An olive grove in Isael Czech Republic

YES Students

All students from Israel are Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program scholarship winners. Click here to learn more about the YES Program.

Country Information

The land of Israel is considered holy by different religious groups. The Holy Land, from which the present state of Israel emerged, claims a long history of rule by different powers. In 1947, the United Nations divided the area into two states – one Jewish and one Arab. 

It is a small country, about the size of New Jersey. Despite its size however, Israel has a varied landscape, from valleys to hills to deserts to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. It also has a diverse population.

Lifestyle and Family

The family is the most important part of Israeli life. Ties remain strong even when children grow older. Married children often live near their parents. 

Israelis like to go to the cinema and to hear live music. Soccer and basketball are popular sports. Often families take day trips to other parts of Israel near the beach.

Teen Life and Sports

Young Israelis enjoy going to the movies and eating out. Sitting at a café with friends is a popular pastime. That said they also spend a lot of time studying – school is held six days a week, and a degree is considered crucial to securing a good job.


Hamburgers, sandwiches and pizza are popular. Some regional specialties are kebabs, falafels, shawarmas, and borscht. 

Language and Religion.

Israel is 76% Jewish, 17% Muslim and 2% Christian. Hebrew is the official language, but Arab has official status as well. It is taught in school from the fifth grade on. English is also taught from the fifth grade. You’ll find that most Israelis are bilingual, or even trilingual.

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