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The State of Israel is a parliamentary democracy country located in Western Asia on the southeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea.
It is generally the strip of land that connects between Asia, Europe and Africa.
Its declared capital is Jerusalem and it is the only state of the Jews, even though there are people from many different religions and ethnic backgrounds living in the country.
There are 77 percent Jews living in the country that is populated by 7 million people (2006).
18.5 percent are Arabs and the rest are from other religions or ethnic background.
Haifa and Western Galilee is a geographic region in the north-west of Israel, which is located along the Mediterranean Sea.
Due to the closeness to the sea the climate is very humid and considered to be one of the rainiest in the country, even though it is a mountainous region.
Haifa is the third largest city in Israel, when the cities and settlements in its area considered being a part of its district.
Golan Heights, Galilee & Northern Valleys is a geographic region in the north-east of Israel, which includes a plateau on the Lebanon-Jordan-Syria border.
The Golan and the Upper Galilee region is a high region, in the east of the Jordan River and the Sea of the Galilee.
The area's climate is influenced by the Mediterranean climate, which is dry in summertime and rainy at winter.
The Northern Valleys are a part of chained valleys that connects between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River.
The Lower Galilee is a part of the Galilee area, and as it's named his hills range are lower then the Upper Galilee area, when they rise to only 600 meters above sea level.
The climate in the geographic region of the Lower Galilee and Northern Valleys is also influenced by the Mediterranean climate, when at the Lower Galilee and eastern sides of the Northern Valleys the weather is drier.
The Israeli Coastal Plain is a name to a geographic region that includes a flat and low-lying narrow strip around the Mediterranean Sea.
It has 3 regions (from north to south).
The Sharon that runs from the city of Haifa to the city of Herzliyya, the Gush Dan that runs from Tel Aviv to the city of Rishon LeZion and Southern Mishor HaHof that runs from the city of Rishon LeZion to Ashkelon.
The climate at the Costal Plain is half humid, as been close to the sea makes it comfortable.
Jerusalem & the Dead Sea geographic region is located at the mid-east of Israel.
This region includes the Jordan Valley strip, the Yehuda & Shomron mountainous strip and the Dead Sea area.
The climate at the geographic region of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea is defers by the area that this region include.
At most of the Yehuda & Shomron area the climate is humid, and when you go to the South-eastern area it is getting drier.
The Negev & the South geographic region is located in the south of the country, which have desert characteristics.
The region holds over 13,000 square kilometers, and its shapes a triangle, which connects to the Sinai desert in its west side and to the Arabah at the east.
The climate in the Negev and South region is dry and contained with desert climate characteristics.
Eilat & Arabah, geographic region is located in the south of the country at the southernmost area.
The climate in the Eilat & Arabah region has desert characteristics, which makes it a very hot, dry and arid region.
The Arabah area, spreads over 103 is a part of a valley that connects between the Dead Sea and the north part of Aqaba gulf.
Due to the desert characteristics the Eilat & Arabah geographic region holds the desert typical views, with great ideal places to travel by jeeps and by walking.
Israel enjoys long, warm, dry summers (April-October) and generally mild winters (November-March), with somewhat drier, cooler weather in hilly regions, such as Jerusalem and Safed.
Rainfall is relatively heavy in the north and center of the country with much less in the northern Negev and almost negligible amounts in the southern areas.
Regional conditions vary considerably, with humid summers and mild winters on the coast; dry summers and moderately cold winters in the hill regions; hot dry summers and pleasant winters in the Jordan Valley; and year-round semi-desert conditions in the Negev.
Weather extremes range from occasional winter snowfall in the mountain regions to periodic oppressively hot dry winds that send temperatures soaring, particularly in the summer.
Small in size, the country is home to a diverse population from many ethnic, religious, cultural and social backgrounds. Of its more than 5.5 million population, 81.5 percent are Jews (over half are native born and mostly first and second generation), while the rest come from some 80 countries around the world; about 17% are Arabs (most of them are Moslem) and the remaining 1.5% are Christians, Druze, Circassian and
other small communities.
The Sabbath & Holidays
Israel's day of rest, is the Sabbath (Hebrew: Shabbat) and all Jewish holidays commence at sundown on the evening before the holiday and end the following night at sunset.
Banks, businesses and public institutions are closed at these times.
In the major cities, many restaurants, cinemas, nightclubs and discotheques remain open.
The Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar year; therefore Jewish holidays fall on different Gregorian dates each year.
