Area Handbook for Israel

By Harvey H. Smith; Frederica M. Bunge et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 20 AGRICULTURE

Agriculture has occupied a position of eminence in national life far greater than is warranted by its contribution of less than 10 percent to the nation's total production and less than 13 percent to employment. It provides, however, almost 20 percent of the total merchandise exports. Its central place in Zionist ideology, its dominant role in the settlement of the country, and its vital security aspects have assured it the highest priority in the economic policies of the government and of other public bodies. In the years 1960 to 1967, the public sector provided from 81 to 97 percent of the annual investment in agriculture and irrigation (see ch. 12, Social Values; ch. 13, The Governmental System).

As a consequence of the country's settlement history, agriculture of the Jewish farmers is highly organized. Communal or cooperative action is nearly universal, although less prominent in the small private sector. Agricultural research is of a high order and its findings are quickly translated into advanced technology on the farms, with the aid of a competent extension service. Farmers are literate and enterprising. The role of the government in guiding and financing agricultural development and in securing parity of income for farmers is pervasive.

Agricultural land is national property and is let to farmers on favorable terms. The cultivable area is small and cannot readily be expanded. Because of insufficient rainfall, irrigation is essential to maintain farm output. Water resources, however, suffice to irrigate less than half the cultivated acreage, and the remainder must be dry farmed. Intensive efforts, therefore, are directed toward further nationalization of the use of water resources for agriculture.

The variation in topographical and climatic conditions allow the cultivation of a wide range of crops. The prevailing pattern of agriculture, promoted by the government and by the settlement authorities, has been one of mixed farming, but a shift in the direction of specialization is being encouraged in the interest of greater efficiency and to stimulate the output of high-value export crops.

Domestic production, having expanded sixfold since the establishment of the state in 1948, covers about four-fifths of consumption

-285-

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Area Handbook for Israel
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • COUNTRY SUMMARY vii
  • Contents xi
  • SECTION I. SOCIAL 1
  • Chapter 2 - PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT 13
  • Chapter 3 Historical Setting 29
  • Chapter 4 - POPULATION 55
  • Chapter 5 Ethnic Groups and Languages 67
  • Chapter 6 Social Structures 75
  • Chapter 7 Family 89
  • CHAPTER 8 - LIVING CONDITIONS 98
  • Chapter 9 - EDUCATION 113
  • Chapter 10 - ARTISTIC AND INTELLECTUAL EXPRESSION 131
  • Chapter 12 - SOCIAL VALUES 153
  • SECTION II. POLITICAL 163
  • Chapter 14 - POLITICAL DYNAMICS 187
  • Chapter 15 Foreign Relations 209
  • Chapter 16 - PUBLIC INFORMATION 221
  • Chapter 17 - POLITICAL VALUES AND ATTITUDES 239
  • Chapter 18 - BIOGRAPHIES OF SELECTED KEY PERSONALITIES 255
  • SECTION III. ECONOMIC 273
  • Chapter 20 Agriculture 285
  • Chapter 21 Industry 299
  • Chapter 22 Labor 311
  • Chapter 23 - DOMESTIC TRADE 333
  • Chapter 24 - FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS 345
  • Chapter 25 Financial and Monetary System 357
  • SECTION IV. NATIONAL SECURITY 369
  • Chapter 27 - PUBLIC ORDER AND INTERNAL SECURITY 397
  • Index 447
  • PUBLISHED AREA HANDBOOKS 457
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