Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, the Israeli shekel appreciated by 10.4% against the US dollar since 2016 and gained 3.4% from 2019 to 2020. Israel’s stronger local currency makes its imports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively less expensive when converted starting from the Israeli shekel.
From a continental perspective, 41% of Israel’s total imports by value in 2020 were purchased from countries in Asia. Close behind in second place were European trade partners fulfilling 40.3% of import purchases by Israel. Another 15.8% worth of goods originated from North America.
Much smaller percentages were furnished by exporters in Latin America (1.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.8%), Africa (0.7%) and Oceania (0.3%) led by Australia.
Given Israel’s population of 9.2 million people, its total $70.2 billion worth of 2020 imports translates to roughly $7,600 in yearly product demand from every person in the Middle Eastern country.
Israel’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Israel’s import purchases during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Israel.
- Machinery including computers: US$9.4 billion (13.3% of total imports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.5 billion (12.1%)
- Vehicles: $5.8 billion (8.3%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $5.6 billion (7.9%)
- Gems, precious metals: $4.4 billion (6.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $3.3 billion (4.7%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.9 billion (4.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $2.6 billion (3.8%)
- Iron, steel: $1.5 billion (2.2%)
- Organic chemicals: $1.4 billion (2%)
Israel’s top 10 imports accounted for about two-thirds (66.5%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Aircraft and spacecraft posted the fastest increase in value among Israel’s top 10 import categories, up 24.6% from 2019 to 2020. In second place for improving import purchases was the pharmaceuticals category, thanks to its 13.4% uptick. Israeli imports of vehicles delivered the third-fastest gain up 8.8%.
The greatest decliner was the gems and precious metals category, falling -26.2% year over year and weighed down by Israel’s diminishing international sales of diamonds.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2020, Israeli importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$1.8 billion (up 14.8% from 2019)
- Turbo-jets: $1 billion (down -26.3%)
- Machinery for making semi-conductors: $873 million (down -0.9%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $384.8 million (up 11.8%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $371.3 million (down -4.2%)
- Derricks, cranes: $362.6 million (up 174.5%)
- Printing machinery: $362.5 million (down -10.7%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $348.4 million (up 6.6%)
- Air conditioners: $332.3 million (up 22.7%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $283.4 million (down -6.7%)
Among these import subcategories, Israel’s purchases of derricks and cranes (up 174.5%), air conditioners (up 22.7%) then computers including optical readers (up 14.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery including computers among Israel’s businesses and consumers.
In 2020, Israeli importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical products including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$2.3 billion (up 7.1% from 2019)
- Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $1 billion (down -0.9%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $484.8 million (up 3.5%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $474.1 million (down -10.6%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $409.7 million (up 4.6%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $408.4 million (up 21.6%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $401.3 million (up 52.7%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $262.9 million (up 27.8%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $237.7 million (up 0.7%)
- Microphones/headphones/amps: $212.5 million (up 20.9%)
Among these import subcategories, Israel’s purchases of solar power diodes and semi-conductors (up 52.7%), electrical or optical circuit boards and panels (up 27.8%) then electrical converters or power units (up 21.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electrical products among Israel’s businesses and consumers.
In 2020, Israeli importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Cars: US$4.2 billion (down -18% from 2019)
- Trucks: $710.7 million (down -18.5%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $301.8 million (down -2.5%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $171.6 million (down -26.8%)
- Motorcycles: $113.3 million (down -11.5%)
- Chassis fitted with engine: $86.6 million (up 36.6%)
- Trailers: $75.5 million (up 5.3%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $59.2 million (down -14.8%)
- Tractors: $55.2 million (down -23.4%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $38.9 million (up 36.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Israel’s purchases of bicycles including other non-motorized cycles (up 36.6%), chassis fitted with engine (up 36.6%) then trailers (up 5.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among Israel’s businesses and consumers.
In 2020, Israeli importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Crude oil: US$3.7 billion (down -37.7% from 2019)
- Processed petroleum oils: $1.1 billion (down -51.7%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $452.8 million (down -26.7%)
- Petroleum gases: $232 million (down -33.6%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $19.9 million (down -24.8%)
- Peat: $13.2 million (up 30.2%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $5.5 million (down -7.7%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $5.2 million (up 5.9%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $3.2 million (down -26.9%)
- Tar pitch, coke: $115,000 (down -79.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Israel’s purchases of peat (up 30.2%) and asphalt or petroleum bitumen mixes (up 5.9%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported mineral fuels-related products among Israel’s businesses and consumers.
See also Israel’s Top Trading Partners and Israel’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Middle East: Israel. Accessed on June 7, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on June 7, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Wikipedia, Israel. Accessed on June 7, 2021
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Jerusalem, Israel. Accessed on June 7, 2021