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Israel: Defying the Odds

April 14, 2010 | by Rabbi Ephraim Shore

Amazing facts about Israel.

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Israel is the 100th smallest country, and has about 1/1000th of the world's population. It is only 62 years old,

Only 62 years old, 7 million people strong (less than Virginia), and smaller in size than New Jersey, surrounded by enemies, under constant threat and possessing almost no natural resources, and yet…

  • Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. It has absorbed 350% of its population in 60 years.1
  • Israel is the only country in history to have revived an unspoken language.
  • Since the founding of the state, Israel has won more Nobel Prices per capita than any other country other than Switzerland. It has more laureates in real numbers than China, Mexico and Spain.2
  • Israel has the 8th longest life expectancy (80.7 years), longer than the UK, US, and Germany3
  • Israeli films were nominated three years in a row for the Academy Award's Best Foreign Film4


  • Israel is the only country that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, even more remarkable -- in an area that's mainly desert.5
  • Over 90% of Israeli homes use solar energy for hot water, the highest percentage in the world.6, 7
  • Israel will be the first country to host a national electric car network.8
  • Israel is ranked in the top five Cleantech countries of the world, and operates the world’s largest desalinization plant.9
  • Israeli companies are producing the largest solar energy production facility in the world.

Science & Technology

  • Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, 63% more than the U.S. It also has the most physicians and engineers per capita.10
  • Israel's scientific research institutions are ranked 3rd in the world.11
  • Israel is ranked 2nd in space sciences.12
  • Israel produces the 3rd most scientific papers per capita, and the most in stem cell science.13
  • More Israeli patents are registered in the United States than from Russia, India and China combined (combined population 2.5 billion). It leads the world in patents for medical equipment.11, 14, 15
  • Israeli companies invented the drip irrigation system, discovered the world’s most used drug for multiple sclerosis, designed the Pentium NMX Chip technology and the Pentium 4 and Centrium microprocessors, created Instant Messenger (ICQ), and Israeli cows produce more milk per cow than any other in the world!


  • Israel has the 3rd highest rate of entrepreneurship among women in the world.16
  • Israel has attracted the most venture capital investment per capita in the world, 30 times more than Europe17
  • Israel has more NASDAQ-listed companies than any country besides the US -- more than all of Europe, India, China and Japan combined.18
  • In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute numbers, Israel has more startups than any country other than the U.S.19

Defying the Odds

  • Israel is the only country whose indigenous population returned to its native land after 2,000 years of forced exile.
  • There are 26 official Muslim states in the world, and 18 official Christian states, but there is only one Jewish state.20


  1. Canada: Canada's Immigration Program (October 2004), Library of Parliament, URL accessed 13 July 2006. The level of immigration peaked in 1993 in the last year of the Progressive Conservative government and was maintained by Liberal Party of Canada. Ambitious targets of an annual 1% per capita immigration rate were hampered by financial constraints. On a compounded basis, the immigration rate represents 8.7% population growth over 10 years, or 23.1% over 25 years (or 6.9 million people)
    1. Israel: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics:
    2. ^ "Population, by Religion and Population Group". Immigration of 2,891,873 people from 1948 to 2006
    3. Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-07. Population of Israel in 1948 was 800,000
  2. Nobel Prize Official Website: *
  3. CIA - The World Factbook 2008 – Rank Order - Life expectancy at birth, United Nations World Population Prospects: 2006 revision – Table A.17 for 2005-2010
  4. The official website of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in 2007, 2008, 2009
  5. 48th Session, United Nations Forum on Forests, 20 April 2009. During the past 50 years, Israel planted over 260 million trees, covering over 1000 square kilometers.
  6. Thomson Reuters agency ^ "Top countries in space sciences". The Times Higher Education supplemmentary. 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  7. Del Chiaro, Bernadette. "Solar Water Heating (How California Can Reduce Its Dependence on Natural Gas)" (PDF). Environment California Research and Policy Center. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
  9. Sustainable World Capital Report, November, 2009 e.g. desalinating 75% of its waste water, operating the world’s largest desalizination plant.
  10. Information Technology Landscape in Nations Around the World. American University. Retrieved 2007-08-
  11. World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Yearbook 2006-2007
  12. "Stem cell density highest in Israel". The Scientist. 2009-03-21. Thomson Reuters agency: "Top countries in space sciences". The Times Higher Education supplemmentary. 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2009-10-08.
  13. Robert M. May, head of Britain's Office of Science & Technology in London in Science News, based on data from the Philadelphia-based Institute for Scientific Information
    Central Library of the Research Center Julich, Germany, for the years 2000-2004, Israel publishes 113 ste cell articles per every 1 million citizens
  14. Donald Sneider, Fox Business, Israel’s Technology Creates an Investment Goliath, Mar 14th 2008
    WEF Global Competitiveness Report, 2008-2009 and separately an independent study by research company BDI in partnership with foreign-trade risk insurer Coface revealed that Israel had 2.04 patents granted per 10,000 inhabitants. Japan had the highest, with 2.98, and Taiwan was second with 2.96. Published by: Jerusalem Post Avi Krawitz 12/08/2004
  15. OECD's Compendium of Patent Statistics 2006 recently released Israel is above the OECD average in both ratios. Indeed, Israel has 2.3 patents for every billion dollars of GDP, and 53.1 patents for every million inhabitants.
  16. Kansas City-based Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and Tel Aviv Universitys Faculty of Management revealed that for every 100 Israeli men who start new businesses, 64 Israeli women also begin a new economic enterprise. This compares to 60 in the U.S. and 51 in Canada. October, 2000
  17. Israel Venture Capital Research Centre, Israel requires approximately $1.5 Billion of new investment annually. Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor, senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Jerusalem Post columnist Saul Singer, and Bank of Israel Annual Report, 2009,
  18. See 17, and China Daily, May 16,2007 IMD Word Competitiveness Report 2007-2008
  19. Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, Twelve Publishers, 2009

* Counting from the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, three countries (East Timor, Iceland and St. Lucia) have won one or two Prizes each but because their populations are between 170,000 to 1 million they technically have more awards per capita. Israel has received 9.

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