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INTRODUCTION


 
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... See More



GEOGRAPHY


Location:

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

Geographic Coordinates:

 31 30 N, 34 45 E

Area:

 Total: 20,770 sq km
Land: 20,330 sq km
Water: 440 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly larger 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 (Rank: 137)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm
Continental shelf: to depth of exploitation

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:

 2,250 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 1.7 cu km (2001)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 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 freshwater 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:

 Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is an important freshwater source; there are about 355 Israeli civilian sites including about 145 small outpost communities in the West Bank, 41 sites in the Golan Heights, and 32 in East Jerusalem (2010 est.)

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PEOPLE AND SOCIETY


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)

Languages:

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

Religions:

 Jewish 75.6%, Muslim 16.9%, Christian 2%, Druze 1.7%, other 3.8% (2008 census)

Population:

 7,473,052 (July 2010 est.)

Note: approximately 296,700 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank (2009 est.); approximately 19,100 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2008 est.); approximately 192,800 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2008 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 27.6% (male 1,057,113/female 1,008,978)
15-64 years: 62.2% (male 2,358,858/female 2,292,281)
65 years and over: 10.1% (male 331,034/female 424,788) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 29.4 years
Male: 28.7 years
Female: 30.1 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 1.584% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 19.24 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 5.47 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 2.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Urbanization:

 Urban population: 92% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 1.5% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 Tel Aviv-Yafo 3.219 million; Haifa 1.027 million; JERUSALEM (capital) 768,000 (2009)

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: 0.78 male(s)/female
Total population: 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 7 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 4.12 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 4.3 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 3.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 80.96 years
Male: 78.79 years
Female: 83.24 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 2.7 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 9.5% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 3.633 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital Bed Density:

 5.83 beds/1,000 population (2007)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.2% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 7,500 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 100 (2009 est.)

Obesity - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 22.9% (2001)

Education Expenditures:

 5.9% of GDP (2007)

Literacy:

 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 97.1%
Male: 98.5%
Female: 95.9% (2004 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 15 years
Male: 15 years
Female: 16 years (2008)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 14.7%
Male: 15.7%
Female: 13.9% (2009)

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GOVERNMENT


Country Name:

 Conventional long form: State of Israel
Conventional short form: Israel
Local long form: Medinat Yisra'el
Local short form: Yisra'el

Government Type:

 Parliamentary democracy

Capital:

 Name: Jerusalem
Geographic coordinates: 31 46 N, 35 14 E
Time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Friday in April; ends the Sunday between the holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur

Note: Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, but the US, like 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:

 Mixed legal system of English common law, British Mandate regulations, and Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious laws

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; withdrew acceptance of ICCt jurisdiction in 2002

Suffrage:

 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Shimon PERES (since 15 July 2007)

Head of government: Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU (since 31 March 2009)

Cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset

Elections: president 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, in consultation with party leaders, assigns the task of forming a governing coalition to a Knesset member who he or she determines is most likely to accomplish that task

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 (120 seats; political parties are elected by popular vote and assigned seats for members on a proportional basis; members serve four-year terms)

Elections: last held on 10 February 2009 (next scheduled election to be held in 2013)

Election results: percent of vote by party (preliminary) - 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%, Hadash 3.4%, National Union 3.4%, New Movement-Meretz 3%, The Jewish Home 3%, Balad 2.6%; percent of vote by party (final) - Kadima 22.5%, Likud-Ahi 21.6%, YB 11.7%, Labor 9.9%, SHAS 8.5%, United Torah Judaism 4.4%, United Arab List 3.4%, Hadash 3.3%, National Union 3.3%, New Movement-Meretz 3%, The Jewish Home 2.9%, 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, National Union 4, HADASH 4, The Jewish Home 3, 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 [Jamal ZAHALKA]; Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (HADASH) [Muhammad BARAKEH]; Independence [Ehud BARAK]; Kadima [Tzipora "Tzipi" LIVNI]; Labor Party [Eitan CABEL]; Likud [Binyamin NETANYAHU]; National Union [Yaakov KATZ]; SHAS [Eliyahu YISHAI]; The Jewish Home (HaBayit HaYehudi) [Daniel HERSCHKOWITZ]; 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; Breaking the Silence [Yehuda SHAUL, Executive Director] collects testimonies from soldiers who served in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

