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Country Profile

Israel, lying on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean Sea, bordered by Lebanon on the North, Syria and Jordan on the East and Egypt on the South. Israel also borders the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Excluding the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, but including the Golan Heights, Israel has an area of approximately 22,000 square kilometers (8,500 square miles) of which two thirds is desert (the Negev). 

The major urban centers are Jerusalem with a population of approximately 720,000 people, the metropolitan area of Tel Aviv with 2,100,000 and Haifa with 510,000.

The greater part of the country is either hilly or arid. The climate is characterized by two sharply contrasting seasons – a dry hot summer from April to October followed by a wet winter from November to March. The average annual rainfall varies from barely 40 mm. (1.6 in.) in Eilat in the south to over 800 mm. (32 in.) in the Upper Galilee in the north. The coastal area has a Mediterranean type climate. Average temperature range from -5C (23F) in Jerusalem in the winter to over 40C (104F) in Eilat in midsummer.

The formal languages is Hebrew and Arabic. Hebrew is the main language throughout Israel.

The monetary unit used throughout Israel is the New Israeli Shekel ("NIS"), divided into 100 Agorot. The average exchange rate in 2012 was USD 1 = NIS 3.856




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