Israel has managed, in a mere 50 years, to build a robust, prosperous economy full of future potential. Israel’s industrial sector is diverse and full of talent. Israeli industries have grown at a steady pace for over 50 years and in many areas have become market leaders.
The primary branches of industry in Israel are:
Israeli agriculture is a story of great success against impossible odds. When the Jews began to immigrate back to Israel over 100 years ago, they found an arid wasteland. Conditions in Israel were extremely adverse to any type of agriculture, but these pioneers knew that if the nation was to be reborn and survive, it must be able to provide for itself.
After over 100 years of struggling against these adverse conditions, including a great lack of water, Israel’s agricultural sector now provides the majority of the nation’s needs through domestic production. What is not provided by domestic production is imported, with the costs of import more than covered by agricultural export revenues.
Israel’s agricultural success is not due to hard work and the pioneer spirit alone, but is closely linked to the sheer brilliance of Israel’s agricultural scientists. Agricultural methods developed by Israeli scientists are now being taught around the world. Due to this highly sophisticated level of agriculture as well as the climate of the region, Israel is able to produce various agricultural products year-round. As a result, when European agriculture is “closed down” for the winter, Israel becomes Europe’s primary source of agricultural produce.
Israel’s industrial sector is always on the rise, even when the rest of the world is on a downslide. In most developed countries during the 1990’s their economies and industrial sectors either remained stable or diminished. However, in Israel those figures increased by 26%.
Israel owes it’s industrial success not to a vast supply of raw materials or natural resources, but rather to it’s highly qualified labor force. Israel’s primary asset has always been it’s people, and this fact is proven more than anywhere else in the industrial sector.
During the past two decades Israel’s industrial sector has made a major shift to the areas of medical electronics, agro-technology, telecommunications, fine chemicals, computer hardware and software, and diamond cutting and polishing. Israel’s high-tech sector has burst onto the international scene, surpassing the output of many traditional leaders in this field. Most major US high-tech firms are now establishing or looking to establish offices and branches in Israel so as to feed on the talent pool Israel has to offer.
Israel’s other primary industry is diamond cutting and polishing. In 1997 Israel produced roughly 80 percent of the world output of small polished stones, those used in jewelry settings. During the same period Israel was responsible for 40 percent of the total world output of diamonds of all shapes and sizes. These figures make Israel the world leader in diamond cutting and polishing in terms of production and marketing.
In a country that has spent the past half century focusing on nation building it is only natural that construction would be one of the primary areas of industry. Due to the high number of immigrants Israel has absorbed during it’s renewed existence, residential construction has accounted for the vast majority of the nation’s construction output. During periods of high immigration nearly all construction has been government initiated. However, during times of relatively low immigration that private sector accounts for about 70% of the nation’s construction output.
Transport and Communications
Israel maintains a very large of public transportation system, accounting for nearly 50% of the transport and communications sector. The transport and communications sector has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 50 years and now accounts for nearly 10% of the GNP and employs roughly 8% of the nation’s work force.
The tourism industry is Israel’s added-value leader in national exports. Tourism is also Israel’s top source of foreign currency earnings with $2.6 billion in 1997 (1997 was one of Israel’s top years for tourism with 2.3 million visitors). Nearly 90% of Israel’s visitors come from Europe and North America, with the rest coming from around the world, including visitors from Arab nations.
Israel’s diversity geographically, numerous leisure resorts and huge number of archeological and religious sites provides the tourism industry with nearly unlimited potential.