Photos of Israel

Introduction

Background

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. Three Knesset elections held in April and September 2019 and March 2020 all failed to form a new government. The political stalemate was finally resolved in April 2020 when NETANYAHU and Blue and White party leader Benny GANTZ signed an agreement to form a coalition government. Under the terms of the agreement, NETANYAHU would remain as prime minister until October 2021 when GANTZ would succeed him. Israel signed normalization agreements – brokered by the US – with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco in late 2020 and with Sudan in early 2021.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon

Geographic coordinates

31 30 N, 34 45 E

Map references

Middle East

Area

total: 21,937 sq km

land: 21,497 sq km

water: 440 sq km

country comparison to the world: 152

Area - comparative

slightly larger than New Jersey

Land boundaries

total: 1,068 km

border countries (6): Egypt 208 km, Gaza Strip 59 km, Jordan 327 km (20 km are within the Dead Sea), Lebanon 81 km, Syria 83 km, West Bank 330 km

Coastline

273 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

continental shelf: to depth of exploitation

Climate

temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas

Terrain

Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley

Elevation

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

lowest point: Dead Sea -431 m

mean elevation: 508 m note - does not include elevation data from the Golan Heights

Natural resources

timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand

Land use

agricultural land: 23.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 13.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 6.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 7.1% (2018 est.)

other: 69.1% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

2,250 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

1.78 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Population distribution

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

sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note

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

Population

8,787,045 (includes populations of the Golan Heights or Golan Sub-District and also East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after 1967) (July 2021 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

noun: Israeli(s)

adjective: Israeli

Ethnic groups

Jewish 74.1% (of which Israel-born 78.1%, Europe/America/Oceania-born 15.2%, Africa-born 4.3%, Asia-born 2.4%), Arab 21%, other 4.9% (2019 est.)

Languages

Hebrew (official), Arabic (special status under Israeli law), English (most commonly used foreign language)

printed major-language sample:
ספר עובדות העולם, המקור החיוני למידע בסיסי (Hebrew)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Religions

Jewish 74.1%, Muslim 17.9%, Christian 1.9%, Druze 1.6%, other 4.5% (2019 est.)

Age structure

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.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 67.3

youth dependency ratio: 46.6

elderly dependency ratio: 20.8

potential support ratio: 4.8 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 30.4 years

male: 29.8 years

female: 31 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 121

Birth rate

17.52 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 91

Death rate

5.06 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 195

Net migration rate

2.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 46

Population distribution

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

urban population: 92.7% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.51% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

4.264 million Tel Aviv-Yafo, 1.155 million Haifa, 944,000 JERUSALEM (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

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

27.6 years (2017 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

3 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 179

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.62 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.88 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.34 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 195

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 83.15 years

male: 81.25 years

female: 85.15 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 10

Drinking water source

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.)

Physicians density

4.63 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

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.)

Literacy

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)

total: 16 years

male: 16 years

female: 17 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 6.7%

male: 6.1%

female: 7.2% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 157

Environment

Environment - current issues

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

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Marine Life Conservation

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 19.46 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 65.17 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 13.02 megatons (2020 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 983 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 72 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 1.249 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

1.78 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Climate

temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas

Land use

agricultural land: 23.8% (2018 est.)

arable land: 13.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 3.8% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 6.3% (2018 est.)

forest: 7.1% (2018 est.)

other: 69.1% (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 116

Urbanization

urban population: 92.7% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 1.51% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 5.4 million tons (2015 est.)

municipal solid waste recycled annually: 1.35 million tons (2017 est.)

percent of municipal solid waste recycled: 25% (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

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

parliamentary democracy

Capital

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

6 districts (mehozot, singular - mehoz); Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv

Independence

14 May 1948 (following League of Nations mandate under British administration)

National holiday

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

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 2020 (Basic Law: the Knesset)

Legal system

mixed legal system of English common law, British Mandate regulations, and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious laws

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; withdrew acceptance of ICCt jurisdiction in 2002

Citizenship

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

18 years of age; universal; 17 years of age for municipal elections

Executive branch

chief of state: President Issac HERZOG (since 7 July 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Naftali BENNETT (since 13 June 2021)

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 2 June 2021 (next to be held in June 2028); following legislative elections, the president, in consultation with party leaders, tasks a Knesset member (usually the member of the largest party) with forming a new government

election results: Issac HERZOG elected president; Knesset vote - Issac HERZOG (independent) 87, Miriam PERETZ (independent) 26, invalid/blank 7

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Knesset (120 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by closed-list proportional representation vote, with a 3.25% vote threshold to gain representation; members serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 23 March 2021 (next to be held in 2025)

election results: percent by party - Likud 24.2%, Yesh Atid 13.9%, Shas 7.2%, Blue and White 6.6%, Yamina 6.2%, Labor 6.1%, UTJ 5.6%, Yisrael Beiteinu 5.6%, Religious Zionist Party 5.1%, Joint List 4.8%, New Hope 4.7%, Meretz 4.6%, Ra'am 3.8%, other 0.5%; seats by party - Likud 30, Yesh Atid 17, Shas 9, Blue and White 8, Yamina 7, Labor 7, UTJ 7, Yisrael Beiteinu 7, Religious Zionist Party 6, Joint List 6, New Hope 6, Meretz 6, Ra'am 4 - NA

