Lebanon vs. Israel


Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French demarcated the region of Lebanon in 1920 and granted this area independence in 1943. Since independence, the country has been marked by periods of political turmoil interspersed with prosperity built on its position as a regional center for finance and trade. The country's 1975-90 civil war, which resulted in an estimated 120,000 fatalities, was followed by years of social and political instability. Sectarianism is a key element of Lebanese political life. Neighboring Syria has historically influenced Lebanon's foreign policy and internal policies, and its military occupied Lebanon from 1976 until 2005. The Lebanon-based Hizballah militia and Israel continued attacks and counterattacks against each other after Syria's withdrawal, and fought a brief war in 2006. Lebanon's borders with Syria and Israel remain unresolved.
The State of Israel was declared in 1948, after Britain withdrew from its mandate of Palestine. The UN proposed partitioning the area into Arab and Jewish states, and Arab armies that rejected the UN plan were defeated. Israel was admitted as a member of the UN in 1949 and saw rapid population growth, primarily due to migration from Europe and the Middle East, over the following years. Israel fought wars against its Arab neighbors in 1967 and 1973, followed by peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 war, and subsequently administered those territories through military authorities. Israel and Palestinian officials signed a number of interim agreements in the 1990s that created an interim period of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. While the most recent formal efforts to negotiate final status issues occurred in 2013-2014, the US continues its efforts to advance peace. Immigration to Israel continues, with 28,600 new immigrants, mostly Jewish, in 2016. The Israeli economy has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last 25 years, led by cutting-edge, high-tech sectors. Offshore gas discoveries in the Mediterranean, most notably in the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields, place Israel at the center of a potential regional natural gas market. However, longer-term structural issues such as low labor force participation among minority populations, low workforce productivity, high costs for housing and consumer staples, and a lack of competition, remain a concern for many Israelis and an important consideration for Israeli politicians. Prime Minister Benjamin NETANYAHU has led the Israeli Government since 2009; he formed a center-right coalition following the 2015 elections. Three Knesset elections held in April and September 2019 and March 2020 all failed to form a new government. The political stalemate was finally resolved in April 2020 when NETANYAHU and Blue and White party leader Benny GANTZ signed an agreement to form a coalition government. Under the terms of the agreement, NETANYAHU would remain as prime minister until October 2021 when GANTZ would succeed him. On 15 September 2020, Israel signed a peace agreement, the Abraham Accords – brokered by the US – with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates in Washington DC. Israel signed similar peace agreements with Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994).


Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria
Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon
Geographic coordinates
33 50 N, 35 50 E
31 30 N, 34 45 E
Map references
Middle East
Middle East
total: 10,400 sq km
land: 10,230 sq km
water: 170 sq km
total: 21,937 sq km
land: 21,497 sq km
water: 440 sq km
Area - comparative
about one-third the size of Maryland
slightly larger than New Jersey
Land boundaries
total: 484 km
border countries (2): Israel 81 km, Syria 403 km
total: 1,065 km
border countries (6): Egypt 206 km, Gaza Strip 59 km, Jordan 336 km (20 km are within the Dead Sea), Lebanon 107 km, Syria 79 km, West Bank 278 km
225 km
273 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea: 12 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; the Lebanon Mountains experience heavy winter snows
temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas
narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains
Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley
Elevation extremes
mean elevation: 1,250 m
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Qornet es Saouda 3,088 m
mean elevation: 508 m note - does not include elevation data from the Golan Heights
lowest point: Dead Sea -431 m
highest point: Mitspe Shlagim 2,224 m; note - this is the highest named point, the actual highest point is an unnamed dome slightly to the west of Mitspe Shlagim at 2,236 m; both points are on the northeastern border of Israel, along the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range
Natural resources
limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land
timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand
Land use
agricultural land: 63.3% (2011 est.)
arable land: 11.9% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 12.3% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 39.1% (2011 est.)
forest: 13.4% (2011 est.)
other: 23.3% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 23.8% (2011 est.)
arable land: 13.7% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 3.8% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 6.3% (2011 est.)
forest: 7.1% (2011 est.)
other: 69.1% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
1,040 sq km (2012)
2,250 sq km (2012)
Natural hazards
earthquakes; dust storms, sandstorms
sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes
Environment - current issues
deforestation; soil deterioration, erosion; desertification; species loss; air pollution in Beirut from vehicular traffic and the burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage and oil spills; waste-water management
limited arable land and restricted natural freshwater resources; desertification; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides
Environment - international agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note
smallest country in continental Asia; Nahr el Litani is the only major river in Near East not crossing an international boundary; rugged terrain historically helped isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on religion, clan, and ethnicity
note 1: Lake Tiberias (Sea of Galilee) is an important freshwater source; the Dead Sea is the second saltiest body of water in the world (after Lake Assal in Djibouti)

note 2: the Malham Cave in Mount Sodom is the world's longest salt cave at 10 km (6 mi); its survey is not complete and its length will undoubtedly increase; Mount Sodom is actually a hill some 220 m (722 ft) high that is 80% salt (multiple salt layers covered by a veneer of rock)

note 3: in March 2019, there were 380 Israeli settlements,to include 213 settlements and 132 outposts in the West Bank, and 35 settlements in East Jerusalem; there are no Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, as all were evacuated in 2005 (2019)
Population distribution
the majority of the people live on or near the Mediterranean coast, and of these most live in and around the capital, Beirut; favorable growing conditions in the Bekaa Valley, on the southeastern side of the Lebanon Mountains, have attracted farmers and thus the area exhibits a smaller population density
population concentrated in and around Tel-Aviv, as well as around the Sea of Galilee; the south remains sparsely populated with the exception of the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba


