Israel, officially the State of Israel is a republic in Western Asia, located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, Egypt and the Gaza Strip on the southwest, and contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel is the world's only Jewish-majority state, and is defined as a Jewish and democratic state by Israeli constitutional law.
The modern State of Israel was declared in 1948, and traces its historical and religious roots to the Biblical Land of Israel, also known as Zion, a concept central to Judaism since ancient times.
Israel's diverse culture stems from the diversity of the population: Jews from around the world have brought their cultural and religious traditions with them, creating a melting pot of Jewish customs and beliefs. Israel is the only country in the world where life revolves around the Hebrew calendar. Work and school holidays are determined by the Jewish holidays, and the official day of rest is Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Israel's substantial Arab minority has also left its imprint on Israeli culture in such spheres as architecture, music and cuisine.
The stamps of Israel are a reflection of such a diverse culture and Israel as a stamp collecting country is one of the most popular in the world. Israel issued its first ever postage stamps on May 16th 1948, two days after their independence was proclaimed. They did not issue the next day cause it was a Saturday which is a day of rest and on, Sunday 16th May was therefore the first business day after independence was declared on which stamps could be sold.
The first set of stamps was entitled Doar Ivri (Hebrew Post) because the country's name had not yet been chosen. The first set of definitive stamps included values of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 50, 250, 500, and 1000 mils. The stamps were printed by letterpress, perforated or as a rouletted variation, and with Israel's emblematic tabs with marginalia about the stamp. Stamp booklets were issued for the 5, 10, 15 and 20 mil stamps. The Doar Ivri stamps were designed by Otte Wallish using ancient coins from the First Jewish-Roman War and later Bar Kochba revolt.
Israeli stamps are trilingual, in Hebrew, Arabic and English.
Tourism, especially religious tourism, is a very important industry in Israel, with the country's temperate climate, beaches, archaeological and historical sites, and unique geography also drawing tourists. In 2008, over 3 million tourists visited Israel..Israel has the highest number of museums per capita in the world.
Israel is a developed country and a representative democracy with a parliamentary system and universal suffrage.