The birthplace of the Jewish people is the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). There, a significant part of the nation’s long history was enacted, of which the first thousand years are recorded in the Bible; there, its cultural, religious, and national identity was formed; and there, its physical presence has been maintained through the centuries, even after the majority was forced into exile. During the many years of dispersion, the Jewish people never severed nor forgot its bond with the Land. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jewish independence, lost 2,000 years earlier, was renewed.
1. Israeli cows produce more milk per cow than almost any country in the world, vying only with South Korea.
2. With peanuts introduced to their diets earlier (mostly in the form of the snack, Bamba), babies in Israel are 10 times less likely to suffer from a peanut allergy than Jewish children in the UK.
3. Israel is alone in having revived an unspoken language as its national tongue.
4. Israel is one of only two countries that began the 21st century with a net gain in the number of its trees.
5. Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv is the most expensive site on the official Israeli Monopoly board.
6. The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers TV series was produced by Israeli Haim Saban.
7. Israel won the Eurovision song competition three times.
8. The last time they won, they were represented by a transgender pop star, Dana International. The only other time that’s happened is this year’s winner, Conchita Wurst, from Austria.
9. Israelis consume the third most amount of vegetables and sweets in the world.
10. When Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel in 1969, she was only the third woman elected to lead a country in the modern world.
11. The largest known dog cemetery in the ancient world was discovered in the coastal city of Ashkelon.
12. There’s a rollerblading party that happens every Tuesday night in Tel Aviv.
13. Out Magazine names Israel the gay capital of the Middle East.
14. The country has the most Bauhaus buildings in the world.
15. Israel has 137 official beaches (but only 273 km of coastline).