Israel Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Israel: population and cities


According to Countryaah website, Israel has about 8.5 million residents, together with the residents of the occupied territories it is about 8.9 million.

When the state was founded in May 1948, there were only 600,000.

Ethnic composition

Around 70% of the population come from Europe and Russia, 20% are Arabs. The remaining residents come from Ethiopia, Morocco, or the USA, among others.

Religious affiliation

The majority of the population of Israel, around 80%, are of Jewish faith. In addition, around 15% are Muslims, a total of 2-3% Catholic, Protestant, Coptic and Orthodox Christians and around 1.5% Druze (offshoots of Islam).

According to an announcement from 2018, over 30% of the residents are said to be ultra-Orthodox.

National languages

The official languages are Hebrew and Arabic, and Russian is widely spoken. English is also understood and spoken by many Israelis.

Capital and other cities

The capital of Israel has been Jerusalem, the holy city, since 1980, with a population of 801,000, including approx. 455,000 Jews and approx. 215,000 Arabs. Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and has been continuously populated for around 5,000 years. It should be noted, however, that Jerusalem is not recognized internationally as the capital (UN resolution 478). With the exception of the USA, El Salvador and Costa Rica, all other countries have therefore set up their diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv. According to Abbreviation Finder, ISR stands for Israel in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

Tel Aviv, the second largest city in Israel, with around 425,000 residents, Haifa on the northern slope of the Carmel Mountains on the Mediterranean Sea, is the third largest city in the country with 270,000 residents. The 4th largest city is Be’er Sheva, the “Negev capital”, with around 200,000 residents. Nazareth in the north of the country in Galilee has around 200,000 residents, of which around 70% are Muslims. Nazareth has worldwide significance as the hometown of Jesus (Jesus of Nazareth). According to the Gospels, Mary and Joseph are said to have come from there, and it is there that the Archangel Gabriel is said to have announced the birth of the future Savior to Mary. Askalon or Ashqelon is located on the Mediterranean Sea north of Ghaza City in the western part of the Negev Desert. The city has about 110,000 residents. It is historically significant due to the campaigns of Ramses II the Great (reign from 1290 BC to 1224) against the Hittites (battle of Kadesh in 1285 BC). With around 49,000 residents, Eilat is the only port city on the Red Sea. As the birthplace of Christ, Bethlehem is one of the holiest places in Christianity.

Israel: geography, map

Israel is located in the so-called “Middle East” on the eastern Mediterranean in Western Asia. It has a common border with a total of 4 states, plus the borders with the autonomous. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Israel.

Palestinian territories:

– Egypt with a length of around 255 km,

– Jordan with a length of around 240 km,

– Syria with a length of around 80 km,

– Lebanon with a length of also around 80 km,

– as well as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank with a length of around 50 km or around 310 km.

The country has a coast to the Mediterranean Sea with a length of around 275 km, as well as a coast to the Red Sea with around 15 km. The only city on this coast is Eilat, the southernmost city in Israel.

Area and land use

Israel covers (in the armistice lines of 1949, the so-called “Green Line”) a total area of 20,766 km². Thereof:

  • ForestAround 6% of the total land area is forested.
  • Arable land and fieldsAround 20.1% of the country’s surface is used as arable land or fields, especially for growing melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, kiwis, mangoes, avocados and citrus fruits.
  • DesertAbout 50% of the country is covered by deserts, with the Negev desert being the largest.
  • MountainsOnly a small part of the country is located in the mountainous regions of the Hebron Mountains, the Juda Mountains and the Galilee Mountains.

The so-called heartland covers 22,380 km² and with the occupied areas it is around 6,830 km².

Tidal range in Tel Aviv

The tidal range on the coast of Israel is between 0.2 and 0.4 m.

For detailed explanations of ebb and flow, see Tides, Ebb and Flow.


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 meters, and at spring tide even over 20 meters. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between one and three meters. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 meters, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

The expansion of Israel as the difference between longitude and latitude is as follows:

Δφ = from 29 ° 30 ‘to 33 ° 20’ north Δλ = from 034 ° 20 ‘to 035 ° 40’ east

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time in Israel

For Israel, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time (without summer time) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A minus sign means that it is earlier there, a plus sign that it is later than CET.

Δt (CET) = + 2 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv lies at a north latitude of around φ = 32 ° (exactly: 32 ° 05 ‘). If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at λ = 23.5 °, summer starts in Tel Aviv, June 21st. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

32 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °


H = 81.5 °

At 81.5 °, the sun is thus in the highest position of the entire year above the horizon (precisely: above the horizon).


Hare Meron

The highest mountain in the country is the H are Meron with a height of 1,208 m.

