Israel

Country Summary

Introduction

Background

The State of Israel was declared in 1948, after Britain withdrew from its mandate of Palestine. 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. The Israeli economy has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last 25 years, led by cutting-edge, high-tech sectors.

Geography

Area

total: 21,937 sq km
land: 21,497 sq km
water: 440 sq km

Climate

temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas

Natural resources

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

People and Society

Population

9,043,387 (2023 est.)

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)

Religions

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

Population growth rate

1.56% (2023 est.)

Government

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

Executive branch

chief of state: President Isaac HERZOG (since 7 July 2021)
head of government: Prime Minister Benyamin NETANYAHU (since 29 December 2022)

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)

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.)

Real GDP per capita

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

Remittances

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

Exports

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

Exports - partners

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

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.)

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)

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.)


Page last updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2024