66 Reasons Why We Love Israel

We’re celebrating our 66th Independence Day in style- from Natalie Portman to Dr. Shakshuka (he’s not really a doctor), check out our faves below. Brought to you by your friends at the Consulate General of Israel in New York and the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations

1. Our Cities Have Amazing Beaches

National Geographic named Tel Aviv one of the “Top 10 Beach Cities in the World”, calling it “Miami Beach on the Med”

2. Miraculous Medical Technology

The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton system was made famous on the hit TV show “Glee” but where it really shines is allowing people the chance to walk again

3. Floating in the Dead Sea

The lowest place below sea level on earth. It’s the polar opposite of Mt. Everest, except much easier to conquer

4. We Have the Coolest 90 Year Old President

Everyone loves Shimon Peres. What other world leader gets birthday greetings from Bono?

Oh, and he has a music video.

5. Matkot

Tic-toc tic-toc goes the sound of Israel’s unofficial national sport. Played every day at our beaches.

There’s no winner or loser, no one keeps score. Yet it’s the most competitive and intense game you can imagine

6. Chocolate Milk in a Bag

No cartons, no hole to punch a straw through, no easily ripped corner. Just you, your teeth, and a bag separates you from liquid gold. Bite wisely.

One of the weirdest Israeli treats that is truly an experience everyone should have.

7. Strong Women

“Women in Israel are breaking barriers, defying stereotypes and wielding influence to great effect in the corridors of power and behind the scenes.”

8. We gave the world AOL Instant Messenger

And 20 years later, you’re probably still using ShOpaHolic86 as your screenname somewhere…

9. Invented First Ever Flash Drive

The Israeli company M-Systems developed the “DiskOnKey” in 1999, and IBM launched it with a whopping 8 Megabytes of data storage for only 49.99! That’s almost enough space for 3 whole MP3s!

10. Chutzpah

We got it in spades

11. Israel is Extremely Happy

A 2013 study called the World Happiness Report ranked Israel the 11th-happiest country in the world, ahead of the United States, and far ahead of its neighbors in the region.

Denmark, Norway and Switzerland nabbed the top 3 spots in the study.

12. Natalie Portman

The Oscar winning actress was of course born in Israel, and is currently finishing up her directorial debut, filming an adaptation Israeli novelist Amos Oz’s acclaimed memoir “A Tale of Love and Darkness”

13. Dr. Shakshuka

If an apple a day sends the doctor away, then this spicy tomato and egg dish from famed Jaffa restaurant “Dr. Shakshuka” should make you immortal. Or at least incredibly full.

14. Invented Cherry Tomatoes

Why they’re not called “Israeli Tomato” is anyone’s guess. Haim Rabinowitch and Nachum Kedar, two Israeli academic researchers, genetically engineered the cherry tomato in 1973.

15. Tel Aviv PRIDE

One of the great things about Tel Aviv is that there’s no single “Gay District” - the entire city is LGBTQ friendly, and nowhere is that on display more than the yearly Pride Parade, which brings 100,000 Israelis of every walk of life to one of the most fun events of the year

16. The Negev Desert

It’s like our very own Tatooine

17. Our Proud Servicemen & Women

Soldiers from diverse backgrounds enable Israel to remain an independent, strong and sovereign country.

18. The Western Wall

The holiest site in all of Judaism, the Western Wall is all that remains of the Second Temple.

19. Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Christians from all over the world gather to this Church, in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, to walk the “Via Dolorosa” - believed by Christians to be the cite of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

20. Temple Mount/Al Aqsa Mosque

The Temple Mount, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. The Al Aqsa mosque is one of the most important holy places in the world for Muslims, as it is believed to be the place where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.

21. Jerusalem Marathon (3,000 years of history in 26.2 miles)

22. Bahai Gardens

The northern city of Haifa is home to one of the most stunning sights in all of Israel, and the city itself is one of the biggest centers in the world for the Bahá’í Faith, a monotheistic religion founded in 19th century persia.

23. The Magical Chocolate Marshmallow Treat We Call ‘Krembo’

It’s the Mallomar mixed with the eating versatility of a Reeses

24. Bamba

One theory why so few Israelis have peanut allergies is that every toddler eats bamba. And we never stop.

25. World Class Hiking

The 620 mile-long Israel National Trail was named one of world’s best by National Geographic for its combination of ancient and modern history, Middle East wilderness

26. Running/Biking the Tayelet

A cross between biking through Central Park, and cruising down Venice Beach

27. Bikini Season 9 Months Out of the Year

28. It’s Also Speedo Season

29. This is One Massive Crater

The Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert is 40 km long, 2–10 km wide and 500 meters deep.

30. Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees.

The Jewish National Fund alone has planted 240 Million Trees since 1901

31. We’re the “Start Up Nation”

Nowhere outside of Silicon valley are there more tech startups. Israel has the highest per capita start ups in the world, the highest per capita patents, and our country the size of New Jersey has the 3rd most companies listed on NASDAQ, after the U.S. and China.

32. Critically Acclaimed Israeli Film Scene

Fun fact: Israel has the highest number of films nominated for an Academy Award (10) without a win. In 2014, the Israeli dark comedy “Zero Motivation” won top honors at the Tribeca Film Festival.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/25/zero-motivation-tribeca-film-festival_n_5211913.html

33. Kosher Fast Food

“President Obama” makes a special cameo in this hysterical McDonald’s Israel commercial

34. The Olive Oil

No disrespect to Italy or France, but this just can’t be beat

35. Homeland

View this embed ›

Did you know that Homeland was adapted from the Israeli series “Hatufim” (Prisoners of War)?

