Economy: Modern, sophisticated industrial state. Well developed high-tech, bio-tech, chemical and agricultural sectors. Many start-up companies. Brakes on further growth, however, include the high burden of defense expenditure due to security issues, the cost of absorbing new immigrants and the growing crisis of lack of water. Israel lacks natural resources and needs to import petroleum, coal, grains and military hardware.
Religion: All religions are free to minister within their own communities. Jews who follow Messiah Jesus, however, have in the past been denied legal standing as a religious body and faced difficulties obtaining premises for fellowship. This changed in 2009, enabling Messianic congregations to register as houses of prayer and religious entities. Reform and Conservative Jews are often marginalized by ultra-Orthodox influence, which applies constant pressure to limit freedom of religion through anti-conversion laws and persecution of Messianic Jews.