Israel 1997Israel

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Israel - Introduction 1997
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Background: The territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 war are not included in the data below, unless otherwise noted. In keeping with the framework established at the Madrid Conference in October 1991, bilateral negotiations are being conducted between Israel and Palestinian representatives, and Israel and Syria, to achieve a permanent settlement between them. On 25 April 1982, Israel withdrew from the Sinai pursuant to the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace treaty. Outstanding territorial and other disputes with Jordan were resolved in the 26 October 1994 Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace.

Israel - Geography 1997
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Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon

Geographic coordinates: 31 30 N, 34 45 E

Map referenceMiddle East

Total: 20,770 km²
Land: 20,330 km²
Water: 440 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries
Total: 1,006 km
Border countries: (6) Egypt 255 km; , Gaza Strip 51 km; , Jordan 238 km; , Lebanon 79 km; , Syria 76 km; , West Bank 307 km

Coastline: 273 km

Maritime claims
Continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
Territorial sea: 12 nm

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

Extremes lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
Extremes highest point: Har Meron 1,208 m

Natural resources: copper, phosphates, bromide, potash, clay, sand, sulfur, asphalt, manganese, small amounts of natural gas and crude oil
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 17%
Permanent crops: 4%
Permanent pastures: 7%
Forests and woodland: 6%
Other: 66% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 1,800 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: sandstorms may occur during spring and summer

Note: there are 203 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank, 42 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, 24 in the Gaza Strip, and 26 in East Jerusalem (August 1996 est.)

Israel - People 1997
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Population: 5,534,672 (July 1997 est.)
Note: includes 136,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, 15,000 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, 5,000 in the Gaza Strip, and 156,000 in East Jerusalem (August 1996 est.)
Growth rate: 2.01% (1997 est.)

Noun: Israeli(s)
Adjective: Israeli

Ethnic groups: Jewish 82% (Israel-born 50%, Europe/Americas/Oceania-born 20%, Africa-born 7%, Asia-born 5%), non-Jewish 18% (mostly Arab) (1993 est.)

Languages: Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language

Religions: Judaism 82%, Islam 14% (mostly Sunni Muslim), Christian 2%, Druze and other 2%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 28% (male 803,792; female 766,224)
15-64 years: 62% (male 1,711,668; female 1,708,700)
65 years and over: 10% (male 234,902; female 309,386) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 2.01% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 20.16 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 6.22 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 6.12 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: limited arable land: and natural fresh water resources pose serious constraints; desertification; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 8.3 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 78.21 years
Male: 76.34 years
Female: 80.18 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.74 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 95%
Male: 97%
Female: 93% (1992 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Israel - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: State of Israel
Conventional short form: Israel
Local long form: Medinat Yisra'el
Local short form: Yisra'el

Government type: republic

Capital: Jerusalem
Note: Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, but the US, like nearly all other countries, maintains its Embassy in Tel Aviv

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

Dependent areas

Independence: 14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

National holiday: Independence Day, 14 May 1948 (Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday may occur in April or May)

Constitution: no formal constitution; some of the functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the basic laws of the parliament (Knesset), and the Israeli citizenship law

Legal system: mixture of English common law, British Mandate regulations, and, in personal matters, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim legal systems; in December 1985, Israel informed the UN Secretariat that it would no longer accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Ezer WEIZMAN (since 13 May 1993)
Head of government: Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU (since 18 June 1996)
Cabinet: Cabinet selected from and approved by the Knesset
Elections: president elected by the Knesset for a five-year term; election last held 24 March 1993 (next to be held NA March 1998); prime minister elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 29 May 1996 (next to be held NA 2000); note - in March 1992, the Knesset approved legislation, effective in 1996, which allowed for the direct election of the prime minister; under the new law, each voter casts two ballots - one for the direct election of the prime minister and one for the party in the Knesset; the candidate that receives the largest percentage of the popular vote then works to form a coalition with other parties to achieve a parliamentary majority of 61 seats; finally, the candidate must submit his or her cabinet to the Knesset for approval and this must be done within 45 days of the election; in contrast to the old system, under the new law, the prime minister's party need not be the single-largest party in the Knesset
Election results: Ezer WEIZMAN elected president; percent of Knesset vote - NA; Binyamin NETANYAHU elected prime minister; percent of vote - Binyamin NETANYAHU 50.4%, Shimon PERES 49.5%

