Photos of Israel

Introduction

Background

Israel has become a regional economic and military powerhouse, leveraging its prosperous high-tech sector, large defense industry, and concerns about Iran to foster partnerships around the world. The State of Israel was established in 1948. The UN General Assembly had proposed in 1947 to partition the British Mandate for Palestine into an Arab and Jewish state. The Jews accepted the proposal, but the local Arabs and the Arab states rejected the UN plan and launched a war.  The Arabs were subsequently defeated militarily in the 1947-1949 war that followed the UN proposal and the withdrawal of the British on 14 May 1948. Israel was admitted as a member of the UN in 1949 and saw rapid population growth, primarily due to migration by Jewish refugees from Europe and the Middle East, over the following years. Israel and its Arab neighbors fought wars in 1956, 1967 and 1973, and Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Israel took control of the West Bank, the eastern part of Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights in the course of the 1967 warIt ceded the Sinai back to Egypt in the 1979-1982 period but has continued to administer the other territories since then, and subsequently administered those territories through military authorities. Israel and Palestinian officials signed interim agreements in the 1990s that created an interim period of Palestinian self-rule in parts of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. While the most recent formal efforts between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to negotiate final status issues occurred in 2013 and 2014, the US continues its efforts to advance peace. Israel signed the US-brokered normalization agreements (the Abraham Accords) with Bahrain, the UAE, and Morocco in 2020 and reached an agreement with Sudan in 2021. Immigration to Israel continues, with more than 44,000 estimated new immigrants, mostly Jewish, in the first 11 months of 2023.

Former Prime Minister Benjamin NETANYAHU returned to office in late 2022 continuing his dominance of Israel's political landscape at the head of Israel's most rightwing and religious government. NETANYAHU previously served as premier from 1996 to 1999 and from 2009 to June 2021, becoming Israel's longest serving prime minister.

On 7 October 2023, Hamas militants launched a combined unguided rocket and ground terrorist attack from Gaza into southern IsraelThe same day Israel’s Air Force launched air strikes inside Gaza and initiated a sustained air campaign against Hamas targets across the Gaza Strip. The following day, Israeli Prime Minister NETANYAHU formally declared war on Hamas, and on 28 October, the the Israel Defense Forces launched a large-scale ground assault inside Gaza.

The Israeli economy has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last 30 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. In late 2022, a US-brokered agreement between Israel and Lebanon established their maritime boundary, allowing Israel to begin production on additional gas fields in the Mediterranean. However, Israel's economic development has been uneven. Structural issues such as low labor force participation among religious and minority populations, low workforce productivity, high costs for housing and consumer staples, and high-income inequality, concern both economists and the general population. The war with Hamas following the 7 October 2023, attack disrupted Israel’s solid economic fundamentals, but is not likely to have long-term structural implications for the Israeli economy. 


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

comparison ranking: total 152

Area - comparative

slightly larger than New Jersey

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

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

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

2,159 sq km (2020)

Major lakes (area sq km)

salt water lake(s): Dead Sea (shared with Jordan and West Bank) - 1,020 sq km
note - endorheic hypersaline lake; 9.6 times saltier than the ocean; lake shore is 431 meters below sea level

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

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

9,043,387 (2023 est.) (includes populations of the Golan Heights or Golan Sub-District and also East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after 1967)

note: approximately 236,600 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2021); following the March 2019 US recognition of the Golan Heights as being part of Israel, The World Factbook no longer includes Israeli settler population of the Golan Heights (estimated at 23,400 in 2019) in its overall Israeli settler total

comparison ranking: 98

Nationality

noun: Israeli(s)

adjective: Israeli

Ethnic groups

Jewish 73.5% (of which Israel-born 79.7%, Europe/America/Oceania-born 14.3%, Africa-born 3.9%, Asia-born 2.1%), Arab 21.1%, other 5.4% (2022 est.)

Languages

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

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

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Hebrew audio file:

Religions

Jewish 73.5%, Muslim 18.1%, Christian 1.9%, Druze 1.6%, other 4.9% (2022 est.)

