Area: 20,330 sq. km. (7,850 sq. mi.); about the size of New Jersey.
Cities: Capital--Jerusalem. Other cities--Tel Aviv,
Terrain: Plains, mountains, desert, and coast.
Climate: Temperate, except in desert areas.
Population (2005 est.): 6.35 million.
Annual population growth rate (2005 est.): 1.2%.
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 (2005 est.)--7.03/1,000 births.
Life expectancy at birth--79.32 years; female, 81.55 years,
male 77.21 years.
Work force (2.68 million; Central Bureau for Statistics, 2004):
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%.
Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Independence: May 14, 1948.
Constitution: None; however, the Declaration of Establishment
(1948), the Basic Laws of the parliament (the Knesset), and the
Israeli citizenship law fill many of the functions of a
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state); prime
minister (head of government). Legislative--unicameral
Knesset. Judicial--Supreme Court.
Political parties: Labor, Likud, Kadima, 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 17th Knesset, elected March 2006.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
GDP (2005 est.): $140.1 billion.
Annual growth rate (2005): 5.2%.
Per capita GDP (2005): $17,800.
Currency: Shekel, (4.58 shekels = 1 U.S. dollar; 2005 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 (2005 est.)--$40.14 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,
2005 est.)--$43.19 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.