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 ISRAELI POLITICAL
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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. Israel and Palestinian officials signed on 13 September 1993 a Declaration of Principles (also known as the "Oslo Accords") guiding an interim period of Palestinian self-rule. 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 and Syria to achieve a permanent settlement. In April 2003, US President BUSH, working in conjunction with the EU, UN, and Russia - the "Quartet" - took the lead in laying out a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005, based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. However, progress toward a permanent status agreement was undermined by Palestinian-Israeli violence between September 2000 and February 2005. An agreement reached at Sharm al-Sheikh in February 2005 significantly reduced the violence. The election in January 2005 of Mahmud ABBAS as the new Palestinian leader following the November 2004 death of Yasir ARAFAT, the formation of a Likud-Labor-United Torah Judaism coalition government in January 2005, and the successful Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip (August-September 2005), presented an opportunity for a renewed peace effort. However, internal Israeli political events between October and December 2005 have destabilized the political situation and forced early elections, scheduled for March 2006.
 
 
Common Name: Israel Local Official Name: Yisra'el
Abbreviated Name: State of Israel Official Name: Medinat Yisra'el
Official Script Name: Israel Local Common Name: Israel
Former Name: Israel Territory of: NA
 
Head of State: President Moshe KATSAV
 
Government Type: parliamentary democracy
 
Independence: 1948 May 14 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
 
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
 
National Holiday: Independence Day, 14 May
 
International Organization Participation: BIS, BSEC (observer), CERN (observer), EBRD, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, MIGA, OAS (observer), OPCW (signatory), OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
 
Administrative Divisions: 6 districts (mehozot, singular - mehoz); Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv
 
Dependent Areas: NA
 
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
 
Suffrage: 18 years
 
Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches: Executive Branch: chief of state: President Moshe KATZAV (since 31 July 2000) head of government: Prime Minister Ehud OLMERT (since May 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Tzipora "Tzipi" LIVNI (since May 2006) cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset elections: president is largely a ceremonial role and is elected by the Knesset for a seven-year term (no term limits); election last held 31 July 2000 (next to be held mid-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 results: Moshe KATZAV 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 continued 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; controversy surrounding SHARON's disengagement plan ultimately led to the formation of a Likud-Labor-United Torah Judaism (UTJ) coalition government in January 2005 Legislative Branch: unicameral Knesset (120 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) elections: last held 29 March 2006 (next scheduled to be held in 2010) election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Kadima 29, Labor 19, Likud 12, SHAS 12, Yisrael Beiteinu 11, NU/NRP 9, GIL 7, Torah and Shabbat Judaism 6, Meretz-YAHAD 5, United Arab List 4, Balad 3, HADASH 3 Judicial Branch: Supreme Court (justices appointed by Judicial Selection Committee - made up of all three branches of the government; mandatory retirement age is 70)
 
Party Leaders: Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (HADASH) [Muhammad BARAKA]; GIL (Pensioners) [Rafael EITAN]; Kadima [Ehud OLMERT]; Labor Party [Amir PERETZ]; Likud Party [Binyamin NETANYAHU]; Meretz-YAHAD [Yossi BEILIN]; National Democratic Assembly (Balad) [Azmi BISHARA]; National Union (NU)/National Religious Party (NRP) [Binyamin ELON]; SHAS [Eliyahu YISHAI]; Torah and Shabbat Judaism [Yaakov LITZMAN]; United Arab List [Ibrahim SARSOUR]; Yisrael Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]; Yisrael Ba'Aliya (merged with Likud)
 
International Disputes: 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; Israel continues construction of a "seam line" separation barrier along parts of the Green Line and within the West Bank; Israel withdrew its settlers and military from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the West Bank in August 2005; Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied (Lebanon claims the Shab'a Farms area of Golan Heights); since 1948, about 350 peacekeepers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) headquartered in Jerusalem monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other UN personnel in the region
 
Illicit Drugs: increasingly concerned about cocaine and heroin abuse; drugs arrive in country from Lebanon and, increasingly, from Jordan; money-laundering center 
 
 
 ISRAELI GEOGRAPHY
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Location of Israel: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon
 
Continent: Middle East Land Area Total: 20,770 sq km 
Region: Middle Eastern Land Area Land: 20,330 sq km
Capitol City: Jerusalem Land Area Water: 440 sq km
      
