Israel has a sound economy, which is currently experiencing a period of growth. The official currency
is the New Israeli Shekel with 4.04 NIS (1.1.01) equaling one US$ at the time of this writing. Like most
countries, Israel uses the Metric System of weights and measures. Israel is two hours ahead of
Greenwich Mean Time and the work week runs from Sunday through friday, about 8-4 PM, with many people
working half-days on Friday. The Gregorian calendar is in daily use while the Hebrew and Arabic
calendars determine religious statutory holidays.
The Union Bank of Switzerland recently ranked Israel as third among the top five nations for future
economic competitiveness, ahead of Singapore and Japan and behind Korean and China. Since 1990,
Israel's economy has grown more than 6% per year. In 1995, the GDP had increased
by 7.1% while Inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index) had dropped from 14.5% to 8.1%,
reaching it's lowest point in twenty-six years. This was a substantial improvement over the runaway
inflation over the early 1980s, which peaked at over 400%, but was successfully controlled by the
1985 stabilization program.
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