Turns out Brody really isn’t who you think he is….

Via Giphy

36. In Treatment

And In Treatment? We used to call that BeTipul

38. Halva

If there is one star of the Mahne Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, it’s this sweet sesame treat

39. Soccer (Football) is Our National Pastime

40. Eilat

Just when you thought the Negev desert goes on forever, you hit the mouth of the Red Sea and this incredible seaside resort town

41. Israeli “Super Cows”

The Israeli cow reigns supreme. She has the largest milk yield in the world, on average 10,500 liters a year, compared to 9,500 liters per cow in the United States and some 7,500 liters per cow in Europe.

42. Masada

One of Israel’s biggest tourist attractions, the ancient fortress of Masada - home to the legendary story of the Roman Siege.

43. Guinness Record Hummus-Offs!

The battle for the world’s largest plate of Hummus gets crazier and crazier every year. Chefs in Israel and Lebanon have traded chickpea blows over who holds the true Guinness World Record

44. Israel is ‘Carb City’

From the copious amount of pita we consume on a daily basis to burekas as snacks and rugelach for dessert, it’s hard to keep in beach-ready shape all year round. It’s even harder when beach season is 9 months out of the year.

45. Laila Lavan - White Night in Tel Aviv

The first “White Night” was held in 2003 to celebrate UNESCO awarding of World Heritage status to the White City, Tel Aviv’s internationally renowned collection of over 4,000 Bauhaus or International-style buildings constructed in the 1930s.

The entire city transforms into a massive all-night party, with outdoor concerts, art shows lasting into the wee hours of the morning.

46. Yoga on the Beach – Namaste

47. Medium to Deep Fried Goodness

What makes Israeli cuisine so special is the fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. On top of that, you have diverse Jewish culinary traditions from both European (Ashkenazi) and African/Middle East (Sephardic) origins.

On top, we have Jahnoon, the Yemenite dough that’s baked in butter and oil over and over and over again, traditionally cooked overnight for the perfect Shabbat brunch.

48. The Spirit of Coexistence

Israel’s Declaration of Independence, signed on May 14, 1948 declared that the new State “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture”

Whether it be in schools, the playground or in the workplace, Israel’s Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze are all an integral part of Israeli society

49. Friendships Last Longer

When you live in a country the size of New Jersey, you’re never far from anyone. Your old college buddies or best friend growing up are usually less than an hour’s drive.

There’s just something special about the small size of Israel that blurs the line between friends and family

50. Ice Coffee

When is it ever NOT a perfect day in Israel for an iced coffee? Or if you’re feeling fancy, an Iced Aroma (just google it)

51. Israeli Cats

Did you really think we would do a buzzfeed post without at least one cat picture?

52. Better Agriculture for a Better World

We didn’t just make the desert bloom in Israel. Israel’s expertise and innovations in agricultural technology have helped millions around the world. From revolutionizing drip irrigation to solar power, the Israeli creative spirit extends far beyond our small country.

53. The Old City at Night

The Old City of Jerusalem gets even more beautiful after the sun sets, with modern illumination creating a glowing presence that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before

54. The Israeli Marketplace

Everyone comes together at markets like Jerusalem’s Mahne Yehuda market. Friday afternoons are the peak time for picking up bread, cheese, sweets, organic fruit, and more ahead of Shabbat and the weekend

55. The Israeli Coffee Shop

Israelis like to take their time with coffee. And being able to sit outside and sip a latte all day long doesn’t hurt either.

Maybe that’s why you won’t see any Starbucks in Israel, who closed up shop in 2003 as they didn’t quite match with how Israelis drink their coffee.

56. Shabbat

There’s something special about everyone sitting down with their family on Friday nights. Whether you’re religious or secular, everyone takes the time to unwind and spend some quality time together.

57. One Car Ride Takes You from Desert to Snow

It only takes a few hours to drive across Israel, but in that time, you’ll feel like you’re traveling across continents, with deserts turning into lush forests, and mountains culminating in skiing atop Mt. Hermon

58. Limonana

This lemon and mint iced drink is everything you love about lemonade plus everything you love in a cool slushie.

60. Israeli Salad

We eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s the Israeli equivalent of pizzas on a bagel

61. Israeli Wine

Even when drinking isn’t a mitzvah, it’s still encouraged.

62. Calanit - Israel’s National Flower

“Calanit” comes from the Hebrew word “Cala כלה” which means “bride”

64. Kibbutz (Then and Now)

With what started in 1909 as a communal farming program has evolved and is still going strong today. There are over 250 kibbutzim throughout Israel.

65. The Miracle of 1948

After thousands of years in exile, the Jewish people rose from the ashes of the Holocaust to establish the modern State of Israel. 66 years later, nothing can compare to the joy of May 14th, 1948 when the Jewish State was born

66. Israel’s Creative Spirit

Behind every great Israeli invention, every great artist, every great company is the heart and soul of the Start-Up Nation, our Creative Spirit. It’s what allowed us to make the desert bloom in 1948, and it’s what drives us forward into the 21st century.

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