Legislative branch: unicameral Knesset or parliament (120 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
Elections: last held 29 May 1996 (next to be held NA 2000)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Labor Party 34, Likud Party 32, SHAS 10, MERETZ 9, National Religious Party 9, Yisra'el Ba'Aliya 7, Hadash-Balad 5, Third Way 4, United Arab List 4, United Jewish Torah 4, Moledet 2; note - Likud, Tzomet, and Gesher candidates ran on a joint list

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: AG (observer), BSEC (observer), CCC, CE (observer), CERN (observer), EBRD, ECE, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, OAS (observer), OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Eliahu BEN-ELISSAR
In the us chancery: 3,514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 364-5,500
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 364-5,610
In the us consulates general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Martin S. INDYK
From the us embassy: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv
From the us mailing address: PSC 98, Box 100, APO AE 9,830
From the us telephone: [972] (3) 519-7,575
From the us FAX: [972] (3) 517-3,227
From the us consulates general: Jerusalem; note - an independent US mission, established in 1928, whose members are not accredited to a foreign government

Flag descriptionflag of Israel: white with a blue hexagram (six-pointed linear star) known as the Magen David (Shield of David) centered between two equal horizontal blue bands near the top and bottom edges of the flag

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Israel - Economy 1997
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Economy overview: Israel has a market economy with substantial government participation. It depends on imports of crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Despite limited natural resources, Israel has intensively developed its agricultural and industrial sectors over the past 20 years. Manufacturing and construction employ about 29% of Israeli workers, agriculture, forestry, and fishing 3.5%, and services the rest. Israel is largely self-sufficient in food production except for grains. Diamonds, high-technology equipment, and agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) are leading exports. Israel usually posts sizable current account deficits, which are covered by large transfer payments from abroad and by foreign loans. Roughly half of the government's external debt is owed to the US, which is its major source of economic and military aid. To earn needed foreign exchange, Israel has been targeting high-technology niches in international markets, such as medical scanning equipment. The influx of Jewish immigrants from the former USSR, which topped 750,000 during the period 1989-96, initially increased unemployment, intensified housing problems, and strained the government budget. At the same time, the immigrants bring to the economy valuable scientific and professional expertise.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 4.6% (1996)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 3.5%
Industry: 22%
Services: 74.5%

Agriculture products: citrus and other fruits, vegetables, cotton; beef, poultry, dairy products

Industries: food processing, diamond cutting and polishing, textiles and apparel, chemicals, metal products, military equipment, transport equipment, electrical equipment, potash mining, high-technology electronics, tourism

Industrial production growth rate: 8% (1995)

Labor force
Total: 2.2 million (1996)
By occupation public services: 29.3%
By occupation manufacturing: 22.1%
By occupation construction: 6.5%
By occupation commerce: 13.9%
By occupation finance and business: 10.4%
By occupation personal and other services: 7.4%
By occupation transport storage and communications: 6.3%
By occupation agriculture forestry and fishing: 3.5%
By occupation other: 0.6% (1992)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 6.5% (1996)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $41 billion
Expenditures: $53 billion, including capital expenditures of $N/A (1996)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year (since 1 January 1992)

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $20.3 billion (f.o.b., 1996)
Commodities: machinery and equipment, cut diamonds, chemicals, textiles and apparel, agricultural products, metals
Partners: US, EU, Japan

Total value: $28.3 billion (c.i.f., 1996)
Commodities: military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, oil, other productive inputs, consumer goods
Partners: EU, US, Japan

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $25.7 billion (1996)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels (NIS) per US$1 - 3.2761 (January 1997), 3.2882 (1996), 3.0113 (1995), 3.0111 (1994), 2.8301 (1993), 2.4591 (1992)

Israel - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 30.4 billion kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 4,738 kWh (1995 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Israel - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone system: most highly developed system in the Middle East although not the largest
Domestic: good system of coaxial cable and microwave radio relay
International: 3 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Israel - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $9.2 billion (1996)
Percent of gdp: about 9.8% (1996)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Israel - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 50 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 45
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 7
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 7
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 8
With paved runways under 914 m: 22 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 5
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 2
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 3 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 45
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 7
15-24 to 2437 m: 7
914 to 1523 m: 8
Under 914 m: 22 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 5
15-24 to 2437 m: 2
914 to 1523 m: 3 (1996 est.)

Heliports: 2 (1996 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 708 km; petroleum products 290 km; natural gas 89 km

Total: 526 km
Standard gauge: 526 km 1.435-m gauge



Merchant marine
Total: 26 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 659,505 GRT/778,780 DWT
Ships by type: cargo 2, container 23, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1 (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Israel - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: 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; Golan Heights is Israeli occupied; Israeli troops in southern Lebanon since June 1982

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: increasingly concerned about cocaine and heroin abuse and trafficking

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