JERUSALEM (May. 19)
Israel has a population of roughly 4.3 million, 82.3 percent Jewish, according to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics last week as the nation began its 39th year of independence.
The population includes 3.5 million Jews; 580,000 Moslems; 102,000 Christians and 73,000 Druze and others. Non-Jews represent 17.6 percent of the population. But their birthrate is growing by 2.7 percent annually compared to 1.6 percent for the Jewish population.
The population grew by about 700,000 over the past decade, 500,000 of whom are Jews. The Jewish population doubled in the last 20 years and since the establishment of the State in 1948 increase more than five fold.