Israeli society is made up of people from over 180 different countries and is a melting-pot of identities, religions, traditions and cultures. The political, economic and cultural identity of Israel was formed during the Jewish Yishuv which existed before the State of Israel was created in 1948.
In the first four years of independence, Israel’s population doubled from 650,000 to 1.3 million, meaning that half of the population were new immigrants to Israel. This shaped Israel as one of the most welcoming nations in the world for new and potential immigrants. Like numerous nations around the world, including China, Germany and India, citizenship can be conferred on somebody because of their lineage. This is called Jus Sanguinis and is represented in Israel by the ‘Law of Return’.
The Declaration of Independence allows for complete freedom of religion for all Israelis. Israeli women have complete equality with men before the law and Israel is one of the first nations in the modern world to have a woman leader. There is no state discrimination between the Jewish majority and Arab and other minorities. The sole legal distinction between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel is that the latter are not required to serve in the Israeli army, although some volunteer. Israel is consistently in the highest section on human rights and freedoms in the world rankings.
In a Human Development Index, Israel was 22nd of the world's “best countries to live in.” Israel’s economy is consistently feted by the world’s business experts with its reduced tax burden and liberalised economy. The nation boasts one of the most successful and innovative Information Technology sectors in the whole world and has been dubbed ‘The Second Silicon Valley’.
Israel has more museums per square foot than any other nation in the world. Israeli culture is almost inseparable from the long Jewish history that preceded the State of Israel. Hebrew is the only language that has reborn as a national language after the millennia of Diaspora.
Israel boasts internationally recognised philharmonic orchestras with Israeli modern music playing in the four corners of the earth. Israeli literature is constantly being recognised with a host of prestigious awards. The Israeli film industry has in recent years become more and more well known and many international film festivals have presented Israeli films with their prize for excellence.
The Israeli education system is the envy of much of the world. Israel has more students in further education per capita than almost any other nation on earth. Israel is also the nation with the highest number of engineers, scientists and Ph.Ds per capita.
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