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Middle East :: Israel Print
Page last updated on September 10, 2020
  • Introduction :: Israel
  • Background field listing
    The State of Israel was declared in 1948, after Britain withdrew from its mandate of Palestine. The UN proposed partitioning the area into Arab and Jewish states, and Arab armies that rejected the UN plan were defeated. Israel was admitted as a member of the UN in 1949 and saw rapid population growth, primarily due to migration from Europe and the Middle East, over the following years. Israel fought wars against its Arab neighbors in 1967 and 1973, followed by peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 war, and subsequently administered those territories through military authorities. Israel and Palestinian officials signed a number of interim agreements in the 1990s that created an interim period of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. While the most recent formal efforts to negotiate final status issues occurred in 2013-2014, the US continues its efforts to advance peace. Immigration to Israel continues, with 28,600 new immigrants, mostly Jewish, in 2016. The Israeli economy has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last 25 years, led by cutting-edge, high-tech sectors. Offshore gas discoveries in the Mediterranean, most notably in the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, place Israel at the center of a potential regional natural gas market. However, longer-term structural issues such as low labor force participation among minority populations, low workforce productivity, high costs for housing and consumer staples, and a lack of competition, remain a concern for many Israelis and an important consideration for Israeli politicians. Prime Minister Benjamin NETANYAHU has led the Israeli Government since 2009; he formed a center-right coalition following the 2015 elections. In December 2018 the Knesset voted to dissolve itself, leading to an election in April 2019. When that election failed to result in formation of a government, Israel held a second election in September 2019, which also failed to result in the formation of a government. On 11 December 2019, the Knesset voted to hold a third election on 2 March 2020.
  • Geography :: Israel
  • Location field listing
    Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    31 30 N, 34 45 E
    Map references field listing
    Middle East
    Area field listing
    total: 21,937 sq km
    land: 21,497 sq km
    water: 440 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 153
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly larger than New Jersey
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 1,065 km
    border countries (6): Egypt 206 km, Gaza Strip 59 km, Jordan 336 km (20 km are within the Dead Sea), Lebanon 107 km, Syria 79 km, West Bank 278 km
    Coastline field listing
    273 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
    Climate field listing
    temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas
    Terrain field listing
    Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 508 m note - does not include elevation data from the Golan Heights
    lowest point: Dead Sea -431 m
    highest point: Mitspe Shlagim 2,224 m; note - this is the highest named point, the actual highest point is an unnamed dome slightly to the west of Mitspe Shlagim at 2,236 m; both points are on the northeastern border of Israel, along the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range
    Natural resources field listing
    timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 23.8% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 13.7% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 3.8% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 6.3% (2011 est.)
    forest: 7.1% (2011 est.)
    other: 69.1% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    2,250 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    population concentrated in and around Tel-Aviv, as well as around the Sea of Galilee; the south remains sparsely populated with the exception of the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba
    Natural hazards field listing
    sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes
    Environment - current issues field listing
    limited arable land and restricted natural freshwater resources; desertification; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
    Geography - note field listing
    note 1: Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is an important freshwater source; the Dead Sea is the second saltiest body of water in the world (after Lake Assal in Djibouti)

    note 2: the Malham Cave in Mount Sodom is the world's longest salt cave at 10 km (6 mi); its survey is not complete and its length will undoubtedly increase; Mount Sodom is actually a hill some 220 m (722 ft) high that is 80% salt (multiple salt layers covered by a veneer of rock)

    note 3: in March 2019, there were 380 Israeli settlements,to include 213 settlements and 132 outposts in the West Bank, and 35 settlements in East Jerusalem; there are no Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, as all were evacuated in 2005 (2019)
  • People and Society :: Israel
  • Population field listing
    8,675,475 (includes populations of the Golan Heights or Golan Sub-District and also East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after 1967) (July 2020 est.)

    note: approximately 22,900 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2018); approximately 215,900 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2017)

    country comparison to the world: 98
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Israeli(s)
    adjective: Israeli
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Jewish 74.4% (of which Israel-born 76.9%, Europe/America/Oceania-born 15.9%, Africa-born 4.6%, Asia-born 2.6%), Arab 20.9%, other 4.7% (2018 est.)
    Languages field listing
    Hebrew (official), Arabic (special status under Israeli law), English (most commonly used foreign language)
    Religions field listing
    Jewish 74.3%, Muslim 17.8%, Christian 1.9%, Druze 1.6%, other 4.4% (2018 est.)
    MENA religious affiliation: PDF
    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 26.76% (male 1,187,819/female 1,133,365)
    15-24 years: 15.67% (male 694,142/female 665,721)
    25-54 years: 37.2% (male 1,648,262/female 1,579,399)
    55-64 years: 8.4% (male 363,262/female 365,709)
    65 years and over: 11.96% (male 467,980/female 569,816) (2020 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 67.3
    youth dependency ratio: 46.6
    elderly dependency ratio: 20.8
    potential support ratio: 4.8 (2020 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 30.4 years
    male: 29.8 years
    female: 31 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    Population growth rate field listing
    1.46% (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    Birth rate field listing
    17.6 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    Death rate field listing
    5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    Net migration rate field listing
    2.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Population distribution field listing
    population concentrated in and around Tel-Aviv, as well as around the Sea of Galilee; the south remains sparsely populated with the exception of the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 92.6% of total population (2020)
    rate of urbanization: 1.64% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    4.181 million Tel Aviv-Yafo, 1.147 million Haifa, 932,000 JERUSALEM (capital) (2020)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth field listing
    27.6 years (2015 est.)
    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    3 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 83 years
    male: 81.1 years
    female: 85 years (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    Total fertility rate field listing
    2.59 children born/woman (2020 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population
    rural: 0% of population
    total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure field listing
    7.4% (2017)
    Physicians density field listing
    3.48 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    3 beds/1,000 population (2017)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population
    unimproved: urban: 0% of population
    rural: 0% of population
    total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    0.2% (2018)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    9,000 (2018)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    <100 (2018)
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    26.1% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    Education expenditures field listing
    5.8% of GDP (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    Literacy field listing
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 97.8%
    male: 98.7%
    female: 96.8% (2011)
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 16 years
    male: 15 years
    female: 17 years (2016)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 7.2%
    male: 6.9%
    female: 7.4% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
  • Government :: Israel
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: State of Israel
    conventional short form: Israel
    local long form: Medinat Yisra'el
    local short form: Yisra'el
    etymology: named after the ancient Kingdom of Israel; according to Biblical tradition, the Jewish patriarch Jacob received the name "Israel" ("He who struggles with God") after he wrestled an entire night with an angel of the Lord; Jacob's 12 sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who formed the Kingdom of Israel
    Government type field listing
    parliamentary democracy
    Capital field listing
    name: Jerusalem; note - the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 without taking a position on the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty
    geographic coordinates: 31 46 N, 35 14 E
    time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, Friday before the last Sunday in March; ends the last Sunday in October
    etymology: Jerusalem's settlement may date back to 2800 B.C.; it is named Urushalim in Egyptian texts of the 14th century B.C.; "uru-shalim" likely means "foundation of [by] the god Shalim", and derives from Hebrew/Semitic "yry", "to found or lay a cornerstone", and Shalim, the Canaanite god of dusk and the nether world; Shalim was associated with sunset and peace and the name is based on the same S-L-M root from which Semitic words for "peace" are derived (Salam or Shalom in modern Arabic and Hebrew); this confluence has thus led to naming interpretations such as "The City of Peace" or "The Abode of Peace"
    Administrative divisions field listing
    6 districts (mehozot, singular - mehoz); Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv
    Independence field listing
    14 May 1948 (following League of Nations mandate under British administration)
    National holiday field listing
    Independence Day, 14 May (1948); note - Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday may occur in April or May
    Constitution field listing
    history: no formal constitution; some functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the Basic Laws, and the Law of Return (as amended)
    amendments: proposed by Government of Israel ministers or by the Knesset; passage requires a majority vote of Knesset members and subject to Supreme Court judicial review; 11 of the 13 Basic Laws have been amended at least once, latest in 2018
    International law organization participation field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; withdrew acceptance of ICCt jurisdiction in 2002
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Israel
    dual citizenship recognized: yes, but naturalized citizens are not allowed to maintain dual citizenship
    residency requirement for naturalization: 3 out of the 5 years preceding the application for naturalization

