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Israel Economic Statistics: Highlights of Israel's Economy in 1997

Foreign Investment

  • 1997 was a record year for foreign investment. Foreign investors invested $3.04 billion in Israel.

  • Israel is becoming a magnet for venture capital. Six years ago, Israel had only one venture capital fund with $30 million in assets; today, there are more than 50, with close to $2 billion.

  • Significant investments in Israel were made by major U.S. companies such as Johnson & Johnson (purchase of Biosense for $400 million), Applied Materials ($200 million investment) Goldman-Sachs Group (investment in IDB Holdings for $80 million), Carrier (investment in Tadiran Consumer Products, $17 million), and Cylink (investment in Algorithmic Research, $82 million), and international firms such as Deutsche Telekom (investment in Vocaltec, $48 million) and Siemens (investment in Radnet for $75 million, in partnerships with Newbridge).

  • Foreign investors are pouring a record amount of dollars into the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

  • Nearly 100 Israeli stocks are traded on Wall Street—more than any other country except Canada.

Miscellaneous Economic "Factoids"

  • Israel's privatization program is ahead of schedule. In 1997, proceeds from privatizations totaled $2.3 billion, more than the $1.1 billion projected figure.

  • Israel is the only nation in the world that has free trade agreements with the U.S., Canada, and the European Union, making it a "trade bridge" between three continents.

  • Israel's GDP per capita is $17,000, ranking it with England and Spain.

  • Inflation in Israel fell to 7% in 1997, compared with 10% in 1996.

  • Israel's budget deficit was cut from 4.4% of GDP to less than 2.8%.

  • Israel's trade deficit was cut 25% from $11.4 billion to $9 billion.

High Technology

  • Israel is a world Internet power, second only to the U.S. in pioneering new technologies.

  • Software Magazine (April 1997) ranked four Israeli companies among the 25 most important Internet companies in the world: Check Point Software Technologies (#1); Finjan Software (#10); VDOnet Corp. (#14); and BackWeb Technologies (#18).

  • There are 1,000 high tech start-ups in Israel today—more than any country except the U.S.

  • High tech exports rose more than 20% in 1997.

  • Israel dedicates 2.5% of its GDP to research and development -- one of the highest percentages in the world.

  • Israel has the world's greatest number of engineers, scientists and doctors per capita (135 per 10,000 workers).

Sources: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics