In this survey, 799 isolates of Phytophthora infestans collected from potato crops in Israel during 1983 to 2000 were analyzed for mating type and sensitivity to metalaxyl, and 324 were analyzed for race structure. The A2 mating type, first recorded in 1983, fully dominated the pathogen population from 1983 until 1991 (9 years). It was thereafter replaced by the A1 mating type, which dominated the population during 1993 to 2000. Metalaxyl-resistant isolates were first recorded in 1982. During 1983 to 1991, the majority of the isolates were resistant. Isolates with intermediate sensitivity (I) to this fungicide were first observed in 1993, when both A1 and A2 mating types occurred in the population. The proportion of I isolates gradually increased, reaching 39 to 41% in 1997 to 1998, and then declined to ≈15% in 1999 to 2000. Pathogenicity to nine potato differential cultivars was determined for 80 potato isolates collected in 1983 to 1991, to 11 potato differentials in 173 isolates collected in 1993 to 1998, and in 71 potato isolates collected in 1999 to 2000. The first population was composed of 5 races with race 1,3,4,7,8,10 predominating (76%), the second population was composed of 19 races with race 1,3,4,7,8,10,11 predominating (63%), and the third population exhibited 42 (34 new) races with no single predominating race. RG-57 DNA fingerprinting and allozymes loci assays of 23 isolates revealed that isolates collected during 1984 to 1986 belonged to the PO-57 lineage, whereas those collected during 1997 to 1999 belonged to the RFO-39 lineage. Among isolates collected during 1993 to 1995, two unreported DNA fingerprinting patterns were found. Severe late blight epidemics occurred in tomato crops during 1998 to 2000. Of 35 tomato isolates, 28 were A1 and only 7 were A2. Of these tomato isolates, 94% were sensitive to metalaxyl. Almost every isolate had a different race structure on the 11 potato differentials. When inoculated onto three tomato differential cultivars, tomato isolates showed a virulence much more enhanced than potato isolates. The data suggest the Israeli population of P. infestans has passed through three major genetic changes during the past 18 years: in 1983, 1993, and 1999. The recent change included host specialization to tomato.