    note: Israeli law (Law of Return, 5 July 1950) provides for the granting of citizenship to any Jew - defined as a person being born to a Jewish mother or having converted to Judaism while renouncing any other religion - who immigrates to and expresses a desire to settle in Israel on the basis of the Right of aliyah; the 1970 amendment of this act extended the right to family members including the spouse of a Jew, any child or grandchild, and the spouses of children and grandchildren

    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal; 17 years of age for municipal elections
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: President Reuben RIVLIN (since 27 July 2014)
    head of government: Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU (since 31 March 2009)
    cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset
    elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Knesset for a single 7-year term; election last held on 10 June 2014 (next to be held in 2021); following legislative elections, the president, in consultation with party leaders, tasks a Knesset member (usually the member of the largest party) with forming a government
    election results: Reuven RIVLIN elected president in second round; Knesset vote - Reuven RIVLIN (Likud) 63, Meir SHEETRIT (The Movement) 53, other/invalid 4; note - on 20 May 2020 – after three national elections, each ending in failed bids by Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU and Blue and White party leader Benny GANTZ to form a coalition government, both signed an agreement on the formation of a national emergency government in which NETANYAHU continues as prime minister for 18 months when GANTZ will replace him
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: unicameral Knesset (120 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by closed-list proportional representation vote, with a 3.25% threshold to gain representation; members serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 2 March 2020 ( next to be held in 2024)
    election results: percent by party (preliminary) - Likud 29.2%, Blue and White 26.4%, Joint List 13.1%, Shas 7.7%, United Torah Judaism 6.2%, Yisrael Beiteinu 5.9%, Labor-Gesher-Meretz 5.7%, Yamina 5%, other 0.8%; seats by party (preliminary) - Likud 36, Blue and White 33, Joint List 15, Shas 9, United Torah Judaism 7, Yisrael Beiteinu 7, Labor-Gesher Meretz 7, Yamina 6; composition - NA
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the president, deputy president, 13 justices, and 2 registrars) and normally sits in panels of 3 justices; in special cases, the panel is expanded with an uneven number of justices
    judge selection and term of office: judges selected by the 9-member Judicial Selection Committee, consisting of the Minister of Justice (chair), the president of the Supreme Court, two other Supreme Court justices, 1 other Cabinet minister, 2 Knesset members, and 2 representatives of the Israel Bar Association; judges can serve up to mandatory retirement at age 70
    subordinate courts: district and magistrate courts; national and regional labor courts; family and juvenile courts; special and religious courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing

    Democratic Union [Nitzan HOROWITZ] (alliance includes Democratic Israel, Meretz, Green Movement)
    Joint List [Ayman ODEH] (alliance includes Hadash, Ta’al, United Arab List, Balad)
    Kahol Lavan [Benny GANTZ] (alliance includes Israeli Resilience, Yesh Atid, Telem)
    Labor-Gesher [Amir PERETZ]
    Likud [Binyamin NETANYAHU]
    Otzma Yehudit [Itamar BEN-GVIR]
    SHAS [Arye DERI]
    United Torah Judaism, or UTJ [Yaakov LITZMAN] (alliance includes Agudat Israel and Degel HaTorah)
    Yamina [Ayelet SHAKED]
    Yisrael Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]
    Zehut [Moshe FEIGLIN]

