An Overview Of Israel Theology Religion Essay Example
An Overview Of Israel Theology Religion Essay Example

An Overview Of Israel Theology Religion Essay Example

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  • Pages: 17 (4591 words)
  • Published: November 2, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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Israel embodies the continuity of Judaism in various ways. It occupies the same land, practices the same religion, speaks the same language, and worships the same God as it did 3,000 years ago. A scroll that is 2,000 years old serves as a distinct reminder of this history. This scroll is similar to the one currently used at a local ice cream shop. The people of Israel, also referred to as the Jewish People, trace their origins back to Abraham who acknowledged belief in a single God – the creator of the universe. Abraham's descendants include his son Isaac and grandson Jacob who is also known as Israel; they are regarded as the patriarchs of the Israelites.

All three caputs lived in the Land of Canaan, which later became known as the Land of Israel. They and their partners were buried in the Ma'arat


HaMachpela, also called the Grave of the Patriarchs, located in Hebron. The name Israel comes from Jacob, who was also known by this name. His 12 sons are ancestors of 12 tribes that eventually formed the Jewish state.

The term Jew is derived from Yehuda (Judah), one of Jacob's 12 sons (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin). Therefore, Israelite or Judaic names indicate individuals with a common ancestry. The descendants of Abraham established a nation around 1300 BCE after leaving Egypt with Moses. Moses then gave the Torah and Ten Commandments to the people of this new state. After spending 48 years in the Sinai desert under Moses' guidance, they were led to the Land of Israel mentioned in the Bible—a land promised by God to Abraham's descendants:

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Isaac and Jacob.

The legal system of the Hebrew people in the land of Israel started with the successors of Joshua (around 1250 BCE) during the Period of the King from 1002-588 BCE. Notable kings during this time include King David (1010-970 BCE), who established Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and his son Solomon (Shlome, 970-932 BCE), who constructed the first Temple in Jerusalem as described in the Tanach (Old Testament).

Israel's geography mirrors its cultural, social, economic, and political diversity.

Israel is a diverse country with various landscapes. It stretches approximately 263 miles from north to south and has a maximum width of 65 miles. In the north, there is the snow-covered Mount Hermon, which measures 8900 feet high. In contrast, in the south lies the tropical oasis-like Red Sea resort of Eilat. Travelers can explore many notable landmarks between these two extremes.

These include the saltwater Dead Sea, which holds the title for being the official Lowest Point on Earth. Additionally, there are volcanic valleys, coastal Mediterranean beaches, olive tree-covered hills, and dramatic red sand valleys to be discovered.

Some significant cities in Israel are Jerusalem (the capital), Tel Aviv (known as a center for industrial, commercial, financial, and cultural activities), Haifa (a major seaport and industrial hub in northern Israel), and Be'er Sheva (the largest population center situated in the South).

As of 2007, Israel had a population of 6.992 million people. Among this population breakdown was Jews accounting for 76%, Muslims making up 16.3%, Christians representing 2.2%, and Druze comprising 1.5%.


The climate of Israel is characterized by long, hot, dry summers and short, mild, rainy winters due to its location between the arid conditions of Egypt and the

moist conditions of the eastern Mediterranean. In January, temperatures range from 5°C to 10°C, while August is the hottest month with temperatures ranging from 18°C to 39°C. Around 71% of the annual precipitation occurs between November and March, and it often remains dry from June through August.

The rainfall in the South is significantly worse than that in the North, with less than 100 millimetres per year. In contrast, the average annual rainfall in the North is 1,129 millimetres. Rainfall patterns vary over time and from year to year, especially in the Negev Desert. These variations often result in violent storms that cause damage and flooding. Higher elevations like Jerusalem in the central Highlands region can experience freezing temperatures during January and February. The most cultivated areas of the country receive more than 200 millimetres of rain annually, which contributes to around one-third of its arable land.


The average summer temperatures in most of the state range from 18 degrees to 32 degrees Celsius (64 degrees to 91 degrees Fahrenheit). Along the beach, winters are warm with temperatures averaging 14 degrees Celsius (56 degrees Fahrenheit), while in the extremities they average 9 degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit). The Rift Valley is approximately 9 degrees Celsius (15 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the rest of the state during winter. The Dead Sea region, which is the lowest point on the planet, has one of the warmest climates worldwide.


The scarcity of water in the region has prompted significant efforts to maximize utilization of available resources and explore new sources.

In the 1960s, Israel unified its fresh water sources into one system, primarily through the National Water Carrier that transports water from

the north and center to the arid south. Ongoing initiatives involve puff seeding, soil water recycling, and saltwater purification.

The diverse flora and fauna in Israel are a result of its geographical position and diverse climate. The country boasts more than 400 bird species, around 100 animal and reptile species, as well as 2,500 plant varieties (including 150 indigenous to Israel). Additionally, there are over 160 nature reserves and 65 national parks covering approximately 500 square miles (about 1,000 sq. km).

Israel's agricultural sector has gained recognition throughout the state.


Israel's agricultural sector is highly advanced, thanks to its innovative methods for production developed in response to water and land scarcity. The collaboration between researchers, extensionists, farmers, and agriculture-based industries enables continuous development and implementation of new techniques with government support. As a result, Israel surpasses other countries in agribusiness despite over half of its territory being desert. It excels as a major exporter of fresh produce and leads the world in agricultural technologies despite geographical constraints.

Israel's agriculture sector faces significant challenges due to limited water resources, as only 20% of the country's land is suitable for farming. Currently, this sector contributes 2.5% to the nation's overall GDP and represents 3.6% of its exports. Despite agricultural workers accounting for just 3.7% of the workforce, Israel manages to produce an impressive 95% of its own food; however, it still relies on imports for oil-rich seeds, meat, coffee, grains, chocolate, and sugar. The country accommodates two main types of agricultural communities known as "mosha" and "kibbutz," established by Hebrew immigrants from different regions as part of a groundbreaking project.


Israel has a Parliamentary government system known for its vibrant democracy. Israelis

are actively involved in political matters, and the media plays a crucial role in promoting and encouraging political discussions as a social activity involving colleagues, family members, and others. The Knesset serves as Israel's Parliament, representing various parties with different ideologies, including Liberal and Conservative ones. It represents the diverse cultural and social groups within the country, including the 16% Arab population who hold Israeli citizenship. Similar to other democracies, Israelis elect Members of Parliament who then form coalitions to establish a governing cabinet led by a Prime Minister.


Israel is a highly developed state in South-west Asia, both economically and industrially. It joined the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2010. Israel ranks third among countries in the region for ease of doing business, according to the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index and the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report. It also has the world's third largest number of startup companies and is home to the highest number of NASDAQ-listed companies outside of the United States.

Israel was ranked 17th among the most economically developed countries in the world in 2010, according to the World Competitiveness Year book. In terms of resilience during crises and research and development center investments, Israel's economy achieved first place. The Bank of Israel, previously seventh, is now the top-ranked central bank for its effective surveillance. Additionally, Israel stands out for providing a highly skilled workforce. It is worth noting that the foreign-exchange reserves of the Bank of Israel amount to $79.5 billion.


Israel's culture is diverse and influenced by its varied population. The customs and traditions of Hebrews from different parts of

the world have created a melting pot of Jewish perspectives. Life in Israel revolves around the Hebrew calendar, with holidays and festivals determined by it. Saturday serves as the official day of rest in Israel. The country's culture is also enriched by the significant Arab minority, contributing to areas like cuisine, music, and architecture.


Israeli literature primarily consists of poetry and prose written in Hebrew. Some literature is also published in languages such as English and Arabic.

As per legal precedent, the Judaic National and University Library at the University of Jerusalem must receive two copies of all printed materials published in Israel. In 2006, out of the 8,500 books transferred to the library, 85% were written in Hebrew.

Music and dance

The music of Israel is a fusion of Jewish and non-Jewish traditions that have come together to form a unique musical culture. Musicians have been searching for distinctive elements that would shape the developing national identity for over 150 years.

Israel has made significant contributions to various international music genres, including Israeli style and sound, wind, dad, and classical. The country's musicians have been recognized worldwide for their talent. Dance in Israel is also thriving with renowned choreographers like Ohaid Naharine, Ramit Beers, and Barack Marshall being acclaimed by diverse international audiences. The Batsheva Company and the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company are highly regarded globally.

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has been operating for over 70 years and currently performs over 200 concerts annually. Israel has also produced many internationally recognized instrumentalists and artists such as Ofra Haza, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman.


The population of Israel in 2012 was around 7,933,200 people, with 5,985,200 being

Jews. Arabs make up approximately 20.7% of the total population. In recent years, there has been a notable influx of migrants from Thailand, China, and South America who have chosen to settle in Israel. The exact numbers are unknown; however, a significant portion of these migrants live in Israel without legal documentation. It is estimated that their population amounts to about 203,000 individuals.

In June 2011, approximately 65,000 African and American migrants migrated to Israel.


Israel has a diverse community in terms of language and culture. According to the 15th edition of Ethnologue, there are thirty-three languages and dialects spoken among the local communities. The main language spoken by Israeli citizens is Modern Hebrew, which developed in the late 19th century and is influenced by various languages such as ancient Hebrew, Jewish languages, Arabic, Aramaic, Slavic languages, German, and others. Both Hebrew and Arabic serve as official languages of Israel.


Religion has played a significant role in shaping the civilization, culture, and way of life throughout Israel's history.

Israel is a country that is highly important to the major religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Because of this, it has become a popular destination for people from all over the world. It is the ancient homeland for Jewish kings and prophets, and its rich Jewish history continues to flourish today. Currently, Israel is mainly populated by Jews, who make up more than 25% of the global Jewish population. As of December 2010, the total population of the nation reached 7,503,300 people, with Jews accounting for 75.6% and Arabs making up 20%.

The remaining 4.4% of the population consists of various other groups,

including non-Arab Christians and non-Arab Muslims.


Education is mandatory for 11 years and is free for children aged 5 to 15. Primary education lasts for six years, followed by three years of lower secondary education and an additional two years of upper secondary education. In 1953, the Education Law eliminated separate elementary school systems affiliated with labor and religious organizations, establishing a unified state-administered system instead. This law also permitted religious schools within Israel. There are different types of schools available, such as public religious (Jewish) schools, public schools (the largest group), Agudat Israel-affiliated schools (which operated outside the public system but received government support), public Arab schools, and private Catholic and Protestant-run institutions. Jewish schools use Hebrew as the language of instruction, while Arabic is used in Arab schools. However, Jewish schools offer Arabic as an elective language course, while Arab schools teach Hebrew starting from the fifth grade.


Israel's industrial sector has thrived despite economic decline in other countries. While many advanced nations saw no growth or a decrease in their economies and industries during the 1990s, Israel experienced an impressive 27% increase. This achievement can be attributed to its highly skilled workforce rather than an abundance of natural resources. The people of Israel have always been its greatest asset, particularly in the industrial sector. In recent years, Israel's industrial sector has undergone significant transformation, focusing on areas such as medical agro-technology, electronics, fine chemicals, telecommunications, computer hardware and software, as well as diamond cutting and enhancing.

Israel's modern sector has gained international recognition for surpassing many traditional leaders in this field. Many major US hi-tech companies are now either establishing or planning to establish offices

and divisions in Israel in order to benefit from the talent pool available there. Diamond cutting and polishing is another key industry in Israel. In 1997, Israel accounted for around 75% of the global production of small polished stones used in jewelry settings. Additionally, during the same period, Israel accounted for 40% of the total global production of diamonds in all sizes and forms.

These statistics make Israel the top country in diamond and smoothing sales and production.


In a country that has focused on building infrastructure for the past fifty years, it is only natural that construction would be one of the main areas of interest. Because of the large number of immigrants that Israel has absorbed, residential development has accounted for the majority of the country's construction output. When immigration levels are high, almost all construction is initiated by the government. However, during periods of relatively low immigration, approximately 75% of the country's construction output is contributed by the private sector.

Conveyance and Communications

Israel has a significant public transit system, accounting for approximately 55% of the conveyance and communications sector. This sector has experienced substantial growth over the past 55 years and now contributes around 10% to the country's Gross National Product (GNP) and employs about 9% of the workforce.


The tourism industry is crucial for Israel's exports and is the main source of foreign currency earnings, generating $2.7 billion in 1999 (which was a peak year for tourism with 2.9 million visitors).

About 80% of Israel's visitors come from Europe and South America, with the remaining visitors coming from any part of the world, including visitors from

Arab states. Israel's diverse geographical locations, numerous leisure resorts, and large number of archaeological and religious sites provide tourism with almost unlimited potential.

Social Factors of Israel

Israeli culture is diverse and dynamic. With a diverse population of immigrants from five continents and over 100 countries, and significant subcultures such as Arabs, Ethiopians, Russians, and Orthodox Jews, each with their own newspapers and cultural networks, Israeli culture is highly varied and unique.

In addition to being a family-oriented society with a strong sense of community, Israeli society also values secular culture. While Tel Aviv is known as the center of this secular civilization, Jerusalem also hosts numerous prominent cultural organizations. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra showcases their talents in various venues both within the country and abroad. The Israel Diffusion Authority operates a symphony orchestra that performs nationally and internationally. Moreover, most cities have their own unique orchestras, with many musicians hailing from the former Soviet Union.

Israeli dance companies, such as Bat Dor and Batsheva, are highly regarded in the world of dance. In addition, theater is an important aspect of Israel's diverse culture. Established in 1917, Habima is the national theatre of Israel. Other theatre companies include Cameri Theater, Beit Lessin Theater, Gesher Theater (which performs in Hebrew and Russian), Haifa Theater, and Beersheba Theater. Safed, Jaffa, and Ein Hod are known for their artist settlements. Notable art museums can be found in Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Jerusalem, as well as various towns and kibbutzim.

Jerusalem's Israel Museum features a special exhibition showcasing the Dead Sea scrolls and a large collection of Jewish spiritual art, Israeli art, sculptures, and Old Master paintings. Newspapers are published in many languages and every

city and town has a local newsletter.


"Hebrew" is the official language of the State of Israel. It is a Semitic language spoken by the Jewish people and is one of the oldest living languages in the world. The Hebrew alphabet consists of 22 letters and the language is read from right to left. A reform of the educational system was closely connected to the need to teach Hebrew to the new immigrants, most of whom had no prior knowledge of the language.

Hebrew, one of the oldest languages in the world, was on the verge of extinction as a daily spoken language but was still used for prayers. The revival of Hebrew can be largely credited to Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (1858-1922) and his followers, who created a "new" and vibrant language that eventually became the native tongue of Jewish residents in Eretz Israel.

Food and Cuisine of Israel

Food in Daily Life

Israel's cuisine is highly unique due to its diverse population. People from over 70 different countries, each with their own food habits and traditions, now reside in Israel. The influx of immigrants began in 1948 when the country, then known as "Palestine," gained independence from Great Britain.

At the time, there were many Eastern European Jews who wanted to establish a Jewish state in Israel. They brought traditional Jewish dishes from countries like Poland, Hungary, and Russia. The Palestinians, who mostly had Arab heritage, had a cuisine influenced by North Africa and the Middle East. Another popular trend is the Israeli breakfast, which consists of various cheeses, salads, olives, typical Israeli bread, juice, and coffee.

Israel's breakfast tables are influenced by the country's Biblical heritage, specifically Genesis and the story

of Abraham and Sarah. This story has set the standard for Jewish hospitality, where weary travelers are extravagantly welcomed into their shelter.

