- The diamond industry in Israel dates back to 1939. Its pioneers were industrialists who had come to Palestine from Belgium and Holland before World War II and members of the Jewish community in Palestine. The industry expanded dramatically during World War II, when the European countries were cut off from their sources of raw diamonds and traditional markets. The industry diminished immediately after the war but began to grow again in the 1950s. Israel has since become a major force in the production of finished and polished diamonds and a major factor in the world trade of diamonds, although these precious stones are not found naturally in the country. In 2002, Israel's export of diamonds (polished and rough) totaled $6.8 billion, marking a 23 percent increase over the $5.5 billion in exports in 2001. By 2006, Israeli companies were manufacturing two-thirds of the gem-quality diamonds produced in the world, and Israel was exporting more than $6 billion of polished diamonds a year.
Historical Dictionary of Israel. Bernard Reich David H. Goldberg. Edited by Jon Woronoff..
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