Glimpses of Israel - Industries in Israel

by Joseph Hunting

Perhaps no other country has taken such giant strides in such a short time in the realm of industrial development as has Israel. At a time when Europe, U.S.S.R. and America were competing with each other for industrial supremacy, technology in the Holy Land had progressed little beyond methods used in Bible times.

Since the rebirth of Israel in 1948 Israel's industrial development has been phenomenal despite a local scarcity of raw materials. This is all the more remarkable when it is realized that the surrounding Arab states are closed to Israeli wares. For political reasons Israel is also unable to export her goods to such vast markets as the Soviet Union, India, Pakistan and China. Nevertheless Israel is second only to Belgium in the diamond industry. In the aircraft industry Israel's KFIR fighter-bomber has a very impressive performance whilst several commercial aircraft are also produced. Cars are manufactured and assembled in Nazareth. At the Israel shipyards located in Haifa Bay Israel's merchant navy is serviced and coastal craft constructed. Haifa is also the home of Israel's heavy industries such as the Vulcan Foundry and the Portland Cement works, plus the oil refinery on the city's outskirts.

The constant state of conflict with surrounding Arab states has made Israel self dependent in the electronics industry. The Dead Sea contains billions of tons of magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium bromide and calcium chloride. These chemicals are processed at the Dead Sea Potash Works at S'dom and over 1,000,000 tons of phosphate rock are mined annually at Oron and Makhtesh in the Negev. Copper reserves at Solomon's ancient mines at Timna are estimated at 20,000,000 tons.

Abba Eban, Israel's one-time Foreign Minister has this to say, "The rate of growth and the rhythm of development are unparalleled anywhere else. There isn't any other country that has grown four-fold in its population, or whose export trade has multiplied by hundreds of percent, from $48,000,000 in 1948 to $2,000,000,000 twenty-five years later. There isn't anything like that in any other economic or political institutions."