Portal:Israel

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The Israel Portal

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Israel (Hebrew: About this sound מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל ; Medinat Yisra'el), officially the State of Israel, is a small country in Western Asia on the southeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Lebanon to the north, Syria and Jordan to the east, and Egypt and the Palestinian territories to the south-west and has a population of over seven million people. The capital of Israel is Jerusalem.

The Land of Israel was the birthplace of Judaism in the 10th century BCE or earlier and of Christianity at the beginning of the 1st century CE. The modern State of Israel was founded in 1948 with a UN mandate. Today, Israel is the world's only Jewish state, although its population is very diverse, including citizens from many ethnic and religious backgrounds. Israel is a parliamentary democracy with multi-party system and separation of powers, and is consistently rated as "Free" by Freedom House. In 2006 Reporters Without Borders ranked it 50th out of 168 countries in freedom of the press, but by 2010 increased restrictions meant that ranking had dropped to 93 out of 178 and Israel was no longer the highest-ranked of any country in the Middle East. Israel has a technologically advanced economy as well as a vibrant cultural life. Israel was ranked 15th out of 177 countries in the 2010 United Nations Human Development Index, the highest ranking in the Middle East and 3rd highest in all of Asia.

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The circled U indicates that this can of tuna is certified kosher

Kashrut is the set of Jewish dietary laws. Food that may be consumed according to halakha (Jewish law) is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér, meaning "fit" (in this context, fit for consumption). Food that is not in accordance with Jewish law is called treif. Kosher can also refer to anything that is fit for use or correct according to halakha, such as a hanukiyah (candelabra for Hannukah), or a sukkah (a Sukkot booth). The word kosher has become English vernacular, a colloquialism meaning proper, legitimate, genuine, fair, or acceptable. Among the numerous laws that form part of kashrut are the prohibitions on the consumption of unclean animals, mixtures of meat and milk, and the commandment to slaughter mammals and birds according to a process known as shechita. Most of the basic laws of kashrut are derived from the Torah's Books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Their details and practical application, however, is set down in the oral law (eventually codified in the Mishnah and Talmud) and elaborated on in the later rabbinical literature.

History, people, places

Operation Entebbe, also known as the Entebbe Raid or Operation Thunderbolt, was a counter-terrorism hostage-rescue mission carried out by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on the night of July 3 and early morning of July 4, 1976. In the wake of the hijacking of Air France flight 139 and the hijackers' threats to kill the hostages if their prisoner release demands were not met, a plan was drawn up to airlift the hostages to safety. These plans took into account the likelihood of armed resistance from Ugandan military troops.

Originally codenamed Operation Thunderbolt (or Operation Thunderball) by the IDF, the operation was retroactively renamed Operation Yonatan in memory of the Sayeret Matkal commander Lieutenant Colonel Yonatan "Yoni" Netanyahu who was killed in action. Three hostages were killed and five Israeli commandos were wounded. A fourth hostage was murdered by Ugandan army officers at a nearby hospital. (more...)

Culture, arts, cuisine

Matza (also Matzah, Matzoh, or Matsah) Hebrew מַצָּה, in Ashkenazi matzo or matzoh, and, in Yiddish, matze) is a cracker-like flatbread made of white plain flour and water. The dough is pricked in several places and not allowed to rise before or during baking, thereby producing a hard, flat bread. It is similar in preparation to the Southwest Asian lavash and the Indian chapati

Matza is the substitute for bread during the Jewish holiday of Passover, when eating chametz—bread and leavened products—is forbidden. Eating matza on the night of the seder is considered a positive mitzvah, i.e., a commandment. In the context of the Passover Seder meal, certain restrictions additional to the chametz prohibitions are to be met for the matza to be considered "mitzva matza", that is, matza that meets the requirements of the positive commandment to eat matza at the seder. (more...)

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President Barack Obama, at left, shakes hands with Israeli President Shimon Peres, at right, in the Oval Office on Tuesday, May 5, 2009. Standing at right looking on is U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Obama meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, 2009
"America’s commitment to Israel’s security flows from a deeper place -- and that’s the values we share." - Barack Obama [1]

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Did you know?

