Israel is known for its innovation, its political perplexities, its religious holy sites, its amazing food and gorgeous nature. It is a small country but it’s brimming with amazing finds, facts, and wonders.
In honor of its 73rd Independence Day, we’re adding 13 fun, random things to know about Israel to everyone’s trivia knowledge.
Here we go:
Scientists in Israel are growing date plants from 2,000-year-old seeds.
Dr. Elaine Solowey, director of the Center for Sustainable Agriculture of the Arava Institute, and Dr. Sarah Sallon, director of the Louis L. Borick Natural Medicine Research Center of Hadassah Hospital, harvested 111 ancient Judean dates from 2,000-year-old seeds. The ground-breaking agriculture techniques to make the seemingly botanically impossible feat possible grabbed global headlines in 2020.
Israelis eat the most chicken per person in the world.
Israelis eat a whopping 64-kilograms (141 pounds) of poultry per person, the highest per capita consumption in the world according to OECD and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development statistics. The world average of chicken-per-person, according to the OECD report, sits at 31.3 kg.
In second place for most chicken consumed is the US, at 50.1 kg (110 pounds) per person. On the other end of the scale, Indians eat just 2.4 kg (5.2 pounds) of poultry annually.
There’s a law in Israel for free IVF treatments.
The State Health Insurance Law states that in vitro fertilization treatments will be funded by healthcare organizations for couples who have no children (up to two children). The same law is applicable to any single woman interested in raising a family as a “one-parent family.” The law is valid for women ages 18-44.
Meanwhile, Denmark leads the world in babies born through assisted reproductive technology, with some 10 percent of all births coming from the procedure.
Israel is 1st in RandD on the Bloomberg Innovation Index.
Israel retained its top spot for research and development intensity in the 2021 Bloomberg Innovation Index for the fourth year in a row. This innovation nation also regained a top rank for research concentration, after placing 2nd in that category for 2020.
The world’s first artificial cornea transplant took place in Israel.
Ra’anana-based CorNeat Vision, a clinical-stage, biomimetic implant and technology company, developed the first artificial cornea which completely integrates with the eye wall with no reliance on donor tissue. It was successfully implanted in a Haifa patient in January 2021.
Dubbed KPro, the artificial cornea enabled the patient to regain his sight and read text and recognize family members.
There are 157 beaches with lifeguard services in Israel.
There are 157 officially declared beaches in Israel, all with lifeguard services. Choose from sandy stretches bordering the Mediterranean, the Dead Sea, the Red Sea, or the Sea of Galilee.
“Israel is perhaps best known—and deservedly so — for its holy sites, but its standing as a stellar beach destination often goes unsung. With… everything from world-class scuba diving to ancient ruins to explore, the beaches of the Land of Milk and Honey have something for every type of sand lover,” gushes a report in Vogue.
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Israeli jewelers sold a Covid-19 facemask for $1.5 million.
Israel is known for its cut diamonds so it’s not surprising that a wealthy Chinese entrepreneur from Shanghai custom-ordered a diamond-encrusted piece from Jerusalem-based jewelry brand Yvel. What is startling is that instead of a necklace or bracelet, the request was for a protective face mask to keep COVID-19 at bay. The mask was made of 18k gold and set with 3,608 natural diamonds at a total weight of 210 carats. The price tag: $1.5 million.
There are more Israeli-founded unicorns than from all of Europe.
As of April 14, 2021, there are 62 private tech companies founded by Israelis with a valuation over $1 billion. Investment banker Edouard Cukierman chairman of Cukierman & Co. Investment House Ltd. and managing partner of venture capital firm Catalyst Investments, says that number topples European-founded unicorns, telling Globes that the UK has 27, nine in Germany, seven in France, and in the Netherlands four. According to CB Insights, there are more than 600 unicorns around the world.
Israel’s visual history is online.
Anyone can browse through Israel’s visual history online, thanks to the Jerusalem Cinematheque – Israel Film Archive’s initiative to digitize its entire collection and upload it to a website. The archive includes rare films from the late 19th century through today.
The searchable database includes one of the oldest known films made in the region: an 1896 Ottoman-era short film produced by cinema pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumière. The website includes newsreels, home movies, and rare films.
93 percent of Israelis eat hummus every week.
Israelis love their hummus. And an amazing 93 percent eat this chickpea spread every week, and 45 percent of them will eat the dish more than twice in the same week. Israelis consume 40,000 tons of hummus annually, according to 2020 statistics. It shouldn’t be surprising then that May 13 — International Hummus Day started in Tel Aviv nine years ago. The day brings together people from around the world to revel in all-things hummus.
The world’s first autonomous beehive is made in Israel.
Israeli entrepreneurs are using robotics, innovative technology and an app to save the world’s bees. The Beewise team reinvented the box and are helping to prevent colony collapse with a solar-powered device that takes care of bees in real-time. Their app calculates data like honey harvested, pollen flow, and scans of the bee colonies.
There are 33 species of bats in Israel.
Despite its small size, this country is home to 33 species of bats. There are 32 species of insectivorous bats and also the Egyptian fruit bat.
In 2016, the Israeli Bat Sanctuary came into being and set out on a mission “to protect, save, and help the fruit bats of Israel.”
There are nine Cultural World Heritage Sites in Israel.
Israel boasts 9 Cultural World Heritage Sites as designated by UNESCO. They include: Bahá’i Holy Places in Haifa and the Western Galilee (2008); Biblical Tels – Megiddo, Hazor, Beersheba (2005); Caves of Maresha and Bet-Guvrin in the Judean Lowlands as a Microcosm of the Land of the Caves (2014); Incense Route – Desert Cities in the Negev (2005); Masada (2001); Necropolis of Bet She’arim: A Landmark of Jewish Renewal (2015); Old City of Acre (2001); Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel: The Nahal Me’arot / Wadi el-Mughara Caves (2012); White City of Tel-Aviv – the Modern Movement (2003). There are an additional 18 sites on UNESCO’s tentative list.
Please share your favorite fun, random facts about Israel below.
Happy Independence Day!
Viva Sarah Press is a journalist and speaker. She writes and talks about the creativity and innovation taking place in Israel and beyond. www.vivaspress.com