Here are 50 strange and interesting facts about Israel and the Jewish people:
- Israel has a museum entirely dedicated to hummus, showcasing the many variations of this popular Middle Eastern dish.
- The Dead Sea, which lies between Israel and Jordan, is so salty that nothing can survive in it, hence its name.
- Israel is one of the only countries in the world that consistently gains more trees than it loses each year.
- The city of Haifa has an underground funicular, the Carmelit, which is one of the shortest subway systems in the world.
- Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah,” means “The Hope” in Hebrew.
- The first computer virus, known as the “Brain” virus, was created by two Pakistani brothers living in Lahore, but it was discovered and removed by an Israeli scientist.
- Israel’s national flower is the Cyclamen persicum.
- The country’s flag, also known as the Star of David, features the biblical symbol of King David.
- Israel is home to the lowest freshwater lake on Earth, the Sea of Galilee, also known as Lake Kinneret.
- The world’s oldest continuously inhabited city, Jericho, is located in the West Bank territory.Related: Why are there so many Jewish Nobel winners?
- The Jewish calendar follows both the solar and lunar cycles, which is why Jewish holidays fall on different dates each year in the Gregorian calendar.
- The menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum, is a symbol often associated with Judaism and is prominently featured on Israel’s national emblem.
- The tradition of putting a small piece of paper with a prayer or wish inside the Western Wall in Jerusalem dates back many centuries.
- In some Jewish traditions, boys celebrate their Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13, marking their transition into adulthood.
- The first recorded use of the word “Jew” was in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Bible.
- The Torah, the central reference of the religious Judaic tradition, contains 304,805 letters.
- Jewish people make up less than 0.2% of the world’s population but have won 22% of all Nobel Prizes.
- The tradition of Jewish matchmaking, or “shidduch,” has been passed down through generations.
- Many iconic inventions and innovations, such as the theory of relativity and the polio vaccine, are credited to Jewish scientists and thinkers.
- Jews have been involved in the film industry since its inception, with names like Louis B. Mayer and the Warner Brothers making significant contributions.
- Yiddish, a language spoken by Ashkenazi Jews, is written using the Hebrew alphabet but has its own unique grammar and vocabulary.
- The Jewish custom of covering mirrors in a house of mourning is a sign of respect for the deceased and a way to focus on the grieving process.
- The Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is considered the holiest day in the Jewish calendar and is observed with a 25-hour fast.
- The concept of “tikkun olam” is central to Jewish ethics and means “repairing the world” through acts of kindness and social justice.
- The Jewish holiday of Passover celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt and is observed with a special Seder meal.
These fascinating facts provide a glimpse into the rich history, culture, and traditions of both Israel and the Jewish people.