5,469,612 (July 2020 est.)
8,675,475 (includes populations of the Golan Heights or Golan Sub-District and also East Jerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after 1967) (July 2020 est.)

note: approximately 22,900 Israeli settlers live in the Golan Heights (2018); approximately 215,900 Israeli settlers live in East Jerusalem (2017)

Age structure
0-14 years: 20.75% (male 581,015/female 554,175)
15-24 years: 14.98% (male 417,739/female 401,357)
25-54 years: 46.69% (male 1,296,250/female 1,257,273)
55-64 years: 9.62% (male 250,653/female 275,670)
65 years and over: 7.96% (male 187,001/female 248,479) (2020 est.)
0-14 years: 26.76% (male 1,187,819/female 1,133,365)
15-24 years: 15.67% (male 694,142/female 665,721)
25-54 years: 37.2% (male 1,648,262/female 1,579,399)
55-64 years: 8.4% (male 363,262/female 365,709)
65 years and over: 11.96% (male 467,980/female 569,816) (2020 est.)
Median age
total: 33.7 years
male: 33.1 years
female: 34.4 years (2020 est.)
total: 30.4 years
male: 29.8 years
female: 31 years (2020 est.)
Population growth rate
-6.68% (2020 est.)
1.46% (2020 est.)
Birth rate
13.6 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
17.6 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Death rate
5.4 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
5.3 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Net migration rate
-88.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
2.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 99.8 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 101.1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
total: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 78.3 years
male: 76.9 years
female: 79.8 years (2020 est.)
total population: 83 years
male: 81.1 years
female: 85 years (2020 est.)
Total fertility rate
1.71 children born/woman (2020 est.)
2.59 children born/woman (2020 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate
<.1% (2019 est.)
0.2% (2018)
noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese
noun: Israeli(s)
adjective: Israeli
Ethnic groups
Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%

note: many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendants of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians

Jewish 74.4% (of which Israel-born 76.9%, Europe/America/Oceania-born 15.9%, Africa-born 4.6%, Asia-born 2.6%), Arab 20.9%, other 4.7% (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS
2,700 (2019 est.)
9,000 (2018)
Muslim 61.1% (30.6% Sunni, 30.5% Shia, smaller percentages of Alawites and Ismailis), Christian 33.7% (Maronite Catholics are the largest Christian group), Druze 5.2%, very small numbers of Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists, and Hindus (2018 est.)

note: data represent the religious affiliation of the citizen population (data do not include Lebanon's sizable Syrian and Palestinian refugee populations); 18 religious sects recognized

Jewish 74.3%, Muslim 17.8%, Christian 1.9%, Druze 1.6%, other 4.4% (2018 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths
<100 (2019 est.)
<100 (2018)
Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
Hebrew (official), Arabic (special status under Israeli law), English (most commonly used foreign language)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.1%
male: 96.9%
female: 93.3% (2018)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.8%
male: 98.7%
female: 96.8% (2011)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
total: 11 years
male: 12 years
female: 11 years (2014)
total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2018)
Education expenditures
2.5% of GDP (2013)
5.8% of GDP (2016)
urban population: 88.9% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 0.75% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 92.6% of total population (2020)
rate of urbanization: 1.64% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Drinking water source
improved: total: 100% of population
unimproved: total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
Sanitation facility access
improved: total: 99% of population
unimproved: total: 1% of population (2017 est.)
improved: urban: 100% of population
rural: 100% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved: urban: 0% of population
rural: 0% of population
total: 0% of population (2017 est.)
Major cities - population
2.424 million BEIRUT (capital) (2020)
4.181 million Tel Aviv-Yafo, 1.147 million Haifa, 932,000 JERUSALEM (capital) (2020)
Maternal mortality rate
29 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
3 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
Health expenditures
8.2% (2017)
7.4% (2017)
Physicians density
2.03 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
3.48 physicians/1,000 population (2017)
Hospital bed density
2.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)
3 beds/1,000 population (2017)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate
32% (2016)
26.1% (2016)
Dependency ratios
total dependency ratio: 48.4
youth dependency ratio: 37.2
elderly dependency ratio: 11.2
potential support ratio: 8.9 (2020 est.)
total dependency ratio: 67.3
youth dependency ratio: 46.6
elderly dependency ratio: 20.8
potential support ratio: 4.8 (2020 est.)


