Yesha Growth Rate Outstrips Rest of Country

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -
A general view picture shows houses in the Israeli city of Maale Adumim, Tuesday. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

The population of Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron surged by more than 3% in 2019, well above the growth rate of Israel’s overall population, an Israeli demographer said Tuesday. It predicted even higher growth this year, thanks to a nascent building boom made possible by friendly policies of the Trump administration.

The data, released ahead of President Donald Trump’s long-awaited peace plan, indicate that evacuating communities is no longer a viable option for international peacemakers, said Baruch Gordon, director of West Bank Jewish Population Stats.

“We’re here and we’re not going anywhere,” he said.

His group, using official Interior Ministry data, said the population in the region rose to 463,353 people as of Jan. 1, up 3.1% from 449,508 a year earlier. In comparison, Israel’s overall population rose 1.9% in 2019 to 9,136,000 people, according to official figures.

Those figures do not include an estimated 300,000 Jewish Israelis living in eastern Yerushalayim.

It generally takes several years for construction to go through the planning process and win the necessary bureaucratic approvals. With many projects in the pipeline, the population is expected to continue rising.

“The numbers are exploding right now,” said Gordon. “That will be apparent in next year’s report and the year after that.”