I. Cultural background of Israel
A.(geographic setting) The south of Israel is dominated by the Negev desert covering some 12,000 square kilometres (4,633 sq mi), more than half of the country's total land area. The north of the Negev contains the Judean Desert, which, at its border with Jordan, contains the Dead Sea which, at −417 meters (−1,368 ft) is the lowest point on Earth. The inland area of central Israel is dominated by the Judean Hills of the West Bank, whilst the central and northern coastline consists of the flat and fertile Israeli coastal plain. Inland, the northern region contains the Mount Carmel mountain range, which is followed inland by the fertile Jezreel Valley, and then the hilly Galilee region. The Sea of Galilee is located beyond this, and is bordered to the east by the Golan Heights, which contains the highest point under Israel's control, a peak in the Mount Hermon massif, at 2,224 meters (7,297 ft). The highest point in Israel's internationally recognized territory is Mount Meron at 1,208 meters (3,963 ft). B. Ethnic groups: Jewish 76.4% (of which Israel-born 67.1%, Europe/America-born 22.6%, Africa-born 5.9%, Asia-born 4.2%), non-Jewish 23.6% (mostly Arab) (2004), Population distribution :approximately 296,700 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank (2009 est.); approximately 19,100 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2008 est.); approximately 192,800 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2008 est.) (July 2010 est.) Israel operates on a mixed economy with substantial state ownership.
A "mixed" economy is a mix between socialism and capitalism. It is a hodgepodge of freedoms and regulations, constantly changing because of the lack of principles involved. A mixed-economy is a sign of intellectual chaos. It is the attempt to gain the advantages of freedom without government having to give up its power.
They have signed free trade agreements with EU, US, Turkey, Mexico, Jordon, Canada and Egypt. They have a large diamond industry and apparently they are the world leaders in software development. Israel's staple food is vegetable salads mixed with olive oil, lemon juice and spices. In a typical day, falafel (pita bread filled with balls of fried chickpea batter), kebab ( meat and vegetables on a skewer), tshulnt (traditional bean stew) and burékas( a pastry filled with cheese and spinach). Chicken soup, cholent, which is a heavy stew, chicken paprika, honey cake, carrot salad and Tarato soup might also be eaten.
For 2006, Israeli exports grew by 11% to just over $29 billion; the hi-tech sector accounted for $14 billion, a 20% increase from the previous year.
The United States is Israel's largest trading partner; two-way trade totalled some $24.5 billion in 2010, up from $12.7 billion in 1997. The principal U.S. exports to Israel include computers, integrated circuits, aircraft parts and other defense equipment, wheat, and automobiles. Israel's chief exports to the U.S. include cut diamonds, jewelry, integrated circuits, printing machinery, and telecommunications equipment. The two countries signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in 1985 that progressively eliminated tariffs on most goods traded between the two countries over the following ten years. An agricultural trade accord was signed in November 1996, which addressed the remaining goods not covered in the FTA. Some non-tariff barriers and tariffs on goods remain, however. Israel also has trade and cooperation agreements in place with the European Union and Canada, and is seeking to conclude such agreements with a number of other countries, including Turkey, Jordan and several countries in Eastern Europe.
Until the last decade, Israel's trade with the Arab world was minimal due to the Arab League boycott. Beginning in 1945, Arab nations not only refused to have direct trade with Israel (the primary boycott), but they also refused to do business with any corporation that operated in Israel (secondary boycott), or...
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