Israel 101: Fun Facts and Vocab Words

Israel became a state in 1948, and since its inception, it has gained recognition for being a hub of arts, culture and innovation. While Israel is known for certain attractions – its beaches, its outdoor markets, its historical sites – there are so many parts of the Middle Eastern nation that may surprise you. In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, here are seven lesser-known fun facts about the Jewish state and five Hebrew vocab words.

If you want to learn more about Israel and help celebrate the country’s 75th, be sure to check out our Israel 75 celebrations, including Community Mitzvah Day, Shabbat Gatherings, the Taste of Israel Festival and Israel 75 Mission, at


1. Arts at Her Heart

Israel has more museums and more orchestras per capita than any other country in the world.

2. Highs and Lows

Israel’s Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth — 1,315 feet below sea level at its lowest point! It is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean.

3. A Tech Giant

Israeli inventors have created a number of innovative gadgets over the years, including the PillCam, a swallowable medical camera, Firewall, the original protection against malware, and Waze, the famous crowd-sourced GPS app.

4. Return to Sender

The glue on Israel’s postage stamps is kosher.

5. An Inclusive Nation

Israeli banknotes have braille writing on them, so people with visual impairments can accurately identify them. Israel is also home to the world’s only theater company comprised entirely of deaf and blind actors.

6. May Contain Peanuts

Thanks to Israel’s national snack Bamba, a peanut-flavored puff, babies in Israel are 10 times less likely to suffer from peanut allergies.

7. Tree-Huggers

Israel is the only county to have more trees today than it did 50 years ago. Planting a tree in Israel often serves as a memorial for Jews around the world to honor a loved one.


1. Kibbutz

kibbutz refers to a type of community in Israel that is collective, egalitarian and traditionally agrarian. Kibbutzim were integral in making Israel into the fertile, agricultural land it is today. The first kibbutz was Deganya Aleph, founded in 1910. Today, there are over 270 kibbutzim in Israel.

2. Shuk

shuk refers to one of Israel’s famous, sprawling outdoor markets. Machaneh Yehuda Market, arguably the most well-known of Israel’s shuks, features more than 250 vendors, selling produce, baked goods, spices and artwork in the heart of Jerusalem.

3. Knesset

The Knesset is Israel’s governing body. A unicameral, democratic parliamentary system, its members are elected every four years within the framework of parties that compete for the electorate’s votes.

4. Kotel

The Kotel, also known as the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall, is one of the last remaining walls of the Temple Mount, the elevated plaza in the Old City of Jerusalem that was the site of both ancient Jewish temples. It is the holiest site in Judaism and a place of pilgrimage and prayer. One million notes are left in the Kotel each year. They are cleaned out twice a year, before Passover and Rosh Hashanah.

5. Chesed

Chesed, translated as “loving-kindness,” is a core Jewish value. The concept of chesed appears in the Torah more than 190 times. One way to practice this value is to partake in mitzvot – good deeds.


Ready to celebrate the Jewish homeland? Click here to learn more about our Israel 75 celebrations.