Israel's chemicals industry: From the desert to the dead sea

Raphael Semiat, Emily Frangenberg

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


A highly educated and skilled workforce makes Israel a global power player in the pharmaceutical and electronics industries. After Israel became independent, the government initially owned most of the nation's chemicals industry. Prior to the 1970s, the private sector owned only a small part of the chemicals industry. The move toward privatization ultimately increased the industry's capacity, but led to a reduction in research and development (R&D) spending. In 1952, the new government created the Dead Sea Works, a state-owned company to mine raw materials and process their derivatives. The Palestine Electric Co. suffered major setbacks during Israel's War of Independence. That spurred the government to acquire the majority of shares of the electric company, which brought the company under government ownership. The future of the process industry in Israel depends on development of the new gas resources in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as exploration of shale oil deposits. A significant advancement for Israel may come through ammonia and methanol production, which may spur important developments in the organic chemicals industry.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Specialist publicationChemical Engineering Progress
StatePublished - Oct 2015


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