On the 56th anniversary of Israel’s independence, the population of Israel numbers about 6,780,000. 1 At the time of the establishment of the State, the population of Israel was estimated at about 806,000.
81% of the Israeli population consists of “Jews and others”. Of that population, 5,180,000 are registered as Jewish, and 290,000 are immigrants and their offspring who are not registered as Jewish at the Ministry of the Interior. 19% of the Israeli population is Arab. These figures were reported by the Central Bureau of Statistics, based on provisional data that were processed especially in preparation for Independence Day.
Large Localities in Israel
Jerusalem, the capital city, is the largest city in Israel. Today, the population of Jerusalem is 692,0002 (464,000 “Jews and others” and 228,000 Arabs).
Today, 14 localities in Israel have over 100,000 residents, most of whom are situated in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. In 1948, Tel Aviv-Jaffa was the only city with over 100,000 residents, and today it has a population of 364,300 (In 1948, 30% of the Israeli population resided in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, compared with about 5% today).
Haifa, the third largest city in Israel and the largest city in the northern region, has 270,500 residents, compared with 100,000 when the state was established.
The 14 large localities in Israel include some of the first moshavot (agricultural towns) that were established in the 1880s, when Jewish settlement of the land of Israel began. For example, the moshavaRishon LeZiyyon (which had 11,000 residents when the state was established), became the fourth largest city in Israel in 2000, with a population of over 200,000. The “mother of moshavot”, Petah Tikva, has also grown substantially since the establishment of the state, and its current population numbers 174,000. The former moshavaRehovot has over 100,000 residents. Ashdod has 192,000 residents today, and its population expected to grow to over 200,000 in the next two years. The population of Beersehva, capital of the Negev, is also approaching 200,000.
Of “Jews and others” today, about 66% are Israeli-born, and another 34% were born abroad. When the state was established, the situation was reverse: about 35% of the Jews were Israeli-born, and the rest were born abroad. However, today only about 30% of all residents of Israel (1.5 million residents) were born in the country to an Israeli-born father.
The country of origin5 of about 1,200,000 Israelis is the Former Soviet Union (i.e., they were born in the Former Soviet Union or their father was born in the Former Soviet Union). About half a million Israelis are of Moroccan origin, about 245,000 Israelis are of Iraqi origin, 240,000 are of Romanian origin, and about 220,000 Israelis are of Polish origin.
Over the past year, 144,000 infants were born in Israel. In addition, about 21,000 immigrants arrived in the country. About 11,000 of the immigrants arrived from the Former Soviet Union, 2,600 from Ethiopia, 1,800 from France, 1,600 from the United States, and 1,200 from Argentina.
1 This population estimate does not include foreign residents of Israel. The foreign resident population was estimated at the end of 2002 at about 238,000 persons (some of whom stayed in Israel for less than a year).