THE LEVANT NEWS — Israel’s population will stand at 8.4 million Sunday, with 158,000 people added to the rolls from last September, including the highest number of immigrants in over a decade, according to figures released by the government Tuesday.
The numbers, which show the country’s populace expected to exceed 10 million within the next 10 to 15 years, were released ahead of the Jewish new year as part of an annual tally.
Israel experienced a population growth rate of almost 2% during the Jewish year, consistent with previous years, according to the data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Jews make up close to three-quarters of the population at 6.3 million residents, while Israel’s 1.75 million Arabs make up one-fifth of the population. Those of other backgrounds, including non-Arab Christians and those not categorized as members of a religious group by the Population Ministry, make up less than 5% of the population at 366,000 people.
The country’s birthrate was four times that of the death rate, with 168,000 babies being born during the past Jewish year and 42,000 people dying.
The past year showed the highest number of new immigrants coming to the country since 2002, with one-quarter of the 28,000 new citizens coming from Ukraine, one-quarter from France, one-fifth from Russia and close to one-tenth from the US.
Since the eruption of a deadly civil conflict in Ukraine’s east, aliyah figures have increased dramatically, and during the last 18 months, more Ukrainians moved to Israel from than during the preceding five years, according to an August report from the Jewish Agency.
French Jews have also moved to Israel in increasing numbers amid an uptick in anti-Semitic attacks, including a deadly attack in a kosher supermarket by an Islamist gunman that left four shoppers dead.
In response to the attacks, Israeli politicians have called on French Jews to immigrate to Israel.
The report did not include foreign migrants and workers, which numbered 192,000 people at the end of 2014.
Source: Times of Israel