Photo: Oren Agmon
The Israeli flag
Photo: Oren Agmon
The State emblem
Photo: GPO
Israel – the essentials
From the national anthem, religion and demographics to languages, industries and government, here are some essential facts about the State of Israel


Official name: The State of Israel


Independent since May 15, 1948


Capital: Jerusalem


Borders: On the north – Lebanon and Syria, on the south – Egypt and the Red Sea, on the east – Jordan and on the west – the Mediterranean Sea


Official languages: Hebrew, Arabic


National anthem: Hatikva (the hope)


National symbols:

  • The Israeli flag – depicting a blue Star of David edged between two horizontal blue lines placed on a white background.
  • The Menorah – a seven branched candelabrum traditionally lit by olive oil in the Temple in Jerusalem; the Menorah is considered one the oldest symbols of the Jewish people.
  • The State emblem – a coat of arms design, it depicts a Menorah in its center, an olive branch on each of the Menorah's sides and the word "Israel" below them. The background of the emblem is always blue with the menorah and olive branches either golden or white. The State Emblem was designed by Gabriel and Maxim Shamir.
  • The State Seal –the official State signature stamped on all official State documents, it depicts the State emblem in its center, two olive branches and a Star of David on its top circumfuse and the words "State Seal" on its bottom.


GPI: 22,145 square km


Demographics – population: 7,200,000


Population growth rate: 1.8% per annum


Demographics – Ethnicity: Jews – 75.8%, including 35% Israeli born, 39% of North-American origin, 15% of African origin and 12% of Asian origin; 19.9% Arabs, 4.4% other nationalities


Religious affiliation: 75.8% Jewish, 16% Muslim, 1.7% Arab-Christian, 1.6% Druze, 0.4% Christian and 3.9% none affiliated.


Government: Democratic republic


Major industries: Software, telecommunications, weapons, diamonds, agriculture, electronics, citrus, phosphates, metal, plastics, textiles


Currency: New Israeli Shekel (NIS)


* Data updated in September 2007