Real Problem with Israel's Geography
This video was made using insights from vidIQ. Stick around after the video to find out how we used vidIQ as our secret YouTube weapon while making it! Israel is a relatively new nation that is rife with conflict. Tens of thousands of people have died as a direct result of Israel's creation; millions have been displaced, leading to uprisings and violence; terrorist organizations are gaining more and more support to reclaim the holy land and what once belonged to the Arab people. The location and landscape of Israel have led to many of these problems, and when
we break the country down into its different regions, one thing becomes very clear. The geography of Israel sucks and is the main reason why this part of the world may never find peace. The State of Israel sits on the Mediterranean Sea with Lebanon and Syria to its north, Jordan to its east, and Egypt to the southwest. Knowing that Isreal is a Jewish State, it becomes pretty clear
right away why the location that the country is located in isn’t ideal. Its neighbors are nations with mostly Arab populations, some of which have extremist cells operating within them that want to unify the Middle East under an incredibly strict form of Islam. These groups have a common goal: to remove the Jewish State of Israel from the region so that Islam can reclaim the Holy Land. Let’s be very clear. The vast majority of people who are Muslim want peace and have no problem living in a diverse world where different views and cultures are accepted. The extremist organizations that want to destroy Israel are not representative of the Muslim population as a whole. That being said, there are many Arab people,
especially Palestinians, that have been forced from their homeland by Israel, and they do hold a grudge against the Jewish State, and as we’ll see, rightfully so. There has been conflict within this region ever since Israel first became a nation in the 1940s. Before we can examine the intricacies of why the geographic location of Israel has put it in a very precarious position, we need to better understand what the geography is like within the country itself. Israel is a small nation. From north to south, it spans around 290 miles or 470 kilometers, and from east to west the nation is only about 85 miles or 135 kilometers wide. This makes Israel around the size of New Jersey in the United States.
The country’s size wouldn’t be such a problem if it sat on fertile land or an area with a large amount of natural resources. Unfortunately, Israel doesn’t have either of these things. Only around 20% of the land in Israel can grow crops. Although, Israeli farmers and agricultural scientists have come up with some ingenious methods to ensure that they can grow enough food to feed their population and even export large amounts of crops. In fact, Israeli agricultural technology is some of the most advanced in the world. They use a sophisticated network of water treatment facilities,
sensors, and software to optimize crop growth even in the driest and hottest climates. Israel has four major geographical regions; each has its own unique challenges. The most fertile area is the coastal plain, which runs for about 115 miles along Israel’s western border with the Mediterranean Sea.
It is here that most of the fertile land of the country is located. However, at the southern tip of the coastal plain lies the Gaza Strip, which is technically not currently a part of Israel. This region is full of conflict as the extremist group HAMAS is currently in control of Gaza and continually finds ways to terrorize Israel and its citizens. This conflict is ongoing but has its roots dating back to the conception of the Israeli nation. What this means is that part
of the geographical region that is most fertile in Israel is also one of the most dangerous in the country. Also, Israel can’t take advantage of the fertile land in Gaza, which reduces the amount of farming they can do along their coast. And when your country only has a strip of fertile land that is around 100 miles long, you want to take advantage of every inch of it.
A lot of the coastal plain is used for growing citrus and wine due to the region's warm, humid climate. It is no surprise that Tel Aviv, the largest city in Israel, is located along the coastal plains. This region is also where the country’s densest population is found. This comes as no surprise as you’re about to find out just how harsh the rest of the geography within the nation’s borders is. After the coastal plain, the Central Hills are the most fertile land in the country. However,
the terrain can make it difficult to travel through this region. The hills vary in height, but most are between 1,600 and 2,300 feet tall, with the highest altitude reaching 3,963 feet at Har Meron. However, it is the valleys in this part of the country that tend to be the most hospitable. Unfortunately, conflict
still exists in much of the region as significant amounts of the territory are in Palestine. This is one of the most complicated geographical regions in the world and sits at the heart of why Israel finds itself constantly battling to maintain control of certain parts of the land. The rest of the country is split into two almost completely inhospitable geographical regions. The first is the Jordan Rift Valley, which lies east of the Central Hills. There are some freshwater sources in the rift valley,
such as the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. These vital water sources are highly contested by the area's populations and have forced many people to settle in a relatively small area. The other main body of water in this region is not useful at all, as its name would suggest.