MENA religious affiliation

Age structure

0-14 years: 25.96% (male 1,200,721/female 1,146,556)

15-64 years: 61.66% (male 2,839,124/female 2,737,054)

65 years and over: 12.38% (2023 est.) (male 506,536/female 613,396)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 66.9

youth dependency ratio: 47

elderly dependency ratio: 19.9

potential support ratio: 5 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 30.1 years (2023 est.)

male: 29.5 years

female: 30.7 years

comparison ranking: total 137

Population growth rate

1.56% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 65

Birth rate

19.3 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 74

Death rate

5.6 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 177

Net migration rate

1.9 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 54

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: 92.9% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

4.421 million Tel Aviv-Yafo, 1.174 million Haifa, 970,000 JERUSALEM (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female

total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

27.7 years (2019 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

3 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 178

Infant mortality rate

total: 3 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

male: 3.6 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 2.5 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 212

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 82.2 years (2023 est.)

male: 80.2 years

female: 84.3 years

comparison ranking: total population 30

Total fertility rate

2.94 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 51

Gross reproduction rate

1.44 (2023 est.)

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 (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

8.3% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

3.63 physicians/1,000 population (2020)

Hospital bed density

3 beds/1,000 population (2018)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 99.3% of population

total: 99.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 0.7% of population

total: 0.1% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

note: on 31 August 2023, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Travel Alert for polio in Asia; Israel is currently considered a high risk to travelers for circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV); vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) is a strain of the weakened poliovirus that was initially included in oral polio vaccine (OPV) and that has changed over time and behaves more like the wild or naturally occurring virus; this means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated against polio and who come in contact with the stool or respiratory secretions, such as from a sneeze, of an “infected” person who received oral polio vaccine; the CDC recommends that before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series; before travel to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

26.1% (2016)

comparison ranking: 45

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 3.07 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.78 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.08 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 1.16 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.04 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 112

Tobacco use

total: 21.2% (2020 est.)

male: 28.9% (2020 est.)

female: 13.5% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 77

Education expenditures

7.1% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 19

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: 15 years

female: 17 years (2020)

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

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.)

Urbanization

urban population: 92.9% of total population (2023)

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

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 175

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 170

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 19.47 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 65.17 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 13.02 megatons (2020 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.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

salt water lake(s): Dead Sea (shared with Jordan and West Bank) - 1,020 sq km
note - endorheic hypersaline lake; 9.6 times saltier than the ocean; lake shore is 431 meters below sea level

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 1 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 100 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 1.2 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

1.78 billion cubic meters (2020 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

former: Mandatory Palestine

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 Isaac HERZOG (since 7 July 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Benyamin NETANYAHU (since 29 December 2022)

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:
2021: Isaac HERZOG elected president; Knesset vote in first round - Isaac HERZOG (independent) 87, Miriam PERETZ (independent) 26, invalid/blank 7

2014: Reuven RIVLIN elected president in second round; Knesset vote - Reuven RIVLIN (Likud) 63, Meir SHEETRIT (The Movement) 53, other/invalid 4

 

Legislative branch

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

elections: last held on 1 November 2022 (next to be held in November 2026)

election results: percent by party - Likud 23.4%, Yesh Atid 17.8%, Religious Zionism (electoral alliance of Religious Zionist Party, Jewish Strength, and Noam) 10.8%, National Unity 9.1%, Shas 8.2%, UTJ 5.9%, Yisrael Beiteinu 4.5%, United Arab List 4.1%, Hadash-Ta'al 3.8%, Labor 3.7%, Meretz 3.2%, other 1.6%; seats by party - Likud 32, Yesh Atid 24, Religious Zionism 14, National Unity 12, Shas 11, UTJ 7, Yisrael Beiteinu 6, Hadash-Ta'al 5, United Arab List 5, Labor 4; composition - men 91, women 29, percentage of women 24.2%; note - following the 1 November 2022 election, the Religious Zionism Alliance split into its three constituent parties in the Knesset:  Religious Zionism 7 seats, Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) 6, and Noam 1

Judicial branch

highest court(s): 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 Rabbinical courts