International Organization Participation:

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

Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Michael B. 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 Daniel B. SHAPIRO
Embassy: 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63903
Telephone: [972] (3) 519-7575
FAX: [972] (3) 516-4390
Consulate(s) general: Jerusalem; note - 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; the basic design resembles a Jewish prayer shawl (tallit), which is white with blue stripes; the hexagram as a Jewish symbol dates back to medieval times

National Symbols:

 Star of David

National Anthem:

 Name: "Hatikvah" (The Hope)
Lyrics/music: Naftali Herz IMBER/traditional, arranged by Samuel COHEN

Note: adopted 2004, unofficial since 1948; used as the anthem of the Zionist movement since 1897; the 1888 arrangement by Shmuel COHEN is thought to be based on the Romanian folk song "Carul cu boi" (The Ox Driven Cart)

Affiliation:

 (also see separate Gaza Strip and West Bank entries)

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ECONOMY


Economy - Overview:

 Israel has a technologically advanced market economy. It depends on imports of crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Despite limited natural resources, Israel has intensively developed its agricultural and industrial sectors over the past 20 years. Cut diamonds, high-technology equipment, and agricultural products (fruits and vegetables) are the leading exports. Israel usually posts sizable trade deficits, which are covered by large transfer payments from abroad and by foreign loans. Roughly half of the government's external debt is owed to the US, its major source of economic and military aid. Israel's GDP, after contracting slightly in 2001 and 2002 due to the Palestinian conflict and troubles in the high-technology sector, grew about 5% per year from 2004-07. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 spurred a brief recession in Israel, but the country entered the crisis with solid fundamentals - following years of prudent fiscal policy and a series of liberalizing reforms - and a resilient banking sector, and the economy has shown signs of an early recovery. Following GDP growth of 4% in 2008, Israel's GDP slipped to 0.2% in 2009, but reached 3.4% in 2010, as exports rebounded. The global economic downturn affected Israel's economy primarily through reduced demand for Israel's exports in the United States and EU, Israel's top trading partners. Exports of goods and services account for about 40% of the country's GDP. The Israeli Government responded to the recession by implementing a modest fiscal stimulus package and an aggressive expansionary monetary policy - including cutting interest rates to record lows, purchasing government bonds, and intervening in the foreign currency market. The Bank of Israel began raising interest rates in the summer of 2009 when inflation rose above the upper end of the Bank's target and the economy began to show signs of recovery.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $219.4 billion (2010 est.)
$209.8 billion (2009 est.)
$208.1 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $213.1 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 4.6% (2010 est.)
0.8% (2009 est.)
4.2% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $29,800 (2010 est.)
$29,000 (2009 est.)
$29,300 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 2.4%
Industry: 32.6%
Services: 65% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 3.147 million (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 2%
Industry: 16%
Services: 82% (September 2008)

Unemployment Rate:

 6.7% (2010 est.)
7.6% (2009 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 23.6%

Note: Israel's poverty line is $7.30 per person per day (2007)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2.5%
Highest 10%: 24.3% (2008)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 39.2 (2008)
35.5 (2001)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 IDPs: 150,000-420,000 (Arab villagers displaced from homes in northern Israel) (2007)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 17.8% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget:

 Revenues: $61 billion
Expenditures: $69.08 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 28.6% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -3.8% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 74.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
77.9% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 2.7% (2010 est.)
3.3% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 6.25% (31 December 2010 est.)
1.01% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 4.492% (31 December 2010 est.)
3.7% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $18.9 billion (31 December 2008)
$19.99 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $170.6 billion (31 December 2008)
$154.3 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $31.24 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$26.21 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $208.8 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
$195.7 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $175.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$154.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $218.1 billion (31 December 2010)
$182.1 billion (31 December 2009)
$134.5 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - Products:

 Citrus, vegetables, cotton; beef, poultry, dairy products

Industries:

 High-technology products (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics, fiber optics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, and tobacco, caustic soda, cement, construction, metals products, chemical products, plastics, diamond cutting, textiles, footwear

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 7.8% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 53.04 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 99.9%
Hydro: 0.1%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 47.16 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 3.666 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 3.666 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - Production:

 4,029 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 238,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 86,010 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 282,200 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 1.94 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 1.55 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 3.25 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 1.7 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 198.2 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 $6.699 billion (2010 est.)
$7.063 billion (2009 est.)