Country name
conventional long form: Lebanese Republic
conventional short form: Lebanon
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
local short form: Lubnan
former: Greater Lebanon
etymology: derives from the Semitic root "lbn" meaning "white" and refers to snow-capped Mount Lebanon
conventional long form: State of Israel
conventional short form: Israel
local long form: Medinat Yisra'el
local short form: Yisra'el
etymology: named after the ancient Kingdom of Israel; according to Biblical tradition, the Jewish patriarch Jacob received the name "Israel" ("He who struggles with God") after he wrestled an entire night with an angel of the Lord; Jacob's 12 sons became the ancestors of the Israelites, also known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who formed the Kingdom of Israel
Government type
parliamentary republic
parliamentary democracy
name: Beirut
geographic coordinates: 33 52 N, 35 30 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
etymology: derived from the Canaanite or Phoenician word "ber'ot," meaning "the wells" or "fountain," which referred to the site's accessible water table
name: Jerusalem; note - the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017 without taking a position on the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty
geographic coordinates: 31 46 N, 35 14 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, Friday before the last Sunday in March; ends the last Sunday in October
etymology: Jerusalem's settlement may date back to 2800 B.C.; it is named Urushalim in Egyptian texts of the 14th century B.C.; "uru-shalim" likely means "foundation of [by] the god Shalim", and derives from Hebrew/Semitic "yry", "to found or lay a cornerstone", and Shalim, the Canaanite god of dusk and the nether world; Shalim was associated with sunset and peace and the name is based on the same S-L-M root from which Semitic words for "peace" are derived (Salam or Shalom in modern Arabic and Hebrew); this confluence has thus led to naming interpretations such as "The City of Peace" or "The Abode of Peace"
Administrative divisions
8 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Aakkar, Baalbek-Hermel, Beqaa (Bekaa), Beyrouth (Beirut), Liban-Nord (North Lebanon), Liban-Sud (South Lebanon), Mont-Liban (Mount Lebanon), Nabatiye
6 districts (mehozot, singular - mehoz); Central, Haifa, Jerusalem, Northern, Southern, Tel Aviv
22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
14 May 1948 (following League of Nations mandate under British administration)
National holiday
Independence Day, 22 November (1943)
Independence Day, 14 May (1948); note - Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948, but the Jewish calendar is lunar and the holiday may occur in April or May
history: drafted 15 May 1926, adopted 23 May 1926
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic and introduced as a government bill to the National Assembly or proposed by at least 10 members of the Assembly and agreed upon by two thirds of its members; if proposed by the National Assembly, review and approval by two-thirds majority of the Cabinet is required; if approved, the proposal is next submitted to the Cabinet for drafting as an amendment; Cabinet approval requires at least two-thirds majority, followed by submission to the National Assembly for discussion and vote; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of a required two-thirds quorum of the Assembly membership and promulgation by the president; amended several times, last in 1989
history: no formal constitution; some functions of a constitution are filled by the Declaration of Establishment (1948), the Basic Laws, and the Law of Return (as amended)
amendments: proposed by Government of Israel ministers or by the Knesset; passage requires a majority vote of Knesset members and subject to Supreme Court judicial review; 11 of the 13 Basic Laws have been amended at least once, latest in 2020
Legal system
21 years of age; authorized for all men and women regardless of religion; excludes persons convicted of felonies and other crimes or those imprisoned; excludes all military and security service personnel regardless of rank
18 years of age; universal; 17 years of age for municipal elections
Executive branch
chief of state: President Michel AWN (since 31 October 2016)
head of government:  Prime Minister Saad HARIRI (since 22 October 2020)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and National Assembly
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the National Assembly with two-thirds majority vote in the first round and if needed absolute majority vote in a second round for a 6-year term (eligible for non-consecutive terms); last held on 31 October 2016 (next to be held in 2022); prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly; deputy prime minister determined during cabinet formation
election results: Michel AWN elected president in second round; National Assembly vote - Michel AWN (FPM) 83; note - in the initial election held on 23 April 2014, no candidate received the required two-thirds vote, and subsequent attempts failed because the Assembly lacked the necessary quorum to hold a vote; the president was finally elected in its 46th attempt on 31 October 2016
chief of state: President Reuben RIVLIN (since 27 July 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU (since 31 March 2009)
cabinet: Cabinet selected by prime minister and approved by the Knesset
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Knesset for a single 7-year term; election last held on 10 June 2014 (next to be held in 2021); following legislative elections, the president, in consultation with party leaders, tasks a Knesset member (usually the member of the largest party) with forming a government
election results: Reuven RIVLIN elected president in second round; Knesset vote - Reuven RIVLIN (Likud) 63, Meir SHEETRIT (The Movement) 53, other/invalid 4; note - on 20 May 2020 – after three national elections, each ending in failed bids by Prime Minister Binyamin NETANYAHU and Blue and White party leader Benny GANTZ to form a coalition government, both signed an agreement on the formation of a national emergency government in which NETANYAHU continues as prime minister for 18 months when GANTZ will replace him
Legislative branch
description: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Nuwab in Arabic or Assemblee Nationale in French (128 seats; members directly elected by listed-based proportional representation vote; members serve 4-year terms); prior to 2017, the electoral system was by majoritarian vote
elections: last held on 6 May 2018 (next to be held in 2022)
election results: percent of vote by coalition - NA; seats by coalition – Strong Lebanon Bloc (Free Patriotic Movement-led) 25; Future Bloc (Future Movement-led) 20; Development and Liberation Bloc (Amal Movement-led) 16; Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc (Hizballah-led) 15; Strong Republic Bloc (Lebanese Forces-led) 15; Democratic Gathering (Progressive Socialist Party-led) 9; Independent Centre Bloc 4; National Bloc (Marada Movement-led) 3; Syrian Social Nationalist Party 3; Tashnaq 3; Kata’ib 3; other 8; independent 4;  composition - men 122, women 6, percent of women 4.6%

note: Lebanon’s constitution states the National Assembly cannot conduct regular business until it elects a president when the position is vacant

description: unicameral Knesset (120 seats; members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by closed-list proportional representation vote, with a 3.25% threshold to gain representation; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 2 March 2020 ( next to be held in 2024)
election results: percent by party (preliminary) - Likud 29.2%, Blue and White 26.4%, Joint List 13.1%, Shas 7.7%, United Torah Judaism 6.2%, Yisrael Beiteinu 5.9%, Labor-Gesher-Meretz 5.7%, Yamina 5%, other 0.8%; seats by party (preliminary) - Likud 36, Blue and White 33, Joint List 15, Shas 9, United Torah Judaism 7, Yisrael Beiteinu 7, Labor-Gesher Meretz 7, Yamina 6; composition - NA
Judicial branch
highest courts: Court of Cassation or Supreme Court (organized into 8 chambers, each with a presiding judge and 2 associate judges); Constitutional Council (consists of 10 members)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by Supreme Judicial Council, a 10-member body headed by the chief justice, and includes other judicial officials; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Council members appointed - 5 by the Council of Ministers and 5 by parliament; members serve 5-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; specialized tribunals, religious courts; military courts
highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of the president, deputy president, 13 justices, and 2 registrars) and normally sits in panels of 3 justices; in special cases, the panel is expanded with an uneven number of justices
judge selection and term of office: judges selected by the 9-member Judicial Selection Committee, consisting of the Minister of Justice (chair), the president of the Supreme Court, two other Supreme Court justices, 1 other Cabinet minister, 2 Knesset members, and 2 representatives of the Israel Bar Association; judges can serve up to mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: district and magistrate courts; national and regional labor courts; family and juvenile courts; special and religious courts
Political parties and leaders

Al-Ahbash or Association of Islamic Charitable Projects [Adnan TARABULSI]
Amal Movement [Nabih BERRI]
Azm Movement [Najib MIQATI]
Ba’th Arab Socialist Party of Lebanon [Fayiz SHUKR]
Free Patriotic Movement or FPM [Gibran BASSIL]
Future Movement Bloc [Sa'ad al-HARIRI]
Hizballah [Hassan NASRALLAH]
Islamic Actions Front [Sheikh Zuhayr al-JU’AYD]
Kata'ib Party [Sami GEMAYEL]
Lebanese Democratic Party [Talal ARSLAN]
Lebanese Forces or LF [Samir JA'JA]
Marada Movement [Sulayman FRANJIEH]
Progressive Socialist Party or PSP [Walid JUNBLATT]
Social Democrat Hunshaqian Party [Sabuh KALPAKIAN]Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Ali QANSO]
Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Hanna al-NASHIF]
Tashnaq or Armenian Revolutionary Federation [Hagop PAKRADOUNIAN]

Democratic Union [Nitzan HOROWITZ] (alliance includes Democratic Israel, Meretz, Green Movement)
Joint List [Ayman ODEH] (alliance includes Hadash, Ta’al, United Arab List, Balad)
Kahol Lavan [Benny GANTZ] (alliance includes Israeli Resilience, Yesh Atid, Telem)
Labor-Gesher [Amir PERETZ]
Likud [Binyamin NETANYAHU]
Otzma Yehudit [Itamar BEN-GVIR]
United Torah Judaism, or UTJ [Yaakov LITZMAN] (alliance includes Agudat Israel and Degel HaTorah)
Yamina [Ayelet SHAKED]
Yisrael Beiteinu [Avigdor LIEBERMAN]
Zehut [Moshe FEIGLIN]

International organization participation
BIS, BSEC (observer), CE (observer), CERN, CICA, EBRD, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW (signatory), OSCE (partner), Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
Ambassador Gabriel ISSA (since 24 January 2018)
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6300
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, Los Angeles
Ambassador Ron DERMER (since 3 December 2013)
chancery: 3514 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 364-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 364-5607
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Dorothy SHEA (since 11 March 2020)
telephone: [961] (04) 543 600
embassy: Awkar-Facing the Municipality, Main Street, Beirut
mailing address: P. O. Box 70-840, Antelias, Lebanon; from US: US Embassy Beirut, 6070 Beirut Place, Washington, DC 20521-6070
FAX: [961] (4) 544136
chief of mission: Ambassador David M. FRIEDMAN (since 23 May 2017)
telephone: [972] (2) 630-4000
embassy: David Flusser St.14, Jerusalem, 9378322

note: on 14 May 2018, the US Embassy relocated to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv; on 4 March 2019, Consulate General Jerusalem merged into US Embassy Jerusalem to form a single diplomatic mission

Flag description
three horizontal bands consisting of red (top), white (middle, double width), and red (bottom) with a green cedar tree centered in the white band; the red bands symbolize blood shed for liberation, the white band denotes peace, the snow of the mountains, and purity; the green cedar tree is the symbol of Lebanon and represents eternity, steadiness, happiness, and prosperity
white with a blue hexagram (six-pointed linear star) known as the Magen David (Star of David or Shield of David) centered between two equal horizontal blue bands near the top and bottom edges of the flag; the basic design resembles a traditional Jewish prayer shawl (tallit), which is white with blue stripes; the hexagram as a Jewish symbol dates back to medieval times

note: the Israeli flag proclamation states that the flag colors are sky blue and white, but the exact shade of blue has never been set and can vary from a light to a dark blue

National anthem
name: "Kulluna lil-watan" (All Of Us, For Our Country!)
lyrics/music: Rachid NAKHLE/Wadih SABRA

note: adopted 1927; chosen following a nationwide competition

name: "Hatikvah" (The Hope)
lyrics/music: Naftali Herz IMBER/traditional, arranged by Samuel COHEN

note: adopted 2004, unofficial since 1948; used as the anthem of the Zionist movement since 1897; the 1888 arrangement by Samuel COHEN is thought to be based on the Romanian folk song "Carul cu boi" (The Ox Driven Cart)

