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Israelis / Photo credit: Avivi. Wikipedia commons

On Israel’s 68th birthday, its population has reached some 8.522 million, as compared with 806 thousand when the Jewish State was established, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

Jews account for 74.8% of the overall population, with about 6.377 million. Arabs constitute 20.8% with some 1.771 million. Non-Arab Christians, members of other faiths and unaffiliated non-Jews are 4.4% with some 374 thousand citizens.


Israel has increased by 182 thousand citizens since last year, a growth of 2.2%. In this period some 195 thousand babies were born and about 47 thousand people died. In addition, about 36 thousand olim arrived in the Jewish State.

Some 75% of Israeli Jews are “Sabra,” native-born, and at least half of them are second generation natives. Back in 1948 only 35% of Israeli Jews were native-born.

In 1948 there was only one city in Israel — Tel Aviv — with more than 100,000 residents. Today there are 14 such populous cities, out of which 8 hold more than 200,000: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Rishon L’Tzion, Petah Tikvah, Ashdod, Netanya, and Be’Er Sheva.

According to the CBS prediction, in 2035 Israel will reach 11.3 million citizens.

Here are a few Then and Now stats, courtesy of the CBS:

In 1948 there were 11.5 Jews in the world, out of whom 6% lived in Israel — today there are 14.3 million, out of whom 43% live in Israel.

In 1948 there were 806,000 Jews in Israel — today there are 8.522 million.

In 1948 Israel’s annual GDP (in 2015 rates) was $6.66 billion. Today we are happy to report things have become much better, with the GDP reaching $294 billion.

Back in 1948 Israel’s annual per capita GDP (in 2015 rates) was a measly $5.25 thousand — today, folks, it’s $35.10 thousand.

Unemployment in 1948 reached 7.2% of the available workforce, today it has gone down to 5.3% (of course, a lot of stuff has happened in between).

In 1948 Israelis spent 42% of their income on food — today only about 16.2%.

Household appliances: in 1948 only 12% of Israelis owned washing machines, it’s up to 96%; in 1957 57% owned an icebox, 37% owned a refrigerator — today 99.9% own refrigerators, some of which give Internet, but the ice cube maker is broken; in 1963 13% of Israelis had a telephone at home — today 73% have a landline phone (those numbers are in steep decline) and 96% own at least one cellphone.

Cars: in 1951 there were 34,103 cars on Israel’s roads — in 2014 the CBS counted 2,966,727 cars, or 87 times the 1951 figure. Thankfully, Israel’s road testers have been on strike for almost three months and so the number of new Israeli drivers has been checked for a while.

Trains: in 1950 1,557,000 rode Israel’s train, in 2014 48,541,000 rode it, 31 times the 1950 figure.

Higher education: in 1949/50 there were 1,600 students in Israeli universities and fewer than 200 diplomas were awarded. In 2014/15 there were 310,000 students out of whom 72.5 thousand received academic titles.

But there’s one sad component in these CBS stats: on election day January 21, 1949, a whopping 86.9% of eligible voters participated in the first Knesset elections; on March 17, 2015 only 72.3% did. Israel still beats the US by double digits, but we’d like to see the voting increase in both countries.

See you next year with even happier stats!


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  1. NO OTHER COUNTRY IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANKIND HAS DONE SO MUCH, ACCOMPLISHED & BUILT SO MUCH WITHIN A SHORT TIME SPAN WITH SO LITTLE , they took away some 90 percent of YIsrael and created Jordan, leaving the Jews with mostly desert and the 2 driest place in the world. Before 1897 it was a barren desert, before 1948 like a third world country. The coast and the negev, where most Israelis live today, was mostly desert with a small number of bedouins living in mud huts and tents. Mark Twain visited Israel in 1867, and published his impressions in Innocents Abroad. He described a desolate country – devoid of both vegetation and human population:
    “….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”
    In the 1880s, when Zionist pioneers began to arrive from Europe, the region (then called Southern Syria) was an underdeveloped backwater of the Ottoman Empire.

  2. This is truly magnificient, mind boggling and as other commenters pointed out all while constantly fighting for existence against brutal enemies.

    If we could wish for anything more is basically securing the future by increasing the "internal cohesion" in between the very diverse, culturally, nationally, spiritually different parts.
    Fortunately this is the Nation with the appropriate method.

    After all the original Nation was established upon "supernatural" – above differences, above diversity, despite unfounded hatred – unity and mutual guarantee.
    As long as each Jew commits to "all of Israel are responsible for one another" this miraculous success story will continue unabated.

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