Introduction to Israel

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007 at 12:00 am

Israel countryBased on Jewish tradition, the Land of Israel has been located in the Holy Land as well as the Promised land for four thousand years, going back to the time of the patriarchs such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

This particular country holds a very dear place in Jewish religious obligations, covering Judaism’s most important spots such as the remains of the First and Second Temples of the Jewish People. Attached with these two types of temple are religiously significant rites which serve as the origin for many aspects of modern Judaism. As a country that is rich with religious history, Israel is poised to give off more than just facts and sites when one visits there.

The country of Israel traces its name from the Hebrew Bible in Genesis 32:28 wherein Jacob is renamed "Israel" after being able to successfully wrestle with an angel of God. The biblical nation fathered by Jacob was then called "The Children of Israel" or the Israelites.

The first historical record of the word "Israel" can be traced from an Egyptian stele which documents military campaigns in Canaan. This stele refers to Israel as a people instead of a settled nation and dates up to approximately 1209 BCE. The modern Israel was then named "State of Israel" and the citizens are referred to as Israelis in the English language. There have been rejected names such as Erezt Isreal, Zion and Judea. The Israeli government finally decided on how to call people from this land. This started right after their independence.

The country of Israel is bordered by Lebanon up in the north, Syria and Jordan in the east and Egypt in the south-west. It contains coastlines on the Mediterranean in the west as well as the Gulf of Eilat. This is also known as the Gulf of Aqaba in the south.

The climates found in the coastal areas can be quite different when compared to that climate that one finds in the mountainous areas of the country especially during the winter months. The northern mountains tend to become very cold, snowy and even wet. There are times that even Jerusalem experiences snow every now and then. However, in the coastal regions, where you will find Tel Aviv and Haifa, they have a typical Mediterranean climate with cool, rainy winters and hot, dry summers.

When it comes to growing grapes and producing wine, the country of Israel has been able to use the climate and whatever technology they know in order to manufacture excellent wine. There are high elevations in Israel that have cool breezes and noticeable day and night temperature switches. Couple this with well-drained soils and you have an excellent combination for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.

There are other areas in Israel where they are able to use drip irrigation in order to grow grapes in this semi-arid desert region. With this type of climate and temperature, Merlot grapes flourish. Coupled with the rich history and the uncanny ability of grapes to grow in parched regions, you have an interesting story that Israel may tell.