Latitude: 031 30 N Border Boundary Land: 1,071 km
Longitude: 034 45 E Border Boundary Coastline: 273 km 
  
Arable Land: 15.45 % Pastures: 0.00 %
Crops: 3.88 % Woodlands and Forests: 0.00
  
Highest Elevation: 1,208 m Location: Har Meron
Lowest Elevation: -408 m Location: Dead Sea
  
Largest City in Israel: Tel-Aviv-Yafo Tel-Aviv-Yafo Largest City Population: 2,140,000
  
Threatened Species: 51
 
Environmental 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
 
Environmental Agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
 
Irrigated Land: 1,940
 
Bordering Countries: Egypt 266 km, Gaza Strip 51 km, Jordan 238 km, Lebanon 79 km, Syria 76 km, West Bank 307 km
 
Natural Resources: timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand
 
Geographical Terrain: Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley
 
Comparative Area of Israel: slightly smaller than New Jersey
 
Israel's Geography: there are 242 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank, 42 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, 0 in the Gaza Strip, and 29 in East Jerusalem (August 2005 est.); Sea of Galilee is an important freshwater source
 

 ISRAELI CLIMATE
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General Climate: temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas
 
Natural Hazards: sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes
 
 
 ISRAELI ECONOMY
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Economic 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 imports substantial quantities of grain, but is largely self-sufficient in other agricultural products. 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 bitter Israeli-Palestinian conflict; difficulties in the high-technology, construction, and tourist sectors; and fiscal austerity in the face of growing inflation led to small declines in GDP in 2001 and 2002. The economy rebounded in 2003 and 2004, growing at a 4% rate each year, as the government tightened fiscal policy and implemented structural reforms to boost competition and efficiency in the markets. In 2005, rising consumer confidence, tourism, and foreign direct investment - as well as higher demand for Israeli exports - boosted GDP by 4.7%.
 
 
GDP: $156,900,000,000 USD Currency: new Israeli shekel
GDP per Capita: $25,000 USD Currency Code: ILS
GDP Growth Rate: 5.20 %
  
Currency Exchange Rate History: new Israeli shekels per US dollar - 4.4877 (2005), 4.482 (2004), 4.5541 (2003), 4.7378 (2002), 4.2057 (2001)
  
  
GDP of Agriculture: 2.60 % GDP of Industry: 31.70 %
GDP of Services: 65.70 %  
   
Inflation Rate: 1.30 % Population in Poverty: 21.00 %
Unemployment Rate: 9.00 % Tourism: 2,312,000.00 visitors each year
   
Consumption by lowest 10%: 2.40 % Budget Revenue in USD: $43,820,000,000 USD
Consumption by upper 10%: 28.30 % Budget Expenditures in USD: $58,040,000,000 USD
   
Electricity Production: 44,240,000,000 kWh Electricity Exports: 1,470,000,000 kWh
Electricity Consumption: 39,670,000,000 kWh Electricity Imports: 12,000,000 kWh

Electricity Production by Source:
 
Fossil Fuel Electricity Production: 99.89% Nuclear Electricity Production: 0.00%
Hydro Electricity Production: 0.11% Other Electricity Production: 0.00%
   
Oil Production: 2,740 barrels per day Natural Gas Production: 200,000,000 cu m
Oil Consumption: 270,100 barrels per day Natural Gas Consumption: 200,000,000 cu m
Oil Exports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Exports: 0 cu m
Oil Imports: 0 barrels per day Natural Gas Imports: 0 cu m
Proven Oil Reserves: 1,920,000 barrels Proven Natural Gas Reserves: 38,940,000,000 cu m
   
External Debt: $75,550,000,000 USD Received in economic aid: $662,000,000 USD
  Donated in economic aid: $0 USD
   
Agricultural Products: citrus, vegetables, cotton; beef, poultry, dairy products
 
Primary Industries: high-technology projects (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics, fiber optics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, and tobacco, caustic soda, cement, construction, met
 
Industrial Growth Rate: 2.80 %
  
  
Import Amount in USD: $43,190,000,000 USD - raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, consumer goods
 
Import Partners: US 13.4%, Belgium 10.1%, Germany 6.4%, UK 5.7%, Switzerland 5.5%, China 4.2%
 
Export Amount in USD: $40,140,000,000 USD - machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles and apparel
 
