Israel flag Israel: Economic and Political Overview

The economic context of Israel

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

The Israeli economy has recorded one of the best performances of the OECD countries in recent years, mainly due to an increase in the working-age population and the participation rate. After an abrupt halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Israeli economy resumed its growth path in 2021 (+8.6%) and 2022 (+6.1% - IMF) thanks to buoyant private consumption (around 50% of GDP) and investment, with the resilient high-tech sector attracting venture capital. Moreover, the effects of the Russian aggression on Ukraine had a milder impact on Israel as the country is self-sufficient in natural gas, although the conflict is expected to weaken external demand in the short term. Therefore, the IMF projects growth to moderate to 3% this year and the next, as sustained inflation bites on household spending and higher interest rates drag investment.

In 2022, government fiscal spending was reduced as COVID-related measures were phased out and subsidies in agriculture eased. The strong economic performance led to an increase on the revenue side, contributing to the narrowing of the government budget, estimated at 0.6% of GDP (from 3.6% one year earlier). Nevertheless, measures taken to mitigate the increase in the cost of living will weigh on future budgets, with deficits projected at 0.9% of GDP this year and 1.6% in 2024 (IMF). The public debt-to-GDP ratio resumed a downward path, standing at 61.5% in 2022 (from 68% one year earlier, marking the sharpest decline in 35 years) with projections for a further decrease in 2023 (57.6%) and 2024 (55.7%). Consumer price inflation, at 4.5%, was lower than in most OECD countries, but still above the 1-3% target range set by the Central Bank, which raised the policy rate five times in 2022, from 0.1% to 2.75%. As the global situation normalizes, the IMF sees the inflation rate decelerating over the forecast horizon (at 3.6% this year and 2.5% in 2024), although the robust domestic demand calls for a continuation of the gradual tightening of monetary policy so as not to add to inflationary pressures. International institutions welcomed the country’s ambitious reform programme aimed at boosting infrastructure investment, reforming the vocational system and improving the business environment, as well as the measures taken to reduce tariff and non-tariff import barriers that could have a double positive impact in reducing the cost of living and spurring competition and productivity.

Israel has one of the highest living standards in the region, with salaries in line with the European average (the GDP per capita PPP was estimated at USD 52,173 in 2022 by the IMF). However, 25% of Israelis live in poverty and inequality is relatively high. Furthermore, households suffer from high real estate prices and costs of living. The Israeli labour market is tight, with a low unemployment rate (3.9% in 2022) and employment above pre-crisis levels, so that the vacancy rate has stabilised at a historically high level towards the end of the year. According to IMF estimates, the unemployment rate will decrease further to 3.8% in 2023 and 3.7% in 2024.

Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 525.00521.69539.84569.04598.91
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)
GDP per Capita (USD) 54,33753,19654,05955,96157,842
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -0.2-2.2-2.4-3.0-3.4
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 60.758.256.856.456.3
Inflation Rate (%) n/a4.
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) 18.0121.9721.6722.1922.62
Current Account (in % of GDP)

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Main Sectors of Industry

Israel has a diversified and technologically advanced economy. The agricultural sector employs 1% of the active population, accounting for 1.3% of GDP (World Bank, latest data available). The country has an agricultural land of 638,400 ha (FAO) and its main crops are fruits and vegetables, cereals, wine, and cattle farming. Israel is almost completely dependent on imports to meet its supply of food products: its limited land and water resources preclude agricultural self-sufficiency and affect local production costs and consumer prices; nevertheless, the increasing technological progress and innovation, a high level of investment in R&D, and the potential expansion of water resources are among the primary drivers behind the agricultural sector’s growth. Israel has become a leading agri-tech country, “greening” the desert to grow most of the exported food. In 2021, agricultural exports reached USD 1.1 billion (CBS – latest data available).

Israeli industry excels in the production of chemical products (Israel specialises in generic medicines), plastics and high-tech (aeronautics, electronics, telecommunications, software, biotechnologies, etc.). Industry as a whole comprises 17.2% of GDP and employs 17% of the workforce (World Bank). Numerous companies, particularly those that produce state-of-the-art technology, have benefited from their ability to secure funding from Wall Street and other international financial centres (Israel ranks second, after Canada, in terms of the number of companies registered on American stock markets). Furthermore, many leading international hi-tech companies have established R&D centers in Israel: companies such as Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM and Apple chose Israel as the site for their first development centers outside of the United States. Other important sectors of activity include diamond cutting, textiles and tourism. Overall, the manufacturing sector is estimated to account for 10% of GDP.

The majority of the workforce (82%) is employed in the tertiary sector, which accounts for 72.4% of GDP. Tourism remains significant despite the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: in 2022, 2.675 million tourist entries were recorded (as opposed to only 397,000 in 2021 and 831,000 in 2020, but still 41% below the pre-covid level). Revenue from incoming tourism stands at about ILS 13.5 compared to about ILS 23 billion in 2019. The Israeli economy is also at the forefront of hi-technology services industries. Although highly exposed to the real estate sector, the Israeli banking system is considered stable.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 0.9 17.0 82.1
Value Added (in % of GDP) 1.3 17.2 72.4
Value Added (Annual % Change) 6.7 6.0 9.2

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.}}

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

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Sources of General Economic Information

List of ministries
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Economy and Industry
Ministry of Communications
Ministry of Construction and Housing
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Health
Statistical Office
Central Bureau of Statistics
Central Bank
Bank of Israel
Stock Exchange
Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange
Economic Portals

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Latest Update: November 2023