International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; withdrew acceptance of ICCt jurisdiction in 2002
National symbol(s)
cedar tree; national colors: red, white, green
Star of David (Magen David), menorah (seven-branched lampstand); national colors: blue, white
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Lebanon
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: unknown
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Israel
dual citizenship recognized: yes, but naturalized citizens are not allowed to maintain dual citizenship
residency requirement for naturalization: 3 out of the 5 years preceding the application for naturalization

note: Israeli law (Law of Return, 5 July 1950) provides for the granting of citizenship to any Jew - defined as a person being born to a Jewish mother or having converted to Judaism while renouncing any other religion - who immigrates to and expresses a desire to settle in Israel on the basis of the Right of aliyah; the 1970 amendment of this act extended the right to family members including the spouse of a Jew, any child or grandchild, and the spouses of children and grandchildren


Economy - overview

Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, complex customs procedures, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and inadequate intellectual property rights protection. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism.

The 1975-90 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and derailed Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern banking hub. Following the civil war, Lebanon rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily, mostly from domestic banks, which saddled the government with a huge debt burden. Pledges of economic and financial reforms made at separate international donor conferences during the 2000s have mostly gone unfulfilled, including those made during the Paris III Donor Conference in 2007, following the July 2006 war. The "CEDRE" investment event hosted by France in April 2018 again rallied the international community to assist Lebanon with concessional financing and some grants for capital infrastructure improvements, conditioned upon long-delayed structural economic reforms in fiscal management, electricity tariffs, and transparent public procurement, among many others.

The Syria conflict cut off one of Lebanon's major markets and a transport corridor through the Levant. The influx of nearly one million registered and an estimated 300,000 unregistered Syrian refugees has increased social tensions and heightened competition for low-skill jobs and public services. Lebanon continues to face several long-term structural weaknesses that predate the Syria crisis, notably, weak infrastructure, poor service delivery, institutionalized corruption, and bureaucratic over-regulation. Chronic fiscal deficits have increased Lebanon’s debt-to-GDP ratio, the third highest in the world; most of the debt is held internally by Lebanese banks. These factors combined to slow economic growth to the 1-2% range in 2011-17, after four years of averaging 8% growth. Weak economic growth limits tax revenues, while the largest government expenditures remain debt servicing, salaries for government workers, and transfers to the electricity sector. These limitations constrain other government spending, limiting its ability to invest in necessary infrastructure improvements, such as water, electricity, and transportation. In early 2018, the Lebanese government signed long-awaited contract agreements with an international consortium for petroleum exploration and production as part of the country’s first offshore licensing round. Exploration is expected to begin in 2019.

Israel has a technologically advanced free market economy. Cut diamonds, high-technology equipment, and pharmaceuticals are among its leading exports. Its major imports include crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Israel usually posts sizable trade deficits, which are offset by tourism and other service exports, as well as significant foreign investment inflows.

Between 2004 and 2013, growth averaged nearly 5% per year, led by exports. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 spurred a brief recession in Israel, but the country entered the crisis with solid fundamentals, following years of prudent fiscal policy and a resilient banking sector. Israel's economy also weathered the 2011 Arab Spring because strong trade ties outside the Middle East insulated the economy from spillover effects.

Slowing domestic and international demand and decreased investment resulting from Israel’s uncertain security situation reduced GDP growth to an average of roughly 2.8% per year during the period 2014-17. Natural gas fields discovered off Israel's coast since 2009 have brightened Israel's energy security outlook. The Tamar and Leviathan fields were some of the world's largest offshore natural gas finds in the last decade. Political and regulatory issues have delayed the development of the massive Leviathan field, but production from Tamar provided a 0.8% boost to Israel's GDP in 2013 and a 0.3% boost in 2014. One of the most carbon intense OECD countries, Israel generates about 57% of its power from coal and only 2.6% from renewable sources.

Income inequality and high housing and commodity prices continue to be a concern for many Israelis. Israel's income inequality and poverty rates are among the highest of OECD countries, and there is a broad perception among the public that a small number of "tycoons" have a cartel-like grip over the major parts of the economy. Government officials have called for reforms to boost the housing supply and to increase competition in the banking sector to address these public grievances. Despite calls for reforms, the restricted housing supply continues to impact younger Israelis seeking to purchase homes. Tariffs and non-tariff barriers, coupled with guaranteed prices and customs tariffs for farmers kept food prices high in 2016. Private consumption is expected to drive growth through 2018, with consumers benefitting from low inflation and a strong currency.