Export Partners: US 36.5%, Belgium 8.7%, Hong Kong 5.6%
 
    
GINI Index: 64.00%
 
Labor Force Number of People: 2,420,000
 
Labor Force by Occupations: public services 31.2%, manufacturing 20.2%, finance and business 13.1%, commerce 12.8%, construction 7.5%, personal and other services 6.4%, transport, storage, and communications 6.2%, agriculture, forestry, and fishing 2.6%
 
  
 ISRAELI COMMUNICATIONS
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Radio Broadcast Stations: 40 Number of People with Radios: 3,070,000
Television Broadcast Stations: 17 Number of People with Televisions: 1,690,000
Number of People with Mainline Telephones: 2,936,300 Number of People with Mobile Phones: 7,757,000
 
Internet Service Providers: 1,069,088 Internet Users: 3,700,000
 
Internet Country Code: .il Newspapers: 290
Two Letter Country Code: IS Weights and Measures:
Phone Country Code: 972 Electricity Voltage: 230 Volts
  
Telephone Systems: 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: country code - 972; 3 submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean)
 
  
 ISRAELI TRANSPORTATION
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Highways: 17,364 km Railways: 853 km
Gas And Oil Pipelines: 1,649 km Waterways: 0 km
Airports: 30 Heliports: 3
 
Motor Vehicles: 270 per 1,000 people CO2 Emissions: 57,090,000 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  Per capita CO2 emissions: 9.80 Metric Tons of CO2 per year
  
Merchant Marines: total: 18 ships (1000 GRT or over) 716,382 GRT/845,053 DWT by type: cargo 2, container 16 registered in other countries: 51 (Bahamas 1, Bermuda 3, Cyprus 3, Honduras 1, Liberia 5, Malta 23, Panama 6, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Slovakia 7)
 
Ports and Harbors: Ashdod, Elat (Eilat), Hadera, Haifa
 
  
 ISRAELI PEOPLE
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Population: 6,352,117 people type - nationality Birth Rate: 17.97 births per 1,000 people
Population Density: 291.00 people per sq km Death Rate: 6.18 deaths per 1,000 people
Population Growth: 1.18% per year Fertility Rate per Women: 2.41 babies born per woman
 
Population Male 0-14: 855,054 Population Female 0-14: 815,619
Population Male 15-64: 2,044,135 Population Female 15-64: 2,016,647
Population Male 65+: 266,671 Population Female 65+: 353,991
 
Population 0-14: 26.30% Literacy Rate: 95.40%
Population 15-64: 63.90% Literacy rate of Males: 97.30%
Population 65+: 9.80% Literacy rate of Females: 93.60%
 
Population that is Male: 49.50 % Population that is Female: 50.50%
Life expectancy at birth in years: 79.46 years Infant mortality rate - baby deaths per 1000 births: 6.89 Babies die per 1,000 births
Life expectancy at birth for Males: 77.99 years Life expectancy at birth for Females: 81.70 years
 
Rate of AIDS/HIV infection: 0.10% Number of people living with AIDS or HIV: 3,000
Number of people who died of AIDS: 100
   
Disease Risk:
 
Diseases:
 
Net Migration Rate per 1,000 people: 0.00
 
Nationality: ISRAELI
 
Ethnic Groups: Jewish 76.4% (Israel-born 51.3%, Europe/America-born 17.3%, Africa-born 4.5%, Asia-born 3.2%), non-Jewish 23.6% (mostly Arab) 
 
  
Primary Language: Hebrew
 
Other Languages: Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language
 
 
Primary Religion: Jewish
 
Other Religions: Jewish 76.4%, Muslim 16%, Arab Christians 1.7%, other Christian 0.4%, Druze 1.6%, unspecified 3.9%
 
  
 ISRAELI MILITARY
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Branches: Israel Defense Forces (IDF): Ground Corps, Navy, Air and Space Force (includes air defense forces); historically there have been no separate Israeli military services
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 17 years
 
Manpower Available: 2,936,041 People
 
Manpower Fit to Serve: 2,468,296 People
 
Amount of Manpower Available each Year: 105,053 People per year
 
Expenditures: $0 USD per year
 
Expenditures as a Percentage of GDP: 7.70
 
 
Note: Phrasebase uses a variety of sources when compiling the facts and information presented above. This information is continually updated throughout the year.
 ISRAELI RESOURCES
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