    International organization participation field listing
    BIS, BSEC (observer), CE (observer), CERN, CICA, EBRD, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW (signatory), OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    Ambassador Ron DERMER (since 3 December 2013)
    chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 364-5500
    FAX: [1] (202) 364-5607
    consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador David M. FRIEDMAN (since 23 May 2017)
    telephone: [972] (2) 630-4000
    embassy: David Flusser St.14, Jerusalem, 9378322
    FAX: NA

    note: on 14 May 2018, the US Embassy relocated to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv; on 4 March 2019, Consulate General Jerusalem merged into US Embassy Jerusalem to form a single diplomatic mission

    Flag description field listing
    white with a blue hexagram (six-pointed linear star) known as the Magen David (Star of David or Shield of David) centered between two equal horizontal blue bands near the top and bottom edges of the flag; the basic design resembles a traditional Jewish prayer shawl (tallit), which is white with blue stripes; the hexagram as a Jewish symbol dates back to medieval times

    note: the Israeli flag proclamation states that the flag colors are sky blue and white, but the exact shade of blue has never been set and can vary from a light to a dark blue

    National symbol(s) field listing
    Star of David (Magen David), menorah (seven-branched lampstand); national colors: blue, white
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Hatikvah" (The Hope)
    lyrics/music: Naftali Herz IMBER/traditional, arranged by Samuel COHEN

    note: adopted 2004, unofficial since 1948; used as the anthem of the Zionist movement since 1897; the 1888 arrangement by Samuel COHEN is thought to be based on the Romanian folk song "Carul cu boi" (The Ox Driven Cart)

  • Economy :: Israel
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Israel has a technologically advanced free market economy. Cut diamonds, high-technology equipment, and pharmaceuticals are among its leading exports. Its major imports include crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Israel usually posts sizable trade deficits, which are offset by tourism and other service exports, as well as significant foreign investment inflows.

    Between 2004 and 2013, growth averaged nearly 5% per year, led by exports. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 spurred a brief recession in Israel, but the country entered the crisis with solid fundamentals, following years of prudent fiscal policy and a resilient banking sector. Israel's economy also weathered the 2011 Arab Spring because strong trade ties outside the Middle East insulated the economy from spillover effects.

    Slowing domestic and international demand and decreased investment resulting from Israel’s uncertain security situation reduced GDP growth to an average of roughly 2.8% per year during the period 2014-17. Natural gas fields discovered off Israel's coast since 2009 have brightened Israel's energy security outlook. The Tamar and Leviathan fields were some of the world's largest offshore natural gas finds in the last decade. Political and regulatory issues have delayed the development of the massive Leviathan field, but production from Tamar provided a 0.8% boost to Israel's GDP in 2013 and a 0.3% boost in 2014. One of the most carbon intense OECD countries, Israel generates about 57% of its power from coal and only 2.6% from renewable sources.

    Income inequality and high housing and commodity prices continue to be a concern for many Israelis. Israel's income inequality and poverty rates are among the highest of OECD countries, and there is a broad perception among the public that a small number of "tycoons" have a cartel-like grip over the major parts of the economy. Government officials have called for reforms to boost the housing supply and to increase competition in the banking sector to address these public grievances. Despite calls for reforms, the restricted housing supply continues to impact younger Israelis seeking to purchase homes. Tariffs and non-tariff barriers, coupled with guaranteed prices and customs tariffs for farmers kept food prices high in 2016. Private consumption is expected to drive growth through 2018, with consumers benefitting from low inflation and a strong currency.

