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IsraelIsrael was the name of the land of modern day Israel found in the Jewish Torah and the Old Testament. In the Bible Israel (meaning "strives with God") was the name given to Jacob after he persevered in a battle with the angel of the Lord. His children then became known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel or the Children of Israel, a term that has continued to be used by Jews to this day.

WARNING: Terrorist threats continue in Israel, please read this travel warning before going!


The culture and way of life in Israel is very dependent on religion and location since the people differ in many ways and it may seem like a different country from corner to corner and region to region. This is primarily due to the country's history, both past, when most of the people were Jewish, and present, when the country was formed, changing the population from one that was primarily Muslim to one much more diverse.

Israel is strongly divided between the Jews, Muslims, and to a lesser degree, the Christians, as each has a very different way of life. The Jews have united in Israel, claiming themselves to be the rightful heirs of the land, while many Muslims have been voluntarily or involuntarily displaced with the arrival of the Jews; this has created a lot of tension between the groups and magnifies the differences in their cultures.

The Jews tend to be very liberal and have been slowly building a state balancing religious piety as well as economic and technological progress. Despite the city of Jerusalem being a holy site for the Jews, Muslims, and Christians, the Jews in Israel don't tend to be overly religious and more often their culture reflects modern life with the opportunities and technology available. Despite this, most of the Jews follow kosher dietary laws and observe the Sabbath to varying degrees.

The Muslims in Israel tend to be similar in that most aren't the most devout Muslims in the greater region, but do cling to their religion as a means to differentiate themselves from the Jews and most are practicing Muslims. The Muslims also have dietary restrictions and many former residents of the region have moved out of the country or have moved to regions within Israel (such as the West Bank or the Gaza Strip) in order to avoid conflict and violence, making the country more segregated.

The Christians fall somewhere else entirely. The Christians have no dietary restrictions and, like the Jews, are relatively liberal. They tend to remain out of the bulk of the conflict between the Jews and Muslims, but also make up a very small percentage of the population so are rarely noticeable on a national scale.

The next important factor in the culture and way of life in Israel is where a person lives. Tel Aviv is almost entirely Jewish, the Gaza Strip and West Bank are almost entirely Muslim, and other cities, such as Jerusalem are more diverse. No matter a person's religion, if in a region that is primarily home to Jews, Muslims, or Christians, the lifestyle and expectations of the people are altered by the majority.

Jerusalem tends to be where the people meet as it is a holy city for all groups and the city is divided among Jews, Muslims, and Christians. This tends to create a peace within the country as all people respect the history, sights, and importance of the city to such a great degree that the city receives little violence as the people tend to live side by side in relative peace.

Likewise, the culture in Tel Aviv is a microchasm of the Jewish community in Israel today as this is truly a modern city created by immigrating Jews. This city almost entirely consists of first, second, or third generation Jewish immigrants so the culture, foods, and lifestyle combine historic Jewish cultures from Europe, South America, and elsewhere. Although nearly everyone in Tel Aviv is Jewish, the city is very diverse in nearly every sense of the word, although most of the people are also united in Zionism and Judaism.

Today there are constant negotiations and attempts to work together among differing groups in Israel, but this is rarely successful. Despite this, the youth seems to be becoming more and more similar as technology and business push them forward in the same direction, but parallel to each other, perhaps one day shifting to a meeting point.

Despite the many differences from religious group to group, the people still have many similarities. To all people religion is their defining characteristic and their religions dictate their diet, way of life, and culture. Most people are also family-oriented as school and education are growing in importance among the people and life is truly focused on family, not work or even religion.

The blue and white layout of Israel's flag represents a tallit, which is a Jewish prayer shawl. The star in the middle, also known as the Star (or Shield) of David, which has been a symbol of Judaism since the medieval times.

Name: State of Israel
Independence: May 14, 1948
Capital: Jerusalem
Currency: Shekel
Population: 7,707,042 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Jewish & Arab
Language: Hebrew & Arabic
Religion: Jewish

Information for Israel was last updated: March, 2016 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks