Israeli Population Passes 8.5 Million

YERUSHALAYIM -

Almost 68 years after its founding, the state of Israel announced that its population now stands at 8,522,000, according to figures released Monday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

There are 6,377,000 Jewish Israelis, 74.8% of the total population, and 1,771,000 Arab Israelis, 20.8% of the population, the bureau said. Christians, non-Arabs, and other minority groups account for 374,000 people, or 4.4% of the population.

By comparison, in 1948 the as-yet undeclared state had a population of just 806,000 in 1948.

Israel’s Independence Day begins with celebrations on Wednesday night, following immediately after Memorial Day for its fallen soldiers and terror victims.

In the 12 months since last Independence Day, the population increased by 182,000 people, a growth of 2.2%, the CBS said. During that period, 195,000 babies were born, 47,000 people passed away and some 36,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel. There are also some 192,000 foreigners in the country, based on figures from 2014.

The vehicular population has also grown. In 1951, there were a mere 34,103 cars tooling about, while in 2014 there were 2,965,727 on Israel’s roadways, where bottlenecks are a chronic problem.

Other modern conveniences have likewise proliferated. While in 1956/1957 only 12 percent of Israelis had washing machines, today 96 percent do.