currency: the New Israeli Shekel (NIS) currently at 4.2 NIS per Dollar US
religion: Israel is approximately 76.5% Jewish, 16.5% muslim, and the rest Christian, Druze other, or non-affiliated.
tourism: Jerusalem is a popular tourist destination due to its religious importance to the world's religions. The Sea of Galilee, or Kinneret Lake, is also a must-see for Christians visiting Israel, also because of it's religious importance. There is also Eilat, a resort city on the Red Sea next to Aqaba. Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial capital, is a must-visit for young people looking to have a good time. Haifa, north of Tel-Aviv, is a nice beach-side city with many tourist attractions including the Baha'i Gardens. If you're more outdoors oriented, there is great hiking in the Galil and Golan (northern Israel).
Delicacies: Israel is a mixture of many different cultures, so there is no overriding Israeli cuisine. Rather you will find Ethiopian, Arabic, Eastern European and Western European eateries all over the place, including some interesting mixtures. As for fast food, while burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King do exist, most Israelis would rather grab a Schwarma or Falafel. A popular dish is also Shakshuka, an egg/tomato/onion dish.
snacks: besides your standard potato chips and candy bars, the snack repertoire includes "Bamba" a puffed peanut flavored snack and "Bisli" a crunchy pretzel-like snack that comes in a variety of flavors.
important people: Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism (though he did not live to see Israel exist, I feel he should be mentioned). David ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime-minister who led Israel through the Independence War until his retirement in 1970. Moshe Dayan, a former Defense Minister of Israel who is mostly remembered for being Defense Minister during the 1967 six-day war. Haim Nachman Bialik, despite dying before the establishment of Israel is widely considered Israel's national poet.
Modern important people: Ehud Olmert-current prime minister and head of the Kadima party
Amir Peretz- current defense minister and head of Labor party
Avigdor Lieberman- member of cabinet and head of Israel Beiteinu political party
Binyamin Netanyahu- opposition leader and head of Likud party
cultures/traditions: Israel is a mixture of various Jewish traditions and ancestries, as well as Muslims. Bar-mitzvahs are common, even among the less observant. Marriage between Jews is governed and performed by the Israeli rabbinate, while other religions are autonomous with regards marriage. As for all other ceremonies or dances, there is nothing particularly Israeli; it is a mixture of the different cultures that came in from western Europe, Eastern Europe, the former USSR, Ethiopia, Yemen, Arabia and the US.
symbols: The Israeli flag is white with a band of blue near the top and near the bottom. In the center is a blue star of David. The symbol of Israel is a crest with a Menorah (branched candelabra that was a holy relic of the Jewish temples) flanked by olive branches.
Interesting things: Israel has mandatory army service/ national service after highschool (around age 18). Israel also has a very active high-tech industry, including designing and producing the Intel Centrino chip. Israel is also a world leader in advanced low-water irrigation systems.