Other high mountains are:

  • Beit Jann with a height of 1,071 m
  • Summit of Sasa with a height of 1,006 m
  • Har Arikha with a height of 863 m

Mount Garizim

The 881 m high Mount Garizim also plays a special historical role, but is located in the West Bank in the autonomous Palestinian territories. Already around 500 BC A large temple in honor of Yahweh was located here, which at the time was much larger and more splendid than the one in Jerusalem. The temple was a Samaritan sanctuary. There are currently around 800 members of this extremely Orthodox religious community who live in the village of Kirjat Luza below the mountain peak.

The temple on the Garazin was built in 128 BC. Destroyed by the Hasmonean prince John Hyrcanus I.

It should be mentioned that Emperor Hadrian had a Temple of Zeus built on the mountain and that a Christian church was built here under Emperor Zenon in 484 AD.

Rivers, Jordan


The longest river in the country is the Jordan with a total length of around 320 km.


The Kishon rises northeast of the mountains of Gilboa. The upper course of this river carries practically no water during the summer, while the lower course is water-bearing all year round due to numerous smaller tributaries. It has a length of around 100 km and flows over the Bay of Haifa into the Mediterranean Sea

Jarmuk, Yarmuk

The Jarmuk rises in Syria on the southern slope of the Jebel ad-Duruz (highest mountain: Tell Qeni at 1,803 m) and is the largest tributary of the Jordan. It forms the border between Syria and Jordan – and shortly before it flows into the Jordan also that between Israel and Jordan.


Dead Sea

The largest lake in the country is the Dead Sea with an area of around 1,020 km². The average salinity of this lake is approx. 28% with peak values of approx. 33%. The largest tributary is the Jordan. The Dead Sea also forms Israel’s primary industry of natural minerals.

Sea of Galilee

Another larger lake is the Sea of Galilee with an area of around 165 km². After the city of Tiberias (approx. 40,000 residents and the largest city in the Jordan Valley) lying on its shore, the lake is also known as the “Lake of Tiberias”. The region around this lake plays a particularly important role in the New Testament, since many events in the life and work of Jesus are said to have taken place here. The Sea of Galilee is the main source of water supply in Israel.

The dead Sea

Just an hour’s drive (80 km to En Gedi) from Jerusalem is in the middle of the Judean Desert, west of Jerusalem is the Dead Sea. Just the drive there on the road, which leads through the West Bank and drops 1,200 meters, is a pleasure. Despite its name “Sea”, the Dead Sea is only about 800 km² in size. It gets its water from the Jordan River and from nearby freshwater springs and streams that are enriched with mineral-rich mud – but the lake has no drainage. However, due to evaporation, it loses about as much water as flows into it via the Jordan. Therefore, over time, numerous salts have accumulated in the water, so that it has a salt content of up to 33% – on average around 28% – which is about ten times as much as the Saz content of the Mediterranean Sea. Its water surface is more than 400 m below sea level and a deepest point is about 380 m below the lake surface. Due to the increasing amount of water withdrawn from the Jordan, the water level of the lake is now falling continuously, and with it, of course, its water surface.

The salt of the lake contains approximately 51% magnesium chloride (MgCl), 14.5% calcium chloride (CaCl), 30.2% sodium chloride (NaCl) and 4.5% potassium chloride (KCl). The rest is made up of a number of trace elements.

There are no higher living beings in the lake, such as fish. There are a number of salt extraction plants on its banks. In addition, the water is considered to be beneficial for a number of skin diseases – for example psoriasis or neurodermatitis. The dry and pollen-free air also has a high relaxation and recovery factor.

In addition to Israel, there are also Jordan and the Palestinian West Bank, which is still under Israeli military administration, on the lake. The place where the Qumran Scrolls were found, the city of Jericho (approx. 10 km from the north bank), the rock fortress Masada and the oasis En Gedi are located at the lake or in its vicinity. On the Jordanian side, the places of Numeira and Bab Edh Dhra on the Lisan Peninsula, which may have been on the site of the biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, are of interest.

The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean covers an area of 2.5 million km². It is connected to the Atlantic Ocean by the Strait of Gibraltar, which is around 15 km wide at its narrowest point. And over the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosperus with the Black Sea. Its deepest point – the so-called Calypso Deep – at around 5,265 m is in the Ionian Sea south of the Greek Peloponnese peninsula. In the Mediterranean there are two still active volcanoes, it is the approx. 916 m high Stromboli on the approx. 12.6 km² large island of the same name, which is part of the Aeolian Islands. In Sicily near Catania and Messina there is the approximately 3,323 m high Etna. The approx. 1,280 m high Vesuvius near Naples on the mainland, which was built in 79 AD. Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum is currently inactive – its last eruption occurred in 1944.

The Mediterranean borders or belongs to Europe, Asia and Africa, which it not only divides but also connects with each other since ancient times.

Israel Population