A study released this week shows that there has been an increase in Israel’s Jewish population, and it predicts that this trend will continue in the coming years.
The study, which was conducted by Yaakov Faitelson, brings statistics by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS), which show that the Jewish population in the State of Israel reached 5,802,000 in 2010, a figure which exceeds by 234,500 the estimate of the ICBS 2007 projection for the year 2010. By the end of 2010 the expanded Jewish population in Israel totaled 6,122,000.
At the same time, notes the study, the Israeli Arab population reached 1,573,000, a figure which is 28,000 less than the high estimate and 500 less than the low estimate of the ICBS forecast for 2010.
Faitelson also notes the increase in the number of olim to Israel in 2010 - more than 19,000 new immigrants came to Israel in 2010, up 16 percent from 2009 and 39 percent from 2008. The largest percentage of immigrants are from the former USSR (7,300), followed by North America (3,980 olim).
The highest growth rate of immigration to Israel in 2010 was from Venezuela at 280 percent more than in 2009, followed by Belgium with 63 percent more olim than in 2009; India with 60 percent; the Baltic countries with 50 percent; Australia and New Zealand with 48 percent; and Switzerland with 30 percent.
The study also notes the Jewish natural population increase, which has grown consistently from 48,440 in 1995 to 86,621 in 2010, an increase of 79 percent. At the same time, the Muslim natural increase grew by only 5 percent, from 31,873 in 1999 to 33,549 in 2001. Since then, notes the study, it has seen a consistent decrease of 3.4 percent, reaching 32,401 in 2010.
Looking at all Israeli Arabs, their natural increase stood at 36,007 in 2010, compared to 37,787 in 2001 (down by 4.7 percent). During the last decade, the Jewish rate of natural increase (RNI) went up by 23 percent, while the RNI of Israel’s Arab citizens went down by 30 percent.
The study also notes a decrease in Arab births in comparison to Jewish births in 2010. While 125,119 children were born into the expanded Jewish population in Israel in 2010, marking an increase of 31 percent, a total of 40,154 children were born in the Arab sector in 2010 versus 40,831 children born in 2000, a mere 1.7 percent decrease.
The study concludes with Faitelson’s forecast for the future. He believes that the Jewish share of Israel’s population may decrease to its lowest point of 79.2 percent in 2015, but after that point it may begin to rise towards 82.2 percent of the total population of Israeli citizens in 2050.
The Arab population of Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip will likely climb to 2,818,000 by 2030 and then begin to drop towards 2,500,000 in 2050, says Faitelson.
Finally, he says that the Arab percentage of all of Greater Israel's population may reach 41 percent in 2010 and then gradually decline to 31.2 percent of the Israeli population by 2050.