Some interesting things we learned in Israel (these are simple facts and explanations! The history of the region is far more complex!):
· Jewish peoples are somewhat divided into 3 religious groups - Liberal, Orthodox, Ultra-Orthodox. Ultra-Orthodox are the minority.
· Liberals average 3 children per family, Orthodox average 5, Ultra-Orthodox, 10 children.
· In Jerusalem, all buildings must be built with limestone. Hence the common color throughout the city (and throughout most of Israel).
· All residential buildings must have a solar hot water heating system and these units are located on top of roof.
· Road signs are in Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
· The Income Tax rate ranges from 21% to 49 %.
· The retirement age for men is 67 and for women, 62.
· Young Jewish men serve 3 years in military at age 18 plus one month every year until age 45. Young Jewish ladies serve 2 years in military at age 18.
· This service requirement does not apply to Ultra-Orthodox as they deem their prayers to be sufficient service.
· There is no mandatory military service for non-Jews but Israelites from other religions may volunteer, and many do, to serve in the military.
· A person with a Jewish mother is Jewish.
· All Jewish people have automatic Israelis citizenship
· Israel, in 1948, was a rocky desert. Today, it is quite lush and green. Every tree one sees has been planted by hand. Irrigation lines run everywhere, even along highways. Enough fruit of all varieties is grown to meet the needs of the citizens.
· Dry season April - November
· Lower region of Israel is Negev Desert.
· Israel’s biggest export is technology.