Israel is a small country of more than 8.5 million people, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It shares land borders with Lebanon, Syria , Jordan on the east, the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Egypt. It is the world’s only Jewish-majority state, but is also home to 1.8 million Israeli Arabs, from Sunni Muslims to Negev Bedouins, to Arab Christians and Druze. Other minority groups which add to the country’s diversity are Arameans, Assyrians, Samaritans, Armenians, Circassians, Domari, Maronites, Vietnamese and asylum and job seekers from across Africa and Asia.
The country benefits from a highly skilled workforce and is among the most educated countries in the world, with the one of the highest percentage of its citizens holding an advanced post-secondary degree. It has the highest standard of living in the Middle East and the fourth highest in Asia. It is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system, proportional representation and universal suffrage. It maintains a three-tier court system composed of magistrate courts, district courts and the Supreme Court, in Jerusalem. The Supreme Court allows both citizens and non-citizens to petition against state laws and decisions; its legal system combines English common law, civil law, and Jewish law.
It is also a geographically diverse land: from the Negev desert in the south, to the fertile Jezreel Valley, the mountain ranges of the Galilee to the Dead Sea. East of the country’s central highlands lies the Jordan Rift Valley, through which the historic Jordan River flows. Temperatures and climates also vary widely: mountainous regions can be windy and cold; areas of high elevation receive at least one snowfall each year. Tel Aviv and Haifa have a typical Mediterranean climates with cool, rainy winters and long, hot summers; the areas of Beersheba and the Negev desert have semi-arid climates with hot summers, cool winters and little rain. Despite the country’s small size and growing population, the state maintains and protects over 380 nature reserves within its territory.
Israel has sent 24 delegations of IDF search and rescue unit to 22 countries since 1985. In the aftermath of the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010, Israel sent over 200 medical doctors and personnel to start treating injured Haitians at the scene and was the first country to set up a field hospital capable of performing surgical operations. Israel was one of the first countries to send a medical delegation to Japan following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011. The country has produced six Nobel Prize-winning scientists since 2002 and has been frequently ranked as one of the countries with the highest ratios of scientific papers per capita in the world. Israel is a global leader in the development of solar energy, water conservation, geothermal energy, solar energy, drip irrigation, desalination and water recycling. As of May 2015 more than 50 percent of the water in Israeli households, agriculture and industry was artificially produced and over 90% of Israeli homes use solar energy for hot water, the highest per capita in the world.
Canada is home to as many as 30,000 Israelis, one of the largest Israeli diaspora groups in the world. In keeping with the Israeli tradition of hospitality, we wish you “shalom” (peace) and invite you to join us for the very best of our food and entertainment.