While larger and older countries are usually the most influential, sometimes the small and young nations, like Israel, can make just as significant of an impact. The 70-year-old nation is approximately 8,000 square miles, with a population of just over 8.5 million—making it just slightly smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey, both in land and population.
Yet, Israel is a world leader in many global affairs, notably in the following areas:
1. Power and Influence
According to U.S. News & World Report, Israel ranks 8th in the world regarding power—measured by military strength and allies, economic buying power, and political influence. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is one of the most unique militaries in the world, in that its army, navy, and air force are all commanded as one unit.
The IDF is also among the most battle-tested, having defended its country in six major wars in only 70 years of existence. Both men and women are conscripted to serve in the IDF—currently there are over 600,000 military personnel in active duty.
Jewish faith and culture have long regarded education as a top priority, so it’s no surprise that the Israeli school systems are among the best, especially in the region.
Tel Aviv University is the largest University in Israel, and it is consistently ranked in the Top 100 Universities in the World. Their study abroad programs are quite popular with American students, as well as students from Europe, China, and South America.
Today, Tel Aviv University boasts over 15,000 international alumni.
3. Life Expectancy
Over time, Israel’s life expectancy has grown to be above average, and continues to be on the rise today. With an average life expectancy of 82.05, Israel is 8th in the world, ahead of the United States, where the average life expectancy is 79.
Some of the factors that contribute to such high life expectancy are the healthy Mediterranean diet, high cleanliness standards, and an excellent universal healthcare system.
4. Exports and Economy
In 2017, Israel exported more than $14 billion worth of cut diamonds, making it fifth in the world of diamond exporters. Historically, Israel’s economy was dependent on agriculture, but the development of modern technology has since shifted the focus to other exports.
Computers, high-technology equipment, and pharmaceuticals are also among Israel’s top exports today.
5. Water Conservation and Recycling
Despite its dry desert climate, Israel launched its economy by relying heavily on agricultural production. The secret to their success was, and still is, water conservation. Drip irrigation, a revolutionary form of desert farming, was born in Israel and is now widely practiced around the world today.
Israel also recycles 90% of its wastewater, making it by far the world leader in water recycling—followed by Spain (20%), and the United States (1%).
The desert country is also home to some of the largest desalination plants in the world that can transform seawater from the Mediterranean Sea into saltless, drinkable water.
6. Religious Pilgrimage
The Holy City of Jerusalem attracts pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. It is a sacred city for Christians, of course, because it is the city where Christ died for our sins and was then resurrected.
Jerusalem is also the city where King David established his kingdom, and the city that was promised to the Jewish people by God:
“And to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David
may always have a lamp before Me in Jerusalem,
the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.”
—1 Kings 11:36
7. Population Growth
Israel’s population growth rate was estimated to be 1.51% in 2017, which is relatively high for a developed country.
Historically, Jewish refugees seeking safe haven in Israel have been one of the most significant growth factors, but many Jewish people were drawn to the prospects of new opportunities and lifestyles offered on the kibbutzim, or communal farms.
Today, kibbutzim life is making a comeback as many young Israelis seek to escape the overcrowded cities and reconnect with their ancestral and national roots. High life expectancy and economic stability are also making Israel a better place to raise a family than ever before.
8. Humanitarian Aid
Part of Israel’s mission is to create an exemplary nation, and to make the world better around it. That’s one reason why Israel is one of the most generous countries when it comes to humanitarian aid.
Israel’s experience dealing with crises at home has made them experts in organizing and providing quality care abroad. Israel is often the first responder to emergencies around the world—from natural disasters in Japan, to civil war in neighboring Syria.
Both government-sponsored organizations like MASHAV and nongovernmental organizations like FIRST, IsraAid, and Zaka provide humanitarian aid services to countries afflicted with crises and have collectively donated billions of American dollars’ worth of supplies and medicine.
9. Environmental Conservation
Despite rapid development, Israel has managed to preserve its natural history. In 1964, Israel dedicated its first nature reserve in Lake Hula—which was being drained for agricultural development and thought to have caused the extinction of several native species, like the Hula painted frog. Today Israel has over 400 nature reserves protecting thousands of species, and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) is still active in protecting Israeli natural treasures like Lake Hula—which has recovered significantly since restoration projects began in the 1990’s, including the rediscovery of the Hula painted frog.
10. Doing God’s Work
No other place in the world is mentioned as much in the Bible as Israel. God has promised to restore the land for the Jewish people, and the City of Jerusalem has been contested for centuries.
Now, with the United States finally recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, the fighting may finally come to an end, and all of God’s children can worship in peace while the land is looked after by the Jews.
But recognition is only half of the battle: the area that needs attention now is nearby in the Negev Desert. Once a barren wasteland, the Negev Desert is now growing into a thriving garden full of olive trees and vineyards, just like the Bible foretold.
My Olive Tree has brought Evangelicals from the United States to partner directly with the Israeli government and the IDF to make this miracle happen, and we can always use your help.