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Demographics of Israel


Languages | Religion | Education | Summary

In 2012, Israel's population was an estimated 7,869,900 people, of whom 5,923,500 are Jews. Arab citizens of Israel comprise 20.5% of the country's total population.
Over the last decade, large numbers of migrant workers from Romania, Thailand, China, Africa and South America have settled in Israel. Exact figures are unknown, as many of them are living in the country illegally, but estimates run in the region of 200,000. As of April 2011, nearly 34,000 African refugees have entered Israel.
Retention of Israel's population since 1948 is about even or greater, when compared to other countries with mass immigration. Emigration from Israel (yerida) to other countries, primarily the United States and Canada, is described by demographers as modest, but is often cited by Israeli government ministries as a major threat to Israel's future.
As of 2009, over 300,000 Israeli citizens live in West Bank settlements such as Ma'ale Adumim and Ariel, and communities that predated the establishment of the State but were re-established after the Six-Day War, in cities such as Hebron and Gush Etzion. 18,000 Israelis live in Golan Heights settlements. In 2011, there were 250,000 Jews living in East Jerusalem. The total number of Israeli settlers is over 500,000 (6.5% of the Israeli population). Approximately 7,800 Israelis lived in settlements in the Gaza Strip, until they were evacuated by the government as part of its 2005 disengagement plan.
Israel was established as a homeland for the Jewish people and is often referred to as a Jewish state. The country's Law of Return grants all Jews and those of Jewish lineage the right to Israeli citizenship. Just over three quarters, or 75.5%, of the population are Jews from a diversity of Jewish backgrounds. Approximately 68% of Israeli Jews are Israeli-born, 22% are immigrants from Europe and the Americas, and 10% are immigrants from Asia and Africa (including the Arab World). Jews who left or fled Arab and Muslim countries and their descendants, known as Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews, constitute approximately 50% of Jewish Israelis. Jews from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and their Israeli-born descendants, or Ashkenazi Jews, form most of the rest of the Jewish population.



Languages

Israel has two official languages, Hebrew and Arabic. Hebrew is the primary language of the state and is spoken by the majority of the population, and Arabic is spoken by the Arab minority. Many Israelis communicate reasonably well in English, as many television programs are broadcast in this language and English is taught from the early grades in elementary school.
As a country of immigrants, many languages can be heard on the streets. Due to mass immigration from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia (some 120,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel), Russian and Amharic are widely spoken. Between 1990 and 1994, the Russian immigration increased Israel's population by twelve percent. More than one million Russian-speaking immigrants arrived in Israel from the former Soviet Union states between 1990 and 2004. French is spoken by around 700,000 Israelis, mostly originating from France and North Africa (see Maghrebi Jews).



Religion

Israel and the Palestinian territories comprise the major part of the Holy Land, a region of significant importances to all Abrahamic religions – Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baha'is. The religious affiliation of Israeli Jews varies widely: a social survey for those over the age of 20 indicates that 55% say they are "traditional", while 20% consider themselves "secular Jews", 17% define themselves as "Religious Zionists"; 8% define themselves as "Haredi Jews". While the ultra-Orthodox, or Haredim, represented only 5% of Israel's population in 1990, they are expected to represent more than one-fifth of Israel's Jewish population by 2028.
Making up 16% of the population, Muslims constitute Israel's largest religious minority. About 2% of the population are Christian and 1.5% are Druze. The Christian population primarily comprises Arab Christians, but also includes post-Soviet immigrants and the Foreign Labourers of multi-national origins and followers of Messianic Judaism, considered by most Christians and Jews to be a form of Christianity. Members of many other religious groups, including Buddhists and Hindus, maintain a presence in Israel, albeit in small numbers.
The city of Jerusalem is of special importance to Jews, Muslims and Christians as it is the home of sites that are pivotal to their religious beliefs, such as the Israeli-controlled Old City that incorporates the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Other locations of religious importance in Israel are Nazareth (holy in Christianity as the site of the Annunciation of Mary), Tiberias and Safed (two of the Four Holy Cities in Judaism), the White Mosque in Ramla (holy in Islam as the shrine of the prophet Saleh), and the Church of Saint George in Lod (holy in Christianity and Islam as the tomb of Saint George or Al Khidr).
A number of other religious landmarks are located in the West Bank, among them Joseph's tomb in Shechem, the birthplace of Jesus and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
The administrative center of the Bahá'í Faith and the Shrine of the Báb are located at the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa and the leader of the faith is buried in Acre. Apart from maintenance staff, there is no Bahá'í community in Israel, although it is a destination for pilgrimages. Bahá'í staff in Israel do not teach their faith to Israelis following strict policy.