The Dead Sea sits within the borders of both Israel and Jordan. It is one of the most inhospitable environments on the entire planet due to its incredibly high saline content. Therefore, the very fact that this body of water, which can’t be used for much, sits partially within the small country of Israel is just another reason why its geography is not ideal. The Dead Sea has a salt content of around ten times higher than the oceans. This means that its waters cannot support
either plants or animals. It obviously also means the water is undrinkable. The only living things that can utilize the waters of the Dead Sea are extremophiles, such as certain types of bacteria. Just south of the Dead Sea, the Rift Valley continues without any water flowing through it. Basically, much of this region of Israel is a deep crack with a parched landscape. The Rift Valley here is almost completely dry, with jagged rocks jutting out from the landscape and little vegetation. However, Israel's final
geographic region is one of the main reasons the country’s geography is so terrible. The Negev Desert is around 4,600 square miles meaning that it covers over half of the total land mass of Israel. Think about that for a second. Israel is a small country sandwiched between much larger nations that it doesn’t have the best relationship with and the Mediterranean Sea. This already means its geographic location
is not optimal. But on top of that, over half of the country is a harsh desert environment. Even though the Negev Desert encompasses nearly 60% of Israel, only around 8% of the population lives there. This isn’t surprising as water sources are hard to come by, and although there is some arable land, most of the desert can’t grow crops. Israelis living in the Negev region have utilized water-saving methods such as state-of-the-art irrigation technology and ancient shading practices to grow a variety of plants. The climate is naturally dry and hot,
but the topography does vary slightly from region to region. There are some parts that receive several inches of rainfall each year, which allows for small communities to live in these locations. That being said, this geographic region of Israel is an incredibly difficult place to survive, which is why so few people live in such a large section of the country. And this brings us to another important yet really unfortunate point about Israel’s geography. Many Middle Eastern countries control oil supplies that bring in massive amounts of money to their economies. Unfortunately, Israel is not one of them.
Access to the Mediterranean is vital for Israel. Importing goods such as grain is paramount for the population's survival. However, it is Israel’s agricultural exports that bring in large amounts of money for the country. Israel’s leading agricultural export is citrus fruits, which grow well in the coastal plains of the country. However, agriculture also plays another crucial role in the Israeli economy. The agriculture technology sector has made huge strides in growing crops sustainably, and their tech is being bought and used by countries around the world. The reason the agricultural sector in Israel is so advanced is out of necessity.
The country's geography and climate make it a difficult place to grow large numbers of crops, which has led to mass innovation around agricultural technology and practices. Israel also exports other technologies and brings in money through its financial services. However, unlike other countries in the region, oil does not play a major role in Israel’s economy. This is due to Israel's location and the lack of natural resources within its borders. The geography of Israel really sucks when you consider how hard it is to access the oil within its borders. Israel produces just under 6,000 barrels of oil a day,
which is the 2nd lowest out of any country that has access to oil. The only other nation in the world that produces fewer barrels than Israel is Morocco. The world needs to move away from fossil fuels in the near future if we are to avoid a climate crisis. However, until this happens, oil is one of the most lucrative resources that any country can hold.
Being a country in the Middle East without accessible oil reserves is really unfortunate for Israel as it means they need to import fossil fuels from other countries. When Israel became a nation, there was little consideration for what resources were within its borders. Knowing there was a lack of oil probably wouldn’t have changed much, but it could have influenced certain decisions made in the future and allowed Israel to be less reliant on outside energy sources. Plus, having an excess supply of oil
would only improve their economy, even if it is at the expense of our planet. Other than the harsh landscape that most of the country is made up of and a lack of resources, there is one other aspect of Israel's geography that not only sucks but puts it in constant danger. Israel is a Jewish State surrounded by countries that are made up of mostly Muslim populations.
