Israel’s Top 10 Exports

Tel Aviv sunset (according to

Tel Aviv sunset (Pixabay)

Noted for photogenic coastlines along the Mediterranean Sea’s southeastern shore and the Red Sea’s northern shore, the State of Israel shipped US$60.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -8.8% decline since 2013 but a modest 0.5% uptick from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Israel’s exported goods plus services represent 29.8% of total Israeli economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 34.1% of Israeli exports by value were delivered to European countries while 29.9% were sold to North American importers. Israel shipped another 24.6% worth of goods to Asia, with smaller percentages going to Africa (1.4%) and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (2.5%).

Given Israel’s population of 8.3 million people, its total $60.9 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $7,300 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country.

Israel’s unemployment rate was 3.7% as of January 2018 according to Trading Economics.

Israel’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Israeli global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Israel.

From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, diamonds represent Israel’s most valuable exported product followed by drugs and medicines for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes, electronic integrated circuits, aircraft and spacecraft parts then cellphones.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$15.2 billion (25% of total exports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $7.5 billion (12.3%)
  3. Pharmaceuticals: $7.3 billion (12%)
  4. Machinery including computers: $4.7 billion (7.8%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $4.7 billion (7.7%)
  6. Aircraft, spacecraft: $3 billion (4.9%)
  7. Other chemical goods: $2.8 billion (4.6%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: $2.7 billion (4.5%)
  9. Organic chemicals: $1.3 billion (2.1%)
  10. Fertilizers: $1.2 billion (2%)

Israel’s top 10 exports accounted for 82.9% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Miscellaneous chemical goods was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 32.1% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was plastics which gained 14.9%.

Israeli aircraft and spacecraft posted the third-fastest improvement up by 13.7% trailed by optical, technical or medical apparatus up by 12.3%.

There were two declining categories namely gems and precious metals (down -6.9%) and electrical machinery and equipment (down -15.2%).


The following types of Israeli product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$8.1 billion (Down by -8.2% since 2016)
  2. Pharmaceuticals: $5.1 billion (Up by 10.4%)
  3. Aircraft, spacecraft: $2.3 billion (Up by 20.6%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.2 billion (Up by 11.2%)
  5. Other chemical goods: $2 billion (Up by 45.7%)
  6. Fertilizers: $1.1 billion (Up by 5.7%)
  7. Base metal tools, cutlery: $798.6 million (Up by 12.3%)
  8. Arms, ammunition: $705.8 million (Down by -28.9%)
  9. Inorganic chemicals: $518.6 million (Down by -27.4%)
  10. Vegetables: $241.8 million (Down by -13.3%)

Israel has highly positive net exports in the international trade of diamonds, jewelry, precious stones and gold. In turn, these cashflows indicate Israel’s strong competitive advantages under the gems and precious metals product category.


Overall, Israel incurred a -$8.2 billion product trade deficit for 2017 up by 56.9% from the -$5.2 billion in red ink one year earlier.

Below are exports from Israel that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Israel’s goods trail Israeli importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$6.7 billion (Up by 34.7% since 2016)
  2. Vehicles: -$5.7 billion (Down by -16.7%)
  3. Machinery including computers: -$4.7 billion (Up by 9.6%)
  4. Iron, steel: -$1.2 billion (Up by 14.3%)
  5. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$913.1 million (Up by 9.5%)
  6. Cereals: -$838 million (Up by 10%)
  7. Articles of iron or steel: -$707.6 million (Up by 102.5%)
  8. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: -$707.6 million (Up by 22%)
  9. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$685.2 million (Up by 7.2%)
  10. Wood: -$618.6 million (Up by 8.3%)

Israel has highly negative net exports and therefore a deep international trade deficit for crude oil and, to a much lesser extent, coal.


Israeli Export Companies

Ten Israeli corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the world-class Israeli companies that Forbes included:

  • Bank Hapoalim (financial institution)
  • Bank Leumi (financial institution)
  • Check Point Software (information systems)
  • Delek Group (investment services)
  • FIBI Holdings (regional bank)
  • IDB Holding (investment services)
  • Israel Corp (investment services)
  • Israel Discount Bank (regional bank)
  • Mizrahi Tefahot Bank (regional bank)
  • Teva Pharmaceutical (health care)

Shown within parentheses is the industry in which each country operates.

Israel’s capital city is Jerusalem.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Israel’s Top 10 Imports, Israel’s Top Trading Partners and Lebanon’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 9, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 9, 2018

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 9, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 9, 2018

The World Factbook, Middle East: Israel. Accessed on March 9, 2018

Wikipedia, Israel. Accessed on March 9, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Israel. Accessed on March 9, 2018

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for {CITY NAME}, Israel. Accessed on March 9, 2018

World’s Top Countries, World’s Richest Countries By GDP PPP. Accessed on March 9, 2018