    In the long term, Israel faces structural issues including low labor participation rates for its fastest growing social segments - the ultraorthodox and Arab-Israeli communities. Also, Israel's progressive, globally competitive, knowledge-based technology sector employs only about 8% of the workforce, with the rest mostly employed in manufacturing and services - sectors which face downward wage pressures from global competition. Expenditures on educational institutions remain low compared to most other OECD countries with similar GDP per capita.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $317.1 billion (2017 est.)
    $307 billion (2016 est.)
    $295.3 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 54
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $350.7 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    3.3% (2017 est.)
    4% (2016 est.)
    2.6% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $36,400 (2017 est.)
    $35,900 (2016 est.)
    $35,200 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 55
    Gross national saving field listing
    23.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
    24.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
    25% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 55.1% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 22.8% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 20.1% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0.7% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 28.9% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -27.5% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 2.4% (2017 est.)
    industry: 26.5% (2017 est.)
    services: 69.5% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    citrus, vegetables, cotton; beef, poultry, dairy products
    Industries field listing
    high-technology products (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics, fiber optics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, and tobacco, caustic soda, cement, pharmaceuticals, construction, metal products, chemical products, plastics, cut diamonds, textiles, footwear
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    3.5% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    Labor force field listing
    4.021 million (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 1.1%
    industry: 17.3%
    services: 81.6% (2015 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    4.2% (2017 est.)
    4.8% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    Population below poverty line field listing
    22% (2014 est.) (2014 est.)

    note: Israel's poverty line is $7.30 per person per day

    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: 1.7%
    highest 10%: 31.3% (2010)
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 93.11 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 100.2 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    26.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Public debt field listing
    60.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
    62.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    0.2% (2017 est.)
    -0.5% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    Current account balance field listing
    $10.12 billion (2017 est.)
    $11.94 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 22
    Exports field listing
    $58.67 billion (2017 est.)
    $56.17 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Exports - partners field listing
    US 28.8%, UK 8.2%, Hong Kong 7%, China 5.4%, Belgium 4.5% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles and apparel
    Imports field listing
    $68.61 billion (2017 est.)
    $63.9 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    Imports - commodities field listing
    raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, consumer goods
    Imports - partners field listing
    US 11.7%, China 9.5%, Switzerland 8%, Germany 6.8%, UK 6.2%, Belgium 5.9%, Netherlands 4.2%, Turkey 4.2%, Italy 4% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $113 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $95.45 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Debt - external field listing
    $88.66 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $87.96 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    Exchange rates field listing
    new Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar -
    3.606 (2017 est.)
    3.8406 (2016 est.)
    3.8406 (2015 est.)
    3.8869 (2014 est.)
    3.5779 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Israel
  • Electricity access field listing
    electrification - total population: 100% (2016)
    Electricity - production field listing
    63.09 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 46
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    55 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 47
    Electricity - exports field listing
    5.2 billion kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    17.59 million kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 48
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    95% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    5% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    Crude oil - production field listing
    390 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    231,600 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    12.73 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    294,300 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    242,200 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    111,700 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 39
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    98,860 bbl/day (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    Natural gas - production field listing
    9.826 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 42
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    9.995 billion cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    509.7 million cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    176 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    73.82 million Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
  • Communications :: Israel
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 3.2 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 38 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 10.7 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 127 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    Telecommunication systems field listing
    general assessment: one of the most highly developed system in the Middle East; mobile broadband 100% population penetration; consumers enjoy inexpensive 3G and 4G cellular service; fixed broadband available to 99% of all households; 6 mobile operators in fierce competition; in 2019 govt. began process of 5G licensing (2020)
    domestic: good system of coaxial cable and microwave radio relay; all systems are digital; competition among both fixed-line and mobile cellular providers results in good coverage countrywide; fixed-line 38 per 100 and 127 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)
    international: country code - 972; landing points for the MedNautilus Submarine System, Tameres North, Jonah and Lev Submarine System submarine cables that provide links to Europe, Cyprus, and parts of the Middle East; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) (2019)
    the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
    Broadcast media field listing
    the Israel Broadcasting Corporation (est 2015) broadcasts on 3 channels, two in Hebrew and the other in Arabic; multi-channel satellite and cable TV packages provide access to foreign channels; the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts on 8 radio networks with multiple repeaters and Israel Defense Forces Radio broadcasts over multiple stations; about 15 privately owned radio stations; overall more than 100 stations and repeater stations (2019)
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 6,873,037
    percent of population: 81.58% (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 2.41 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 29 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
  • Military and Security :: Israel
  • Military and security forces field listing
    Israel Defense Forces (IDF): Ground Forces, Israel Naval Force (IN, includes commandos), Israel Air Force (IAF, includes air defense); Ministry of Public Security: Border Police (2019)
    note: the Border Police is a unit within the Israel Police with its own organizational and command structure; it works both independently as well as in cooperation with or in support of the Israel Police and Israel Defense Force
    Military expenditures field listing
    5% of GDP (2019)
    5% of GDP (2018)
    5.5% of GDP (2017)
    5.5% of GDP (2016)
    5.5% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Military and security service personnel strengths field listing

