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6 Million People Live in Israel, Up 2.3 Percent from Last Year

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Israel’s population totals 6 million, a 2.3 percent increase over the previous year, according to totals released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on the eve of the nation’s 51st Independence Day.

Jerusalem remains the country’s largest city, with 632,000 residents, followed by Tel Aviv, with just over half that number, according to the bureau. Jewish residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip total 172,000.

The bureau registered a decline in the number of immigrants who arrived in Israel during the past year — 55,000, down from the 67,000 who arrived here between the 1997 and 1998 Independence Days.

From a global standpoint, Israel’s 4.8 million Jews account for 36 percent of the world’s 13.1 million Jews, according to a study released this week by Hebrew University’s department of contemporary Jewry.

In 1948, there were 650,000 Jews in Israel — 6 percent of the world’s 11.5 million Jews, the study reported. By the early 1970s the approximately 2.6 million Jews in Israel accounted for 21 percent of world Jewry, which totaled about 12.6 million.

The study projected that in the coming years most young Jews will live in Israel. Currently, half of Jews under the age of 5 live in Israel. Among Jews between the ages of 5 and 15, 43 percent live in Israel.

The study indicated that the gap grows larger as age increases. Among Jews 75 and older, for example, 22 percent live in Israel.

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