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Israel

 
 

Israel Main Page

 

Geography and climate

Dead Sea

 

Israel is located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, bounded by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the southwest. The sovereign territory of Israel, excluding all territories captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War, is approximately 20,770 square kilometers (8,019 sq mi) in area, of which two percent is water. The total area under Israeli law, when including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, is 22,072 square kilometers (8,522 sq mi), and the total area under Israeli control, including the military-controlled and partially Palestinian-governed territory of the West Bank, is 27,799 square kilometers (10,733 sq mi).

Despite its small size, Israel is home to a variety of geographic features, from the Negev desert in the south to the mountain ranges of the Galilee, Carmel and toward the Golan in the north. The Israeli Coastal Plain on the shores of the Mediterranean is home to seventy percent of the nation's population. East of the central highlands lies the Jordan Rift Valley, which forms a small part of the 6,500-kilometer (4,039 mi) Great Rift Valley.

The Jordan River runs along the Jordan Rift Valley, from Mount Hermon through the Hulah Valley and the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the surface of the Earth. Further south is the Arabah, ending with the Gulf of Eilat, part of the Red Sea. Unique to Israel and the Sinai Peninsula are makhteshim, or erosion cirques. The largest makhtesh in the world is Ramon Crater in the Negev, which measures 40 by 8 kilometers (25 by 5 mi).A report on the environmental status of the Mediterranean basin states that Israel has the largest number of plant species per square meter of all the countries in the basin.

Temperatures in Israel vary widely, especially during the winter. The more mountainous regions can be windy, cold, and sometimes snowy; Jerusalem usually receives at least one snowfall each year. Meanwhile, coastal cities, such as Tel Aviv and Haifa, have a typical Mediterranean climate with cool, rainy winters and long, hot summers. The area of Beersheba and the Northern Negev has a semi-arid climate with hot summers, and cool winter but with fewer rainy than the Mediterranean climate. The Southern Negev and the Arava areas have Desert climate with very hot and dry summers, and mild winters with few days of rain. The highest temperature in the continent of Asia (53.7 C/128.7 F) was recorded in 1942 at Tirat Zvi kibbutz in the northern Jordan river valley.

From May to September, rain in Israel is rare. With scarce water resources, Israel has developed various water-saving technologies, including drip irrigation. Israelis also take advantage of the considerable sunlight available for solar energy, making Israel the leading nation in solar energy use per capita (practically every house uses solar panels for water heating).

Sea of  Galilee
(Yam Kinneret)

Location:
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon
Geographic coordinates:
31 30 N, 34 45 E
Area:
total: 22,072 sq km
country comparison to the world: 152
land: 21,642 sq km
water: 430 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries:
total: 1,017 km
border countries: Egypt 266 km, Gaza Strip 51 km, Jordan 238 km, Lebanon 79 km, Syria 76 km, West Bank 307 km
Coastline:
273 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
Climate:
Current Weather
temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas
Terrain:
Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Har Meron 1,208 m
Natural resources:
timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand
Land use:
arable land: 15.45%
permanent crops: 3.88%
other: 80.67% (2005)
Irrigated land:
1,940 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
1.7 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 2.05 cu km/yr (31%/7%/62%)
per capita: 305 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
limited arable land and natural fresh water resources pose serious constraints; desertification; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is an important freshwater source; there are about 355 Israeli civilian sites including about 145 small outpost communities in the West Bank, 41 sites in the Golan Heights, and 32 in East Jerusalem (2010 est.)

Eilat


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