CONTENT
INTRODUCTION
1. Political situation
2. Economy
3. Health & Education
4. Religions & Peoples
5. History

KEY FIGURES
GDP: US$102.7 billion
GDP/capita: US$16,840
GDP/sector: Agriculture 3%, Industry 30%, Services 67%
Foreign debts: US$66.2 billion
Foreign debts/GDP: 64%
Foreign debts/capita: US$10,850
Annual growth in GDP: -1%
Trade balance: -12%
Export products: Machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles and apparel.
Annual inflation rate: 5.7%
Official unemployment: 10%
VALUE OF CURRENCY
1997:
US$1= 3.45 Shekels

1998:
US$1= 3.80 Shekels

1999:
US$1= 4.14 Shekels

2000:
US$1= 4.08 Shekels

2001:
US$1= 4.21 Shekels

2002:
US$1= 4.28 Shekels

Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East, but a large portion of the population, often Palestinians and immigrants, are not benefiting from the wealth of Israel. Costs of living in Israel is high, and for many their wages never manage to cover more than just the basic costs. Israel has a large portion of the population that lives under very modest conditions, often surviving only on aid from the government’s side.

Much of the growth in the Israeli economy comes from politics that has allowed high deficits on state budgets and foreign trade balance. Israel has the most diversified economy in the Middle East and has a high level of modernization.

The Israeli economy has in recent years experienced an upswing, much due to less need for transferring funds to the military.

Mining is an important activity for the Israeli economy, of which much is extracted from the Dead Sea. Petroleum extraction exists in Israel but is on a very small scale.

Agriculture in Israel is very effective, as is able to cover about 75% of domestic needs, despite the limited land available. Citrus fruits and eggs are exported. Yet, agriculture contributes to only 3% of Israel’s GNP.

Israel has a large income from heavy tourism, as well as from donations from individuals and organizations around the world. USA is aiding the Israeli economy at the level of US$ 3 billion annually, of which 1,8 billion is allocated to military expenses, the remaining to the civil economy of Israel.

Since the Israeli economy still runs on heavy deficits, the country cannot be without this help, even if the recent governments have declared economic independence as of its main objectives.

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