In the long term, Israel faces structural issues including low labor participation rates for its fastest growing social segments - the ultraorthodox and Arab-Israeli communities. Also, Israel's progressive, globally competitive, knowledge-based technology sector employs only about 8% of the workforce, with the rest mostly employed in manufacturing and services - sectors which face downward wage pressures from global competition. Expenditures on educational institutions remain low compared to most other OECD countries with similar GDP per capita.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$88.25 billion (2017 est.)
$86.94 billion (2016 est.)
$85.45 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$317.1 billion (2017 est.)
$307 billion (2016 est.)
$295.3 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
1.5% (2017 est.)
1.7% (2016 est.)
0.2% (2015 est.)
3.28% (2019 est.)
3.69% (2018 est.)
3.63% (2017 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$19,600 (2017 est.)
$19,500 (2016 est.)
$19,300 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$36,400 (2017 est.)
$35,900 (2016 est.)
$35,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 3.9% (2017 est.)
industry: 13.1% (2017 est.)
services: 83% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 2.4% (2017 est.)
industry: 26.5% (2017 est.)
services: 69.5% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
28.6% (2004 est.)
22% (2014 est.) (2014 est.)

note: Israel's poverty line is $7.30 per person per day

Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
lowest 10%: 1.7%
highest 10%: 31.3% (2010)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
4.5% (2017 est.)
-0.8% (2016 est.)
0.2% (2017 est.)
-0.5% (2016 est.)
Labor force
2.166 million (2016 est.)

note: excludes as many as 1 million foreign workers and refugees

3.893 million (2020 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 39% NA (2009 est.)
industry: NA
services: NA
agriculture: 1.1%
industry: 17.3%
services: 81.6% (2015 est.)
Unemployment rate
9.7% (2007)
3.81% (2019 est.)
4% (2018 est.)
revenues: 11.62 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 15.38 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 93.11 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 100.2 billion (2017 est.)
banking, tourism, real estate and construction, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating
high-technology products (including aviation, communications, computer-aided design and manufactures, medical electronics, fiber optics), wood and paper products, potash and phosphates, food, beverages, and tobacco, caustic soda, cement, pharmaceuticals, construction, metal products, chemical products, plastics, cut diamonds, textiles, footwear
Industrial production growth rate
-21.1% (2017 est.)
3.5% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
citrus, vegetables, cotton; beef, poultry, dairy products
$3.524 billion (2017 est.)
$3.689 billion (2016 est.)
$58.67 billion (2017 est.)
$56.17 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
jewelry, base metals, chemicals, consumer goods, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper
machinery and equipment, software, cut diamonds, agricultural products, chemicals, textiles and apparel
Exports - partners
China 13%, UAE 9.9%, South Africa 7.5%, Saudi Arabia 6.5%, Syria 6.5%, Iraq 5.8%, Turkey 4.6% (2017)
US 28.8%, UK 8.2%, Hong Kong 7%, China 5.4%, Belgium 4.5% (2017)
$18.34 billion (2017 est.)
$17.71 billion (2016 est.)
$68.61 billion (2017 est.)
$63.9 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals
raw materials, military equipment, investment goods, rough diamonds, fuels, grain, consumer goods
Imports - partners
China 10.2%, Italy 8.9%, Greece 7%, Germany 6.6%, US 6.3%, Turkey 4.5%, Egypt 4.2% (2017)
US 11.7%, China 9.5%, Switzerland 8%, Germany 6.8%, UK 6.2%, Belgium 5.9%, Netherlands 4.2%, Turkey 4.2%, Italy 4% (2017)
Debt - external
$39.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$36.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$88.66 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$87.96 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
Lebanese pounds (LBP) per US dollar -
1,507.5 (2017 est.)
1,507.5 (2016 est.)
1,507.5 (2015 est.)
1,507.5 (2014 est.)
1,507.5 (2013 est.)
new Israeli shekels (ILS) per US dollar -
3.606 (2017 est.)
3.8406 (2016 est.)
3.8406 (2015 est.)
3.8869 (2014 est.)
3.5779 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
146.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
145.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover central government debt and exclude debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment

60.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
62.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$55.42 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$54.04 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$113 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$95.45 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$12.37 billion (2017 est.)
-$11.18 billion (2016 est.)
$13.411 billion (2019 est.)
$7.888 billion (2018 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$54.18 billion (2017 est.)
$350.7 billion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$61.02 billion (2016)
$58.46 billion (2015)
$129.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$107.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$13.46 billion (2016)
$12.69 billion (2015)
$100.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$98.11 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$11.22 billion (30 December 2014 est.)
$10.54 billion (30 December 2013 est.)
$10.42 billion (28 December 2012 est.)
$243.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$200.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$203.3 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Central bank discount rate
10% (31 December 2017)
10% (31 December 2016)
0.1% (15 December 2015)
0.25% (31 December 2014)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
8.29% (31 December 2017 est.)
8.35% (31 December 2016 est.)
3.5% (31 December 2017 est.)
3.42% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$108.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$104 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$290.7 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$257.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$7.047 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.739 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$100.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$79.58 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$7.047 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.739 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$100.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$79.58 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
21.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
26.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-6.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 87.6% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 13.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 21.8% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.5% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 23.6% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -46.4% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 55.1% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 22.8% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 20.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.7% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 28.9% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -27.5% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
-0.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
0.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
4.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
23.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
24.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
25% of GDP (2015 est.)


