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Israel

 


RECENT HISTORY

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 Israel occupied 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. 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. 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 April 2003, US President BUSH, working in conjunction with the EU, UN, and Russia - the "Quartet" - took the lead in laying out a road map 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 Israeli-Palestinian violence between September 2003 and February 2005. In the summer of 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, evacuating settlers and its military while retaining control over most points of entry into the Gaza Strip. The election of HAMAS to head the Palestinian Legislative Council froze relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Ehud OLMERT became prime minister in March 2006 and presided over a 34-day conflict with Hizballah in Lebanon in June-August 2006 and a 23-day conflict with HAMAS in the Gaza Strip during December 2008 and January 2009. OLMERT, who in June 2007 resumed talks with PA President Mahmoud ABBAS, resigned in September 2008. Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU formed a coalition in March 2009 following a February 2009 general election. Peace talks are currently stalled.
From the C.I.A. factbook

 


 

Government type:

 parliamentary democracy

Capital: Jerusalem
note: Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, but the US, like nearly all other countries, maintains its Embassy in Tel Aviv

Administrative divisions: 6 districts (mehozot, singular - mehoz); Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv

Independence: 14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

National holiday: Independence Day, 14 May (1948)
note: Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday may occur in April or May

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; note - since May 2003 the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee of the Knesset has been working on a draft constitution

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 of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Shimon PERES (since 15 July 2007)
head of government:Prime Minister Binjamin NETANYAHU (since 31 March 2009); Vice Prime Minister Silvan SHALOM (since 31 March 2009); Vice Prime Minister Moshe YAALON (since 31 March 2009)
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 (one-term limit); election last held 13 June 2007 (next to be held in 2014 but can be called earlier); 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: Shimon PERES elected president; number of votes in first round - Shimon PERES 58, Reuven RIVLIN 37, Colette AVITAL 21; PERES elected president in second round with 86 votes (unopposed)

Legislative branch: unicameral Knesset or parliament (120 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 10 February 2009 (next scheduled election to be held in 2013)
election results: percent of vote by party - Kadima 23.2%, Likud-Ahi 22.3%, YB 12.1%, Labor 10.2%, SHAS 8.8%, United Torah Judaism 4.5%, United Arab List 3.5%, NU 3.4%, Hadash 3.4%, The Jewish Home 3%, The New Movement-Meretz 3%, Balad 2.6%; seats by party - Kadima 28, Likud-Ahi 27, YB 15, Labor 13, SHAS 11, United Torah Judaism 5, United Arab List 4, NU 4, HADASH 4, The Jewish Home 3, The New Movement-Meretz 3, Balad 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)

Political parties and leaders: Balad [Azmi BISHARA]; Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (HADASH) [Muhammad BARAKEH]; Kadima [Tzipora "Tzipi" LIVNI]; Labor Party [Ehud BARAK]; Likud [Binyamin NETANYAHU]; National Union [Yaakov KATZ]; The Jewish Home (HaBayit HaYehudi) [Daniel HERSCHKOWITZ]; SHAS [Eliyahu YISHAI]; The New Movement-Meretz [Haim ORON]; United Arab List-Ta'al [Ibrahim SARSUR]; United Torah Judaism or UTJ [Yaakov LITZMAN]; Yisrael Beiteinu or YB [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]

Political pressure groups and leaders: B'Tselem [Jessica MONTELL, Executive Director] monitors human rights abuses; Peace Now [Yariv OPPENHEIMER, Secretary General] supports territorial concessions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; YESHA Council of Settlements [Danny DAYAN, Chairman] promotes settler interests and opposes territorial compromise

International organization participation: BIS, BSEC (observer), CERN (observer), EBRD, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, OAS (observer), OECD (accession state), OPCW (signatory), OSCE (partner), PCA, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael OREN
chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 364-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 364-5607
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador James B. CUNNINGHAM
embassy: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63903
mailing address: PSC 98, Unit 7228, APO AE 09830
telephone: [972] (3) 519-7575
FAX:[972] (3) 516-4390
consulate(s) general: Jerusalem (an independent US mission, established in 1928, whose members are not accredited to a foreign government)

Flag description: white with a blue hexagram (six-pointed linear star) known as the Magen David (Shield of David) centered between two equal horizontal blue bands near the top and bottom edges of the flag Economy 


ZOOM

 

ISRAEL BORDERS

 

 

 Topographical map of Israel 

Israel Topography 

Topography and Drainage

The country is divided into four regions: the coastal plain, the central hills, the Jordan Rift Valley, and the Negev Desert (see fig. 4). The Mediterranean coastal plain stretches from the Lebanese border in the north to Gaza in the south, interrupted only by Cape Carmel at Haifa Bay. It is about forty kilometers wide at Gaza and narrows toward the north to about five kilometers at the Lebanese border. The region is fertile and humid (historically malarial) and is known for its citrus and viniculture. The plain is traversed by several short streams, of which only two, the Yarqon and Qishon, have permanent water flows.

