Infrastructure - An Introduction
Israel is connected to the world's major commercial, financial and academic data networks and is fully integrated into international communications systems by means of underwater fiber-optic lines and satellite link-ups. The country ranks high, on a per capita basis, is telephone lines, computers and Internet users.
Israel is one of the few countries worldwide to have 100 percent digitalization of its telephone network, which enables the provision of a range of state-of-the art services for subscribers. In addition, Israel has one of the world's highest cellular phone penetration rates.
Postal services operate throughout Israel and connect it with most countries abroad. The Philatelic Service has issued over 1,500 stamps. Many well-known Israeli artists have helped create these calling cards', some of which have already attained the status of classics and are eagerly sought by collectors.
In a country of short distances, cars, buses and trucks are the main means of transportation. In recent years, the road network has been extensively expanded and improved to accommodate the rapid increase in the number of vehicles as well as to make even the most remote communities accessible. Currently sections of a multi-lane highway, to run almost 190 miles (300 km.), starting at Be'er Sheva in the south and branching out to Rosh Hanikra and Rosh Pina in the north are under construction. This road, which is still being debated because of its environmental ramifications, is expected to make it possible to bypass heavily populated areas, thus easing traffic congestion and providing fast access to most areas of the country.
Israel Railways operates passenger services between Tel Aviv, Haifa and Nahariya. Freight services also operate further south, serving the port of Ashdod, the cities of Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva and the mineral quarries south of Dimona. In recent years, both rail freight and passenger usage has increased. To help alleviate problems caused by increased road-traffic density, rapid rail transit services - utilizing upgraded existing tracks - are now being instituted in the Tel Aviv and Haifa areas, operated in coordination with bus feeder lines. Many outmoded coaches now in use are being replaced by modern, air-conditioned passenger cars, and up-to-date mechanical track-maintenance equipment is being put into operation.
The ancient ports of Jaffa (Yafo), Caesarea and Acre (Akko) have been replaced by three modern deep-water harbors at Haifa, Ashdod and Eilat which serve international shipping. Haifa Port is one of the largest container ports on the Mediterranean Sea as well as a busy passenger terminal; Ashdod Port is used mainly for shipping goods; and the port of Eilat on the Red Sea links Israel to the southern hemisphere and the Far East. In addition, a tanker port in Ashkelon receives fuel shipments, and a direct off-loading facility for freighters supplying coal to the nearby power station operates in Hadera.
Recognizing that Israel's geographic location gives it the potential to become a transit country for passengers and goods traversing the region, the Ports and Railways Authority has designed a long-term master plan to meet future transportation needs. Among other priorities, it advocates developing a modern rail system, instituting state-of-the-art equipment in every phase of its land and sea operations and setting up a network of computer systems to control and supervise all of its services.
Ben-Gurion International Airport (a 25-minute drive from Tel Aviv, 50 minutes from Jerusalem) is Israel's main and largest air terminal. Due to rapid increases in the numbers of passenger arrivals and departures, the airport is being extensively enlarged. Charter flights, mainly from Europe, and domestic air travel are served by the Eilat airport in the south and small airports near Tel Aviv in the center and Rosh Pina in the north.
Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry