Israel | geography and environment

Geography and environment

Satellite images of Israel and neighboring territories during the day (left) and night (right)

Israel is located in the Levant area of the Fertile Crescent region. The country is at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, bounded by Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank to the east, and Egypt and the Gaza Strip to the southwest. It lies between latitudes 29° and 34° N, and longitudes 34° and 36° E.

The sovereign territory of Israel (according to the demarcation lines of the 1949 Armistice Agreements and excluding all territories captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War) is approximately 20,770 square kilometers (8,019 sq mi) in area, of which two percent is water.[12] However Israel is so narrow that the exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean is double the land area of the country.[278] The total area under Israeli law, including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, is 22,072 square kilometers (8,522 sq mi),[279] and the total area under Israeli control, including the military-controlled and partially Palestinian-governed territory of the West Bank, is 27,799 square kilometers (10,733 sq mi).[280]

Despite its small size, Israel is home to a variety of geographic features, from the Negev desert in the south to the inland fertile Jezreel Valley, mountain ranges of the Galilee, Carmel and toward the Golan in the north. The Israeli coastal plain on the shores of the Mediterranean is home to most of the nation's population.[281] East of the central highlands lies the Jordan Rift Valley, which forms a small part of the 6,500-kilometer (4,039 mi) Great Rift Valley. The Jordan River runs along the Jordan Rift Valley, from Mount Hermon through the Hulah Valley and the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the surface of the Earth.[282] Further south is the Arabah, ending with the Gulf of Eilat, part of the Red Sea. Unique to Israel and the Sinai Peninsula are makhteshim, or erosion cirques.[283] The largest makhtesh in the world is Ramon Crater in the Negev,[284] which measures 40 by 8 kilometers (25 by 5 mi).[285] A report on the environmental status of the Mediterranean Basin states that Israel has the largest number of plant species per square meter of all the countries in the basin.[286]

Tectonics and seismicity

The Jordan Rift Valley is the result of tectonic movements within the Dead Sea Transform (DSF) fault system. The DSF forms the transform boundary between the African Plate to the west and the Arabian Plate to the east. The Golan Heights and all of Jordan are part of the Arabian Plate, while the Galilee, West Bank, Coastal Plain, and Negev along with the Sinai Peninsula are on the African Plate. This tectonic disposition leads to a relatively high seismic activity in the region. The entire Jordan Valley segment is thought to have ruptured repeatedly, for instance during the last two major earthquakes along this structure in 749 and 1033. The deficit in slip that has built up since the 1033 event is sufficient to cause an earthquake of Mw ~7.4.[287]

The most catastrophic known earthquakes occurred in 31 BCE, 363, 749, and 1033 CE, that is every ca. 400 years on average.[288] Destructive earthquakes leading to serious loss of life strike about every 80 years.[289] While stringent construction regulations are currently in place and recently built structures are earthquake-safe, as of 2007 the majority of the buildings in Israel were older than these regulations and many public buildings as well as 50,000 residential buildings did not meet the new standards and were "expected to collapse" if exposed to a strong earthquake.[289]


Temperatures in Israel vary widely, especially during the winter. Coastal areas, such as those of Tel Aviv and Haifa, have a typical Mediterranean climate with cool, rainy winters and long, hot summers. The area of Beersheba and the Northern Negev have a semi-arid climate with hot summers, cool winters, and fewer rainy days than the Mediterranean climate. The Southern Negev and the Arava areas have a desert climate with very hot, dry summers, and mild winters with few days of rain. The highest temperature in the continent of Asia (54.0 °C or 129.2 °F) was recorded in 1942 at Tirat Zvi kibbutz in the northern Jordan River valley.[290][291]

At the other extreme, mountainous regions can be windy and cold, and areas at elevation of 750 metres (2,460 ft) or more (same elevation as Jerusalem) will usually receive at least one snowfall each year.[292] From May to September, rain in Israel is rare.[293][294] With scarce water resources, Israel has developed various water-saving technologies, including drip irrigation.[295] Israelis also take advantage of the considerable sunlight available for solar energy, making Israel the leading nation in solar energy use per capita (practically every house uses solar panels for water heating).[296]

Four different phytogeographic regions exist in Israel, due to the country's location between the temperate and tropical zones, bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the west and the desert in the east. For this reason, the flora and fauna of Israel are extremely diverse. There are 2,867 known species of plants found in Israel. Of these, at least 253 species are introduced and non-native.[297] There are 380 Israeli nature reserves.[298]

