Israel 2002Israel

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Israel - Introduction 2002
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Background: Following World War II the British withdrew from their mandate of Palestine and the UN partitioned the area into Arab and Jewish states an arrangement rejected by the Arabs. Subsequently the Israelis defeated the Arabs in a series of wars without ending the deep tensions between the two sides. The territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 war are not included in the Israel country profile unless otherwise noted. 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. In addition on 25 May 2000 Israel withdrew unilaterally from southern Lebanon which it had occupied since 1982. In keeping with the framework established at the Madrid Conference in October 1991 bilateral negotiations were conducted between Israel and Palestinian representatives (from the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip) and Syria to achieve a permanent settlement. But progress toward a permanent status agreement has been undermined by the outbreak of Palestinian-Israeli violence since September 2000.

Israel - Geography 2002
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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
Water: 440 km²
Land: 20,330 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries
Total: 1,017 km
Border countries: (6) Egypt 266 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: timber potash copper ore natural gas phosphate rock magnesium bromide clays sand
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 17.02%
Permanent crops: 4.17%
Other: 78.81% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 1990 km² (1998 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes

Note: there are 242 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank 42 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights 25 in the Gaza Strip and 29 in East Jerusalem (February 2002 est.); Sea of Galilee is an important freshwater source

Israel - People 2002
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Note: includes about 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, about 20,000 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, more than 5,000 in the Gaza Strip, and fewer than 177,000 in East Jerusalem (February 2003 est.)
Growth rate: 1.48% (2002 est.)
Below poverty line: NA%

Noun: Israeli
Adjective: Israeli

Ethnic groups: Jewish 80.1% (Europe/America-born 32.1% Israel-born 20.8% Africa-born 14.6% Asia-born 12.6%) non-Jewish 19.9% (mostly Arab) (1996 est.)

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

Religions: Jewish 80.1% Muslim 14.6% (mostly Sunni Muslim) Christian 2.1% other 3.2% (1996 est.)

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 27.1% (male 837,491; female 798,695)
15-64 years: 63% (male 1,905,677; female 1,889,525)
65 years and over: 9.9% (male 257,066; female 341,075) (2002 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.48% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 18.91 births/1000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 6.21 deaths/1000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: 2.11 migrant(s)/1000 population (2002 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
International agreements party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
International agreements signed but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.05 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male/female
Total population: 0.99 male/female (2002 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 7.55 deaths/1000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 78.86 years
Female: 81.01 years (2002 est.)
Male: 76.82 years

Total fertility rate: 2.54 children born/woman (2002 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

Adult prevalence rate: 0.08% (1999 est.)
People living with hivaids: 2,400 (1999 est.)
Deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.)

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 2002
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Country name
Conventional long form: State of Israel
Conventional short form: Israel
Local short form: Yisra'el
Local long form: Medinat Yisra'el

Government type: parliamentary democracy

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); note - 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 Moshe KATSAV (since 31 July 2000)
Elections: president elected by the Knesset for a seven-year term; election last held 31 July 2000 (next to be held NA 2007); following legislative elections, the president assigns a Knesset member - traditionally the leader of the largest party - the task of forming a governing coalition; election last held 28 January 2003 (next to be held fall of 2007)
Head of government: Prime Minister Ariel SHARON (since 7 March 2001)
Cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset
Election results: Moshe KATSAV elected president by the 120-member Knesset with a total of 60 votes, other candidate, Shimon PERES, received 57 votes (there were three abstentions); Ariel SHARON continues as prime minister after Likud Party victory in January 2003 Knesset elections; Likud won 38 seats and then formed coalition government with Shinui, the National Religious Party, and the National Union

Legislative branch
Elections: last held 27 January 2003 (next to be held NA 2007)
Election results: percent of vote by party - Likud Party 29.4%, Labor 14.5%, Shinui 12.3%, Shas 8.2%, National Union 5.5%, Meretz 5.2%, United Torah Judaism 4.3%, National Religious Party 4.2%, Democratic Front for Peace and Equality 3.0%, One Nation 2.8%, National Democratic Alliance 2.3%, YBA 2.2%, United Arab List 2.1%, Green Leaf Party 1.2%, Herut 1.2%, other 1.6%; seats by party - Likud 38, Labor 19, Shinui 15, Shas 11, National Union 7, Meretz 6, National Religious Party 6, United Torah Judaism 5, Democratic Front for Peace and Equality 3, One Nation 3, National Democratic Alliance 3, YBA 2, United Arab List 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (justices appointed for life by the president)

Political parties and leaders: Center Party [Dan MERIDOR]; Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Hadash) [Muhammad BARAKA]; Democratic Movement [Roman BRONFMAN]; Gesher [David LEVI]; Herut [michael KLEINER]; Labor Party [Binyamin BEN-ELIEZER]; Likud Party [Ariel SHARON]; Meimad [Rabbi Michael MELCHIOR]; Meretz [Yossi SARID]; National Democratic Alliance (Balad) [Azmi BISHARA]; National Religious Party [Yitzhak LEVY]; National Union [Benyamin ELON] (includes Tekuma and Moledet); One Israel [Ra'anan COHEN]; One Nation [Amir PERETZ]; Shas [Eliyahu YISHAI]; Shinui [Tommy LAPID]; United Arab List [Abd al-Malik DAHAMSHAH]; United Torah Judaism [Meir PORUSH]; Yisra'el Ba'Aliya or YBA [Natan SHARANSKY]; Yisra'el Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]

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

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel AYALON
In the us consulates general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco
In the us fax: [1] (202) 364-3,607
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 364-5,500
In the us chancery: 3,514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20,008
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Daniel C. KURTZER
From the us embassy: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv
From the us mailing address: PSC 98, Box 29, APO AE 9,830
From the us telephone: [972] (3) 519-7,457/7,369/7,454/7,458/7,453
From the us fax: [972] (3) 517-4,390
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 2002
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Economy overview: Israel has a technologically advanced 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. Israel is largely self-sufficient in food production except for grains. Cut diamonds high-technology equipment and agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) are the 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. The influx of Jewish immigrants from the former USSR during the period 1989-99 coupled with the opening of new markets at the end of the Cold War energized Israel's economy which grew rapidly in the early 1990s. But growth began moderating in 1996 when the government imposed tighter fiscal and monetary policies and the immigration bonus petered out. Growth was a strong 6.4% in 2000. But the bitter Israeli-Palestinian conflict increasingly the declines in the high-technology and tourist sectors and fiscal austerity measures in the face of growing inflation have led to declines in GDP in 2001 and 2002.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: -1.1% (2002 est.)

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%
Industry: 30%
Services: 67% (2001 est.)

Agriculture products: citrus vegetables cotton; beef poultry dairy products

Industries: high-technology projects (including aviation communications computer-aided design and manufactures medical electronics) wood and paper products potash and phosphates food beverages and tobacco caustic soda cement diamond cutting

Industrial production growth rate: -1.5% (2002 est.)

Labor force: 2.4 million (2000 est.)
By occupation: public services 31% manufacturing 20% finance and business 13% commerce 13% construction 8% personal and other services 6% transport storage and communications 6% agriculture forestry and fishing 3% (1996) (1996)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 10.4% (2002 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: NA%

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: 2%
Highest 10: 28% (1992) (1997)

Distribution of family income gini index: 38 (1997)

Revenues: $40 billion
Expenditures: $42.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 5.7% (2002 est.)

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

Exports: $28 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: machinery and equipment software cut diamonds agricultural products chemicals textiles and apparel
Partners: US 42.8% Benelux 7.4% Hong Kong 6.8% Germany 4.8% UK 4.8% Japan 3.2% (2001)

Imports: $30.8 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: raw materials military equipment investment goods rough diamonds fuels consumer goods
Partners: US 23.5% Benelux 10.2% Germany 7.9% uk 6.7% Switzerland 6.0% Italy 5.2% (2001)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $42.8 billion (2001 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: new Israeli shekels per US dollar - 4.2757 (December 2001) 4.2057 (2001) 4.0773 (2000) 4.1397 (1999) 3.8001 (1998) 3.4494 (1997)

Israel - Energy 2002
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 38.876 billion kWh (2000)
By source fossil fuel: 100%
By source hydro: 0%
By source other: 0% (2000)
By source nuclear: 0%

Electricity consumption: 34.897 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity exports: 1.27 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity imports: 12 million kWh (2000)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Israel - Communication 2002
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 2.5 million (1999)

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

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .il

Internet users: 1.94 million (2001)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Israel - Military 2002
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $8.97 billion (FY02)
Percent of gdp: 8.75% (FY02)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Israel - Transportation 2002
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 54 (2001)
With paved runways total: 28
With paved runways over 3047 m: 2
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 4
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 11
With paved runways under 914 m: 4 (2002)
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 7
With unpaved runways total: 24
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 3
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 20 (2002)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 28
Over 3047 m: 2
2438 to 3047 m: 4
914 to 1523 m: 11
Under 914 m: 4 (2002)
15-24 to 2437 m: 7

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 24
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 3
Under 914 m: 20 (2002)

Heliports: 3 (2002)

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

Total: 647 km
Standard gauge: 647 km 1.435-m gauge (2001)


Waterways: none

Merchant marine
Total: 16 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 595,319 GRT/704,544 DWT
Ships by type: container 15, roll on/roll off 1 (2002 est.)

Ports and terminals

Israel - Transnational issues 2002
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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 (Lebanon claims the Shab'a Farms area of Golan Heights)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: increasingly concerned about cocaine and heroin abuse; drugs arrive in country from Lebanon and increasingly Jordan


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