State of Israel

[Arabic] Dawlat Israel

[Hebrew] Medinat Yisrael

CAPITAL : Jerusalem (Yerushalayim, Al-Quds)

FLAG : The flag, which was adopted at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, consists of a blue six-pointed Shield of David (Magen David) centered between two blue horizontal stripes on a white field.

ANTHEM : Hatikvah (The Hope).

MONETARY UNIT : The new Israeli shekel ( NIS ), a paper currency of 100 new agorot, replaced the shekel ( IS ) at a rate of 1,000 to 1 in 1985; the shekel replaced the Israeli pound ( IL ) in 1980 at the rate of 10 pounds per shekel. There are coins of 5, 10, and 50 agora, 1 and 5 shekels and notes of 10, 50, 100, and 200 shekels. NIS 1 = $0.21978 (or $1 = NIS 4.55) as of May 2003.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard, but some local units are used, notably the dunam (equivalent to 1,000 square meters, or about 0.25 acre).

HOLIDAYS : Israel officially uses both the Gregorian and the complex Jewish lunisolar calendars, but the latter determines the occurrence of national holidays: Rosh Hashanah (New Year), September or October; Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), September or October; Sukkot (Tabernacles), September or October; Simhat Torah (Rejoicing in the Law), September or October; Pesach (Passover), March or April; Independence Day, April or May; and Shavuot (Pentecost), May or June. All Jewish holidays, as well as the Jewish Sabbath (Friday/Saturday), begin just before sundown and end at nightfall 24 hours later. Muslim, Christian, and Druze holidays are observed by the respective minorities.

TIME : 2 PM = noon GMT.


Jewish settlers introduced the breeding of fish (mostly carp) into Palestine. The total fish catch was 5,818 tons in 2000. In addition to carp, important freshwater fish include catfish, barbel, and trout. The marine catch consists mainly of gray and red mullet, rainbow trout, grouper, sardines, and bogue.


Natural forests and woodlands cover about 132,000 ha (326,000 acres), mostly in the north. About 180 million trees were planted between 1902 and 1986. Roundwood production in 2000 was 113,000 cu m (4 million cu ft). Forestry production in 2000 included 109,000 cu m (3.8 million cu ft) of plywood and 58,000 cu m (2.1 million cu ft) of particleboard, and 275,000 cu m (9.7 million cu ft) of paper and paperboard.


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