We love Israel!
That comes as no surprise. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you love Israel, too. But if you’ve never been to the country or gotten familiar with its unique personality, you’re missing out on what makes it tick. In case you needed a few more reasons to love Israel, here are seven things you might not know about this special country.
1) Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world.1
Not bad for a country with the 100th most people and 149th most land2 in the world! Statistically, there’s no way Israel should be able to boast such a strong military defense. Yet through their technological genius and nationwide military structure, they can go toe-to-toe with any country on Earth in air combat. Driven by a desire to preserve Israel, this 72-year-old air force stands out in a world full of impressive militaries.
2) Israel is the only country in the world that has the same name, is located in the same land, and speaks the same language as it did 3,000 years ago.1
This fact puts the world’s lack of consistency in perspective. Three millennia ago, Babylon and Assyria dominated the earth. Now these former superpowers don’t even exist! Yet little Israel, with a huge target on its back then and every generation since, is the only country to still exist with its heritage intact. God’s hand is on this country, preserving His people, their land, and their once-dead, now-revived Hebrew language.
3) More than 1,000 letters addressed to God arrive in Jerusalem each year.1
These letters speak to Jerusalem’s significance as a holy city. People all around the world recognize it as a city near and dear to God’s own heart. These letters come from all over the world—China, the United States, Nigeria, Russia, and France, to name a few. After postal workers deliver them to the Western Wall, the notes are slipped into the cracks between the stones.3 It’s a testament to Israel that people all over the world wanting a physical, tangible way to connect with God choose to send handwritten letters to Jerusalem, a city near and dear to God’s own heart, as their method of reaching His ear.
4) Many Jerusalem apartment leases include the strange stipulation that if and when the Messiah comes, the lease is void and the tenants must move out.1
This is why it’s always worth checking the fine print! It stems from the Jewish belief that the Messiah’s return will usher in an Israeli paradise. Jerusalem landlords have set this clause in place to ensure they will be able to live in their property in God’s earthly kingdom. It must be tough to be a tenant in Jerusalem knowing that your landlord is waiting to kick you out! This detail, specific to the world’s most coveted city, shows just how devout the Jewish people’s faith is.
5) Golda Meir was the third woman in history to serve as a country’s prime minister.1
Meir’s election in 1969 was an incredible achievement that looks even greater in the context of the Middle Eastern world. For instance, it’s only been a few years since Saudi Arabia began allowing women to drive and a few months since they were allowed to travel abroad.4 Israeli women were granted suffrage when the State of Israel was established in 1948. Before then, women in the Jewish settlement in the land gained voting rights in 1920, the same year as the United States granted women the right to vote and far before other Middle Eastern countries, such as Egypt (1956), Jordan (1974), Iraq (1980), and Saudi Arabia (2015).5 Meir’s historic tenure served as a landmark movement for progression in the Middle East.
God can do great things with little, and the little land of Israel is no exception.
6) Israel is only one sixth of 1% of the landmass of the Middle East.1
This sure puts Israel’s size into perspective. Israel’s more massive neighbors, like Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, might leave you wondering how such a tiny country can be so prosperous. We know the answer, but to an unbelieving world it must be baffling to see this country thrive. God can do great things with little, and the little land of Israel is no exception.
7) The glue on Israeli stamps is kosher.1
Only about 38% of Israeli Jews claim to keep kosher, and 16% keep kosher just at home and eat non-kosher food outside the home.6 Yet Israel pays attention to the details. To go out of their way to ensure kosher glue on stamps says a lot about these workers and their willingness to prioritize people first. Israel holds great respect for its people, showing great intentionality by accounting for the customs of a minority (those who keep kosher) in its population.
What Do These Facts Say About Israel?
Israel is small, yet mighty in defense. We see in their limited land area, small population, and spiteful neighboring countries that without God’s protection they should not exist. Yet not only has Israel survived; it’s thrived in a major way. With a formidable military, progressive society, and citizens who are fully invested in their country and each other, Israel succeeds as proof of God’s providence.
It is also the most religiously significant country on Earth. The fact that letters to God are sent here, legal documents include stipulations concerning the Messiah, and special accomodations are made to keep kosher shows the great place that devotion to God holds in Israel. The land has caused wars because it represents a religious home for so many. It’s because of this religious importance that Israel is such a noteworthy nation.
Hopefully these unique features of Israel give you a greater appreciation for this special country. With joyful hearts, we know God will continue to preserve His people according to His faithful promises. Until He comes, let’s continue to stand with His people in the nation of Israel.
1 “70 Surprising Facts About Israel.” Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. Last modified March 5, 2018. https://jewishnewhaven.org/press-releases/70-surprising-facts-about-israel.
2 “Countries in the World by Population (2020).” Worldometers. Last modified 2020. https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/population-by-country/.
3 TOI Staff. “Israeli Postal Workers Deliver World’s Letters to God.” The Times of Israel. Last modified September 21, 2016. https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-postal-workers-deliver-worlds-letters-to-god/.
4 Caroline Alexander. “On Women’s Rights, Uneven Progress in the Middle East.” The Washington Post. Last modified August 13, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-womens-rights-uneven-progress-in-the-middle-east/2019/08/02/23690eda-b549-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html.
5 “Humanitarian – Thomson Reuters Foundation News.” Thomson Reuters Foundation News. Accessed 6 February 2020. http://news.trust.org//humanitarian/.
6 Sam Sokol. “Poll: Israelis Increasingly Support Non-Orthodox Jewry.” The Times of Israel. Last modified December 24, 2018. https://www.timesofisrael.com/poll-israelis-increasingly-support-non-orthodox-jewry/.