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Israel: The Land and Its People

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The Land of Israel, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and between Asia and Africa, is the birthplace of the Jewish people, and contains sites sacred to Jews, Christians, Muslims, Samaritans, Druze, and the Baha’i Faith. It is hard to excavate anywhere in Israel without coming across its rich history with archeological finds from prehistoric and biblical to recent times. Modern Israel is a democracy contributing to innovations in technology, science and medicine that benefit the region and the world. One of the many remarkable Israeli achievements has been the greening of deserts, turning arid areas into fertile agricultural land.

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Do You Know?

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1. Do you know what the seal of Israel represents?

The seal or national state emblem of Israel was adopted in 1949, after the competition held after the establishment of the state of Israel. In its center is the seven branch Menorah or the golden oil lamp that was used in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, as depicted on the victory arch of the Roman Emperor Titus. Two olive branches, symbols of peace surround the Menorah. Much thought went into the design incorporating continuity from past periods of sovereignty to the establishment of the modern independent state of Israel. The Menorah has been a symbol of Judaism since ancient times and a lamp surrounded by olive trees is described also by the biblical prophet Zacharriah. The olive branches on each side represent a balance between the secular and religious aspects of the state of Israel. The state of Israel is a democracy with a parliamentary system of government.

2. Do you know which US state is comparable in size to Israel?

Israel is slightly bigger than the state of New Jersey, and by comparison, the United States is about 473 times bigger than Israel. It is located at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, at the junction of three continents. The geography of this small land is remarkably diverse from snow-covered mountains in the North, to dry deserts in the South, from fertile green fields and woodlands to long stretches of sand dunes. The dead sea is its lowest point is 1,412 ft below sea level, and the highest is Mt. Meron at 3,963 ft. No less than four different geographical zones are included in the State of Israel, and the country’s climate ranges from semi-arid to temperate to subtropical. It is home to an astonishing variety of plant and animal life and is in the migratory route of millions of birds that cross it every year.

3. Do you know the reason for the name of the “Dead Sea”?

The Dead Sea is called in Hebrew the Sea of Salt or Yam Hamelach. It is called “dead” because fish and plants cannot live in it due to the high salt content. It is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, 9.6 times saltier than the ocean. The Dead Sea is 1,412 ft below sea level, considered to be one of the lowest points on Earth. The high salt content makes it possible to appear to float on the water, to the delight of visitors to the area.

4. Do you know the names of four Israeli technical innovations?

Israel is home to innovations in technology that have global impact. Here are just a few examples, from innovations in medical technology, IT, and agriculture.
A device that can detect disease (SniffPhone TM )
A battery powered exoskeleton to help paraplegics walk and be less dependent on wheelchairs (ReWalk TM )
The portable USB memory drive.
A desert friendly irrigation system, Netafim. Netafim, meaning drops of water in Hebrew, has been used to increase dramatically the crop yield and reduce water use in the Arava desert of Israel, and has spread across the globe to 110 countries.


The Augusta Jewish Museum has many more stories to tell.

Please come see us when the AJM opens in Summer 2021.

Israel's Geographic Regions


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Israeli Technical Innovation

Starting with turning the desert to fertile green land, Israel has invented many of the products that are now used worldwide. Here are a few of them:


After years of development, Netafim, a desert friendly irrigation system was started in 1965. Netafim, meaning drops of water in Hebrew, has been used to increase dramatically the crop yield and reduce water use in the Arava desert of Israel and has spread across the globe to 110 countries. In 2018 Mexichem, a global leader in plastic piping purchased an 80% stake in Netafim.


Wix was started in Israel and continues to be based in Israel. Wix is a website development company that allows webmasters to build websites. The Augusta Jewish Museum's website is built using Wix. 


Do you use Waze to navigate around Georgia and the CSRA? In 2006 Israeli entrepreneurs Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar, and Uri Levine started Waze, formerly named Freemap Israel. It was created to help people navigate Israel but has since grown into a worldwide direction-finding app. In June 2013 google bought Waze for $966 million dollars. 

Israeli Inventions: Waze


Archeology in Israel


It is hard to excavate anywhere in Israel without

coming across its rich history of archeological finds​.

Teen Volunteer Archaeologist Finds a Cache of Gold Coins

During the week of August 16, 2020 two Israeli teenage volunteer archaeologists discovered a cache of gold coins dating back over 1100 years. The find was discovered buried in an earthenware pot buried by its previous owner. The dig is run by the Israel Antiquities Authority who encourages teenage volunteers to come and help during their summer holiday.

According to Oz Cohen, one of the youth, "It was amazing. I dug in the ground and when I excavated the soil, saw what looked like very thin leaves. When I looked again I saw these were gold coins. It was really exciting to find such a special and ancient treasure."


At 1.68 lbs of pure 24-carat gold, this much money could have purchased a luxurious home when it was buried during the 9th century. Interestingly, some of the coins have been cut into pieces, a convenient way to give change with a purchase.


The Israel Antiquities Authority is keeping the exact location of the discovery—at a dig conducted ahead of planned construction in Yavneh, south of Tel Aviv in central Israel—under wraps to avoid looting from would-be treasure hunters.

The Great Isaiah Scroll

One of the most complete Dead Sea Scrolls


The Great Isaiah Scroll was found along with others in a Qumran cave located close to the Dead Sea. In 1946 Bedouin shepherds discovered the scrolls and eventually, they were obtained by the Israel Museum. The Great Isaiah Scroll is preserved almost in its entirety and is the oldest complete book of Isaiah.

The Israel Museum Jerusalem, The Great Isaiah Scroll 

Cardo Maximus

An ancient Roman road in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.


In many cities, the Romans built a road running from north to south with decorative columns on both sides. This is called a Cardo. The center of the road was open to allow animals and carts to freely move. The outside of the columns had a covered walkway for pedestrians and shops for commerce.

This Cardo was discovered during renovation work between Habbad Street and Hayehudim Street inside the Jewish Quarter in the city of Old Jerusalem. It was excavated and preserved as part of Israel's rich archeological history.

Photo used with permission from Barbara Weibel.

The Augusta Jewish Museum has many more stories to tell.

Please come see us when the AJM opens in Summer 2022.