I LOVE ISRAEL - 75 Reasons We Love Israel -

In honor of the Jewish state’s 75th birthday, here are 75 reasons we love Israel – from AJC team member reflections and stories to fun facts! Go deeper by taking our quiz to test your knowledge of all things Israel!

  1. A Jewish home like no other: Israel is the world’s only Jewish state.
  2. It’s home to the beautiful Negev, which has the largest planted forest in Israel – Ya’ar Yatir.
  3. The power of remembrance: the sirens on Yom HaShoah and Yom Hazikaron.
  4. The Bauhaus buildings of Tel Aviv. There are more than 4,000 of them across The White City.
  5. Israel is home to the first underwater archaeological park in the world – Caesarea Underwater Archaeological Park.
  6. Get low: Israel’s Dead Sea is the lowest point on Earth! Happy floating! 
  7. There’s a roadside diner in Neve Ilan devoted to all things Elvis Presley.
  8. Israel is home to many national parks and nature reserves, including the Carmel National Park and the Hula Nature Reserve.
  9. A museum-lovers paradise! Israel has the most museums per capita than any other country in the world.
  10. Start-Up Nation! Israel has the highest concentration of high-tech and startup companies (over 3,000) in the world outside of the United States.
  11. Haifa is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world – The Technion, the University of Haifa, and Gordon School of Education.
  12. Home of sushi? Tel Aviv is home to the world’s third-most sushi restaurants per capita, behind only Tokyo and New York.
  13. Fauda on Netflix! If you know, you know!
  14. Walk and shop in the shuks! From Machane Yehuda in Jerusalem to Carmel Market in Tel Aviv to Shuk Hapishpeshim in Jaffa, there is something for everyone.
  15. Bamba, the peanut butter-flavored snack, hails from Israel. Enough said!
  16. The cherry tomato was invented in Israel.
  17. The navigation system Waze was invented in Israel.
  18. Get biking! Tel Aviv has more than 25 miles of bike paths.
  19. Israel has several UNESCO world heritage sites, including Masada, the Old City of Acre, and the Necropolis of Beit She’arim.
  20. Take your files with you! The world’s first USB drive or flash drive – Disk on Key – was invented in Israel
  21. Sweet as Can Be: There’s nothing quite like a chocolate rugelach on a Friday afternoon in Israel!
  22. Opportunities to grow: Did you know that many Jewish students from around the world take a gap year in Israel after graduating high school? Many use this as a chance to explore their Jewish identities in yeshivas, travel the world, participate in Israeli society through internships, and much more!
  23. Multifaith community: While Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, it is also the birthplace of Christianity, contains Islam’s third holiest site - the Dome of the Rock, and the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa.
  24. Voicemail technology was developed in Israel!
  25. The beaches! Israel has more than 135 of them.
  26. Israeli banknotes have Braille on them to assist the blind.
  27. Israel has its own day-long festival of love, called Tu B’Av.
  28. Jewish and proud! Israel is the only country in the world with a majority Jewish population.
  29. It has the largest central bus station in the Middle East, located in Tel Aviv.
  30. Taekwondo fighter Avishag Semberg, 19, was the first Israeli to win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 
  31. There are more than 270 Kibbutzim, communal settlements that are unique to Israel! The first known Kibbutz was Deganya Aleph, founded in 1910.
  32. Sufganiyot (doughnuts) on Hanukkah is a BIG DEAL, with multiple flavors, toppings, and fillings. Did you know that you can even inject your own favorite filling into the doughnuts?
  33. Matkot is the sound of summer – the paddle ball game is everywhere on Israel’s beaches.
  34. Diversity: You can find Jewish communities from every corner of the world from Bukharian Jews to Ethiopian Jews. 
  35. A land for learning: Israel is home to multiple important historical sites and is a paradise for anyone curious about history!
  36. The inspiration nation: Israel’s story, from its origins as a tiny country that could, with a simple hope, a Tikvah, to let Jews live freely in their homeland, serves as an important reminder to never give up.
  37. Who runs the world? Golda Meir, one of Israel’s Prime Ministers, was the fourth elected woman head of state in the world in 1969.  
  38. Après-ski, anyone? Did you know that you can ski in Israel? While the southern portion of Israel may be desert, up north, you can glide down Mount Hermon!
  39. Israel tops the world in altruistic kidney donations, with over 1,000 since 2009.
  40. Israel is home to Yad Vashem, a Holocaust museum in Jerusalem with more than 450,000 photographs and 179 million pages of documents.
  41. Actress and model Gal Gadot was born in Rosh HaAyin! In 2018, Gadot was included on the list of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine.
  42. Kosher fast food, anyone? There are more than 40 kosher McDonald's in Israel.
  43. Farewell, chametz! Jaaber Hussein, an Israeli-Arab hotel manager, purchases all the state’s chametz (leavened products) for Passover.
  44. Haifa’s subway system is one of the world’s smallest, with four carriages and just over one mile of track.
  45. Israel's Save a Child’s Heart organization performs life-saving heart operations for children worldwide, including many Palestinians, free of charge.
  46. Thirsty? In Israel, there are more than 35 commercial wineries and 250 boutique wineries.
  47. Hatikvah, the national anthem of Israel, is all about hope: a powerful message of resilience that ties into the Jewish people’s history of perseverance.
