To prepare for Israel’s 70th birthday, here are 70 fun facts about Israeli food, culture, history and more! Be prepared to be wowed at what this country has accomplished in less than a century.
1. Cherry tomatoes were developed in Israel.
2. Israel is the only country to have more trees today than it did 50 years ago.
3. Israel is only 1/6 of 1% of the landmass of the Middle East (Israel is roughly half the size of Lake Michigan).
4. Beersheva has the largest number of chess grandmasters per capita of any city in the world.
5. After Tokyo and New York City, Tel Aviv has the most sushi restaurants per capita.
Israel is the only country to have a sacred language (Hebrew) as its national tongue.
Thanks to its national snack (Bamba -- think peanut Cheetos), babies in Israel are 10 times less likely to suffer from peanut allergies.
The country has the most Bauhaus buildings in the world.
Israel’s cows produce more milk than cows from other countries.
The “Mighty Morphin” Power Rangers” TV series was produced by an Israeli named Haim Saban.
Israel has 137 official beaches (but only 273 km of coastline)
People of the book: Israel publishes more books per capita than any other country.
Israel has the world’s highest rate of entrepreneurship among women.
There are more than 40 kosher McDonald’s in Israel. The only one outside Israel is in Bueños Aires.
With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and start-ups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world (apart from the Silicon Valley).
Israel has the highest number of university degrees per capita than any other country.
Respect your elders: buses around Israel have signs that quote the biblical passage, “You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old.”
One million notes are left in the Kotel (Western Wall) each year. They are cleaned out twice a year, before Passover and Rosh Hashanah
Israel won the Eurovision song competition three times. The last time they won, they were represented by a transgender pop star, Dana International. The only other time that's happened is this year's winner, Conchita Wurst, from Austria.
The glue on Israeli stamps is kosher.
Israel celebrates Mother’s Day on Shevat 30, the birthday of Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah.
Microsoft has more employees in Israel than it does per capita anywhere in the world.
Israel has the highest ratio of college degrees per capita.
Coffee and cafés are so good in Israel that it’s the only country where Starbucks failed trying to break into the local market.
Four young Israelis developed the technology for AOL Instant Messenger and ICQ.
Israel has one of the highest concentrations of bird traffic in the world—500 million migrating birds cross its airspace each year.
Every year, an Israeli Arab hotel manager named Jaaber Hussein buys all the state’s chametz (leavened products) for Passover.
A green pepper grown in Moshav Ein Yahav claimed the record for the world’s largest, weighing in at over a pound.
The Sea of Galilee, at .212 km below sea level, is the lowest freshwater lake in the world (and the largest in Israel). Israel’s Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth and is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean.
Bamba, Israel’s favorite snack was first produced in 1964 and was cheese-flavored. Allergy-fighting peanut butter was introduced two years later.
Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world.
More than nine out of 10 Israeli homes use solar power to heat water.
Feeling adventurous? You can buy hummus-flavored ice cream in Jaffa.
More than 44% of all lawyers registered in Israel are women.
Israel is the first country to place a ban on the use of underweight models on catwalks.
36. Israeli inventor Rafi Yoeli is building the world’s first flying car.
37. Israelis who observe Shabbat can buy car insurance that doesn’t cover Saturdays.
38. Israel is the country with the largest F-16 fleet in the world, after the United States, and its air force is the fourth in the world (after the US, Russia and China)
39. The animals at the Jerusalem biblical zoo are fed kosher for Passover food over the holiday.
40. Israel has more orchestras per capita than any other country.
41. Israeli rabbis, with help from scientists, have ruled that giraffe milk is kosher.
42. Alexander the Great is said to have entered Israel in 333 BCE via the caves at Rosh Hanikra.
43. The Dead Sea in Israel is the lowest point on Earth, at 1,315 feet below sea level at its lowest point
44. Israeli academics produce more scientific papers per capita than anywhere else in the world.
45. Israel has appeared in the World Cup finals only once, in 1970.
46. Philanthropist Baron de Rothschild died in 1934 in France and his remains were transported to Israel once it became a state.
47. Israel is one of only three democracies in the world without a codified constitution. The others are Britain and New Zealand.
48. By law, the Jewish National and University Library receive copies of every book printed in Israel.
49. Israel has more computers per capita than any other country.
50. Israeli scientists have discovered the cause of chronic bad breath and an easy way to fix it!
51. Per capita, Israelis are the world’s biggest consumers of fruits and vegetables.
52. Israel’s Save a Child’s Heart organization performs life-saving heart operations for children worldwide, including many Palestinians, free of charge.
53. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the number of Christians is increasing.
54. Relative to its population, Israel has absorbed more immigrants than any other country from more than 100 countries.
55. Voicemail technology was developed in Israel.
56. Leon Uris’s Israel epic “Exodus” stayed on The New York Times bestseller list for more than a year in 1958.
57. Israeli humanitarian aid workers are often the first to respond to disasters around the world.
58. Israel is home to the world’s only theater company comprised entirely of deaf and blind actors.
59. Life expectancy in Israel is among the highest in the world, at 82 years (two years more than the OECD average).
60. Israel has won more Nobel Prizes than all other Middle East countries combined.
61. A group of Israeli artists has started bus stop libraries that are available free of charge to commuters traveling across Israel.
62. Golda Meir was the third woman in history to serve as prime minister.
63. Team Israel won four games in the 2017 World Baseball Classic without a single player on an MLB roster.
64. Israel is the 11th happiest country in the world (the U.S. is 14th) of more than 150 ranked.
65. Jerusalem has over 1,500 public parks and gardens
66. Israel is the 10th most innovative country in the world, coming first in the categories of R&D intensity and research concentration, according to the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation index.
67. An Israeli company developed the world’s first jellyfish repellent
68. Last Valentine's Day, 60 million Israeli flowers were sent to Europe for sale.
69. Israel brought you Wonder Woman (aka. Gal Gadot).
70. Heart tissue regeneration is possible in the U.S. thanks to Israeli stem-cell technology.