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Fast Facts About Israel

Israel

OFFICIAL NAME: State of Israel
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Parliamentary Democracy
CAPITAL: Jerusalem
POPULATION: 8,299,706
AREA: 8,550 square miles (22,145 square kilometers)
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Hebrew, Arabic
MONEY: Shekel
MAJOR RIVER: Jordan

Geography

Israel is a small country in the Middle East about the size of the state of New Jersey. The country has a diverse climate with snowy mountains in the north and the hot desert in the south. Jordan, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority all border Israel to the east. Lebanon serves as the northern border and Egypt borders in the south.

More than half of the population lives on the narrow coastal plain near the Mediterranean Sea to the west. The Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan is the lowest point on the Earth’s surface at 1,365 feet (416 meters) below sea level. The water is so salty and rich in mineral deposits that no plants and animals can survive there. The water is warm year round.

In the south and east land is hot and dry. The Negev Desert in southern Israel receives only 1 inch (32 mm) of rain a year. In the north, Galilee is known to have the most fertile farmland in the country.

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