Israeli Jews now number 6 million, Palestinians will exceed Jews by 2020


A new report says Israel's Jewish population has exceeded six million while Palestinians number 5.8 million.


Gali Tibbon

Israel's Jewish population has reached six million people for the first time.

The six million mark is symbolic for Israelis as that's the amount of Jews that were killed during the Holocaust.

The Guardian reported that the Israeli statistics bureau released figures this week that put the total population of Israel at 7.98 million.

That means the Israeli population has increased ten-fold since its founding in 1948.

About three quarters of the population is Jewish, with 20 percent Arab and the rest defined as "other."

"It's a great joy to know there are more than 6 million Jews in Israel," said Dina Porat, chief historian of Yad Vashem, according to the Guardian.

"But worldwide we are still in the same place. Before the Holocaust there were around 18 million Jews in the world; after it, a bit more than 13 million. We are still at a bit more than 13 million. But now Israel's Jewish population is close to half the Jewish nation worldwide. It puts Israel in a very central place. We are almost the only Jewish community that is growing."

Other statistics that were released this week by the Palestinian statistics bureau predict that by 2016, Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza will be equal to the number of Jews in Israel.

They say that number will be exceeded in 2020.

The Palestinian birth rate was 4.4 in 2009, down from 6.0 about a decade earlier.

The Israeli birth rate is currently 3.0, reported Ynet News.

Demographics are playing an increasingly important role in the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

As the Palestinian population grows, many say that Israeli Jews will one day have a population greater than themselves under occupation.