There is nothing wrong with this other than the fact that since its inspection, Israel has been either at war or on the verge of war with its neighbors at one time or another. The location of Israel is one of the main reasons there is so much conflict in the country. To understand why the geographic location of Israel sucks so much, we need to go back to the beginning. Archaeological evidence suggests that the city of Jerusalem was settled around 3,500 B.C.E. If we are to believe the events in the Bible, this city was conquered by King David, who made it the capital of the Jewish Kingdom around 1,000 B.C.E. There is archaeological
and historical evidence to corroborate this story, but it is what happens next that explains why Israel and the surrounding area are constantly at odds with one another. Around 586 B.C.E., the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and cast the Jews out of what they considered a Holy Land. The region changed hands over the next several hundred years from rulers such as Alexander the Great to the Romans to the Arabs. According to historical and religious accounts, in 30 C.E., Jesus Christ was crucified just outside the city of Jerusalem. Then in 632 C.E., Mohammed died, and in the Islamic faith,
it is believed he ascended to heaven from Jerusalem. So, as you can see, this region of the world is incredibly important for the three main Western religions. This meant that everyone wanted to control it, which led to countless bloody battles and wars between the Christians and Muslims to reclaim the Holy Land from one another. The most famous of these wars was the Crusades, but eventually, Jerusalem and the surrounding area were secured and held for many centuries by the Islamic faith starting in 1299 C.E. Fast forward to the end of the 19th century. A movement called Zionism was started by Theodor
Herzl, which called for a Jewish State in which the Jewish people could make their home and be free from persecution. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed at the end of World War I, Britain gained control of part of the Middle East, including Jerusalem and what would later become Israel. The area around the Holy Land was called British Palestine, and at the time most of the population was Muslim. After Britain colonized the region, a large number of Jewish people living in Britain and its territories started to move back to the Holy Land. As more and more Jewish
People settled in the area, violence broke out between them and the Arab populations who had been living there for the past several hundred years. Britain tried to stop more Jewish people from moving to the area, but it was too late. The populations already there formed militias to fight the Arabs and to try to overthrow British rule. Then in 1947, as a result of the escalating violence and destruction in the region, the United Nations decided that the land should be divided into two separate independent states. It was also agreed that Jerusalem would remain an international territory since so many different religions had ties to the city. The hope was that if the Jewish people got their own state
and the Arab population gained independence from Britain, the fighting would cease. The geography of the region was carved in a somewhat equal way, and the new borders were proposed to both sides. The Jews agreed to the UN’s proposal, while the Arabs in the surrounding areas saw this as just another form of European colonialism and rejected it. However,
this didn’t matter. Things had gone too far, and on May 14, 1948, Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion proclaimed that the State of Israel was officially its own nation. That very night as the Jewish people in their new country celebrated, fighting broke out across the region. The Jews continued to celebrate as they now controlled the first Jewish State
in over 2,000 years. The fighting escalated into a full-blown war known as the Arab-Israel War. After two years of fighting, Israel defeated most of the Arab forces in the area. However, rather than just protecting its borders, Israel expanded into what the United Nations had designated as Palestine. The Israelis captured Jursuelem and even expanded further south towards Egypt.
In creating its own geographic boundaries in the region, Israel displaced millions of Arab families, causing a massive refugee population that numbers around 7 million today. For the next two decades, conflicts between Israel and the Islamic populations surrounding them continued to break out. Then in June of 1967, the Six-Day War began. Israel lashed out at the countries along its borders. Jewish forces launched a campaign into Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. They captured the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. When the war concluded, Israel had nearly tripled its territory. The world watched as the relatively new nation of Israel secured more and more territory and continued to displace Arab populations. Its geographic location
is one of the main reasons that other major powers felt like they needed to get involved. If Israel was taking over land that hadn’t angered countries with huge oil reserves, they probably would have been left to expand their borders and relocate entire populations as they saw fit. However, this was not the case. Israel was destabilizing the region, and it was causing issues for countries that relied on fossil fuels coming out of the Middle East. Therefore, in 1978 Israel and Egypt were invited to sit down for peace talks in the United States, where Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin agreed upon the Camp David Accords. These talks would eventually lead to Israel returning the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. It also began a gradual peace between Israel and most of its neighbors. This was what the
U.S. and many other world powers wanted. However, it was not what many in the Middle East wanted. It is interesting to theorize what would have happened if Israel was located in a less resource-rich area of the world. Suppose the U.N. had carved out a piece of land in Senegal for the Jewish people. This part of the planet has large amounts of oil and natural gas, but not to the extent that the Middle East does. If Israel had been set up here and then began expanding its borders, it would still have upset the people already living in the region, but would countries such as the United States have cared? Probably not. And even though this is incredibly messed up, it is also likely true.