  48. 75 years young! Jews around the world who are older than the establishment of the modern-day state of Israel have vivid memories of where they were when they first heard that Israel had become a nation. Some even recall dancing in the streets of New York’s Upper West Side on that momentous day.
  49. Space for Spirituality: People from all over the world, including world leaders and celebrities, come to pray at the Kotel, or the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites for the Jewish people.
  50. It is home to soccer star Manor Solomon! Born in Kfar Saba, the Israeli attacking midfielder is producing plenty of goals and assists for Fulham of the English Premier League, which is one of the top soccer leagues in the world.
  51. Directionally challenged? No worries! In Israel, all road signs have Hebrew, Arabic, and English on them to help people from all over the world navigate the country.
  52. Stop the Bus! On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, the majority of the country, including its transportation system, shuts down in honor of this high holiday.
  53. Davening in Israel: One AJC staff member recalls the significance and holiness of praying with thousands of Israelis and Jews from around the world during the Ten Days of Repentance at the Kotel. In a moment, she says, "I felt connected to all the people around me as we davened in one language, with one book, in one place, in the Jewish state… it was an experience unlike any other."
  54. Working together: One AJC staff member recalls working at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem and seeing the wonderful partnership between the doctors who came from all different walks of life to help save the lives of all the people in Israel, no matter who they were.
  55. Go green: Israel is a leading nation for water recycling, as it recycles at least 90% of the wastewater that it creates.
  56. Grab those water shoes! Israel’s incredible nature includes gorgeous waterfalls that you can explore on hikes in the Golan and beyond. Be sure to check out Hermon Stream Nature Reserve. 
  57. Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team plays internationally in the EuroLeague and is one of the best teams in Europe, having won six EuroLeague titles and sending several players to the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft. 
  58. Omri Casspi was drafted 23rd overall in the 2009 NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings, making him the first Israeli to be drafted in the first round, and the first Israeli to play in an NBA game that same year. Following in his large footsteps, Israel’s Deni Avdija currently stars for the Washington Wizards.
  59. Batter up! Israel’s National Baseball Team has competed twice in the World Baseball Classic, which features many stars from Major League Baseball. 
  60. Safe refuge: Over 15,000 Ukrainian Jews have immigrated to Israel under the country’s Law of Return since Russia’s illegal invasion in February 2022, including hundreds who arrived on AJC-sponsored flights in April 2022. Overall, Israel has taken in some 30,000 Ukrainian refugees –Jews and non-Jews alike.
  61. Middle East gridiron: Under the sponsorship of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Israel has its very own amateur football league–Israel Football League. The league consists of eight teams, culminating in the Israel Bowl held at the Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem. 
  62. Tower of Solar Power: With its dry and sunny weather, Israel is a perfect candidate to lead the world in solar innovation and production. The Ashlalim power station in the Negev was the tallest solar power tower in the world when it was built at 260 meters. It uses an array of 56,000 solar mirrors to reflect sunlight onto its pinnacle, generating enough energy to power 120,000 homes. 
  63. Seawater: We love that Israel figured out a way to solve world freshwater shortages by turning salt water into fresh water and harnessing the energy of waves to power electrical grids.
  64. We love that Israel is part of the Abraham Accords! The historic peace accords between the Jewish state, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have fostered new opportunities in the Middle East–people-to-people exchanges, business partnerships, and government agreements have all led to investment and growth.
  65. TLV✈️CMN! We love that after normalizing diplomatic relations, the first flights between Morocco and Israel were launched in July 2021 by Israeli carriers El Al and Israir. These were the first direct commercial flights between the two nations in over two decades.
  66. Israel champions inclusion. It is home to the world’s only theater company composed entirely of deaf and blind actors.
  67. It is the land of Krembos!
  68. It’s not irregular to see strangers singing together in the street. (Want to join? Walk by Yafo Street in Jerusalem)
  69. That feeling when you receive a Shabbat dinner invite from the person sitting next to you on the bus.
  70. Watching the sunset and hearing the sweet melodies of Kabbalat Shabbat sung at the Kotel, while also hearing the Muslim call to prayer ringing through Jerusalem’s old city.
  71. The public pianos placed outdoors and in train stations throughout the country. 
  72. There is a place for everyone to serve in the Israeli army – women in combat, lone soldiers, Israelis with special needs, Muslim and Christian, and Druze soldiers – all united in the same cause and hoping for a brighter future. 
  73. How Israel’s Pride celebrations have become a legendary gathering of love and acceptance in the Middle East, drawing tourists from around the world. 
  74. Krav Maga, the famous martial art, comes from Israel!
  75. Iron Dome, the air defense missile system that protects Israeli civilians from terrorist rocket attacks, was developed by two Israeli firms.

 

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