“And I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these lands; and by thy seed shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves.” Genesis 26:4 (The Israel Bible™)
In accordance with its annual practice prior to Israeli Independence Day, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has published data this week that offer insight into the evolution of the Israeli population and economy.
Israel’s population at its 69th year of existence is estimated at 8.68 million, almost eleven times its population of 806,000 at its establishment in 1948.
A total of 6.48 million people, approximately 75 percent of Israel’s population, are Jewish. Arabs make up 21 percent of the population (1.8 million people), and the remaining 4.5 percent are Druze or of a different ethnicity.
The current Jewish population in Israel constitutes 43 percent of the global Jewish population, which is estimated to be 14.4 million. By contrast, a total of 6 percent of world Jewry lived in Israel in 1948 when Jews numbered 11.5 million worldwide.
The country’s overall population grew by 159,000 since last Independence Day, an increase of 1.9 percent. During that period, around 174,000 babies were born, 44,000 people died, and 30,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel. The CBS has estimated that by 2048, Israel’s population will reach 15.2 million.
A total of about 75 percent of all Israeli Jews were born in the country and more than half of them also have parents who are native Israelis. When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, only 35 percent of its Jews were born in the country.
The figures list 44 percent of Jewish Israelis as being non-religious, 24 percent as being traditionalist, 12 percent as being religious-nationalist, 11 percent as being religious, and 9 percent as being ultra-Orthodox (Haredi). Among the non-Jewish population, 21 percent are listed as not religious, 23 percent are listed as not so religious, 52 percent are listed as religious, and 4 percent are listed as very religious.
While only two institutes of higher education (the Technion and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem) existed at the establishment of the state, there are 63 such institutions around the country today, including nine universities and 33 colleges.
The biggest population center in Israel is Jerusalem which numbers around 865,000 residents while the smallest is Neve Zohar in the south, which houses just 71 individuals.