Political parties and leaders

Balad [Sami Abu SHEHADEH]
Blue and White [Benny GANTZ]
Hadash [Ayman ODEH]
Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit) [Itamar Ben GVIR]
Labor Party or HaAvoda [Merav MICHAELI]
Likud [Binyamin NETANYAHU]
Meretz [vacant]
National Unity [alliance includes Blue and White and New Hope]
New Hope [Gideon SA'AR]
Noam [Avi MAOZ]
Religious Zionism [Bezalel SMOTRICH] (election alliance of Religious Zionist Party, Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit), and Noam)
Religious Zionist Party [Bezalel SMOTRICH]
Shas [Aryeh DERI]
Ta'al [Ahmad TIBI]
United Arab List [Mansour ABBAS]
United Torah Judaism or UTJ [Moshe GAFNI] (alliance includes Agudat Israel and Degel HaTorah)
Yesh Atid [Yair LAPID]
Yisrael Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]

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 Michael HERZOG (since 1 December 2021)

chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 364-5500

FAX: [1] (202) 364-5607

email address and website:
consular@washington.mfa.gov.il

https://embassies.gov.il/washington/Pages/default.aspx

consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jacob J. LEW (since 5 November 2023)

embassy: 14 David Flusser Street, Jerusalem, 9378322

mailing address: 6350 Jerusalem Place, Washington DC  20521-6350

telephone: [972] (2) 630-4000

FAX: [972] (2) 630-4070

email address and website:
JerusalemACS@state.gov

https://il.usembassy.gov/

branch office(s): Tel Aviv

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)

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 9 (all cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Masada; Old City of Acre; White City of Tel-Aviv - the Modern Movement; Biblical Tels - Megiddo, Hazor, Beer Sheba; Incense Route - Desert Cities in the Negev; Bahá’i Holy Places; Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel; Caves of Maresha and Bet-Guvrin; Necropolis of Bet She’arim

Economy

Economic overview

high-income, technology- and industrial-based economy; highly dense, fast-growing labor force; recent debt spikes; persistent inequality and poverty; significant tariff and regulatory burdens, especially in agriculture;  quantitative easing in effect

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$393.861 billion (2021 est.)
$362.632 billion (2020 est.)
$369.494 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 48

Real GDP growth rate

8.61% (2021 est.)
-1.86% (2020 est.)
4.16% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 34

Real GDP per capita

$42,100 (2021 est.)
$39,400 (2020 est.)
$40,800 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 43

GDP (official exchange rate)

$394.93 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.49% (2021 est.)
-0.59% (2020 est.)
0.84% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 46

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A+ (2016)

Moody's rating: A1 (2008)

Standard & Poors rating: AA- (2018)

note: the year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.4% (2017 est.)

industry: 26.5% (2017 est.)

services: 69.5% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 73; industry 102; agriculture 163

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.)

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

Industrial production growth rate

6.05% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 73

Labor force

4.186 million (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 96

Unemployment rate

5.05% (2021 est.)
4.33% (2020 est.)
3.8% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 78

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 8.8% (2021 est.)

male: 8.4%

female: 9.2%

comparison ranking: total 165

Population below poverty line

22% (2014 est.)

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

Average household expenditures

on food: 16.2% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 2.9% of household expenditures (2018 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.7%

highest 10%: 31.3% (2010)

Remittances

0.25% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.28% of GDP (2020 est.)
0.24% of GDP (2019 est.)

Budget

revenues: $139.374 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $154.927 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 104

Public debt

72.6% of GDP (2020 est.)
59.6% of GDP (2019 est.)
60.4% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 52

Taxes and other revenues

21.9% (of GDP) (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 72

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$21.09 billion (2021 est.)
$22.486 billion (2020 est.)
$14.747 billion (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 22

Exports

$143.884 billion (2021 est.)
$114.422 billion (2020 est.)
$117.779 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 38

Exports - partners

United States 27%, China 8%, India 4%, Germany 3%, Ireland 3% (2021)

note: Approximately, 6% of Israel's exports went to the Gaza Strip and West Bank, but official data are not available individually for the Palestinian territories.

