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The misgivings I had were of two types, both of them ineradicable. The first and the simplest was the encounter with everyday injustice: by all means the traffic cops were Jews but so, it turned out, were the colonists and ethnic cleansers and even the torturers. It was Jewish leftist friends who insisted that I go and see towns and villages under occupation, and sit down with Palestinian Arabs who were living under house arrest – if they were lucky  or who were squatting in the ruins of their demolished homes if they were less fortunate. In Ramallah I spent the day with the beguiling Raimonda Tawil, confined to her home for committing no known crime save that of expressing her opinions. (For some reason, what I most remember is a sudden exclamation from her very restrained and respectable husband, a manager of the local bank: 'I would prefer living under a Bedouin muktar to another day of Israeli rule!)

Christopher Hitchens: 'Hitch-22, A Memoir'.


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In surprisingly mollified tones (which suggested he might have been under some pressure from the White House), Mr Netanyahu told the London BBC’s Persian service that people, himself included, wanted to see ‘a diplomatic solution to end Iran's quest for nuclear weapons’ adding ‘But I want to see a real solution. Not a fake one.’ That, said Mr Netanyahu, ‘would involve the complete dismantling of Iran's ability to make nuclear weapons.’

Subsequently, the Israeli Prime Minister announced that he would be willing to speak by telephone with President Rouhani. However, he emphasised that he would simply repeat to the Iranian leader what he already knew: that Tehran should stop its nuclear programme. 

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- Timeline

- Political structure

- Population,

- Education  

- Health

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- Main cities

- Languages spoken

- Media

- Economy

- Agriculture

- Industry and manufacturing

- Tourism

- Mining,

- Hydrocarbons

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- Banking and insurance

- Time

- Geography

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- Dress codes

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- Health (for visitors)

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- Social customs and useful tips

- Security

- Getting there

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Key Facts

Key Facts:

Key Facts
Official name: Medinat Israel (State of Israel)
Head of State: President Reuven Rivlin (Likud) (sworn in 24 July 2014)
Head of government: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (from 1 Apr 2009, re-elected 22 Jan 2013 and 17 Mar 2015)
Ruling party: Coalition led by Likud Yisrael Beiteinu and including Hatnuah (The Movement) and others.
Area: 20,700 square km (excluding occupied territories)
Population: 8.21 million (2014)
Capital: Jerusalem (Israel regards the entire city as its capital although it is not recognised by the UN); Tel Aviv, administrative and diplomatic centre
Official language: Hebrew
Currency: New shekel (NIS) = 100 agorot
Exchange rate: NIS3.91 per US$ (Sep 2015)
GDP per capita: US$36,991 (2014)
GDP real growth: 2.75% (2014)
GDP: US$303.77 billion (2014)
Labour force: 3.80 million (2014)*
Unemployment: 5.95% (2014)
Inflation: 0.48% (2014)
Balance of trade: -US$7.86 billion (2014)
* estimated figure


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