East of the coastal plain lies the central highland region. In the north of this region lie the mountains and hills of Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee; farther to the south are the Samarian Hills with numerous small, fertile valleys; and south of Jerusalem are the mainly barren hills of Judea. The central highlands average 610 meters in height and reach their highest elevation at Mount Meron, at 1,208 meters, in Galilee near Zefat (Safad). Several valleys cut across the highlands roughly from east to west; the largest is the Yizreel or Jezreel Valley (also known as the Plain of Esdraelon), which stretches forty-eight kilometers from Haifa southeast to the valley of the Jordan River, and is nineteen kilometers across at its widest point.

East of the central highlands lies the Jordan Rift Valley, which is a small part of the 6,500-kilometer-long Syrian-East African Rift. In Israel the Rift Valley is dominated by the Jordan River, Lake Tiberias (known also as the Sea of Galilee and to Israelis as Lake Kinneret), and the Dead Sea. The Jordan, Israel's largest river (322 kilometers long), originates in the Dan, Baniyas, and Hasbani rivers near Mount Hermon in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains and flows south through the drained Hula Basin into the freshwater Lake Tiberias. Lake Tiberias is 165 square kilometers in size and, depending on the season and rainfall, is at about 213 meters below sea level. With a capacity estimated at 3 billion cubic meters, it serves as the principal reservoir of the National Water Carrier (also known as the Kinneret-Negev Conduit). The Jordan River continues its course from the southern end of Lake Tiberias (forming the boundary between the West Bank and Jordan) to its terminus in the highly saline Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is 1,020 square kilometers in size and, at 399 meters below sea level, is the lowest point in the world. South of the Dead Sea, the Rift Valley continues in the Nahal HaArava (Wadi al Arabah in Arabic), which has no permanent water flow, for 170 kilometers to the Gulf of Aqaba.

The Negev Desert comprises approximately 12,000 square kilometers, more than half of Israel's total land area. Geographically it is an extension of the Sinai Desert, forming a rough triangle with its base in the north near Beersheba (also seen as Beersheva), the Dead Sea, and the southern Judean Hills, and it has its apex in the southern tip of the country at Elat. Topographically, it parallels the other regions of the country, with lowlands in the west, hills in the central portion, and the Nahal HaArava as its eastern border.

Data as of December 1988





NOTE: The information regarding Israel on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Israel Topography information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Israel Topography should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

 

Israel Geography

Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon

Geographic coordinates: 31 30 N, 34 45 E

Map references: Middle East

Area:
total: 22,072 sq km
land: 21,642 sq km
water: 430 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly smaller than New Jersey

Land boundaries:
total: 1,017 km
border countries: Egypt 266 km, Gaza Strip 51 km, Jordan 238 km, Lebanon 79 km, Syria 76 km, West Bank 307 km

Coastline: 273 km

Maritime claims:
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas

Terrain: Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Har Meron 1,208 m

Natural resources: timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand

Land use:
arable land: 15.45%
permanent crops: 3.88%
other: 80.67% (2005)

Irrigated land: 1,940 sq km (2003 est.)

Total renewable water resources: 1.7 cu km (2001)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 2.05 cu km/yr (31%/7%/62%)
per capita: 305 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards: sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes

Environment - current 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

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note: there are about 340 Israeli civilian sites - including 100 small outpost communities in the West Bank - as well as 42 sites in the Golan Heights, 0 in the Gaza Strip, and 29 in East Jerusalem (July 2008 est.); Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is an important freshwater source 

 

 

Nationality:
noun: Israeli(s)
adjective: Israeli

Ethnic groups: Jewish 76.4% (of which Israel-born 67.1%, Europe/America-born 22.6%, Africa-born 5.9%, Asia-born 4.2%), non-Jewish 23.6% (mostly Arab) (2004)

Religions: Jewish 76.4%, Muslim 16%, Arab Christians 1.7%, other Christian 0.4%, Druze 1.6%, unspecified 3.9% (2004)

Languages: Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language




 

 

 

 

 

 

CALISRAEL 

 

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People

Population: 7,233,701
note: includes about 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, about 20,000 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and fewer than 177,000 in East Jerusalem (July 2009 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 27.9% (male 1,031,629/female 984,230)
15-64 years: 62.3% (male 2,283,034/female 2,221,301)
65 years and over: 9.9% (male 311,218/female 402,289) (2009 est.)

Median age:
total: 29.1 years
male: 28.4 years
female: 29.8 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.671% (2009 est.)

Birth rate: 19.77 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)

Death rate: 5.43 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)

Net migration rate: 2.37 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)

Urbanization:
urban population: 92% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.7% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 4.22deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.39 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.05 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 80.73 years
male: 78.62 years
female: 82.95 years (2009 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.75 children born/woman (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
5,100 (2007 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2007 est.)


 

MILITARY ISRAEL

 Military branches:
Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israel Naval Forces (IN), Israel Air Force (IAF) (2010)

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory (Jews, Druzes) and voluntary (Christians, Muslims, Circassians) military service; both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation - 36 months for enlisted men, 21 months for enlisted women, 48 months for officers; pilots commit to 9 years service; reserve obligation to age 41-51 (men), 24 (women) (2010)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,771,661
females age 16-49: 1,687,698 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,496,542
females age 16-49: 1,425,537 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 61,613
female: 58,679 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:
7.3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

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