For a country of such small size, Israel boasts an unexpectedly rich variety of animal, bird and plant life.
Water! It has often been said that the next Middle East war will be fought over water and not oil.
The truth is that the precious, life-giving and sustaining liquid we all need is at an absolute premium in the Middle East. Poor rainfall over the past five years has left Israel's reservoirs badly depleted, not least among them Israel's main body of sweet water, the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret).
If the land is a central component of the calling out and establishing of Israel, where, precisely, do its boundaries lie? Where does the land start and where does it end? Are today's borders identical or different from those understood to be the boundaries in the time of the great kings David and Solomon?
What land was actually promised by God? What is the "River of Egypt" that marks its southern extreme? What is meant by "from Dan to Beersheba"?
These are some of the common questions asked regarding the size and geographical location of the "Promised Land".
The climate of Israel ranges from tropical during the long summer months to temperate during the few months of winter. Summer and winter are the predominate seasons in Israel.
The winter season
Winter is Israel's rainy season, making it crucial to the nation's water supply, with no rainfall occurring during the summer months. A typical winter in Israel lasts from November to May, though shorter winters, resulting in drought years, are common. During the winter months rainfall varies from heavy in the northern and central regions of the country to light in the northern Negev region.
Ah, the Promised Land; land flowing with milk and honey; paradise on earth, with snow-crested mountains, verdant valleys, sweetwater lake, fast-flowing river and long, unspoiled coastline.
Well, not quite. While it may certainly have been more like that in ancient history, the last 2000 years have seen the land of Israel denuded, with malarial swampland slithering down from the north and dusty desert creeping up from the south.
What does it mean - to call Israel God's covenanted land? How did it become "covenanted" and how do we know that this arrangement still stands all these millennia later?
First of all, by covenanted we mean the land was deeded in a contractual agreement. Contracts involve the participation of two or more parties, and this was true in this case. God offered Abraham the land of Israel in perpetuity (eternally) as homeland for his and Sarah's as yet unborn descendants.
In the same breath with which the LORD God instituted a special relationship between Himself and the physical descendants of Abraham, He designated a geographical area on the face of the earth to be their exclusive national homeland, forever: Genesis 17:8
Those with no fear of God would question whether He has the "right" to designate who should own what land.