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Israel Weather, climate and geography
Weather and climate
Best time to visit
Israel generally has two seasons — summer (Apr-Sep) and winter (Oct-Mar). Israel shows a typical Mediterranean climate. Summers can be very hot, especially in the south. The Red Sea resort of Eilat has a good climate for beach holidays all year round.
Winters in Israel can be cool, with temperatures being between 17-22ºC (63-72ºF) on average during the day and 10-15ºC (50-59ºF) at night. Occasional light rain in winter is possible, particularly in Jerusalem, though recent years have seen insufficient rain. Snow is rare.
Lightweight clothes for warmer months are required. Medium weights are recommended for winters, although on the Red Sea coast they are unlikely to be necessary during the day.
Israel is on the eastern Mediterranean, bordered by Lebanon and Syria to the north, the Palestine National Authority (West Bank) and Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the south. Gaza, a small coastal strip between Israel and Egypt, is claimed by the Palestine National Authority, but under de facto rule by the militant group Hamas.
Although relatively small in size, Israel contains a great variety of terrain and four climate zones. The north of the country is the fertile hill region of Galilee, rising to Mount Hermon and Golan in the northeast. The lush Plain of Sharon runs along the coast, while inland a range of hills and uplands run into the relatively barren and stony areas of the east. The country stretches southwards through the Negev Desert to Eilat, on the Red Sea. The Dead Sea (the lowest point in the world) sits on Israel’s eastern border along the great Syrian-African Rift Valley. Israel's largest freshwater lake, the Kinneret (also known the Sea of Galilee), is an important source of drinking water for the country and a significant religious destination for Jewish and Christian pilgrims.
Owing to its location on climatic and geographical crossroads, where the northern steppes of Europe meet the Syrian-African Rift Valley, Israel has a surprisingly varied flora and fauna. It has an estimated 2,867 species of flora and approximately 100 species of mammals. The country is also a crucial stop-over on the great bird migrations as they make their way north and south twice a year. The Israel Nature and National Parks Authority is responsible for more than 70 national parks and more than 200 nature reserves in Israel.