Israel Demography and Culture

Israel, officially the State of Israel. Middle Eastern country located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered to the north by Lebanon, to the east by Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, to the west by the Mediterranean Sea and the Gaza Strip, to the southwest by Egypt and to the south by the Gulf of Aqaba (Red Sea). With a population of around 7.35 million, the majority of whom are Jews, Israel is the only Jewish state in the world. It is also the home of Muslim Arabs, Christians, Druze and Samaritans, as well as other religious and ethnic minority groups.


The name of Israel comes from a passage in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, where the biblical patriarch Jacob provoked the admiration of an angel after defeating him in a fight that lasted all night. He blessed him and changed his name to Yisra’el, “he fights with God.”

The Confederate tribes that recognized themselves as descendants of Jacob called themselves “Children of Israel” or “Israelites.” Regarding archeology, the oldest known mention of the name Israel other than a personal name is an epic tale recorded on the Merenptah stela from Ancient Egypt, dating from 1210 BC, where it is used as a gentilicio, designating to a town or group of people without association with a specific geographic location. [1]

With the establishment of the new Jewish state in the middle of the 20th century, various names were considered for it, such as “Eretz Israel”, “Zion”, “Judea” and “New Judea”, which were finally disregarded. [2] The modern name that the country adopted was Medinat Yisrael in Hebrew and Dawlat Isrā’īl in Arabic, the two official languages, with the same meaning of “State of Israel”. The country’s gentilicio in Spanish is Israeli, and its plural is Israeli, adopted by its government a few weeks after independence. The term Israelite is often used in Spanish in reference to the ancient residents of the Kingdom of Israel, although it is also used as a synonym for Jew or Hebrew, and even Israeli.


As a country located in Middle East according to, Israel is a small country, with a population of 7 million residents (2005); 78% of them are Jewish, and 19% Arab. In the territories of Judea and Samaria (also known as the West Bank) and East Jerusalem, in 2005 the population was 2.3 million. According to the Israeli Interior Ministry, some 200,000 Israeli settlers live in illegal settlements established in the Palestinian territories.

Ethnicities: 73.6% Sabra Jews (born in Israel), 24.9% non-Jews (mainly Arab ethnicity, including Bedouins), 17.9% European-American Jews, 5.2% African Jews, 3.2% Jews Asians (2012)

  • Mizrají, from Muslim countries.


  • Judaism 6%
    • Secular Judaism 33%
    • Conservative or Masorti Judaism 30%
    • Orthodox Judaism 7%
      • Hasidism
    • Ultra-Orthodox Judaism or Jaredim 6%
  • Islam 9%
  • Christianity 2%
    • Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem
      • Saint Cyril of Jerusalem
    • Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem
    • Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem [26], 161,400 faithful.
      • Albert of Jerusalem, s. XIII
    • Melkite Catholic Church
      • Archieparchy of Acre, 1753, 76,700 faithful
      • Patriarchal Exarchate, 1996, 3,500 faithful
    • Maronite Catholic Church
      • Archieparchy of Haifa and the Holy Land, 1996, 7,000 faithful
      • Patriarchal Exarchate, 1996, 500 faithful.
    • Syriac Catholic Church
      • Patriarchal Exarchate, 1892, 1,500 faithful
    • Armenian Catholic Church
      • Patriarchal Exarchate, 1991, 500 faithful
    • Seventh-day Adventist Church 831 faithful [27]
    • Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints 253 faithful [5]
    • Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, 13 seats [28]
      • Diocese of Jerusalem
    • Druzos 7%
    • Others 3.8% (2008)
      • Bahaísmo, world headquarters in Haifa.
      • Samaritanism


  • Saint Alexander of Jerusalem


Israel is the only country in the world where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar. Work and school holidays are determined by Jewish holidays, and the official day of rest is Saturday, Shabbat. [6] Israel’s sizeable Arab minority has also left its mark on Israeli culture in areas such as architecture, music, and cuisine.

Israeli literature is primarily poetry and prose written in Hebrew, as part of the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language since the mid- 19th century, although a small space of literature is published in other languages, such as Arabic and English. By law, two copies of all printed materials published in Israel must be deposited in the National Library of Israel and in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2001, the law was amended to include audio and video recordings as well as other non-print media.

In 1966 Shmuel Yosef Agnón shared the Nobel Prize for Literature with the German Jewish author Nelly Sachs.

Israel Culture

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