Thursday, March 14, 2013

Israeli statistics 2012

During the calendar year of 2012 Israel had a 3.3% GDP/capita increase, down from the previous two years when it was 5 and 4.4%.  But, although 3.3% is not so high, it is twice the average of the OECD group of European countries, and certainly much higher than such economic basket cases as Ireland, Greece and Portugal.  Although the US avoided going over the fiscal cliff of increased taxes and enhanced inflation, it is expected that the economic status of the US will deteriorate in 2013 and this will affect all countries and individuals world-wide including Israel.  How bad it will get we can't say, but Israel at least is one of the best performing countries economically. 

The population of Israel reached almost 8 million at the end of 2012, according to the Israel Census Bureau.  Of these, 6 million are Jews, the rest are Arabs (Muslims and Christians) and others.  Others include Philippinos (ca. 50,000) some of whom have managed to stay here and African immigrants (ca. 60,000).  Whereas the percentage of Christians remained steady in Israel, in the rest of the Middle East the proportion of Christians has dropped drastically.  In Bethlehem, part of the PA, where they were a majority of 70% only 20 years ago, they are now a minority of 20%. 
Major terror attacks

In 2012 1,435 missiles were fired from Gaza into Israel.  From February to March 2012, the IDF thwarted a number of attacks on the Israel-Egypt border.
February 21: A joint IDF-Israel Police operation uncovered a powerful explosive device planted near Egypt. Two days later, IDF soldiers on a routine patrol identified suspicious activity on the border, where they discovered another large explosive device.
February 28: Suspected terrorists infiltrated Israel from Egypt. The suspects failed to heed IDF warnings to stop and fired on IDF soldiers. The IDF fired back, injuring one suspect, while the rest fled back across the border. A similar incident occurred on March 15.
March 9: The IAF targeted two members of the Popular Resistance Committee, a terrorist group in the Gaza Strip. The terrorists had been planning a combined terror attack that was to have taken place via Sinai.
June 18: Terrorists crossed the border from Egypt, killed an Israeli civilian and wounded two more. After infiltrating Israel, the terrorists detonated a roadside bomb, shot anti-tank rockets at two Israeli vehicles, and then opened fire on them with Kalashnikov assault rifles.   Said Pashpasha (36), father of four, was killed. Pashpasha and his colleagues were workers on the Israel-Egypt border fence, designed to protect Israelis from future cross-border attacks.On August 5,  Israel Air Force aircraft targeted a Global Jihad-affiliated terrorist squad in the southern Gaza Strip, members of which were responsible for the June attack.
July 18: A suicide bomber exploded in a tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria. He killed five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver, and wounded another 32 Israelis. “We got on the bus. There were a lot of people on it… suddenly someone got on there, and something exploded,” said passenger Gal Malka. “We heard a boom. And we actually saw body parts. We tried to escape. The door was closed. But there was a hole in the side, through which me and my friend escaped.”  American intelligence officials identified the bomber as a member of a local Hezbollah cell actively looking for Israeli targets.
November 15: During Operation “Pillar of Defense”, Gazan terrorists fired a rocket on Kiryat Malachi, killing three Israelis: Mira Scharf (25), Aharon Smadga (40) and Yizhak Amselam (22). Scharf was a mother of three and pregnant at the time. Two babies and a four-year-old boy were wounded in the strike. Hamas’ military wing claimed responsibility for the attack.
November 21: Muhammad Mafarji boarded the 142 bus in Tel Aviv, planted an explosive device connected to a mobile phone, and disembarked. His handlers remotely detonated the bomb, wounding 28 Israelis. When the news reached Gaza, celebration broke out on the streets. Sweet cakes were handed out in the Strip’s main hospital. “God willing, we will soon see black body bags,” said the Gazan television announcer.   In the immediate hours following the attack, the IDF, ISA and the Israel Police exposed and arrested the members of Hamas- and Islamic Jihad-affiliated terrorist cell responsible for the bombing. The cell had been planning additional attacks.

Everyday Terror - Shootings, Rock Hurling and Firebombs
Terrorists carried out a number of major attacks against Israel in 2012, but they also targeted Israeli citizens in smaller attacks — just about every day.  In 2012 in Judea and Samaria, Israelis were shot at 15 times, got caught in 4,731 incidents of rock hurling, and were the targets of 642 firebombs.  Rock-hurling and firebomb-throwing may seem less serious than shooting incidents — but they too have the potential to kill. In 2011, Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan were killed in a car crash due to rocks thrown at their vehicles.  These events are ongoing. Only two months ago, as he was driving down the highway, Daniel Maon saw three people “holding what looked like fire in their hands. Suddenly they threw a firebomb that missed the car,” he said. “I told the driver to keep going, and then another firebomb was thrown at us which shattered the windshield and got into the car.” Maon and the driver escaped before the vehicle was engulfed in flames.


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