Israel is a country which, despite it’s small geographic size, has made immense scientific and technological contributions. It is much more than the desert that characterizes it, or the Middle Eastern cultural assumptions usually associated with the country. Check out our list of surprising facts you might not know about Israel.
1. Israel is the home to the lowest point on Earth. The Dead Sea is located 1315 feet below sea level. However, thanks to the water density and salt levels, there’s not a chance of sinking any further. So grab a bathing suit and sunscreen, lather yourself with the abundant mineral-packed mud, and just float away.
2. Israel’s engineers at Motorola Israel R&D Center developed the original cell phone technology, the starting point for the smartphones of today.
3. Israel is the only country in the world that uses kosher glue for its postage stamps.
4. The ancient land of Israel has thousands upon thousands of archaeological sites; 2000 of them are in Jerusalem alone. You can join a fun-filled day of sifting the earth in the City of David. Who knows? You may even accidentally uncover a priceless treasure.
5. Israel has the most museums per capita than any other country in the world.
6. Israel’s port city of Eilat is duty free and declared a Free Trade Zone. All purchases are free of VAT. Snorkelling, banana-boating and sightseeing at the underwater tropical aquarium are among other great attractions of this great holiday destination.
7. Israel has more orchestras per capita than any other nation in the world. It is said that listening to classical music raises your IQ, which would explain a lot regarding Israel’s leading place in many intellectual fields.
8. Israel has the largest amount of start-ups per capita (hence its nickname The Start Up Nation). It is third in the world for venture capital availability.
9. The second largest bath complex in the entire Roman empire was built in Israel. Spa-lovers can relax in ancient style in the 2000 year-old complex at Hamat Gader.
10. There are 35 commercial wineries in Israel and 250 boutique wineries. The Carmel Wineries, Tepperberg, Tishbi, and a host of other prestigious wineries offer visitor activities: you can see how their wine is made from start to finish, while taking part in tastings after.
11. Israel has 137 beaches. It’s a a haven for sun, sea and ‘matkot’, the unofficial, yet somehow official national sport, which is a traditional beach game of tennis without a net or scores.
12. Israeli bank notes have braille writing on them so the blind can accurately identify them.
13. Israel is home to the world’s only theatre company comprised entirely of deaf and blind actors, based in Jaffa. Prior to the performance, visitors can experience eating entirely in the dark at NaLaga’at while being served by blind waiters.
14. The cherry tomato, beloved salad garnish and snacking vegetable, was invented in Israel.
MORE FUN FACTS ABOUT ISRAEL:
- Israel is the only country in the world that has more trees today than it had 50 years ago.
- Israel has more museums per capita than any other country, including the world’s only one underwater.
- Voicemail technology was developed in Israel.
- The IDF is a leader in saving people trapped by natural and man-made disasters. On short notice, its search and rescue unit has operated in many countries (including Mexico, Kenya, India, Turkey and the U.S.) following earthquakes, train wrecks, collapsed buildings and terrorist attacks.
- Israel is home to the world’s only theater company comprised entirely of deaf and blind actors.
- Life expectancy in Israel is among the highest in the world at 82 years.
- Coffee and cafés are so good in Israel that it’s the only country where Starbucks failed trying to break into the local market. (shocking right???)
- On a per capita basis, Israel tops the list of countries when it comes to the annual production of scientific papers.
- First launched in Israel in 2011, bus-stop mini-libraries, offering books free of charge, have inspired similar initiatives in other countries.
- Two professors at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University created the first cherry tomatoes.
- Beersheba, in Israel’s Negev desert, has the largest number of chess grandmasters per capita than any other city in the world.
- In 2012, Israel became the first country to prohibit the use of underweight models in fashion shows.
- An Israeli start-up invented a non-touch, radiation-free device, Babysense, that prevents crib death by monitoring a baby’s breathing and movement during sleep.
- Israel has the world’s highest rate of university degrees on a per capita basis.
- The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is the world’s oldest continuously used cemetery.
- Two Israelis at Tel Aviv University invented an “Anti-Date Rape Straw” which detects the two most common date rape drugs placed in drinks and alerts intended victims.
- An Israeli company developed the first ingestible video camera that helps doctors diagnose cancer and digestive disorders.
- Israel has more in-vitro fertilization per capita than any other country, and it’s free.
- The popular mobile mapping program, Waze, was developed in Israel. Google purchased the GPS-based navigation app in 2013 for a reported $1.3 billion.
- Passengers on Israel’s national airline El Al clap for the pilots when their flights touch down at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv.
- Despite the tough neighborhood they live in, numerous studies rank Israelis among the happiest people among Western nations