The Central Bureau of Statistics estimates Israel’s population at 6.8 million, including 5.2 million Jews, and 287,000 new immigrants and their families who immigrated under the Law of Return, but who are not registered as Jews. 1.3 million Arabs, mostly Muslims, amounting to 19% of the population live in Israel.
Israel’s population grew by 110,000 over the past year, an increase of only 1.6%, compared with 1.8% growth in the preceding year and average annual growth of 2% in the 1990s.
22,000 people immigrated to Israel during the past year, down sharply, compared with 27,000 in the preceding year. Half of the immigrants were from the former Soviet Union. 3,400 immigrants, 15% of the total, came from Ethiopia, and 9% were from France.
There were 143,000 births in Israel last year, 6,000 more than in the preceding year. 189,000 foreign workers currently reside in Israel, of whom 62,000 have work permits from the Israel National Employment Service (INES). The others are illegal workers.
Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on September 13, 2004