 1984 and 1991 Israel airlifted a total of 22,00 Ethiopian Jews to the State of Israel.
66) An estimated one million notes are left in the Western Wall each year.