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Monday, April 26, 2004

Israel Today

Haaretz: Israel's population has climbed to 6.78 million people on the eve of the country's 56th Independence Day, 8.4 times more people than at the first Independence Day in 1948.

Of Israel's population, some 81 percent are Jewish, while 19 percent are Arab. Of the country's Jewish citizens, 66 percent were born in Israel, and 34 percent were born abroad. In 1948, the numbers were reversed, with only 35 percent of Jews born in the country.

Jerusalem is the largest city, with 692,000 residents - 464,000 Jewish and 228,000 Arab.

Some 30 percent of Israel's population, or 1.5 million people, were born in Israel to a family in which the father was born in Israel, and 1.2 million people were born in Israel to a father born in the former Soviet Union. Morocco is the country of origin of about 500,000 Israelis, another 245,000 are from Iraq, 240,000 are from Romania, and 220,000 are from Poland.

Since last Independence Day, some 144,000 babies were born in Israel and 21,000 immigrants came to the country. Slightly more than half of this year's immigrants hail from the former Soviet Union, 2,600 are from Ethiopia, 1,800 are from France, 1,600 are from the United States, and 1,200 are from Argentina.