Geography

Geography
Area: 20,330 sq. km.1 (7,850 sq. mi.); about the size of New Jersey.
Cities: Capital--Jerusalem.2 Other cities--Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheba.
Terrain: Plains, mountains, desert, and coast. Climate: Temperate, except in desert areas.

People & Economy

People
Population (2010 est.): 7.59 million.
Annual population growth rate (2009 est.): 1.7%.
Ethnic groups: Jews 76.2%; Arabs 19.5%; other 4.3%.
Religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Druze.
Languages: Hebrew (official), Arabic (official), English, Russian.
Education: Years compulsory--11. Literacy--96.9% (female 95.6%; male 98.3%).
Health: Infant mortality rate (2009 est.)--4.22/1,000 births. Life expectancy at birth--80.73 years; female 82.95 years, male 78.62 years.
Work force (3.02 million; Central Bureau for Statistics, 2009): Agriculture--2.1%; manufacturing--16.2%; electricity and water supply--0.8%; construction--5.4%; trade and repair of motor vehicles--3.6%; accommodation services and restaurants--4.3%; transport, storage, and communication--6.5%; banking, insurance, and finance--3.3%; business activities--13.4%; public administration--4.7%; education--12.7%; health, welfare, and social services--10.7%; community, social, and personal services--4.6%; services for households by domestic personnel--1.6%.

ECONOMY:
Nominal GDP (2009 est.): $195 billion.
Annual real growth rate (2009): 0.8%.
Per capita GDP (2009): $26,178.
Currency: Shekel (3.82 shekels = 1 U.S. dollar; 2009 est.).
Natural resources: Copper, phosphate, bromide, potash, clay, sand, sulfur, bitumen, manganese.
Agriculture: Products--citrus and other fruits, vegetables, beef, dairy, and poultry products.
Industry: Types--high-technology projects (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics, fiber optics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, tobacco, caustic soda, cement, construction, plastics, chemical products, diamond cutting and polishing, metal products, textiles, and footwear.
Trade: Exports (2009 est.)--$50.015 billion. Exports include polished diamonds, electronic communication, medical and scientific equipment, chemicals and chemical products, electronic components and computers, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, rubber, plastics, and textiles. Imports (excluding defense imports, 2009 est.)--$55.2 billion: raw materials, diamonds, energy ships and airplanes, machinery, equipment, land transportation equipment for investment, and consumer goods. Major partners--U.S., U.K., Germany; exports--U.S., Belgium, Hong Kong; imports--U.S., Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, U.K.
1) Including Jerusalem
2) Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950. The United States, like nearly all other countries, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Independence: May 14, 1948.
Constitution: None; however, the Declaration of Independence (1948), the Basic Laws of the parliament (the Knesset), and the Israeli citizenship law fill many of the functions of a constitution.
Branches: Executive--president (head of state); prime minister (head of government).Legislative--unicameral Knesset. Judicial--court system headed by Supreme Court president.
Political parties: Likud, Kadima, Labor, Yisrael Beiteinu and various other secular and religious parties, including some wholly or predominantly supported by Israel's Arab citizens. A total of 12 parties are represented in the 18th Knesset, elected February 2009.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.

 

 

Israel

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The privately built spacecraft will take a long trip to the moon, landing on its surface in April.
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The Israeli drama is being praised as an accurate and compelling portrayal of ultra-Orthodox Jews, a group that typically is insular — and doesn’t watch TV.
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With $100 million and a lot of volunteer labor, SpaceIL’s Beresheet spacecraft could be the first privately built vessel to reach the lunar surface.
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The alliance is seen as posing a credible threat to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, as he tries to maintain his grip on power.
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