Electricity - production
17.59 billion kWh (2016 est.)
63.09 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - consumption
15.71 billion kWh (2016 est.)
55 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2016 est.)
5.2 billion kWh (2016 est.)
Electricity - imports
69 million kWh (2016 est.)
0 kWh (2016 est.)
Oil - production
0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
390 bbl/day (2018 est.)
Oil - imports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
231,600 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Oil - exports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
0 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Oil - proved reserves
0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
12.73 million bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves
0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
176 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)
Natural gas - production
0 cu m (2017 est.)
9.826 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
0 cu m (2017 est.)
9.995 billion cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - exports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
0 cu m (2017 est.)
Natural gas - imports
0 cu m (2017 est.)
509.7 million cu m (2017 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity
2.346 million kW (2016 est.)
17.59 million kW (2016 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels
88% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
95% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants
11% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources
1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
5% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
294,300 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption
154,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
242,200 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports
0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
111,700 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports
151,100 bbl/day (2015 est.)
98,860 bbl/day (2017 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy
23.36 million Mt (2017 est.)
73.82 million Mt (2017 est.)
Electricity access
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)
electrification - total population: 100% (2020)


Telephones - main lines in use
total subscriptions: 752,547
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 12.87 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 3,050,693
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 35.68 (2019 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular
total subscriptions: 3,614,797
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 61.82 (2019 est.)
total subscriptions: 10,839,024
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126.77 (2019 est.)
Internet country code
Internet users
total: 4,769,039
percent of population: 78.18% (July 2018 est.)
total: 6,873,037
percent of population: 81.58% (July 2018 est.)
Telecommunication systems
general assessment: two mobile-cellular networks provide good service, with 4G LTE services; future improvements to fiber-optic infrastructure for total nation coverage proposed by 2020; in 2018 first successful 5G trial conducted and in 2019 first live mobile 5G site launched, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted telecoms industry and pricing has been raised (2020)
domestic: fixed-line 13 per 100 and 62 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)
international: country code - 961; landing points for the IMEWE, BERYTAR AND CADMOS submarine cable links to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean) (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
general assessment: one of the most highly developed system in the Middle East; mobile broadband 100% population penetration; consumers enjoy inexpensive 3G and 4G cellular service; fixed broadband available to 99% of all households; 6 mobile operators in fierce competition; in 2019 govt. began process of 5G licensing (2020)
domestic: good system of coaxial cable and microwave radio relay; all systems are digital; competition among both fixed-line and mobile cellular providers results in good coverage countrywide; fixed-line 36 per 100 and 127 per 100 for mobile-cellular subscriptions (2019)
international: country code - 972; landing points for the MedNautilus Submarine System, Tameres North, Jonah and Lev Submarine System, submarine cables that provide links to Europe, Cyprus, and parts of the Middle East; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (2 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) (2019)
note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated
Broadband - fixed subscriptions
total: 9,395
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2018 est.)
total: 2.41 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 29 (2018 est.)
Broadcast media
7 TV stations, 1 of which is state owned; more than 30 radio stations, 1 of which is state owned; satellite and cable TV services available; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible through partner stations (2019)
the Israel Broadcasting Corporation (est 2015) broadcasts on 3 channels, two in Hebrew and the other in Arabic; multi-channel satellite and cable TV packages provide access to foreign channels; the Israeli Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts on 8 radio networks with multiple repeaters and Israel Defense Forces Radio broadcasts over multiple stations; about 15 privately owned radio stations; overall more than 100 stations and repeater stations (2019)


total: 401 km (2017)
standard gauge: 319 km 1.435-m gauge (2017)
narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m gauge (2017)

note: rail system is still unusable due to damage sustained from fighting in the 1980s and in 2006

total: 1,384 km (2014)
standard gauge: 1,384 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
total: 21,705 km (2017)
total: 19,555 km (2017)
paved: 19,555 km (includes 449 km of expressways) (2017)
88 km gas (2013)
763 km gas, 442 km oil, 261 km refined products (2013)
Ports and terminals
major seaport(s): Beirut, Tripoli
container port(s) (TEUs): Beirut (1,305,038) (2017)
major seaport(s): Ashdod, Elat (Eilat), Hadera, Haifa
container port(s) (TEUs): Ashdod (1,443,000) (2016)
Merchant marine
total: 55
by type: bulk carrier 2, container ship 1, general cargo 39, oil tanker 1, other 12 (2019)
total: 40
by type: bulk carrier 5, general cargo 3, oil tanker 3, other 29 (2019)
total: 8 (2013)
total: 42 (2020)
Airports - with paved runways
total: 5 (2019)
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1
total: 33 (2019)
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 12
under 914 m: 8
Airports - with unpaved runways
total: 3 (2013)
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
total: 9 (2020)
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 6
1 (2013)
3 (2013)
National air transport system
number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 21
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,981,937 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 56.57 million mt-km (2018)
number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 64
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 7,404,373 (2018)
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 994.54 million mt-km (2018)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix
OD (2016)
4X (2016)


Military branches
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Army Command (includes Presidential Guard Brigade, Land Border Regiments), Naval Forces, Air Forces; Lebanese Internal Security Forces Directorate (includes Mobile Gendarmerie); Directorate for General Security (DGS); Directorate General for State Security (2019)
Israel Defense Forces (IDF): Ground Forces, Israel Naval Force (IN, includes commandos), Israel Air Force (IAF, includes air defense); Ministry of Public Security: Border Police (2019)
note: the Border Police is a unit within the Israel Police with its own organizational and command structure; it works both independently as well as in cooperation with or in support of the Israel Police and Israel Defense Force
Military service age and obligation
17-25 years of age for voluntary military service (including women); no conscription (2019)
18 years of age for compulsory (Jews, Druze) military service; 17 years of age for voluntary (Christians, Muslims, Circassians) military service; both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation - 32 months for enlisted men and about 24 months for enlisted women (varies based on military occupation), 48 months for officers; pilots commit to 9-year service; reserve obligation to age 41-51 (men), age 24 (women) (2015)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP
4.2% of GDP (2019)
4.9% of GDP (2018)
4.5% of GDP (2017)
5.1% of GDP (2016)
4.5% of GDP (2015)
5% of GDP (2019)
5% of GDP (2018)
5.5% of GDP (2017)
5.5% of GDP (2016)
5.5% of GDP (2015)
Military - note
the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) has operated in the country since 1978, originally under UNSCRs 425 and 426 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority in the area; following the July-August 2006 war, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1701 enhancing UNIFIL and deciding that in addition to the original mandate, it would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons; UNIFIL had about 10,200 personnel deployed in the country as of March 2020 (2020)
the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) has operated in the Golan between Israel and Syria since 1974 to monitor the ceasefire following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and supervise the areas of separation between the two countries; as of March 2020, UNDOF consisted of about 1,000 personnel (2020)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab'a Farms area in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights; the roughly 2,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon has been in place since 1978

