Country: Israel

Population: 6,426,679

Capital: Jerusalem

Time Zone: UTC+2

Currency Name: new Israeli shekel (ILS) (NIS)

Government Type: Parliamentary Democracy

Languages: Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language

Ethnic Breakdown: Jewish 76.4% (of which Israel-born 67.1%, Europe/America-born 22.6%, Africa-born 5.9%, Asia-born 4.2%), non-Jewish 23.6% (mostly Arab) (2004)

Religion: Jewish 76.4%, Muslim 16%, Arab Christians 1.7%, other Christian 0.4%, Druze 1.6%, unspecified 3.9%

Major Cities: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv

Phone Country Code: 972

Health Concerns:

Official Tourism Website: http://www.goisrael.com/tourism_eng

High Travel Season: June - August

Voltage: 220 V - 50 Hz

Electrical Plug Type: c

Major Holidays: on Hebrew calendar, variable dates - Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Yitzhak Rabin's Remembrance Day, Hanukkah, New Year for Trees, Purim, Passover, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Fallen Soldiers Remembrance Day, Independence Day, Jerusalem Day, Shavuot

Misc Fact / Good to Know: The Western Wall ( known also as the Wailing Wall ), in Jerusalem is the last remnant of the Holy Temple that was destroyed in 68 C.E. For thousands of years, Jews in all parts of the world have built their temples facing west, in order to pray toward the Western Wall.