Israel

 

Dr Dani Bitran with family in Jerusalem

This historic, volatile spot is significant for Christians, Muslims and Jews alike, as Jerusalem is recognized as a holy city by all three religious faiths.  The Old Testament of the Bible (the Jewish Torah), describes how after being led out of Egypt by Moses into this land of Canaan, Hebrew tribes, descendants of the 12 sons of Jacob, settled, and later formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Centuries passed, and then (by decree) on May 14, 1948, (an agreed to partition of Palestine) between the Jews and Arabs, and one later recommended by a special committee of the United Nations in 1947, was the force that formed the official State of Israel. Today the West Bank (shown on the map above) is partially Israeli occupied, but Israel, in September, 2005, withdrew all Israeli settlers and soldiers and dismantled its military facilities in the Gaza Strip. Nonetheless, Israel controls maritime, airspace, and most access to the Gaza Strip. Recently, the country of Israel and Hezbollah forces within Lebanon are fighting a bloody war; one with thousands of civilians caught in the middle. On Monday, August 14th, 2006, a cease fire took effect, and hopefully, it will prevail until an international peace-keeping force is put in place.
 
Location: 31 46' N, 35 14' E
Population: 6,276,900
Area: total:  322,460 sq km
land:  318,000 sq km
water:  4,460 sq km
slightly larger than New Mexico
Terrain: mostly flat to undulating plains; mountains in northwest
Elevation: Highest Point Mt. Meron - 3,963 ft. (1,208m)
Lowest Point Dead Sea - (-1,349 ft.) (- 411 m) below sea level

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