Exports - commodities

diamonds, integrated circuits, refined petroleum, medical instruments, packaged medicines, measuring instruments (2021)

Imports

$124.578 billion (2021 est.)
$95.977 billion (2020 est.)
$108.784 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in current year dollars

comparison ranking: 41

Imports - partners

United States 12%, China 11%, Germany 7.5%, Switzerland 7%, Turkey 6% (2020)

Imports - commodities

diamonds, cars, crude petroleum, refined petroleum, broadcasting equipment (2021)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$212.934 billion (31 December 2021 est.)
$173.292 billion (31 December 2020 est.)
$126.008 billion (31 December 2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 17

Debt - external

$132.5 billion (31 December 2020 est.)
$99.886 billion (2019 est.)
$94.247 billion (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 48

Exchange rates

new Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
3.23 (2021 est.)
3.442 (2020 est.)
3.565 (2019 est.)
3.591 (2018 est.)
3.6 (2017 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 18.993 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 59,192,500,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 6.243 billion kWh (2020 est.)

imports: 0 kWh (2020 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 2.642 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: imports 175; exports 30; installed generating capacity 50; transmission/distribution losses 141; consumption 46

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 93.7% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 5.9% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 5.089 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 5.565 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 232,400 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 232,900 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 12.7 million barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

294,300 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 42

Refined petroleum products - exports

111,700 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 39

Refined petroleum products - imports

98,860 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 54

Natural gas

production: 10.474 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 9.442 billion cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 820.508 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 176.017 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

61.092 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 13.653 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 29.416 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 18.023 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 53

Energy consumption per capita

113.273 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 47

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 3.574 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 39 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 35

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 12.5 million (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 140 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 79

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Israel’s developed economy largely revolves around high technology products and services, primarily used in the medical, biotechnology, agricultural, materials, and military industries; the country also attracts investment in its cyber-security industry, and has established itself as a hub for thousands of start-up companies; to underpin these developments, Israel has developed a robust telecoms sector; household broadband subscriptions is high, with a focus on fiber-network deployment; LTE services are almost universally available, while the August 2020 multi-frequency bands also enabled the MNOs to provide services based on 5G; 5G will be supported by moves to close down GSM and 3G networks in stages through to the end of 2025, with the physical assets and frequencies to be repurposed for LTE and 5G use (2023)

domestic: fixed-line nearly 39 per 100 and nearly 140 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2021)

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)

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: 8.01 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 90% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 75

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 2,602,079 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 30 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 50

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 (2018) mt-km

Airports

37 (2024)

comparison ranking: 107

Heliports

11 (2024)

Pipelines

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

Railways

total: 1,497 km (2021) (2019)

standard gauge: 1,497 km (2021) 1.435-m gauge

comparison ranking: total 82

Roadways

total: 20,391 km (2021)

paved: 20,391 km (2021) (includes 449 km of expressways)

comparison ranking: total 114

Merchant marine

total: 41 (2023)

by type: container ship 4, general cargo 1, oil tanker 4, other 32

comparison ranking: total 123

Ports and terminals

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

container port(s) (TEUs): Ashdod (1,584,000) (2019)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Hadera

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) (2023)

note 1: the national police, including the border police and the immigration police, are under the authority of the Ministry of Public Security

note 2: the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) is charged with combating terrorism and espionage in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip; it is under the authority of the Prime Minister; ISA forces operating in the West Bank fall under the IDF for operations and operational debriefing

Military expenditures

4.5% of GDP (2022 est.)
5% of GDP (2021 est.)
5% of GDP (2020 est.)
5.2% of GDP (2019 est.)
5.3% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 12

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 170,000 active-duty personnel (130,000 Ground Forces; 10,000 Naval; 30,000 Air Force) (2023)

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; the US has been the leading supplier of arms in recent years; 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 (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for compulsory military service; 17 years of age for voluntary military service; Jews and Druze can be conscripted; Christians, Circassians, and Muslims may volunteer; both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation is 32 months for enlisted men and about 24 months for enlisted women (varies based on military occupation); officers serve 48 months; Air Force pilots commit to 9 years of service; reserve obligation to age 41-51 (men), age 24 (women) (2023)

note 1: women have served in the Israeli military since its establishment in 1948; as of 2021, women made up about 35% of IDF personnel; more than 90% of military specialties, including combat specialties, were open to women and more than 3,000 women were serving in combat units; the IDF's first mixed-gender infantry unit, the Caracal Battalion, was established in 2004

note 2: conscripts comprise about 70% of the IDF active-duty ground forces

note 3: the IDF recruits non-Israeli Jews and non-Jews with a minimum of one Jewish grandparent, as well as converts to Judaism; each year the IDF brings in about 800-1,000 foreign recruits from around the world