Exports:

 $55.67 billion (2010 est.)
$45.9 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles and apparel

Exports - Partners:

 US 32.1%, Hong Kong 6.3%, India 5.1%, Belgium 5.1% (2010)

Imports:

 $58.04 billion (2010 est.)
$45.99 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, consumer goods

Imports - Partners:

 US 12.8%, China 8.1%, Germany 6.3%, Belgium 5.8%, Switzerland 4.6%, Italy 4.2% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $70.91 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$60.61 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $112.4 billion (30 June 2011 est.)
$106.1 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - Abroad:

 $64.97 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$57.37 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - At Home:

 $77.82 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$69.16 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Israeli Shekel to Any Currency

New Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar -
3.739 (2010)
3.93 (2009)
3.588 (2008)
4.14 (2007)
4.4565 (2006)

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COMMUNICATIONS


Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 3.276 million (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 9.875 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: most highly developed system in the Middle East although not the largest

Domestic: good system of coaxial cable and microwave radio relay; all systems are digital; four privately-owned mobile-cellular service providers with countrywide coverage

International: country code - 972; submarine cables provide links to Europe, Cyprus, and parts of the Middle East; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) (2008)

Broadcast Media:

 State broadcasting network, operated by the Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), broadcasts on 2 channels, one in Hebrew and the other in Arabic; 5 commercial channels including a channel broadcasting in Russian, a channel broadcasting Knesset proceedings, and a music channel supervised by a public body; multi-channel satellite and cable TV packages provide access to foreign channels; IBA broadcasts on 8 radio networks with multiple repeaters and Israel Defense Forces Radio broadcasts over multiple stations; about 15 privately-owned radio stations; overall more than 100 stations and repeater stations operating (2008)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 23, FM 15, shortwave 0 (2010)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 7 (2009)

Internet Country Code:

 .il

Internet Hosts:

 1.689 million (2010)

Internet Users:

 4.525 million (2009)

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TRANSPORTATION


Airports:

 48 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 30
Over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 11
Under 914 m: 6 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 18
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3
Under 914 m: 14 (2010)

Heliports:

 3 (2010)

Pipelines:

 Gas 211 km; oil 442 km; refined products 261 km (2010)

Railways:

 Total: 975 km
Standard gauge: 975 km 1.435-m gauge (2010)

Roadways:

 Total: 18,290 km
Paved: 18,290 km (includes 146 km of expressways) (2009)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 10
By type: cargo 2, container 8
Registered in other countries: 51 (Bermuda 3, Cyprus 1, Georgia 1, Honduras 1, Liberia 31, Malta 5, Marshall Islands 1, Moldova 4, Panama 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Ashdod, Elat (Eilat), Hadera, Haifa

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MILITARY


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: 1,797,960
Females age 16-49: 1,713,230 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,517,510
Females age 16-49: 1,446,132 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 62,304
Female: 59,418 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 7.3% of GDP (2006)

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TRANSNATIONAL ISSUES


Disputes - International:

 West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel continues construction of a "seam line" separation barrier along parts of the Green Line and within the West Bank; Israel withdrew its settlers and military from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the West Bank in August 2005; Golan Heights is Israeli-occupied (Lebanon claims the Shab'a Farms area of Golan Heights); since 1948, about 350 peacekeepers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) headquartered in Jerusalem monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other UN personnel in the region

Illicit Drugs:

 Increasingly concerned about ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin abuse; drugs arrive in country from Lebanon and, increasingly, from Jordan; money-laundering center

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Last Updated: December 2011

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