History of Israel

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Demographics of Israel

In 2012, Israel's population was an estimated 7,869,900 people, of whom 5,923,500 are Jews. Arab citizens of Israel comprise 20.5% of the country's total population.
Over the last decade, large numbers of migrant workers from Romania, Thailand, China, Africa and South America have settled in Israel. Exact figures are unknown, as many of them are living in the country illegally, but estimates run in the region of 200,000. As of April 2011, nearly 34,000 African refugees have entered Israel.

Retention of Israel's population since 1948 is about even or greater, when compared to other countries with mass immigration. Emigration from Israel (yerida) to other countries, primarily the United States and Canada, is described by demographers as modest, but is often cited by Israeli government ministries as a major threat to Israel's future. As of 2009, over 300,000 Israeli citizens live in West Bank settlements such as Ma'ale Adumim and Ariel, and communities that predated the establishment of the State but were re-established after the Six-Day War, in cities such as Hebron and Gush Etzion. 18,000 Israelis live in Golan Heights settlements. In 2011, there were 250,000 Jews living in East Jerusalem. The total number of Israeli settlers is over 500,000 (6.5% of the Israeli population). Approximately 7,800 Israelis lived in settlements in the Gaza Strip, until they were evacuated by the government as part of its 2005 disengagement plan.
Israel was established as a homeland for the Jewish people and is often referred to as a Jewish state. The country's Law of Return grants all Jews and those of Jewish lineage the right to Israeli citizenship. Just over three quarters, or 75.5%, of the population are Jews from a diversity of Jewish backgrounds. Approximately 68% of Israeli Jews are Israeli-born, 22% are immigrants from Europe and the Americas, and 10% are immigrants from Asia and Africa (including the Arab World). Jews who left or fled Arab and Muslim countries and their descendants, known as Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews, constitute approximately 50% of Jewish Israelis. Jews from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and their Israeli-born descendants, or Ashkenazi Jews, form most of the rest of the Jewish population.

Source: Wikipedia.com
See also: Wikipedia - Demographics of Israel


  • Population (2010 est.): 7.59 million.
  • Annual population growth rate (2009 est.): 1.7%.
  • Ethnic groups: Jews 76.2%; Arabs 19.5%; other 4.3%.
  • Religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Druze.

Languages: Hebrew (official), Arabic (official), English, Russian.

Education: Years compulsory--11. Literacy--96.9% (female 95.6%; male 98.3%).

Health: Infant mortality rate (2009 est.)--4.22/1,000 births. Life expectancy at birth--80.73 years; female 82.95 years, male 78.62 years.

Work force (3.02 million; Central Bureau for Statistics, 2009):
  • Agriculture - 2.1%.
  • Manufacturing - 16.2%.
  • Electricity and water supply - 0.8%.
  • Construction - 5.4%.
  • Trade and repair of motor vehicles - 3.6%.
  • Accommodation services and restaurants - 4.3%.
  • Transport, storage, and communication - 6.5%.
  • Banking, insurance, and finance - 3.3%.
  • Business activities - 13.4%.
  • Public administration - 4.7%.
  • Education - 12.7%.
  • Health, welfare, and social services - 10.7%.
  • Community, social, and personal services - 4.6%.
  • Services for households by domestic personnel - 1.6%.

Of the approximately 7.59 million Israelis in 2010, about 76% were counted as Jewish, though some of those are not considered Jewish under Orthodox Jewish law.
Since 1989, nearly a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union have arrived in Israel, making this the largest wave of immigration since independence. In addition, an estimated 105,000 members of the Ethiopian Jewish community have immigrated to Israel, 14,000 of them during the dramatic May 1991 Operation Solomon airlift; 32.9% of Israelis were born outside of Israel.

The three broad Jewish groupings are:
  • The Ashkenazim, or Jews who trace their ancestry to western, central, and eastern Europe.
  • The Sephardim, who trace their origin to Spain, Portugal, southern Europe, and North Africa.
  • The Eastern or Oriental Jews, who descend from ancient communities in Islamic lands.
Of the non-Jewish population, about 68% are Muslims, about 9% are Christian, and about 7% are Druze.
Education is compulsory from age 6 to 16 and is free up to age 18. The school system is organized into kindergartens, 6-year primary schools, 3-year junior secondary schools, and 3-year senior secondary schools, after which a comprehensive examination is offered for university admissions.

There are seven university-level institutions in Israel, a number of regional colleges, and an Open University program.
With a population drawn from more than 100 countries on 5 continents, Israeli society is rich in cultural diversity and artistic creativity. The arts are actively encouraged and supported by the government.

The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra performs throughout the country and frequently tours abroad. The Jerusalem Symphony and the New Israel Opera also tour frequently, as do other musical ensembles. Almost every municipality has a chamber orchestra or ensemble, many boasting the talents of gifted performers from the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Source: www.states.org