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Shira: Hi everyone, Shira here. And welcome to All About Lesson 6 – Can You Answer These Five Questions About Israel?
Amir: [שלום, אני אמיר] (Sha'lom, a'ni A'mir)
Shira: In this lesson, we will build your basic knowledge of Israel by quizzing you on five areas of Israeli knowledge: geography, pop culture, travel, economics and myth busting.
Amir: Sounds exciting!
Shira: Sure does. Ok, so first we'll test your geography knowledge.
Amir: As we all know, Israel's not a large country. You can drive from the northern end to the southern end in about seven to eight hours.
Shira: So the first question is: is Israel made up entirely of desert?
Amir: A. True or B. False.
Shira: This one is the warm up question, so just think logically.
Amir: The answer is B. False. Although it's commonly thought that Israel is a desert by many who have never traveled to Israel, only the southern part is. The center and northern parts of Israel have a very diverse geography and they consist of mountains, forests, fertile valleys and coastal plains. Now there's some trivia for you.
Shira: Yeah, you can get just about anything in Israel, actually. Ok, so let's move on to number two. It's pop culture.
Amir: Not too many Israelis are internationally famous, but we do have a few icons that you all should know. I'm going to name three people. One is a famous actor, one is a politician and one is a sports star. Match the name with the profession. A. [מנחם בגין] (Me'na'khem be'gin) B. [שחר פאר] (Shakhar pe'er) and C. [חיים טופול] (Kha'im tupul)
Shira: Oh, oh, oh. I know, I know. Pick me.
Amir: Ok, Shira. Go, go. Shoot.
Shira: Well, A. [מנחם בגין] (Me'na'khem be'gin) was the first prime minister of Israel to appeal to [ספרדים] (Sfara'dim) Jews. He opened the door for more ethnically diverse politicians to become involved in Israeli politics. He was a part of the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979.
Amir: That's right.
Shira: B. is [שחר פאר] (Shakhar pe'er), she's Israel's darling of tennis.
Amir: Correct again. [שחר פאר] (Shakhar pe'er) is the highest ranked Israeli single's female tennis player. She's currently ranked 13th in the world. And in 2007 she made it to the quarter finals in both the US Open and the Australian Open.
Shira: Yeah, she's really loved by Israelis. So the one left over is [חיים טופול] (Kha'im tupul).
Amir: Yes, he's one of the most well-known Israeli actors, with a career spending many decades. You many know him as [טוביה] (Tu'vi'yah) in Fidler on the Roof, for which he won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar as best actor.
Shira: I love that guy. He's really, really funny.
Amir: Ok, moving on to number three. This one's a travel question. Rank in the correct order the most popular travel destinations in Israel. A. The Sea of Galilee. B. Jerusalem and C. The Dead Sea [מצדה] (Me'tsada).
Shira: That's a really tough one. They're all really popular. I would guess that the Sea of Galilee is number one because it's one of the most beautiful places in Israel.
Amir: Unfortunately, that's the wrong answer. Try again, Shira.
Shira: Well, I guess that's my favorite place. Ok, so the most popular place has to be Jerusalem.
Amir: Yes, Jerusalem is one of the most popular tourist areas. Even though other parts of Israel are very popular destinations too, tourists mainly want to see the holy places that Jerusalem has to offer. Jerusalem is popular destination for Jewish people, Christians and Muslims.
Shira: Ok, so I guess since I'm so off with this, number two should be the Dead Sea in [מצדה] (Me'tsada), right?
Amir: It sure is. [מצדה] (Me'tsada) has a remarkable history and the Dead Sea is one of the most interesting places in the world.
Shira: So the Sea of Galilee would be three.
Amir: Actually it gets a bit hard to rank the rest of Israel's tourist destinations because people come to Israel for so many different reasons. Some may want to see the ancient historical sites and others want to see the New Testament Biblical sites, yet others come to see sites that have to do with Israel's modern history. And then there are those who just want to enjoy Israel's nature.
Shira: So that was a trick question then?
Amir: Not really. We chose the sea of Galilee because it has all of those things. All around the Sea of Galilee, there are historical sites and there's plenty of nature as well.
Shira: Ok, so let's move on to the next question please. I'll get this one right, I promise.
Amir: Moving on to economics then.
Shira: Oh, no. Now you're teasing me. You know economics is not my strong point.
Amir: Well, even you should be able to answer this question.
Shira: Ok, hit me.
Amir: Israel's currency is currently the new Israeli Shekel. But what was the currency that Israel used until 1980? A. the Israeli lira B. the Israeli dollar or C. the Israeli dinar?
Shira: I do know this one. It's the Israeli lira.
Amir: Correct. It was sometimes called the Israeli pound in English as well.
Shira: I don't think I've ever seen the Israeli lira. I came into the country a long time after it was replaced.
Amir: So I've saved the hardest for last. It's a question about myths and debunking them.
Shira: Like when people think that Israelis ride donkeys to school? And that we don't have a system of roads, when, in fact, Israel is a very modern country?
Amir: Exactly. I think the donkeys are the reason why most people think we live in a desert. Ok, this one's a simple true or false question. Israel is a very dangerous country to travel to - true or false?
Shira: I see why people would have a hard time with his. Many people think that Israel is a very dangerous country because, unfortunately, the media shares mostly the negative news coming out of Israel.
Amir: But in fact, Israel is a very safe country to live in. So the answer is false. Israel has a very low rate of street crime and homicides as well. Although the media paints a picture of bombs going off right and left, that's not the reality.
Shira: Yeah, I feel much safer in Israel than I do in most big cities in the United States.
Amir: Yeah, it is especially safe when the tension is low between Israelis and Palestinians.
Shira: Well, I think that was a nice little quiz. I wonder how our listeners did.
Amir: I'm sure we have many educated listeners who know a thing or two about Israeli society already.
Shira: Of course, so on that note, let's wrap up our…