This brings us to another reason why Israel’s geography sucks. Its surrounding neighbors have power due to their oil reserves, and therefore, Israel will always have international pressure placed on it to make concessions to appease these oil-rich nations. Don’t get us wrong; we are not saying that the wars Israel started and the land they claimed as a result were justified. In fact, one of the main reasons why Israel and the surrounding region are such a big mess is because of the wars and policies that Israel started. Both sides have pursued questionable tactics to claim
what they believe is rightfully theirs. And it does not seem like that will change any time soon. Even in a hypothetical scenario where Israel was located somewhere else, it is not clear if the Jewish community would have accepted it. One of the main draws for Jews was that the location of their new state was to be established in their ancestral homelands and located near the Holy City of Jerusalem. If the United Nations had carved out a piece of sub-Saharan Africa and given it to the Jewish people, they probably wouldn’t have accepted. As Israel declared war on its neighbors and continued to persecute the Muslim populations within its borders, a group called the Palestine Liberation Organization was formed. Their goal was to reclaim all of what was once British Palestine for the Arab people. This group often
used terrorist tactics to try and weaken the Israeli government. At the same time, Jewish citizens of Israel began to move further west into what was supposed to be Palestine. They created new settlements by forcing Arab families who had lived there for generations off their land and building fortified neighborhoods protected by Israeli soldiers.
By using these settlements to divide the lands of the region even further, Israel made it harder for Palestine to ever become an independent state. The crazy part is that many Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal by the international community. Again, it didn’t necessarily have to be this way. The geographic location of Israel made it so two groups of people were put at odds with one another, which inevitably led to sustained conflict in the region. In 1993 a new set of talks was carried out, and the Oslo Accords were signed to try and bring peace and stability to the region. The Oslo Accords allowed Palestine to govern itself in certain areas of the West Bank. However, this was so unpopular with many Israeli citizens that it led to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by an extremist sect of Jews in his own country. This series of events showed how there were factions on both sides
of the conflict that would stop at nothing until the other was completely destroyed. The insane thing is that both the Jewish and Muslim people are fighting over a location where they share a lot of joint history. The Jewish God and the Muslim God are the same entity. Almost every story in the Torah is in the Quran. They believe in the same prophets and the same narratives. The difference is that Muslims believe Mohammad was the final prophets,
and the Jews don’t. The locations around Israel and Palestine are part of a shared history between the Jewish and Arab people. Yet, it is this geographic area that has caused so much bloodshed and conflict over the centuries because groups of people would rather focus on their differences even when they have much more in common. Between 2000 and 2005, what is known as the Second Intifada occurred in Israel. This was the result
of Palestinians who had been oppressed by the Israeli government rising up and carrying out acts of violence across the region. Around 1,000 Israelis and 3,200 Palestinians were killed in the conflict. This prompted large walls to be built throughout the area to control the movements of Palestinians as the Israelis no longer believed any sort of peace could be reached. As the fighting raged on, some countries recognized Palestine as its own State while others did not. It seems as if no one can decide on the political geography of the region. The geographical makeup of Israel and Palestine is made even more convoluted by the fact that the Gaza Strip is considered by many to be a part of Palestine even though it is in a sort of limbo controlled by the extremist group HAMAS. They claim Gaza is unaffiliated with either Israel
or Palestine. Nonetheless, Israel has tightened its grip on the region around the Gaza Strip, strangling the area to make sure resources cannot reach the terrorist organization. However, this is also causing horrible consequences for the population of innocent people, both Jewish and Muslim, living in Gaza. Even after decades of conflict and peace talks, nothing has really changed in Israel, and that is because you can’t change geography. The location of Holy Sites
for both Jews and Muslims cannot be changed. The fact that both populations share an ancestral homeland in the region cannot be changed. The resources and lack of resources in the area cannot be changed. This is because the geography of Israel cannot be changed, and that’s why it sucks so much if we want peace in the future. Ever wondered how we decide what to make videos about? We’re going to let you in on a little secret. It’s vidIQ. It lets us see exactly how many searches per month a certain keyword gets. More searches, means more potential viewers, But of course there’s more to it than that. VidIQ also
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