Israel is a country of immigrants. Since its inception in 1948, Israel’s population has grown seven-fold. Its over six million inhabitants comprise a mosaic of people with varied ethnic backgrounds, lifestyles, religions, cultures and traditions. The State of Israel has a population of approximately 7,933,200 inhabitants as of 2012: 75.4 percent of them are Jewish (about 5,978,600 individuals), 20.6 percent are Arabs (about 1,636,600 individuals), while the remaining 4 percent (about 318,000 individuals) are defined as “others”.
About 90% of Israel’s inhabitants live in some 200 urban centers, some of which are located on ancient historical sites. About 5% are members of unique rural cooperative settlements – the kibbutz and the moshav.
Education and Science
School attendance is mandatory from age five and free through age 18. Almost all three- and four-year-olds attend some kind of preschool program. The population’s median years of schooling is 12.1.
Israel’s institutions of higher education include universities, offering a wide range of subjects in science and humanities, and serving as research institutions of worldwide repute, colleges offering academic courses and vocational schools. The country’s high level of scientific research and development and the application of R&D compensate for the country’s lack of natural resources.
Israel has the most sophisticated telecommunications system in the Middle East. 2.8 million telephone lines (1999). 2.5 million Cell phones (1999). There are 23 AM radio stations, 15 FM stations and 2 short-wave stations. Israel has 17 broadcast TV stations and there are 36 low power repeaters throughout the country. There are 21 internet service providers with an estimated 1.94 million users of the Internet. The Israeli site address is – .il for Israel.
Israel has 640 Km of Railroad tracks. 16,281 Km of paved roads. Israel also has 52 airports and 3 helipads.
The National Health Insurance Law, in effect from January 1995, provides for a standardized basket of medical services, including hospitalization, for all residents of Israel. All medical services continue to be supplied by the country’s four health care organizations.
Life expectancy is 80 years for women and 75.9 years for men; the infant mortality rate is 5.8 per 1,000 live births, The ratio of physicians to population and the number of specialists compare favorably with those in most developed countries.
The social service system is based on legislation which provides for workers’ protection and a broad range of national and community services, including care of the elderly, assistance for single parents, programs for children and youth, adoption agencies, as well as prevention and treatment of alcoholism and drug abuse.
The National Insurance Institute provides all permanent residents (including non-citizens) with a broad range of benefits, including unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, survivors’ benefits, maturity grants and allowances, child allowances, income support payments and more.