West Bank and Gaza Strip are Israeli-occupied with current status subject to the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement - permanent status to be determined through further negotiation; Israel continues construction of a "seam line" separation barrier along parts of the Green Line and within the West Bank; Israel withdrew its settlers and military from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the West Bank in August 2005; Golan Heights is Israeli-controlled (Lebanon claims the Shab'a Farms area of Golan Heights); since 1948, about 350 peacekeepers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization headquartered in Jerusalem monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating, and assist other UN personnel in the region

Illicit drugs
Lebanon is a transit country for hashish, cocaine, heroin, and fenethylene; fenethylene, cannabis, hashish, and some opium are produced in the Bekaa Valley; small amounts of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin transit country on way to European markets and for Middle Eastern consumption; money laundering of drug proceeds fuels concern that extremists are benefiting from drug trafficking
increasingly concerned about ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin abuse; drugs arrive in country from Lebanon and, increasingly, from Jordan; money-laundering center
Refugees and internally displaced persons
refugees (country of origin): 879,529 (Syria), 476,033 (Palestinian refugees) (2020)
IDPs: 11,000 (2007 Lebanese security forces' destruction of Palestinian refugee camp) (2019)
stateless persons: undetermined (2016); note - tens of thousands of persons are stateless in Lebanon, including many Palestinian refugees and their descendants, Syrian Kurds denaturalized in Syria in 1962, children born to Lebanese women married to foreign or stateless men; most babies born to Syrian refugees, and Lebanese children whose births are unregistered
refugees (country of origin): 12,181 (Eritrea), 5,061 (Ukraine) (2019)
stateless persons: 42 (2019)


Terrorist groups - foreign based
al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB):
aim(s): bolster its recruitment presence in Lebanon and, ultimately, establish a Palestinian state comprising the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem
area(s) of operation:
recruits youths in Palestinian refugee camps (2018)
al-Nusrah Front/al-Qa'ida: aim(s): bolster networks in Lebanon and, ultimately, establish a regional Islamic caliphate
area(s) of operation:
in the east in the Bekaa Valley and along the Lebanon-Syria border; targets Lebanese Government institutions, security forces, and Lebanese civilians (2018)
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps -- Qods Force (IRGC-QF):

aim(s): support Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement to advance Shia agenda through funding, training, and weapons area(s) of operations: Beirut, Bekaa Valley, southern Lebanon

Palestine Liberation Front (PLF): aim(s): enhance its networks in Lebanon and, ultimately, destroy the state of Israel to establish a secular, Marxist Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital
area(s) of operation:
maintains a recruitment and training presence in many refugee camps (2018)
PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC): aim(s): enhance recruitment and operational networks in Lebanon
area(s) of operation:
recruits young men living in Palestinian refugee camps, including camps in the Bekaa Valley (2018)
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP): aim(s): enhance its recruitment network in Lebanon and, ultimately, establish a secular, Marxist Palestinian state
area(s) of operation:
recruits youths residing in the country's Palestinian refugee camps (2018)
Terrorist groups - home based
Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB): aim(s): enhance its networks in Lebanon to combat Shia Muslim influence in the country; seeks to disrupt Israel's economy and its efforts to establish security; attack Western interests in the Middle East
area(s) of operation: headquartered in the Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in the south (2018)
Asbat al-Ansar (AAA): aim(s): overthrow the Lebanese Government, rid Lebanon of Western influences, destroy the state of Israel to seize Jerusalem and, ultimately, establish an Islamic state in the Levant region
area(s) of operation: headquartered in the Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp near Sidon in the south (2018)
Hizballah: aim(s): accrue military resources and political power and defend its position of strength in Lebanon; destroy the state of Israel; counter the West; provide paramilitary support to Syrian President Bashar al-ASAD's regime
area(s) of operation: headquartered in Beirut with a significant presence in the Bekaa Valley and Southern Lebanon
note: remains the most capable armed group in the country, enjoying support among many Lebanese Shia and some Christians; receives considerable support from Iran (2018)
Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) network in Lebanon: aim(s): replace the Lebanese Government with an Islamic state and implement ISIS's strict interpretation of sharia
area(s) of operation: operational primarily in the east along the border with Syria; also maintains a presence in Ayn al-Hilweh refugee camp (2018)
Kahane Chai (Kach): aim(s): expel Arabs from Israel's biblical lands and, ultimately, restore the biblical state of Israel
area(s) of operation: Israel and West Bank settlements
note: considered to be operationally inactive in recent years ( 2018)

Source: CIA Factbook