macrohistory & world report

State of Israel

Map of Israel

Israel (capital Jerusalem) and neighboring states

Map location of Jerusalem, west and east

Dashes on the left are the Green Line, created in 1948 and recreated in 1967. Dashes on the right are the border with Jordan. Urban areas are in gray.

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Israel has a technologically advanced market economy. Cut diamonds, high-technology equipment, and pharmaceuticals are among the leading exports. Its major imports include crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Israel usually posts sizable trade deficits, which are covered by tourism and other service exports, as well as significant foreign investment inflows. Between 2004 and 2011, growth averaged nearly 5% per year, led by exports... Israel's economy also has weathered the Arab Spring because strong trade ties outside the Middle East have insulated the economy from spillover effects. The economy has recovered better than most advanced, comparably sized economies, but slowing demand domestically and internationally, and a strong shekel, have reduced forecasts for the next decade to the 3% level. 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 this past decade... In mid-2011, public protests arose around income inequality and rising housing and commodity prices. 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 ... In May 2013 the Israeli government, in a politically difficult process, passed an austerity budget to reign in the deficit and restore confidence in the government's fiscal position. Over the long term, Israel faces structural issues, including low labor participation rates for its fastest growing social segments – the ultra-orthodox and Arab-Israeli communities. Also, Israel's progressive, globally competitive, knowledge-based technology sector employs only 9% of the workforce, with the rest employed in manufacturing and services – sectors which face downward wage pressures from global competition."

March 2010: Health indicators continue to be better than those of the United States. In Israel, health care is both universal and compulsory. It is administered by a small number of organizations with funding from the government. All Israeli citizens are entitled to the same Uniform Benefits Package.

Healthcare expenditures
2009: 9.5% of GDP, compared to 16.2% for the United States

Unemployment rate
2011: 5.6%
2010: 6.4%
2009: 8%
2008: 6.1%

Import/export ratio
2011: exports 88.5% of imports in cash values, slightly unfavorable
2010: exports 97.67% of imports

Value Added Tax: 16%

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 68th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
7.3 percent (2006).


Ethnic groups
2004: Jewish 76.4% (of which Israel-born 67.1%, Europe/America-born 22.6%, Africa-born 5.9%, Asia-born 4.2%), non-Jewish 23.6% (mostly Arab)

2008 census: Jewish 75.6%, Muslim 16.9%, Christian 2%, Druze 1.7%, other 3.8%

Living in an urban area
2010: 92%

Density for 2005: 308 persons per square kilometer. Per square kilometer of arable land: 1,883 persons, compared to 168.7 persons for the United States.

Migration estimates. Persons per 1,000 population.
2012: net gain of 1.94
2010: net gain of 2.2
2009: net gain of 2.3
2008: net gain of 2.52


Between Egypt and Lebanon. 273 kilometers of coastline.


(As of May 2014) Chief of state: Shimon Peres (president), since 15 July 2007, Labor. Head of government: Benjamin Netanyahu (prime minister), since 31 March 2009, Likud (conservative).

Parliamentary democracy. Capital: Jerusalem.

Recent History

1948, May 14: Independence from League of Nations Mandate under British administration.

1949, April: Israel and Arab states agree on armistice.

1964, May: Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is founded and dedicated to the destruction of Israel through armed struggle.

1967, June: Six Day War. Israel defends itself against Egypt, Syria and Jordan and captures the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and West Bank.

1972, September 5: the murder of eleven members of Israel's Olympic team .

1973, October 6-25: Yom Kippur War. Egypt and Syria fail to retake lands lost in the 1967 war.

1978, September 17: Israel and Egypt's Anwar Sadat sign the Camp David Accord.

1979, March 26: Egypt recognizes Israel.

1981, October 6: President Sadat assassinated.

1982, June 6: Israel invades Lebanon to remove PLO fighters threatening its border.

1982, September: During Israel's occupation of Lebanon the massacres of Muslims occurs at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

1983, August : The Israeli army withdraws from most of Lebanon.

1987 December 8: The first intifada (uprising) begins.

1994, October 26: Jordan and Israel sign treaty ending 45 years of hostility.

1994, November 4: Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated by Israeli rightwinger, Yigal Amir.

2000, September: Second intifada begins.

2005, September 1: Israel ends its occupation of the Gaza Strip and compels Israeli settlers there to leave.

2006, July 12 to August 14: Second Lebanon War.

2008, Dec 27 to Jan 18 2009: Israel's campaign in Gaza to combat rocket attacks.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.