Israel Area: 8,020 square miles (20,770 square Kilometers)
Population: Around 8 million
Capital City: Jerusalem
Other major cities: Tel Aviv and Haifa
Languages: is Modern Hebrew and the formal languages are Hebrew and Arabic.
English is the main language for foreign communication, spoken and understood by most, and you will easily find many spoken by the Israeli population: Russian, French, Spanish.
Religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
Israel’s currency is the New Israel Shekel (NIS). Notes are 20, 50, 100, and 200 NIS
coins are NIS10, NIS5, NIS2 NIS1, and 50 and 10 agorot.
100 agorot (agora in singular) = 1 shekel.
Main banks in the state of Israel have branches all over the country, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Israel Discount Bank, United Mizrahi Bank, Mercantile Bank. Banks open every weekday.
All known credit cards are accepted – Visa, American Express, Eurocard, Diner’s Club, and Travelers’ cheques.
There are Automated Teller Machines outside most banks, and all over Israel
International credit cards can withdraw local or foreign currency, should be accepted credit cards.
This can be obtained in hotels, banks, post offices, foreign exchange depots, and some shops. You may need your passport for exchange. The rates vary from place to place, and banks charge a commission.
Check to see if service is included in the bill, if not 10-15% is advised in cash.
17% is added on goods and services, most tourist services are excluded, hotel services are exempted.
A VAT refund form can be filled if the purchase is over $100.
With around merely 40 rainy days a year on average, Israel is known for its sunny disposition, yet keep in mind this is a 4 season country. Clear skies and mild temperatures most of the time. The Israeli Meteorological Service: www.ims.gov.il Summer:
Summers are long, lasting from April to October and the height of heat and humidity is usually around July-August.
Fall and winter lasts from November to March.
International telephone cards work in most places and have toll free access numbers. Public telephones and cellular phones can be rented.
Israel’s power supply is single phase 220 volts at 50 Hertz. Most power sockets in Israel have three pinholes, but many of them will work with double-pin European plugs. You will need to bring both transformers and adaptor plugs.
* All visitors to Israel must hold a passport valid for at least six months from the date they are departing the country. People with no nationality must hold a valid laissez-passer, as well as a visa back to the country that issued it.
Christian communities in the Holy Land
The Holy Land of Israel is distinguished by its very rich holy sites and Christian tradition, beyond the holy sites, it was the local Christian community that maintained the continuity. After 2000 years of Christianity, Israel became a church museum. For example, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, six denominations praise the Lord under a single roof and do so concurrently in Latin, Greek, Armenian, Coptic, Syriac, and the language of ancient Ethiopia.
The Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church in the Middle East is known as the “Latin Church”,
The Eastern Catholic churches
In the Holy Land, the number of members of Eastern Catholic churches is larger than the number of members of the Latin Catholic church. Although all subject to the Papacy, these Catholic communities have different ritual and cultural heritages: Greek – Catholics, Maronite – Catholics, Armenian – Catholics, Syrian – Catholics, etc.
The Catholic ceremonies during Holy Week according to the Eastern Orthodox traditions – offer an exciting opportunity to experience the holiday differently.
The Eastern Orthodox Churches
The Greek Orthodox Church
Other national-Orthodox churches are also present in the Holy Land, and they receive their authority from the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, namely the Russian Orthodox Church and the Romanian Orthodox Church. The Russian Church is particularly prominent, owning churches and monasteries around Jerusalem and Israel. It has monks and nuns and massive pilgrimages. The holidays, processions, and exalted religious hymns of the Russian Church enrich the liturgical mosaic of the Holy Land.
The Oriental Orthodox Churches (Non-Chalcedonian Churches)
The Oriental Churches are churches that accepted the decisions of the Church through the beginning of the fourth century but rejected the decisions of the Council in Chalcedon in 451. These Churches preserved independent existence and institutions while maintaining the other traditions and languages unique to them. They have been present in Jerusalem and in other places in the Holy Land: their rights to ritual and presence at the holy sites are internationally recognized and are a colorful and exciting addition to the Holy Land.
The Copts – Orthodox, Orthodox Syriacs, and Ethiopian Orthodox
The Protestant Churches
Other Protestant Churches such as The Church of Scotland, the Baptist Church, and others built buildings and houses of worship, and Protestant organizations are involved in organizing exciting religious gatherings such as Evangelical Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem each year.