Geography of Israel
In the north, the hills and mountains in Upper and Lower Galilee receive ample rainfall, making this area rich in agricultural land. To the east, the Jordan Rift Valley (JRV) is part of the 6,500 km Syrian-East African Rift. In Israel the JRV is dominated by the Jordan River, which flows from the foothills of Mount Hermon to Lake Kinneret and on to the Dead Sea over a total distance of 223 km. The Mediterranean coastal plains extend between 5 km and 40 km inland, with occasional cliffs in the north. More than half of the country’s population lives in this region, primarily in and around Tel Aviv and Haifa. The Negev Desert in the south covers 12,000 km2, more than half of Israel’s total area. From north to south the region gets drier and the landscape changes from hills and plateaus to peaks and valleys until it reaches the Gulf of Eilat. The Negev experiences year-round semi-desert conditions whereas the Arava Valley on the country’s eastern border experiences full desert conditions.
Climate and Population
Israel’s population has grown from an estimated 806,000 inhabitants in 1948 to around 7.73 million people in 2013 – an increase of more than 800% in 67 years. Based on population growth in recent years (1.8%), this figure is expected to increase to 15.6 million people by 2050 (Fig. 2). Average population density in Israel is estimated at 372 inhabitants per square kilometre (inhab/km2), a dramatic increase from 43 inhab/km2 in 1948.
 CIA World Factbook, 2015. Israel.
 FAO Aquastat, 2008. Israel.
 UN-ESCWA & BGR, 2013. ‘The Jordan River Basin’. In: Inventory of Shared Water Resources in Western Asia.
 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Land: Geography and Climate.
 FAO-Aquastat, 2015. Country Fact Sheet: Israel.
 Israel Water Authority, 2012. Long-Term Master Plan for the National Water Sector Part A – Policy Document Version 4.
 Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, 2009. Israel in Statistics, 1948-2007.