As the ocean covers three quarters of the surface of the earth, little wonder people see it as a possible source of freshwater. That basically means desalinating it to make it at least clean enough for agriculture and even good enough to drink. How does it work? Distillation is the cheap option, responsible for most desalinised water, but a newer filtering process using membranes, called reverse osmosis, now accounts for nearly half the world’s capacity to turn ocean into freshwater.

Overcoming the challenges of an arid climate and scarce natural water reserves has always been a vital necessity for the growth of Israel’s population and economy since the founding of the state. This has led to continuous improvements in Israel’s water sector, through innovations in technologies, practices and long-term plans.

A year ago, at the 2010 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, Israel was formally invited to become a member of the OECD, following three years of accession negotiations. Israel duly became the organisation’s 33rd member country a few months later, in September 2010. The OECD Observer asked the minister of finance, Yuval Steinitz, to outline his views on the country’s economic challenges.

©Govt. of Israel

Two years after Israel joined the OECD, Sharon Kedmi, Director General at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, is leading a delegation to an important OECD Employment Labour and Social Affairs Committee meeting on 26 October. He spoke with the OECD Observer.

Innovation is a major driver of productivity, economic growth and development. Many OECD countries today are looking to boost productivity through investments in science, technology and R&D. What experience can Israel, new OECD member and the “start-up nation” feted in a recent book by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, bring to the table?

©Ronen Engel/Israel Sun

Israel’s labour market is a reflection of the country’s complicated demographic patchwork. This brings strengths and weaknesses.

Israel is a popular holiday destination, thanks to cultural and historical, but also leisure, attractions. But there are challenges to overcome.

In many respects Israel’s short but dramatic history has created a combination of economic, social, demographic and political circumstances without close parallel with any other OECD member country. Some of these characteristics are outlined here, and are explored in more depth in the OECD’s first Economic Survey of Israel, published in 2010.

What can countries looking to put their public finances in order learn from Israel, which joined the OECD in 2010? Quite a lot, says the country’s central bank governor, who provides some good reasons for optimism.

Economic data


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