As of 2011, the leading cause of death in Israel cancer – which claims the lives of 133.7 people per 100,000 Israelis. The second highest cause of death is heart disease (89.2 cases), followed by strokes (30 cases), diabetes (29.9 cases) and kidney diseases (19.9 cases).
The report also shows that between 1999 and 2011, mortality due to stroke fell by 30% in men and 24% in women; mortality due to heart disease also fell, by 33% in men and 30% in women; deaths in accidents dropped by 32% for men and 15% for; there was a 23% downturn in mortality from diabetes among women and 19% among men; and a decrease in the number of deaths from chronic respiratory tract disease of 26% for women and 21% for men.
Nonetheless, during this period there was a 90% increase in deaths from dementia in both sexes, as well as a dramatic rise in mortality due to Alzheimer's disease - 69% in women and 49% men, and an increase in the number of deaths due to lung infections and influenza - 28% in women and 12% in men.
These changes can be attributed to the increased life expectancy for Israelis, which now stands at 84 years for women and 80.2 years for men - among the highest in the world.
"As life expectancy increases, so that the person will suffer from more and more chronic diseases," says Adi Niv-Yagoda, an expert in medical law and former member of a ministry commission to improve the public health system. "Israel is aging a very fast rate. By 2030, we anticipate the number of people aged 75 or above in Israel to grow by 50%.”
The report also compares data from Israel and 21 other western countries, and finds that in 2011, Israel had the highest fatality rate from diabetes relative to the other countries. The Ministry of Health has already introduced several measures to reduce the instances of diabetes, such as a national program for active and healthy living, and next year will also launch a national program to combat strokes.
However, the data also shows that among the countries surveyed, Israel has the lowest mortality rate for men, while its mortality rate among women is the fifth lowest. Overall, the mortality rate in Israel is 4.866 per 1,000 Israelis per year (5.756 for men and 4.124 for women). Lower mortality rates can be found in Switzerland with 4.641 per 1,000, in Italy with 4.781 per 1,000 and Spain, with 4.814 per 1,000.