Culture

Population:

Measured in September 2012 the population of Israel stood at 7,933,200.

  • The Israeli Jewish population make up about 75% of Israels population.
  • Arabs make up about 20% of the Israels population.
  • Those classified as “other” make up the remainder of the population.

The overall population grew by 1.8% from the end of 2011 to September 2012.  This growth rate has been similar over the last 8 years.

  • About 24% of Israels inhabitants live in Central region.
  • The Tel Aviv area houses about 16.5% of the population.
  • Though Jerusalem is Israels most well known city it only inhabits about 12% of the population.
  • Haifa is home to 12% of the population
  • Another 4% live in the West Bank.”

(Source http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/newpop.html)

Agriculture:

Diet:  Being that much of the population is religiously heavily involved in religious tradition, the diet of the inhabitant are affected by their scriptural texts.  For instance, many Jewish citizens will refrain from eating pork, rabbit, and shellfish.

Some commonly enjoyed dishes in Israel are:

  • Falafel (Chick-Pea patties)
  • Hummus
  • Baklava (Honey and nut pastry)
  • Kebob’s (Small hamburgers)

Industry and Tourism:  From 1990-2009 there was an annual average of 1.8 million tourists who visited Israel.

In 2009 the reasons people had for visiting Israel:

  1. Pilgrimage 30%
  2. Visiting Relatives 27%
  3. Touring 26%
  4. Business and Conferences 14%
  5. Other 3

(Source: http://www1.cbs.gov.il/www/statistical/touris2009e.pdf)

Cultural Activities:  Israel is extremely important to both Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  It’s impossible to understand the culture of Israel without understanding why it is so important to the religions within it.  It’s important to keep in mind that all of these three religions claim to be descendents of Abraham, so the promised land narrative transcends all three.

A brief explanation as to why Israel is important to these three separate religions:

For Jews:

  • Israel is the land God promised to them after they were freed from slavery in Egypt.
  • A substantial amount of Jewish law (religious rules believed to be given by God) is tied to Israel and can only be performed there.
  • Many Jews believe that living outside of Israel is an unnatural state for them.  They feel that living outside of Israel is living in exile.

(Source: http://www.jewfaq.org/israel.htm)

For Christians:

  • Israel is the promised land from God to the Hebrews who were freed from slavery (same belief as Jews).
  • Jesus Christ was born, raised, and resurrected in Israel.
  • Jesus Christ performed miracles and ministered in Israel.

For Muslims:

  • Muhammad ascended to heaven in Jerusalem.
  • It is the third most holy site behind Medina and Mecca
  • Muhammad’s divine authority was established through his personal association with Jerusalem.

(Source: http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/private/cmje/issues/more_issues/more_issues/jerusalem_and_pluralism_issues/JERUSALEM_in_Judaism_Christianity_and_Islam.pdf)