Israel’s Jewish fertility on the rise


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Birth rates among Israel’s Jews are on the rise compared with those of Arab citizens, population data reveal.

Yediot Achronot published a report Wednesday showing that over the last decade, the Jewish birth rate in Israel has grown by nearly 20 percent while the Muslim and Christian rates have fallen by 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

The findings, which the newspaper said came from the Interior Ministry’s Population and Immigration Authority, offset widespread concerns that Israel’s 80 percent Jewish majority is threatened by population growth among Arab citizens and Palestinians in the West Bank.

The Interior Ministry had no immediate comment on the report.

According to Yediot, 69 percent of births in 2001 were Jewish, 28 percent Muslim and 1.9 percent Christian. By contrast, in 2010 the respective birth figures for the ethnic groups were 76 percent, 22 percent and 1.3 percent.

Israeli Arabs tend to have large families, but this has changed along with the sector’s economic elevation into the middle class. A growing number of religious Jews, meanwhile, has perpetuated higher Jewish fertility.

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