There are no vaccination requirements for visitors entering Israel. Pets: Dogs or cats accompanying visitors must be over four months old, inoculated against rabies and bear a valid official veterinary health certificate from the country of origin.
Israel has over 300 hotels, offering a wide choice of accommodation to suit all tastes, purposes and budgets, ranging from small, simple facilities to five-star luxury establishments, with prices varying according to grade and season. Hotel rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and do not include the 15 percent service charge.
Most of Israel's major hotels have meeting halls suitable for small-to-medium sized gatherings, plus audio-visual equipment, translation and technical services, fax and telex communications, as well as large areas for exhibitions. In recognition of the importance of the congress industry to Israel, most new hotel properties are built with convention and congress facilities which meet IAPCO (International Association of Professional Congress Organizers) recommendations.
In addition, many hotels provide conference and meeting facilities free of charge when a significant number of participants are accommodated in their hotels.
In some cases, complimentary receptions are offered to convention participants and their associates.
City officials can arrange special events for convention delegates, such as folklore evenings, receptions, in special settings and reduced or free entrance to famous sites.
Sometimes they may even be able to arrange special shopping hours. Some local institutes of higher education, research centers and businesses lend their support in the form of social events, special demonstrations and professional gatherings or through financial support toward the organization of certain events.
The kibbutz (collective settlement) is an Israeli social experience, in which all property is collectively-owned and members receive no salaries but are provided with housing, education for their children, medical services, social amenities and all other necessities.
Most of the 280 kibbutzim throughout Israel are essentially agricultural settlements but many are moving to a more industrially-oriented economy.
Several kibbutzim, mostly in modern and central Israel have established hotels on their premises providing visitors with a close view of this world-renowned lifestyle.
They offer guests the opportunity of a relaxed, informal holiday in delightful rural surroundings. Some present special evening programmers about the kibbutz experience.
Excellent accommodation is available at Israel's holiday resort villages. They offer a wide variety of water sports including swimming, water skiing, diving and sailing as well as horseback riding, tennis, a full touring program and evening entertainment. Predominantly geared to the younger set with emphasis on open-air life and informality, most villages are open only during the summer months.
The Israel Youth Hostels association (IYHA), affiliated with the International Youth Hostels Association, and operates some 30 youth hostels throughout the country for guests of all ages.
All offer dormitory accommodation and most also provide meals and self-service kitchen facilities.
Some hostels also provide family accommodation for parents accompanied by at least one child. Individual reservations should be booked directly at specific hostels and group reservations with the IYHA.
The IYHA also arranges individual 14, 21, or 28 day package tours, called 'Israel on the Youth Hostel Trail'.
These include nights in any of the 25 hostels with breakfast and dinner, unlimited bus travel, a half-day guided tour, free admission to National Parks, a map and other informative material.
Various Christian denominations have accommodation in the vicinity of their religious sites. They are often good value in the low-to-moderate price range.
You do not need to be a Christian to stay in most of these hospices, but you must be prepared to abide by the rules.
For information contact the Jerusalem tourist information office.
Passports and Visas
Every visitor to Israel must hold a valid passport; stateless persons require a valid travel document with a return visa to the country of issue. Visitors may remain in Israel for up to three months from the date of arrival, subject to the terms of the visa issued. Visitors who intend to work in Israel must apply to the Ministry of the Interior for a special visa.
Citizens of the following countries will be issued visitors' visas (or transit visas) free of charge at port of entry in Israel:
Europe - Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany (Persons born after 1.1.28), Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
Asia & Oceania - Australia, Fiji Islands, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea.
Africa - Central African Republic, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa, Swaziland.
The Americas - Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, St. Kitts, & Nevis, Surinam, Trinidad, & Tobago, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Uruguay, U.S.A.
Visitors interested in stopping over in Israel en route to other destinations may request five-day transit visas that may be extended a further ten days on arrival in Israel.
Cruise ship passengers visiting Israel will be issued Landing Cards, allowing them to remain in the country as long as their ship is in port. No visa applications are required.
Collective visas are issued by Israeli diplomatic or consular missions for groups of no fewer than five and no more than 50 persons.
Extending Your Stay
Visas may be extended (for a nominal fee) at offices in the following cities:
Tel Aviv Center 03-5193222
Tel Aviv North 03-6052111
Rishon Le Zion 03-9666350
Petach Tikva 03-9311906
Ramat Gan 03-6722106
Ben Gurion 03-9712467
Acre (Akko) 04-9917523
Beer Sheva 07-6234211
Safed (Zefat) 06-6921474
Kfar Saba 09-7677255
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