Judicial branch

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

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]
Religous Zionist Party [Belzalel SMOTRICH, chairperson]
SHAS [Arye DERI]
United Torah Judaism, or UTJ [Yaakov LITZMAN] (alliance includes Agudat Israel and Degel HaTorah)
Yamina [Ayelet SHAKED]
Yesh Atid [Yair LAPID]
Yisrael Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]
Zehut [Moshe FEIGLIN]

International organization participation

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

chief of mission: Ambassador Gilad Menashe ERDAN (since 17 February 2021)

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

chief of mission: ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Michael RATNEY (since 1 June 2021)

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

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)

Star of David (Magen David), menorah (seven-branched lampstand); national colors: blue, white

National anthem

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)

This is an audio of the National Anthem for Israel. The national anthem is generally a patriotic musical composition - usually in the form of a song or hymn of praise - that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, or struggles of a nation or its people. National anthems can be officially recognized as a national song by a country's constitution or by an enacted law, or simply by tradition. Although most anthems contain lyrics, some do not.:

Economy

Economic overview

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.

Real GDP growth rate

3.28% (2019 est.)

3.69% (2018 est.)

3.63% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 91

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.8% (2019 est.)

0.8% (2018 est.)

0.2% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 57

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A+ (2016)

Moody's rating: A1 (2008)

Standard & Poors rating: AA- (2018)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$363.448 billion (2019 est.)

$351.254 billion (2018 est.)

$339.528 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 50

GDP (official exchange rate)

$394.93 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$40,145 (2019 est.)

$39,543 (2018 est.)

$38,967 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 47

Gross national saving

24.7% of GDP (2019 est.)

24.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

24.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.4% (2017 est.)

industry: 26.5% (2017 est.)

services: 69.5% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

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.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 76.7 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 94.1 (2020)

Trading score: 83.4 (2020)

Enforcement score: 58.9 (2020)

Agricultural products

milk, potatoes, poultry, tomatoes, carrots, turnips, tangerines/mandarins, green chillies/peppers, eggs, vegetables

Industries

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

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 1.1%

industry: 17.3%

services: 81.6% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line

22% (2014 est.)

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

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.7%

highest 10%: 31.3% (2010)

Budget

revenues: 93.11 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 100.2 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

60.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

62.3% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$13.411 billion (2019 est.)

$7.888 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 20

Exports

$104.992 billion (2019 est.)

$101.389 billion (2018 est.)

$95.196 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Exports - partners

United States 32%, China 9%, Hong Kong 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

diamonds, packaged medicines, medical instruments, integrated circuits, refined petroleum (2019)

Imports

$116.23 billion (2019 est.)

$111.652 billion (2018 est.)

$104.252 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Imports - partners

United States 18%, China 14%, Germany 7%, Turkey 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

diamonds, cars, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$113 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$95.45 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 23

Debt - external

$99.886 billion (2019 est.)

$94.247 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Exchange rates

new Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar -

3.25 (2020 est.)

3.4684 (2019 est.)

3.7332 (2018 est.)

3.8869 (2014 est.)

3.5779 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 3.14 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 36.8 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 11.7 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 137.11 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 77

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

Israel has a highly developed economy with focus on technology products; investment in cyber-security industry and hub for start-ups; near universal broadband delivery to households and mobile penetration; LTE coverage, expanded fiber network with plans for 5G; emergency law allows mobile tracking; importer of broadcast equipment, integrated circuits, and computers from China; submarine cable connectivity to Europe (2021)

(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 36 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)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

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 users

total: 6,873,037

percent of population: 81.58% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 2.481 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 29.08 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 51

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 64

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 7,404,373 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 994.54 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

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

total: 9 (2020)

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 6

Heliports

3 (2013)

Pipelines

763 km gas, 442 km oil, 261 km refined products (2013)

Railways

total: 1,384 km (2014)

standard gauge: 1,384 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)

country comparison to the world: 83

Roadways

total: 19,555 km (2017)

paved: 19,555 km (includes 449 km of expressways) (2017)

country comparison to the world: 116

Merchant marine

total: 41

by type: container ship 6, general cargo 3, oil tanker 3, other 29 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 123

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Ashdod, Elat (Eilat), Hadera, Haifa

container port(s) (TEUs): Ashdod (1,443,000) (2016)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

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 (2021)

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

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

the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have approximately 173,000 active personnel (130,000 Ground Forces; 9,000 Naval; 34,000 Air Force) (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the majority of the IDF's inventory is comprised of weapons that are domestically-produced or imported from Europe and the US; since 2010, the US is by far the leading supplier of arms to Israel, followed by Germany; 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 (2021)

Military service age and obligation

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) (2020)

Military - note

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 December 2020, UNDOF consisted of about 1,100 military personnel

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Kahane Chai; Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Palestinian Islamic Jihad

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

West Bank is Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; in 2002, Israel began construction of a "seam line" separation barrier along parts of the Green Line and within the West Bank; as of mid-2020, plans were to continue barrier construction; 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); in March 2019, the US Government recognized Israel's sovereignty over the 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

refugees (country of origin): 12,181 (Eritrea), 5,061 (Ukraine) (2019)

stateless persons: 42 (2020)

Illicit drugs

increasingly concerned about ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin abuse; drugs arrive in country from Lebanon and, increasingly, from Jordan; money-laundering center