State of Israel in 1982

NOTE: the Arab territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 war are not included in the data below unless indicated; the occupied Gaza Strip (360 km2) was administered from 1948 to June 1967 by Egypt but not claimed as sovereign territory; Israel relinquished control of the Sinai to Egypt on 25 April 1982


20,720 km2 (excluding about 26,331 km2 of occupied territory in Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Gaza as of January 1982); 20% cultivated, 40% pastureland and meadows, 4% forested, 4% desert, waste, or urban, 3% inland water, 29% unsurveyed (mostly desert)

Land boundaries: 1,036 km (before 1967 war); including occupied areas, approximately 1,050 km (as of January 1982)


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 6 nm

Coastline: 273 km (before 1967 war); including occupied areas, approximately 400 km (January 1982)


Population: 3,916,000, excluding East Jerusalem (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.9%

Nationality: noun—Israeli(s); adjective—Israeli

Ethnic divisions: 85% Jews, 15% non-Jews (mostly Arabs)

Religion: 85% Judaism, 11% Islam, 4% Christian and other

Language: Hebrew official; Arabic used officially for Arab minority; English most commonly used foreign language

Literacy: 88% Jews, 48% Arabs

Labor force: 1,318,000; 6.3% agriculture, forestry and fishing; 23.5% industry, mining, and manufacturing; 1.0% electricity and water; 6.3% construction and public works; 11.6% commerce; 6.9% transport, storage, and communications; 8.2% finance and business; 29.3% public services; 6.1% personal and other services (1980) Organized labor: 90% of labor force


Official name: State of Israel

Type: republic

Capital: Jerusalem; not recognized by US, which maintains Embassy in Tel Aviv

Political subdivisions: six administrative districts

Legal system: mixture of English common law and, in personal area, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim legal systems; commercial matters regulated substantially by codes adopted since 1948; no formal constitution; some of the functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the basic laws of the Knesset (legislature) relating to the Knesset, Israeli lands, the president, the government and the Israel citizenship law; no judicial review of legislative acts; legal education at Hebrew University in Jerusalem; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

National holiday: Independence Day, 14 May

Branches: President Yitzhak Navon has largely ceremonial functions, except for the authority to decide which political leader should try to form a ruling coalition following an election or the fall of a previous government; executive power vested in Cabinet; unicameral parliament (Knesset) of 120 members elected under a system of proportional representation; legislation provides fundamental laws in absence of a written constitution; two distinct court systems (secular and religious)

Government leader: Prime Minister Menachem BEGIN

Suffrage: universal over age 18

Elections: held every four years unless required by dissolution of Knesset; last election held in June 1981

Political parties and leaders: Herut, Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Foreign Affairs Minister Yitzhak Shamir; Liberal Party, Deputy Prime Minister Simcha Ehrlich; La’am, Eliezer Shostak; State List, Yitzhak Peretz (Likud is a coalition formed in 1973 of Herut, Liberals, La am, and State List); National Religious Party, Yosef Burg, Zevulun Hammer; Israel’s Labor Alignment (includes MAPAM, Victor Shemtov, and Israel Labor Party, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin); RAKAH Communist Party, Meir Wilner; TAMI, Aharon Aba-Hatzeira; TELEM, Mordechai Ben-Porat; Orthodox Agudat Israel, Avraham Shapira; Citizens Rights Movement, Shulamit Aloni; Shinui Party, Amnon Rubinstein; Tehiya (Rebirth, formed by Likud defectors), Yuval Neeman

Voting strength: Likud, 48 seats; National Religious Party, 6 seats; Orthodox Agudat Israel, 4 seats; Israel’s Labor-Alignment (Labor Party-MAPAM), 47 seats; Shinui Party, 2 seats; Citizens Rights Movement, 1 seat; RAKAH, 4 seats; Tehiya, 3 seats; TAMI, 3 seats; TELEM, 2 seats

Communists: RAKAH (predominantly Arab but with Jews in its leadership) has some 1,500 members; the Jewish Communist Party, MAKI, is now part of Moked, which is a far-left Zionist party included in SHELLI

Other political or pressure groups: rightwing Kach Movement led by Rabbi Meir Kahane; Black Panthers, a loosely organized youth group seeking more benefits for oriental Jews; Gush Emunim, Jewish religious zealots pushing for freedom for Jews to settle anywhere on the West Bank

Member of: FAO, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMCO, IMF, IOOC, IPU, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, OAS (observer), UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG, WTO


GNP: $19.5 billion (1980, in 1980 prices), $4,640 per capita; 1980 growth of real GNP 2.3%

Agriculture: main products—citrus and other fruits, vegetables, beef and dairy products, poultry products

Major industries: food processing, diamond cutting and polishing, textiles and clothing, chemicals, metal products, transport equipment, electrical equipment, miscellaneous machinery, rubber and plastic products, potash mining

Electric power: 2,693,000 kW capacity (1980); 12.528 billion kWh produced (1980), 3,285 kWh per capita

Exports: $5.8 billion (f.o.b., 1980); major items—polished diamonds, citrus and other fruits, textiles and clothing, processed foods, fertilizer and chemical products; tourism is important foreign exchange earner

Imports: $9.2 billion (f.o.b., 1980); major items—military equipment, rough diamonds, oil, chemicals, machinery, iron and steel, cereals, textiles, vehicles, ships, and aircraft

Major trade partners: exports—US, West Germany, UK, Switzerland, France, Italy; imports—US, West Germany, UK, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy

Budget: public revenue $14.5 billion, current expenditures $13.7 billion, development expenditures $1.6 billion

Monetary conversion rate: the Israeli pound was allowed to float on 31 October 1977; the shekel became the unit of account on 1 October 1980 (1 shekel=10 Israeli pounds) and as of October 1981 13.74 shekels=US$1

Fiscal year: 1 April-31 March


Railroads: 767 km standard gauge (1.435 m)

Highways: 4,459 km paved, 7 km gravel/crushed stone, remainder unknown

Pipelines: crude oil, 708 km; refined products, 290 km; natural gas, 89 km

Ports: 3 major (Haifa, Ashdod, Elat), 5 minor

Civil air: 22 major transport aircraft, including 3 leased in

Airfields: 66 total, 55 usable; 23 with permanent-surface runways; 5 with runways 2,440-3,659 m, 10 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: most highly developed in the Middle East though not the largest; good system of coaxial cable and radio relay; 930,000 telephones (25.4 per 100 popl.); 14 AM, 10 FM stations, 15 TV stations, and 25 repeater stations; 2 submarine cables; 1 Atlantic Ocean satellite station, second antenna planned


Military manpower: eligible 15-49, 1,838,000; of 921,000 males 15-49, 580,000 fit for military service; of 909,000 females 15-49, 571,000 fit for military service; 35,000 males and 33,000 females reach military age (18) annually; both sexes liable for military service

The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency

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