The country has eight public universities as well as other institutions, along with some 30 foreign universities that operate campuses there.
Israel is a young country with an ancient history. It is situated on the Mediterranean Sea, with desert in the south and snow-capped peaks in the north. Its capital, Jerusalem, is a spiritual center to the three monotheistic faiths, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Israel was created in 1948 when Palestine, which was formerly held by the British, was partitioned into Jewish and Arab states. Support had grown internationally for a Jewish homeland after the Holocaust. Jews rushed to Israel from all over the world, while many Palestinians were displaced. The subsequent decades have been a time of incessant conflict. Several wars were fought with neighboring Arab countries, and fighting between Israelis and Palestinians has been near constant.
Israel's climate ranges from temperate to tropical, with plenty of sunshine. Two distinct seasons predominate: a rainy winter period from November to May; and a dry summer season which extends through the next six months. Rainfall is relatively heavy in the North and center of the country, with much less in the northern Negev and almost negligible amounts in the southern areas.
Regional conditions vary considerably, with humid summers and mild winters on the coast; dry summers and moderately cold winters in the hill regions (including Jerusalem), hot dry summers and pleasant winters in the Jordan Valley; and year-round semidesert conditions in the Negev. Weather extremes range from occasional winter snowfall at higher elevations to periodic oppressively hot dry winds, which send temperatures soaring, particularly in spring and autumn.
The average rainfall for the year is less than 634 mm (25 inches). At least 90% of Israel's precipitation occurs in the winter months between November and March. Summers receive virtually no rain at all.
Overview of Higher Education
Several university-level institutions were established shortly after Israel was declared a state. Today the country has eight public universities as well as various colleges and other postsecondary institutions. Some 30 foreign universities maintain campuses in Israel.
Study for a bachelor’s degree usually lasts three years, while study in medicine generally requires four to six years. A master’s degree may be obtained after one to two more years of study. The holder of a master’s with a thesis component (type A) may pursue a doctorate; the holder of a type B master’s may not. Doctoral study usually lasts an additional two years.
More than 200,000 students were enrolled in the country’s various institutions of higher learning in 2005.
(Sources: BBC, The Europa World of Learning, The Council for Higher Education, in Israel )
Number of Colleges, Universities, Technical Institutes
Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (total): 8
Number of Higher Education Students
Number of students enrolled: 327,000
The Council for Higher Education
POB 4037, Jerusalem 91040, Israel
Web site: http://www.che.org.il/english.aspx
Contact: M.K. Gideon Sa'ar, Chairman of Council for Higher Education