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The Palestinian areas (the West Bank and Gaza) are administered by the Palestine National Authority, not by the government of Israel.


* Only the first and last days of Passover and Sukkot are national holidays, but there may be some disruption on intermediate dates; many shops and businesses may open but close early. The festival of Chanukah is a holiday period, but it is not a national holiday - businesses remain open. Jewish festivals always commence on the evenings before the dates given above.

The Jewish religious day is Saturday (Shabbat) and begins at nightfall on Friday until nightfall on Saturday. Most public services and shops close early on Friday as a result. Muslim and Christian holidays are also observed by the respective populations. Thus, depending on the district, the day of rest falls on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.


























israel - general info:



Eastern Mediterranean.
22,145 sq km (8,550 sq miles).
7.04 million  (Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 2006).
Population Density
317.9 per sq km.

Republic. The state of Israel was founded in 1948.

80% Jewish, 18% Muslim, with small Christian, Druze and other minorities.

Head of Government
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert since March 2006.
Head of State
Moshe Katzav since 2000.

There are many Internet cafes.



Population: (including East Jerusalem) 724,000 (2006). The Israeli government has designated Jerusalem as the capital, although this is not recognized by the UN, and most foreign embassies are based in Tel Aviv.


Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages. Hebrew is the first language of about two-thirds of the population. Arabic is spoken by around 15%. Other languages, including English, French, German, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Yiddish are widely spoken. A large proportion of the population speak good English, a compulsory school subject.


GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 during summer Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time in Israel starts on 1 April every year and ends on the Saturday between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.)


230 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are standard; if needed, adaptors can be purchased in Israel.


Country code: 972. Local telephone directories are in Hebrew, but there is a special English-language version for tourists.

Mobile Telephone

Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. There is coverage all over the country, including the Negev Desert. Visitors should note that it is illegal to drive whilst holding a mobile telephone.


Israel has vibrant and exceptionally diverse media, produced in Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian, expressing all viewpoints and spanning the entire political spectrum. All publications are privately owned, and there is no state interference with editorial. News in English is broadcast on radio and TV several times daily.


Airmail to Europe takes up to one week.
Post office hours: May vary but are generally Sun-Tues and

Thurs 0800-1200 and 1530-1830, Wed 0800-1330 and Fri 0800-1200. All post offices are closed on Shabbat (Saturday) and holy days, although central telegraph offices are open throughout the year.


• The main dailies are Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv and Yedioth Aharonoth.
• The main English-language daily is the
Jerusalem Post.
• The Jerusalem Report is a popular left-of-center monthly magazine in English.


• There is a huge range of radio stations offering music, news or features in several languages.
• The Israel Broadcasting Authority runs the principal station Kol Israel.
• The popular and authoritative Army Radio broadcasts news and music to a mostly-civilian audience and operates the music and traffic news network Galgalatz.
• There is also a proliferation of unauthorized/ pirate radio stations.