JERUSALEM (Oct. 31)
The marriage business is in a slump but divorce is booming in Israel according to the 1976 “Statistical Abstract” published by the Central Bureau of Statistics yesterday. About 29,500 marriages were performed last year compared to 32,300 the year before, a decline of nine percent. But divorces were up more than nine percent in the same period and the fewer-weddings-more-divorces trend is expected to continue this year.
Married couples are also having fewer children. According to the published figures, the average Israeli family dropped from 3.9 to 3.7 persons during the past 12 years.
This poses a serious problem for advocates of population growth. The latest census recorded a total population of 3,636,000 of which 3,065,000 were Jews. Natural increase is expected to add about 75,000 to the population this year, about the same as last year. Immigration this year is estimated at 20,000 but 15,000 are expected to leave the country, a net increase of population through immigration of only 5000. The Bureau of Statistics also reported that the largest Jewish ethnic group in Israel is Moroccan, numbering 428,000. The second largest consists of 346,000 Jews of Polish origin.