  • ...That Israel has the 14th longest life expectancy in the world: 82.0 years. More than the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany.
  • ...That there are 26 official Muslim States, 18 official Christian States, but there is only 1 Jewish State - Israel.
  • ...That relative to its size, Israel is the largest immigrant absorbing nation on Earth, it has absorbed 350% of its population in 60 years.
  • ...That Israel has more Nobel Prizes per capita than the United States, France and Germany. It has more laureates, in real numbers, than India, Spain and China.[1]
  • ...That Israel's capital city, Jerusalem, is a holy city for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
  • ...That Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain of trees, made more remarkable by the fact that it is 60% desert.[1]
  • ...That 93% of Israeli homes use Solar energy for water heating, the highest percentage in the world.[1]
  • ...That Israeli scientific research institutions are ranked 3rd in the world.[1]
  • ...That Israel is ranked 2nd in space sciences.[1]
  • ...That Israel is one of the ten countries in the world capable of launching its own satellites.[2][3]
  • ...That Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin -109 per 10,000 people - as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.[1]
  • ...That Israel has the 3rd highest rate of entrepreneurship amongst women in the world.[1]
  • ...That Israel has attracted the most venture capital investment per capita in the world, 30 times more than Europe.[1]
  • ...That Israel leads the world in patents for medical equipment.[1]
  • ...That Israel has more NASDAQ listed companies than any other country, besides the US. More than all of Europe, India, China and Japan combined.[1]
  • ...That in proportion to its population Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute numbers Israel has more startup companies than any other country besides the US.[1]
  • ...That Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world.[4]
  • ...That Israel is the 8th happiest country on Earth.[5]
  • ...That Israel has one of the best healthcare systems in the world according to OECD.[6]
  • ...That Israel is ranked 16th in the Human Development Index. It's the highest standard of living in the Middle East, and the third highest in Asia.[7]
  • ...That Israel is among the top three countries in cyber attack defense.[9]
  • ...That Israel is the country which offers the best conditions for clean technology startup companies after Denmark.[10]
  • ...That Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to population in the world.[11]
  • ...That Israeli universities are among the best of the world.[12][13]
  • ...That Israel is the second-most educated country after Canada.[14]
  • ...That Israel is the Middle East’s only "free" state, according to Freedom House annual report.[15]
  • ...That Israel's $300 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.[17]
  • ...That Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.[17]
  • ...That Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."[17]
  • ...That Israel has the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the US, numbering 250.[17]
  • ...That the proportion of women among R&D workers in Israel is approximately 23.4%. This puts Israel in second place behind Denmark. Women earned 37% of all degrees granted in science and engineering in Israel, one of the highest proportions in the world.[18]
  • ...That the military of Israel is ranked the 11th most powerful military in the world. [19]

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  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Rabbi Ephraim Shore (13 April 2010). Israel: Defying all odds (FLV) (Video clip) (in English). Israel: Aish HaTorah. Retrieved December 27, 2010. 
  2. ^ Ofek-9: Israel Launches New Spy Satellite
  3. ^ Satellite#Launch-capable countries
  4. ^ Interesting Facts about Israel
  5. ^ Israel world's 8th happiest country
  6. ^ OECD: Israel has 1 of the best healthcare systems
  7. ^ "Human development indices" (PDF). United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  8. ^ International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database, September 2011: Report for Selected Countries and Subjects. Data for the year 2011.
  9. ^ Israel among top 3 in cyber attack defense
  10. ^ World Rankings for Clean Tech Innovation: Israel Ranks #2
  11. ^ Israeli Academic Programs
  12. ^ "Top 100". Center for World University Rankings. 2013. 
  13. ^ "Four Israeli universities among world's best". i24news date=September 17, 2014. 
  14. ^ OECD: Israel is second-most educated country
  15. ^ US watchdog: Israel is Mideast’s only 'free' state
  16. ^ Hot Topics About Modern Israel
  17. ^ a b c d "Interesting Facts About Israel". 
  18. ^ Israeli civilian R&D spending up 164% in 1990-2004
  19. ^ [2]