Term Paper: Geography Israel: Resource Limitations Requiring Specialization

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Israel: Resource Limitations Requiring Specialization

The geography and resource distribution of Israel has a significant impact on the economic and political success of the nation, perhaps as much as its embattled relationship with its neighbors and the Palestinians. Because of Israel's relatively small size -- 8,019 square miles or roughly the size of the state of New Jersey -- the nation has significant limitations placed on its available natural resources (Linge 79). Combined with this resource reality is a compromised geographical position that surrounds the nation with political enemies, a modified Mediterranean climate, and a wide variety of terrains and microclimates. In whole, the economic and political success of Israel is very much dependent on these factors as will be evident from a discussion of the nation's geographic position and features as well as its resulting economic vitality.

Israel is located in the Middle East along the southeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea between Egypt and Lebanon. The climate is a temperate modification of the classical Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and short, rainy winters. The terrain is quite varied for a nation of its diminutive size with the large Negev Desert to the south, low coastal regions to the west, and central mountainous regions (Linge 79). Rainfall varies significantly throughout the region, with the lowest amounts obviously recorded in the southern Negev Desert. Overall, though, Israel is a dry country, a fact that limits major agricultural production to fertile river valleys and areas in the nation. In particular, the Qishan River and the Jordan River provide much of the arable land in the nation (Safran and Pollock 520-521).

Limited freshwater supplies compound the problems associated with the limited amount of arable land in the nation. Along with desertification and pollution concerns, agricultural production is severely limited in Israel ("Israel"). As of 2007, agricultural production only constituted 2.6% of the country's GDP and only employed about 6% of the nation's population (Safran and Pollock 531). As a result, Israel is a heavy importer of staple crops such as grains and has generally specialized the agricultural economy to export luxury crops such as fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits, in particular, are successfully grown along the western coastal region and are one of Israel's most profitable agricultural exports ("Israel"; Linge 80).

An examination of Israel's other leading exports highlights specific natural and geographic limitations that the nation faces. Other major exports include cut diamonds, high-tech equipment, computer software, chemicals, and military equipment ("Israel"; "Country Profile"; Linge 79). In total, these are industries which… [END OF PREVIEW]

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