But dining well in Israel goes beyond fancy restaurants. While international fast-food franchises can be found in the country, local fast food is more interesting and nutritious. Some popular fast foods enjoyed while walking along the streets include "falafel," a sandwich made of fried chickpeas and herbs served with salad in a pita bread, and "shawarma," a wrap consisting of shaved lamb, chicken, turkey, goat, beef, or a combination of meats served with salad in a pocket bread or laffah bread. Hummus, a globally loved dish made from chickpeas, sesame-seed paste, lemon juice, and olive oil, is best enjoyed with warm bread or pita bread. Additionally, as Israel's wine industry has gained recognition as one of the leading producers in the world, Israelis have developed a taste for good wines.

Although wine production in Israel has a long history dating back to biblical times, it was largely halted after Muslim leaders banned alcohol. However, in 1882, French philanthropist Baron Edmond de Rothschild revived wine production by funding agricultural colonies in the region, with a focus on wine cultivation. Today, many of Israel's top-quality wines are produced in the Galilee and the Golan, which have ideal conditions such as volcanic soil, cool climate, high altitude, and access to water through drip irrigation systems.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions

Food holds a significant role in almost all Jewish celebrations. The Sabbath, observed on Saturdays, is welcomed on Friday evening with a family meal that includes a special egg bread called challah.

During the Judaic New Year, the challah is

served in a circular shape to symbolize the cyclical nature of life. Additionally, apples and honey are traditionally eaten to symbolize the desire for a sweet new year. At Purim, a celebration of Queen Esther's victory over the evil Haman, hamentaschen cookies are commonly served. These cookies are filled with prune conserves and baked in a triangular shape. Some interpret hamentaschen as representing Haman's tri-cornered hat, while others believe it represents his pockets or his ears, which were clipped as a mark of shame. During Passover, Jews refrain from consuming any leavened foods such as bread and pasta.

) Additionally, they consume matzahs, flat, cracker-like staples of their diet. This is a commemoration of the departure from Israel when the Jewish people did not have time for their bread to rise, so they carried it on their backs to bake under the sun. Passover is also celebrated with a ceremonial meal called a Seder.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Humanities

The government launched Ariel magazine to promote literary endeavors.

The publication now has their web page as well. There is a national theater company, Habima, dance companies, a national orchestra, museums and galleries, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.


Modern Hebrew prose in the Land of Israel was first written by immigrant writers. Though they were rooted in the world and traditions of East European Jewry, their works primarily focused on the creative skills in the Land of Israel to which they had migrated, in accordance with the Zionist motto, "to build and be built by it." Yosef Haim Brenner (1881-1921) and Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1888-1970), who

propelled Hebrew prose in the 20th century, are widely regarded as the fathers of modern Hebrew literature.

Agnon used modern Hebrew in his literary works, influenced by his knowledge of Jewish traditions and European literature from the 19th and 20th centuries. His fiction explored contemporary religious concerns such as the decline of traditional ways of life, loss of identity, and loss of faith. As an Orthodox Jew and a writer with insights into the human psyche, Agnon expressed a connection to the shadowy and irrational aspects of the mind, as well as the uncertainties experienced by both believers and non-believers. Agnon's depiction of reality often portrays a tragic and sometimes grotesque atmosphere, heavily influenced by war and the Holocaust. The world of devout Hebrews is presented with all its passions and tensions. In 1966, Agnon shared the Nobel Prize in Literature with Nelly Sachs. The native-born authors who emerged in the 1940s and 1950s, often referred to as the War of Independence Generation, brought a different perspective and cultural background to their work. This was primarily due to Hebrew being their native language and their life experiences being rooted in the Land of Israel.