Other Languages
Acèh: Israèl
Адыгэбзэ: Исраел
адыгабзэ: Исраил
Afrikaans: Israel
Alemannisch: Israel
አማርኛ: እስራኤል
Ænglisc: Israhēl
العربية: إسرائيل
aragonés: Israel
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܐܝܣܪܐܝܠ
armãneashti: Israel
arpetan: Israèl
অসমীয়া: ইজৰাইল
asturianu: Israel
Avañe'ẽ: Israel
авар: Исраил
Aymar aru: Israel
azərbaycanca: İsrail
تۆرکجه: ايسراییل
bamanankan: Israil
বাংলা: ইসরায়েল
Bân-lâm-gú: Í-sek-lia̍t
башҡортса: Израиль дәүләте
беларуская: Ізраіль
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Ізраіль
भोजपुरी: इजराइल
Bikol Central: Israel
български: Израел
Boarisch: Israel
bosanski: Izrael
brezhoneg: Israel
буряад: Израиль
català: Israel
Чӑвашла: Израиль
Cebuano: Israel
čeština: Izrael
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Israel
chiShona: Israel
chiTumbuka: Israel
corsu: Israele
Cymraeg: Israel
dansk: Israel
davvisámegiella: Israel
Deutsch: Israel
ދިވެހިބަސް: އިސްރާއީލު
dolnoserbski: Israel
डोटेली: इजरायल
eesti: Iisrael
Ελληνικά: Ισραήλ
español: Israel
Esperanto: Israelo
estremeñu: Israel
euskara: Israel
فارسی: اسرائیل
Fiji Hindi: Israel
føroyskt: Ísrael
français: Israël
Frysk: Israel
Gaeilge: Iosrael
Gaelg: Israel
Gagauz: İsrail
Gàidhlig: Iosrael
galego: Israel
ГӀалгӀай: Жугтече
贛語: 以色列
Gĩkũyũ: Israel
ગુજરાતી: ઈઝરાયલ
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌹𐍃𐍂𐌰𐌴𐌻
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: इस्राएल
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Yî-set-lie̍t
한국어: 이스라엘
Hausa: Isra'ila
Hawaiʻi: ʻIseraʻela
հայերեն: Իսրայել
हिन्दी: इज़राइल
hornjoserbsce: Israel
hrvatski: Izrael
Ido: Israel
Igbo: Israel
Ilokano: Israel
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: ইসরাইল
Bahasa Indonesia: Israel
interlingua: Israel
Interlingue: Israel
Ирон: Израиль
isiZulu: Isreyili
íslenska: Ísrael
italiano: Israele
עברית: ישראל
Basa Jawa: Israèl
Kabɩyɛ: Izrɛɛlɩ
kalaallisut: Israel
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಇಸ್ರೇಲ್
Kapampangan: Israel
ქართული: ისრაელი
kaszëbsczi: Izrael
қазақша: Израиль
kernowek: Ysrael
Kinyarwanda: Isirayeli
Kiswahili: Israel
коми: Израиль
Kongo: Israel
Kreyòl ayisyen: Izrayèl
kurdî: Îsraêl
Кыргызча: Израиль
Ladino: Israel
لۊری شومالی: اٛسرائيل
Latina: Israël
latviešu: Izraēla
Lëtzebuergesch: Israel
лезги: Израиль
lietuvių: Izraelis
Ligure: Isræ
Limburgs: Israël
lingála: Israel
Lingua Franca Nova: Israel
Livvinkarjala: Izrail
la .lojban.: brogu'e
lumbaart: Israel
magyar: Izrael
मैथिली: इजरायल
македонски: Израел
Malagasy: Isiraely
മലയാളം: ഇസ്രയേൽ
Malti: Iżrael
Māori: Iharaira
मराठी: इस्रायल
მარგალური: ისრაელი
مصرى: اسرائيل
مازِرونی: اسرائیل
Bahasa Melayu: Israel
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ī-sáik-liĕk
Mirandés: Eisrael
мокшень: Израиль
монгол: Израиль
မြန်မာဘာသာ: အစ္စရေးနိုင်ငံ
Dorerin Naoero: Iteraer
Na Vosa Vakaviti: Isireli
Nederlands: Israël
Nedersaksies: Israël
नेपाली: इजरायल
नेपाल भाषा: इजरायल
日本語: イスラエル
Napulitano: Israele
нохчийн: Израиль
Nordfriisk: Israel
Norfuk / Pitkern: Esrail
norsk: Israel
norsk nynorsk: Israel
Novial: Israel
occitan: Israèl
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ଇସ୍ରାଏଲ
Oromoo: Isiraa'el
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Isroil
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਇਜ਼ਰਾਇਲ
पालि: इस्रैल
Pälzisch: Israel
پنجابی: اسرائیل
Papiamentu: Israel
پښتو: اسرائيل
Patois: Izrel
Перем Коми: Исраэль
ភាសាខ្មែរ: អ៊ីស្រាអែល
Picard: Israël
Piemontèis: Israel
Tok Pisin: Israel
Plattdüütsch: Israel
polski: Izrael
Ποντιακά: Ισραήλ
português: Israel
Qaraqalpaqsha: İzrail
qırımtatarca: İsrail
Ripoarisch: Israel
română: Israel
Romani: Israel
Runa Simi: Israyil
русиньскый: Ізраіль
русский: Израиль
саха тыла: Исраил
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱤᱡᱽᱨᱟᱭᱮᱞ
Gagana Samoa: Isalaeru
संस्कृतम्: इजराइल
sardu: Israele
Scots: Israel
Seeltersk: Israel
Sesotho sa Leboa: Israel
shqip: Izraeli
sicilianu: Israeli
Simple English: Israel
SiSwati: Ka-Israyeli
slovenčina: Izrael
slovenščina: Izrael
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Їꙁдраил҄ь
ślůnski: Izrael
Soomaaliga: Israaiil
کوردی: ئیسرائیل
Sranantongo: Israel
српски / srpski: Израел
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Izrael
Basa Sunda: Israél
suomi: Israel
svenska: Israel
Tagalog: Israel
தமிழ்: இசுரேல்
Taqbaylit: Israyel
tarandíne: Isdraele
татарча/tatarça: Исраил
తెలుగు: ఇజ్రాయిల్
tetun: Izraél
тоҷикӣ: Исроил
ತುಳು: ಇಸ್ರೇಲ್
Türkçe: İsrail
Türkmençe: Ysraýyl
удмурт: Израиль
українська: Ізраїль
اردو: اسرائیل
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ئىسرائىلىيە
Vahcuengh: Israel
vèneto: Israel
vepsän kel’: Izrail'
Tiếng Việt: Israel
Volapük: Yisraelän
Võro: Iisrael
文言: 以色列
West-Vlams: Israël
Winaray: Israel
Wolof: Israayil
吴语: 以色列
ייִדיש: ישראל
Yorùbá: Ísráẹ́lì
粵語: 以色列
Zazaki: İsrail
Zeêuws: Israël
žemaitėška: Izraelis
中文: 以色列