JERUSALEM (Jan. 3)
The population of Israel fell only 2,000 short of the three million mark at the end of 1970. Of the total, Jews numbered, 2,559,500, according to statistics released yesterday by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The Bureau reported that the Jewish birth rate was rising and that two-thirds of the Jewish population growth last year was due to natural increase. The Jewish birthrate climbed to 24 per 1,000 in 1970 compared to 23.4 in 1969 and 22.8 in 1968. But the Jewish birthrate is still only half as high as the birth rate of Arabs in Israel. The Ministry of Tourism reported today that a record 436,700 tourists visited Israel last year compared to 409,000 the year before. Eighty-seven percent of the tourists came by air.