Writers like S. Yizhar, Moshe Shamir, Haim Gouri, Hanoch Bartov, and Benjamin Tammuz oscillated between individualism and commitment to society and state. They presented a model of social practicality in a heroic style, influenced by both local and international sources. In the early 1960s, a group of influential younger writers, including A.B. Yehoshua, Amos Oz, Yoram Kaniuk, and Yaakov Shabtai, explored new approaches to Hebrew prose writing. They broke away from philosophical patterns and focused on the individual's world. The 1980s and 1990s

saw a surge in literary activity with a dramatic increase in the number of books published.

Concurrently, numerous Israeli authors, including Oz, Kaniuk, Yehoshua, Aharon Appelfeld, David Grossman, David Shahar, and Meir Shalev, gained international recognition. A common theme in the prose of these contemporary writers is their belief in literature as a means of self-understanding and understanding one's surroundings. Many of these writers also address the political and moral challenges of modern life in Israel, particularly Oz, Grossman, and Shalev.

Graphic Art

The art scene in Israel began to take shape in the early 20th century during the rebuilding of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, founded by sculptor Boris Schatz in 1906, became Israel's leading school for visual arts.

Named after Bezalel Ben Uri, the first creative individual mentioned in the Bible, the constitution of Bezalel is regarded as a significant milestone in the evolution of art in contemporary Israel. Initially, Bezalel produced artworks that were rooted in Judaic and Biblical traditions. However, over time, a modern secular political perspective emerged, leading to the divergence of art from spiritual and Diaspora-oriented customs. This movement, known as the "Rebels of Bezalel," aimed to honor the Middle East and the "New Jew" by depicting the natural landscape and local population of the country. These artists wanted to express their newfound identity as "Hebrew" rather than simply "Jewish."

The movement created by Avraham Melnikov, Yosef Zaritzky, and Reuven Rubin has significantly influenced various aspects of Israeli life up to today. The oldest art movement in Israel was the Bezalel school in the Ottoman and early Mandate period, where artists depicted

Biblical and Zionist themes with inspiration from the European Art Nouveau movement, representation, and traditional Persian and Syrian art. Israel has a vibrant gallery scene, including galleries like Tel Aviv's Raw Art Gallery and Stern Gallery and Jerusalem's representative Mayanot Gallery. Bezalel went through changes until it became the leading academy for art and design, now located in Jerusalem on the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus. Israeli art is exhibited in museums and galleries across the country, including the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem. In fact, Israel has more museums per capita than any other country on Earth.

Performance Arts in Israel

Israel boasts a highly renowned philharmonic orchestra, which has produced classical music legends like fiddler Yitzhak Perlman and pianist and music director Daniel Barenboim. Jerusalem hosts the annual Leonard Bernstein International Music Competition, where awards in classical music are bestowed. Tel Aviv, in particular, has a huge following for pop music and rock ; roll, with local stars like Ofra Haza, Ilanit, and Shalom Hanoch captivating passionate audiences. Additionally, klezmer, a form of Jewish music originating in 17th-century Eastern Europe, is a vibrant fusion of drums, clarinets, violins, keyboards, and tambourines commonly heard at wedding celebrations.

The Israel Ballet Company is internationally renowned, as are other modern dance companies in Israel such as Inbal, Batsheeva, and Bat Dor. Ohad Nahrin, an Israeli choreographer, is well-known in the dance world. Additionally, Israel has a rich tradition of folk dances that are performed by professional companies and at events like weddings. One of the most frequently performed folk dances is the hora, a circle dance.

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Israel Ballet performs

Don Quixote. Theaters are also popular in Israel. Jewish theatre is traditionally highly melodramatic, although many contemporary productions incorporate Western theatrical conventions and address social issues. There are multiple companies that stage productions in Russian, English, Hebrew, and Arabic. The film industry is also thriving and is best known for its documentaries, such as Yaakov Gross's "Pioneers of Zion" (1995) and Ruth Beckermann's "Toward Jerusalem" (1992) production.

Social Stratification

The economic stratification in Israel is not very pronounced; the majority of people have a relatively comfortable standard of living. However, most of the poor population consists of Palestinians. Additionally, recent immigrants from Africa and Eastern Europe also face economic disadvantages.

Symbols of Social

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