Education

Israel has a school life expectancy of 15 years and a literacy rate of 97.1% according to the United Nations. The State Education Law, passed in 1953, established five types of schools: state secular, state religious, ultra orthodox, communal settlement schools, and Arab schools. The public secular is the largest school group, and is attended by the majority of Jewish and non-Arab pupils in Israel. Most Arabs send their children to schools where Arabic is the language of instruction.
Education is compulsory in Israel for children between the ages of three and eighteen.Schooling is divided into three tiers – primary school (grades 1–6), middle school (grades 7–9), and high school (grades 10–12) – culminating with Bagrut matriculation exams. Proficiency in core subjects such as mathematics, Bible, Hebrew language, Hebrew and general literature, English, history, and civics is necessary to receive a Bagrut certificate. In Arab, Christian and Druze schools, the exam on Biblical studies is replaced by an exam in Islam, Christianity or Druze heritage. In 2003, over half of all Israeli twelfth graders earned a matriculation certificate. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv University are ranked among the world's top 100 universities by the Times Higher Education. Israel ranks third in the world in the number of academic degrees per capita (20 percent of the population).

Source: Wikipedia.com
See also: Wikipedia - Demographics of Israel




Summary


  • Population (2010 est.): 7.59 million.
  • Annual population growth rate (2009 est.): 1.7%.
  • Ethnic groups: Jews 76.2%; Arabs 19.5%; other 4.3%.
  • Religions: Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Druze.

Languages: Hebrew (official), Arabic (official), English, Russian.

Education: Years compulsory--11. Literacy--96.9% (female 95.6%; male 98.3%).

Health: Infant mortality rate (2009 est.)--4.22/1,000 births. Life expectancy at birth--80.73 years; female 82.95 years, male 78.62 years.


Work force (3.02 million; Central Bureau for Statistics, 2009):
  • Agriculture - 2.1%.
  • Manufacturing - 16.2%.
  • Electricity and water supply - 0.8%.
  • Construction - 5.4%.
  • Trade and repair of motor vehicles - 3.6%.
  • Accommodation services and restaurants - 4.3%.
  • Transport, storage, and communication - 6.5%.
  • Banking, insurance, and finance - 3.3%.
  • Business activities - 13.4%.
  • Public administration - 4.7%.
  • Education - 12.7%.
  • Health, welfare, and social services - 10.7%.
  • Community, social, and personal services - 4.6%.
  • Services for households by domestic personnel - 1.6%.


Of the approximately 7.59 million Israelis in 2010, about 76% were counted as Jewish, though some of those are not considered Jewish under Orthodox Jewish law.
Since 1989, nearly a million immigrants from the former Soviet Union have arrived in Israel, making this the largest wave of immigration since independence. In addition, an estimated 105,000 members of the Ethiopian Jewish community have immigrated to Israel, 14,000 of them during the dramatic May 1991 Operation Solomon airlift; 32.9% of Israelis were born outside of Israel.


The three broad Jewish groupings are:
  • The Ashkenazim, or Jews who trace their ancestry to western, central, and eastern Europe.
  • The Sephardim, who trace their origin to Spain, Portugal, southern Europe, and North Africa.
  • The Eastern or Oriental Jews, who descend from ancient communities in Islamic lands.
Of the non-Jewish population, about 68% are Muslims, about 9% are Christian, and about 7% are Druze.
Education is compulsory from age 6 to 16 and is free up to age 18. The school system is organized into kindergartens, 6-year primary schools, 3-year junior secondary schools, and 3-year senior secondary schools, after which a comprehensive examination is offered for university admissions.

There are seven university-level institutions in Israel, a number of regional colleges, and an Open University program.
With a population drawn from more than 100 countries on 5 continents, Israeli society is rich in cultural diversity and artistic creativity. The arts are actively encouraged and supported by the government.

The Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra performs throughout the country and frequently tours abroad. The Jerusalem Symphony and the New Israel Opera also tour frequently, as do other musical ensembles. Almost every municipality has a chamber orchestra or ensemble, many boasting the talents of gifted performers from the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Source: www.states.org



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