Last updated: 2 May, 2014

Israel’s population grows to around 8.2 million

Israel’s population has grown to around 8.2 million, the Central Bureau of Statistics said, in data released as the Jewish state prepared to mark the 66th anniversary of its foundation.

“The population of Israel, on the eve of Independence Day 2014, is approximately 8,180,000 people,” the bureau said in a statement posted Thursday on its website and reported in Friday’s newspapers.

Over the past year the population grew by 157,000 people, or two percent, with the proportion of Jews to Arabs largely the same, the statement said.

Jews represent 75 percent of the population at 6,135,000 people, while the Arab minority accounts for 20.7 percent, or 1,694,000 people.

The report did not give a breakdown of the Arab population along Muslim and Christian lines.

But it said that there are 351,000 Israeli residents of “other religions”, generally non-Jewish immigrants and their children, who make up 4.3 percent of the population.

The Central Bureau of Statistics counts among Israel’s residents the roughly 270,000 Palestinians living in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed in a move not recognised by the international community.

Tuesday marks the official celebration of the anniversary of the declaration of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948.

Israelis mark the day according to the Jewish calendar, which this year places the holiday on May 6. Palestinians mark the occasion on May 15, when they commemorate the Nakba, or “catastrophe” of the creation of Israel, which sparked the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians