TEL AVIV (Sep. 27)
Israel’s population grew by some 3 percent during the past Jewish year and now stands at 5.155 million, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.
That is less than half the 6.3 percent growth rate of the previous year. The slower rate was attributed mainly to the decline in emigration from the republics of the former Soviet Union.
The bureau said that about 50 percent of the population rise was due to natural increase, with the other half due to net immigration (immigrants minus emigrants).
Immigration during 5752 dropped to some 92,000, down from the peak of 235,000 recorded during the previous Jewish year. About 82 percent of the newcomers were from the Soviet successor states, with another 8 percent from Ethiopia.
The country’s Jewish population, which now stands at 4.22 million, grew by 2.9 percent last year, compared to 6.7 percent in 5751 – an increase of about 118,000 people. Some 60 percent of this rise was due to net immigration.
The current population is 81.9 percent Jewish, 13.9 percent Moslem, 2.4 percent Christian and 1.7 percent Druse.