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Israel & the Palestinian Territories - Introduction

Introduction to Israel & the Palestinian Territories

Deity, Old City, Jerusalem

Everyone has their own perception of what Israel and the Palestinian Territories are about: it’s a travel agency package of beaches and sun; it’s the Promised Land of the Jews; it’s a ticking time bomb; it’s the birthplace of Christ. And while it is all of these things, it's much more besides.

Area: 21,056 sq km
Population: 6.2 million
Capital City: Jerusalem (contested); pop 623,000
People: Jewish (80%), Muslim (15%), Christians (1.7%) and Druze (1.3%)
Language: Hebrew, Arabic, English
Religion: Jewish, Muslim, Christian
Government: parliamentary democracy
Head of State: President Moshe Katzav
Head of Government: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
GDP: US$103 billion
GDP per capita: US$16,291
Annual Growth: 5%
Inflation: -2%
Major Industries: Metal, defence, machinery, technology, diamonds, chemicals
Major Trading Partners: USA, UK, Belgium/Luxembourg, Germany

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