Military - note

the IDF is responsible for external defense but also has some domestic security responsibilities; its primary operational focuses include the threat posed by Iran, instability in Syria, and terrorist organizations, including HAMAS and Hizballah, both of which are backed by Iran, Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham; it has considerable experience in conventional and unconventional warfare; since the country’s founding in 1948, the IDF has been in conflicts against one or more of its Arab neighbors in 1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1967-70 (“War of Attrition”), 1973, 1982, and 2006; it bombed nuclear sites in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, and since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, has conducted numerous air strikes in Syria against Iranian, Iranian-backed militia, and Hizballah forces, and Syrian Government targets; over the same period, the IDF has carried out strikes against Hizballah in Lebanon in response to attacks on Israeli territory; these strikes followed an Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 2006, also to suppress Hizballah attacks; the IDF has conducted operations against HAMAS and PIJ, which operate out of the Gaza Strip and have launched numerous rocket attacks against Israel; HAMAS and Israel fought an 11-day conflict in 2021, which ended in an informal truce, although sporadic clashes continued; in October 2023, HAMAS conducted a surprise ground assault into Israel, supported by rockets and armed drones, killing more than 1,000 Israelis and foreigners living in Israel; the attack sparked another war with Israel, including an IDF ground invasion of Gaza; the IDF also has conducted security operations against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank 

since its creation from armed Jewish militias during the First Arab-Israeli War in 1948-49, the IDF, particularly the Ground Force, has been guided by a requirement to rapidly mobilize and defend the country’s territory from numerically superior neighboring countries; the Ground Force has a relatively small active combat force of approximately 10 armored, mechanized infantry, paratrooper, and commandos/special forces brigades, plus an artillery corps, that is backed up by a large force of trained reserves—approximately 300-400,000 personnel—that can be mobilized rapidly into dozens of combat brigades; the Ground Force also controls Israel’s ballistic missile force; the Air Force has approximately 250 modern US-made combat aircraft, as well as one of the world’s most advanced theater missile defense systems; the Navy is largely a coastal defense force with a small but growing and largely modern inventory; its primary surface warships are seven German- and US-built corvettes, supplemented by a small flotilla of missile attack vessels and six German-made attack submarines

Israel’s primary security partner is the US; consistent with a 10-year (2019-2028) Memorandum of Understanding, the US annually provides over $3 billion in military financing and cooperative military programs, such as missile defense; the US also provides Israel access to US-produced military weapons systems including advanced fighter aircraft; Israel has Major Non-NATO Ally status with the US, a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation

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; UNDOF consists of about 1,000 military personnel (2023)

Space

Space agency/agencies

Israel Space Agency (ISA; established 1983 under the Ministry of Science and Technology; origins go back to the creation of a National Committee for Space Research, established 1960); Ministry of Defense Space Department (2023)

Space launch site(s)

Palmachim Airbase (Central district) (2023)

Space program overview

has one of the most advanced space programs in the region; designs, builds, and operates communications, remote sensing (RS), and scientific satellites; designs, builds, and operates sounding (research) rockets and orbital satellite/space launch vehicles (SLVs); launches satellites on domestic and foreign rockets; researches and develops a range of other space-related capabilities with a focus on lightweight and miniaturized technologies, including small satellites with high resolution RS imaging and communications capabilities; has relations with a variety of foreign space agencies and space industries, including those of Canada, the European Space Agency (and individual member states, such as France, Germany, and Italy), India, Japan, Mexico, and the US; has a substantial commercial space sector, including state-owned enterprises, in areas such as launchers, propulsion, satellite manufacturing, particularly micro- and nano-satellites, payloads and applications, RS, communications, and ground stations (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Terrorist group(s): Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS); Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Palestinian Islamic Jihad; HAMAS

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

Israel-Gaza Strip: Israel withdrew its settlers and military from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the West Bank in August 2005

Israel-Syria: 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

Israel-West Bank: 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

Refugees and internally displaced persons

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

stateless persons: 35 (2022)

Illicit drugs

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