Israel (GPS: 31 30 N, 34 45 E) located in the Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon. The country’s area measurements are total: 20,770 sq km; land: 20,330 sq km, water: 440 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly larger than New Jersey. The total irrigated land is 2,250 sq km (2012).
One of Israel’s essential features: Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is an important freshwater source. The Dead Sea is the second saltiest body of water globally (after Lake Assal in Djibouti). The Malham Cave in Mount Sodom is the world’s longest salt cave at 10 km (6 mi). Its survey is not complete, and its length will undoubtedly increase. Mount Sodom is a hill some 220 m (722 ft) high that is 80% salt (multiple salt layers covered by a veneer of rock). In March 2019, there were 380 Israeli settlements, including 213 settlements and 132 outposts in the West Bank, and 35 settlements in East Jerusalem. There are no Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, as all evacuated in 2005.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Jerusalem’s GPS coordinates are 31 46 N 35 14 E. Jerusalem’s local time is 7 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+2, note; Daylight saving time: +1hr time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington DC).
The State of Israel declared in 1948 after Britain withdrew from its mandate of Palestine. The UN proposed partitioning the area into Arab and Jewish states, and Arab armies that rejected the UN plan. Israel was admitted as a member of the UN in 1949 and saw rapid population growth, primarily due to migration from Europe and the Middle East, over the following years. Israel fought wars against its Arab neighbors in 1967 and 1973, followed by peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 war and subsequently administered those territories through military authorities. Israel and Palestinian officials signed several interim agreements in the 1990s that created temporary Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
While the most recent formal efforts to negotiate final status issues occurred in 2013-2014, the US continues its efforts to advance peace. Immigration to Israel continues, with 28,600 new immigrants, mostly Jewish, in 2016.
The Israeli economy has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last 25 years, led by cutting-edge, high-tech sectors. Offshore gas discoveries in the Mediterranean, most notably in the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, place Israel at the center of a potential regional natural gas market. However, longer-term structural issues such as low labor force participation among minority populations, low workforce productivity, high costs for housing and consumer staples, and a lack of competition remain a concern for many Israelis and an essential consideration for Israeli politicians. Prime Minister Benjamin NETANYAHU has led the Israeli Government since 2009; He formed a center-right coalition following the 2015 elections. In December 2018, the Knesset voted to dissolve itself, leading to an election in April 2019. When that election failed to result in the formation of a government, Israel held a second election in September 2019, which also failed to result in a government’s shape. On 11 December 2019, the Knesset voted to have a third election on 2 March 2020.
Israel’s names conventional long form: State of Israel, traditional short way: Israel, local long form: Medinat Yisra’el, local short form: Yisra’el, etymology: named after the ancient Kingdom of Israel; according to Biblical tradition, the Jewish patriarch Jacob received the name “Israel” (“He who struggles with God”) after he wrestled an entire night with an angel of the Lord; Jacob’s 12 sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who formed the Kingdom of Israel. Named after the ancient Kingdom of Israel; According to Biblical tradition, the Jewish patriarch Jacob received the Name “Israel” (“He who struggles with God”) after he wrestled an entire night with an angel of the Lord; Jacob’s 12 sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who formed the Kingdom of Israel.
Israel’s terrain is typically Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley. The country’s mean elevation: 508 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: the Dead Sea -408 m, highest point: Har Meron 1,208 m.
The general climate in the country; temperate: hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas.
The total number of border countries is 6, Egypt 208 km, Gaza Strip 59 km, Jordan 307 km, Lebanon 81 km, Syria 83 km, West Bank 330 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Israel’s coastline is 273 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, continental shelf: to the depth of exploitation. Waterways: N/A. Land use: agricultural land: 23.8%; arable land 13.7%; permanent crops 3.8%; permanent pasture 6.3%; forest: 7.1%; other: 69.1% (2011 estimate).
The population in Israel 8,424,904 (includes people of the Golan Heights or Golan Sub-District and also East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after 1967) (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 92.1% of total population (2015), central metropolitan area’s population: Tel Aviv-Yafo 3.608 million; Haifa 1.097 million; JERUSALEM (proclaimed capital) 839,000 (2015), while Israel has population concentrated in and around Tel-Aviv, as well as around the Sea of Galilee; the south remains sparsely populated except the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.
Their spoken languages are Hebrew (official language), Arabic (used official language for Arab minority), English (most commonly used foreign language). Main religions in Israel are Jewish 74.8%, Muslim 17.6%, Christian 2%, Druze 1.6%, other 4% (2015 estimate). The nation uses mixed legal system of English common law, British Mandate regulations, and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious laws. It is a(n) parliamentary democracy, National holiday(s) Independence Day, 14 May (1948).
Economic overview for the country: Israel has a technologically advanced free market economy. Cut diamonds, high-technology equipment, and pharmaceuticals are among its leading exports. Its major imports include crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Israel usually posts sizable trade deficits, offset by tourism and other service exports and significant foreign investment inflows.
Between 2004 and 2013, growth averaged nearly 5% per year, led by exports. The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 spurred a brief recession in Israel. Still, the country entered the problem with solid fundamentals, following years of prudent fiscal policy and a resilient banking sector. Israel’s economy also weathered the 2011 Arab Spring because strong trade ties outside the Middle East insulated the economy from spillover effects. Slowing domestic and international demand and decreased investment resulting from Israel’s uncertain security situation reduced GDP growth to an average of roughly 2.8% per year during the period 2014-2017. 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 in the last decade. Political and regulatory issues have delayed the development of the massive Leviathan field, but Tamar’s production provided a 0.8% boost to Israel’s GDP in 2013 and a 0.3% boost in 2014. One of the most carbon-intensity OECD countries, Israel, generates about 57% of its power from coal and only 2.6% from renewable sources. Income inequality and high housing and commodity prices continue to be a concern for many Israelis. Israel’s income inequality and poverty rates are among the highest of OECD countries. There is a broad perception among the public that a small number of “tycoons” have a cartel-like grip over the economy’s significant parts. Government officials have called for reforms to boost the housing supply and increase competition in the banking sector to address these public grievances. Despite calls for reforms, the restricted housing supply continues to impact younger Israelis seeking to purchase homes.
Tariffs and non-tariff barriers, coupled with guaranteed prices and customs tariffs for farmers, kept food prices high in 2016. Private consumption is expected to drive growth through 2018, with consumers benefitting from low inflation and a strong currency. Israel faces structural issues in the long term, including low labor participation rates for its fastest-growing social segments – the ultraorthodox and Arab-Israeli communities. Israel’s progressive, globally competitive, knowledge-based technology sector employs only about 8% of the workforce. The rest are mostly used in manufacturing and services, which face downward wage pressures from global competition. Expenditures on educational institutions remain low compared to most other OECD countries with similar GDP per capita.
Natural resources of Israel: timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand.
Main export partners for Israel, Middle East are the US 27.5%, Hong Kong 8%, UK 6.1%, China 4.9% (2015) for machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles, and apparel, while the main import partners for the country are: the US 13%, China 9.3%, Switzerland 7.1%, Germany 6.1%, Belgium 5.3%, Italy 4% (2015) for raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, consumer goods.
When you visit this country in the Middle East, consider the natural hazards in Israel: Sandstorms may occur during spring and summer, droughts, periodic earthquakes, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that Israel faces the following environmental issues: Limited arable land and limited natural freshwater resources, Desertification, Air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions, Groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides.