Israel at 52: A Statistical Glimpse*

(May 2000)


Geography

Israel stands at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Geographically, it belongs to the Asian continent. Its western border is the Mediterranean Sea. To the north it is bound by Lebanon and Syria, to the east by Jordan and to the South by the Red Sea and Egypt. Long and narrow in shape, Israel is about 290 miles (470 km.) long and 85 miles (135 km.) across at its widest point. The total area enclosed by its boundaries and cease-fire lines if 10,840 square miles (27,817 sq. km.).

Geographical Regions

 
Arid Zones 45%
Plains and Valleys 25%
Mountains 16%
Rift Valley 9%
Coastal Strip 5%

Selected elevations:

 
Mt. Hermon, Golan 9,220 ft. 2,810 m.
Mt. Meron, Upper Galilee 3,964 ft. 1,208 m.
Mt. Ramon, Negev 3,396 ft. 1,035 m.
Mt. of Olives, Jerusalem 2,739 ft. 835 m.
Mt. Tabor, Lower Galilee 1,930 ft. 588 m.
Mt. Carmel, Haifa 1,792 ft. 546 m.
Dead Sea - lowest point on earth - 695 ft. - 212 m.


People

On the eve of its 52nd independence day, Israel’s population numbers 6.3 million, up from 6.076 million last year, HA’ARETZ reported. There are currently 4.9 million Jewish citizens and 1.1 million Arab citizens. Sixty-three percent of the Jewish population was born in Israel and among them, 43 percent are second generation Israelis. According to data published on Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics, approximately 3 million citizens immigrated to Israel, 1 million of whom arrived from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. Of the 1.1 million Israeli Arabs, 81 percent are Muslim, 10 percent Christian and 9 percent Druze.

 
  1960s 1970s 1980s Today
Population 2,150,000 3,022,000 3,922,000 6,203,300
Jews in Israel, as a percentage of world Jewry 13 20 25 37
Life expectancy
  • Females
  • Males

-
-

73.2
69.1

76.0
72.6

80.1
75.9
Infant mortality (per 1000 live births) 31.3 22.7 15.6 5.8
School population 578,000 824,000 1,201,000 1,855,000
Percentage of the population with 13 years or more of formal schooling 9 11.4 18.7 35.8


Population by Religion

Jews 79.2%
Muslims 14.9%
Christians 2.1%
Druze 1.6%
Not classified by religion 2.0%

  Population Distribution

Cities 91.4%
Villages and community settlements 3.7%
Moshavim 3.0%
Kibbutzim 1.9%


Immigrants by Continent
1948-1998

Europe 59.0%
Africa 17.6%
Asia 14.6%
America & Oceania 7.7%
Unknown 1.1%

  Immigrants by Year of Immigration

1948-51 688,000
1952-59 272,000
1960-69 374,000
1970-79 346,000
1980-89 154,000
1990-98 879,500


Economy

  1960s 1970s 1980s Today
Gross Domestic Product $2.5 billion $6.8 billion $19.1 billion $100 billion
Export of goods (millions of dollars) 217 768 5,511 23,285
thereof:
  • Industrial products
  • Agricultural products

154
63

639
129

4,955
556

21,007
808
Tourists arriving 110,000 419,000 1,066,000 2,010,000
Air passengers (annual) 223,000 1,051,000 2,847,000 7,873,000
Freight shipped by air (annual in tons) 3,520 30,700 105,800 280,450
Production of electricity (in millions of kilwatt/hours) 1,869 5,700 11,070 38,000
Private cars 24,000 148,000 410,000 1,273,000
Telephone subscribers 68,000 369,000 860,000 2,804,000


State Budget, 2000: NIS 227.4 billion


Major Indicators by Economic Branch (percentage)

 
Branch GNP Labor Force Exports* Investment
Industry 17 21 60 38
Agriculture 2 3 2 2
Construction 7 11 - 32
Transportation & Communications 8 7 2 31
Commercial, Financial & Personal Services 32 31 36 14
Public Services 34 27 - 13

*includes goods and services
Source: Bank of Israel, Annual Report, 1997


Education

 
University Students by Field of Study
(Total 109,130 students in 7 universities)

 

Agriculture 1.2%
Biological Sciences 4.4%
Law 3.4%
Medicine and Related Fields 6.8%
Engineering and Architecture 13.5%
Physics, Math and Computers 12.9%
Humanities 29.8%
Social Sciences 25.4%


* Figures based on the Statistical Abstract of Israel, No. 50, 1999


Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry