Israel at 65: Population tops 8 million

Annual census stats show increase of 137,000 citizens since last year; number of Jewish residents tops 6 million for first time

Illustrative: Children wave Israeli flags on last year's Independence Day. (photo credit: Yehoshua Yosef /Flash90)
Illustrative: Children wave Israeli flags on last year's Independence Day. (photo credit: Yehoshua Yosef /Flash90)

Israel’s population at its 65th Independence Day stands at 8,018,000 people, three-fourths of whom are Jewish, according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Sunday.

The annual census revealed that the population grew by 137,000 citizens, or 1.8 percent, since the 2012 report.

This year marks the first time the Jewish population tops the iconic 6 million number, at 6.04 million. The Jewish residents of Israel make up 75.3% of the population. There are approximately 1.6 million Israeli Arabs (20.7%). Members of other religions, including non-Arab Christians, make up 4% of the population, or 318,000.

“Six million Jews perished in the … Holocaust.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at last week’s Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony. “Today, for the first time since the establishment of the State, more than six million Jews live in the State of Israel.  You, the citizens of Israel, are the testament to our victory.  From the abyss of the Holocaust, we climbed to the peak of Zion.  From a deep pit, we rose to a pinnacle. “

At the same ceremony, President Shimon Peres noted that nevertheless “the Jewish people today are fewer in number than on the eve of World War II. We decreased in number, but not in spirit. We are working with all our might to fill the void.”

According to the report, in the last year, 163,000 babies were born in Israel; 41,000 people died; and 19,500 people immigrated to the country from abroad.

Upon its establishment in 1948, Israel’s population totaled 806,000. At that time, Tel Aviv-Jaffa was the only Israeli city with more than 100,000 residents. Today, there 14 cities with more than 100,000 residents, and six with more than 200,000.

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