    the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have approximately 173,000 active personnel (130,000 Ground Forces; 9,500 Naval; 34,000 Air Force)

    (2019 est.)
    Military equipment inventories and acquisitions field listing
    the majority of the IDF's inventory is comprised of weapons that are domestically-produced or imported from Europe and the US; since 2010, Germany and the US are the leading suppliers of weapons to Israel; Israel has a broad defense industrial base that can develop, produce, support, and sustain a wide variety of weapons systems for both domestic use and export, particularly armored vehicles, unmanned aerial systems, air defense, and guided missiles (2019 est.)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    18 years of age for compulsory (Jews, Druze) military service; 17 years of age for voluntary (Christians, Muslims, Circassians) military service; both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation - 32 months for enlisted men and about 24 months for enlisted women (varies based on military occupation), 48 months for officers; pilots commit to 9-year service; reserve obligation to age 41-51 (men), age 24 (women) (2015)
    Military - note field listing
    the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has operated in the Golan between Israel and Syria since 1974 to monitor the ceasefire following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and supervise the areas of separation between the two countries; as of March 2020, UNDOF consisted of about 1,000 personnel (2020)
  • Transportation :: Israel
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 6 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 60 (2015)
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 6,064,478 (2015)
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 758,633,996 mt-km (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    4X (2016)
    Airports field listing
    42 (2020)
    country comparison to the world: 100
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 33 (2019)
    over 3,047 m: 3
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
    914 to 1,523 m: 12
    under 914 m: 8
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 9 (2020)
    914 to 1,523 m: 3
    under 914 m: 6
    Heliports field listing
    3 (2013)
    Pipelines field listing
    763 km gas, 442 km oil, 261 km refined products (2013)
    Railways field listing
    total: 1,384 km (2014)
    standard gauge: 1,384 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    Roadways field listing
    total: 19,555 km (2017)
    paved: 19,555 km (includes 449 km of expressways) (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 40
    by type: bulk carrier 5, general cargo 3, oil tanker 3, other 29 (2019)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Ashdod, Elat (Eilat), Hadera, Haifa
    container port(s) (TEUs): Ashdod (1,443,000) (2016)
  • Terrorism :: Israel
  • Terrorist groups - home based field listing
    Kahane Chai (Kach): aim(s): expel Arabs from Israel's biblical lands and, ultimately, restore the biblical state of Israel
    area(s) of operation: Israel and West Bank settlements
    note: considered to be operationally inactive in recent years ( 2018)
    Terrorist groups - foreign based field listing
  • Transnational Issues :: Israel
  • Disputes - international field listing

    West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel continues construction of a "seam line" separation barrier along parts of the Green Line and within the West Bank; Israel withdrew its settlers and military from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the West Bank in August 2005; Golan Heights is Israeli-controlled (Lebanon claims the Shab'a Farms area of Golan Heights); since 1948, about 350 peacekeepers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization headquartered in Jerusalem monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other UN personnel in the region

    Refugees and internally displaced persons field listing
    refugees (country of origin): 14,516 (Eritrea) (2018), 7,857 (Ukraine) (2019)
    stateless persons: 42 (2018)
    Illicit drugs field listing
    increasingly concerned about ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin abuse; drugs arrive in country from Lebanon and, increasingly, from Jordan; money-laundering center