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Flag of IsraelThe State of Israel is in the Middle East. It is bordered by Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Jordan. Its coastal border is with the Mediterranean Sea. Jerusalem is Israel’s most important city although most countries have embassies in Tel Aviv-Yafo. Other cities include Haifa and Beer-Sheva. Haifa is Israel’s main port. Other ports are Ashdod, Ashkelon and Eilat.

Much of the south of Israel is desert. There is a fertile plain along the country’s Mediterranean coastline. Geographical features are the central mountains and the Jordan Rift Valley. The River Jordan is Israel’s main river.

The weather is hot and dry in summer and wet in winter.

Israel’s terrain consists of hills, mountains, valleys, desert and beaches; six percent of the country is covered with forests and woodlands. Rivers include the Jordan and Nahal Keziv. Lakes are the Dead Sea (salt water) and Lake Kinneret (freshwater).

Since the foundation of the State (1948) the growth of cities and industrialization has taken its toll on the environment. Today, Israel has a number of Nature Reserves and National Parks, overseen by the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority.

The Old City of Jerusalem was nominated for the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger in 1982. Jersusalem is the site of important religious monuments for the three religions of Judaism (the Western Wall and the site of Solomon’s Temple), Christianity (the Church of the Holy Sepulchre) and Islam (the Dome of the Rock).

Israeli sites on the World Heritage List are Masada, the site of the palace of King Herod the Great, the Old City of Acre and the White City of Tel-Aviv (the Modern Movement).

The Biblical Tels – Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba, and the Incense Route – Desert Cities in the Negev were added to the World Heritage List in 2005.

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