TEL AVIV (Sep. 8)
Boosted by mass immigration from the Soviet Union, Israel’s population grew more in 5751 than in any single Jewish year in the last four decades.
The population was estimated by the Central Bureau of Statistics to have reached 5 million by Rosh Hashanah, including 4.1 million Jews, 695,000 Moslems, 120,000 Christians and 85,000 Druse.
The Jewish population rose last year by 256,000, about 85 percent of them new immigrants, mainly from the Soviet Union, with a smaller number from Ethiopia. The growth was 6.7 percent, the highest since the end of massive immigration from 1948 to 1951.
Some 350,000 Soviet immigrants have arrived since 1989.
Uri Gordon, head of the Jewish Agency’s Department of Immigration and Absorption, said over the weekend that an estimated 1 million new immigrants from the Soviet Union, expected over the next five years, would bring Israel’s total population to between 5 million and 6 million.
This would make Israel the world’s largest Jewish population center, replacing the United States.