World Jewish News
Israel's population reaches 8.4 million, 29,500 new immigrants
Israel's population has reached 8.412 million people, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced ahead of Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year.
The population grew by 158,000, a 1.9% increase since last year.
It includes 6.3 million Jews (74.9%), 1.746 million Arabs (20.7%), and 366,000 (4.4%) residents registered as other.
According to the forecasts, Israel's population will reach 10 million between 2025-2030.
During the past year, 42,000 people died and 168,000 babies were born in Israel.
About 29,500 new olim immigrated to Israel from 97 different countries in the past Jewish year – a rise of about 13 percent when compared to the year before (26,000), according to statistics published by the ministry of immigrant absorption and the Jewish agency.
The two leading countries as far as number of olim are France (7,350) and Ukraine (6,900). The number of olim from Russia grew by 23 percent, to 5,900. About 690 olim came from Britain, 400 from Italy, and around 290 from Belgium.
North America saw about 3,600 immigrants to leave for Israel, with 1,200 coming from Latin America.
About 690 olim came from Britain, 400 from Italy, and around 290 from Belgium.
"These figures, showing a significant rise in number of olim, corroborate the overall idea that 2015 is turning out to be this decade's record year as far as number of olim," said Israeli Minister of Immigrant Absorption Ze'ev Elkin.
"We estimate that at this rate, we will reach 30,000-35,000 by the end of 2015. This is a window of opportunity that Israel must not miss. We stand before a fascinating challenge and must both take care of absorbing the olim in the best way, and increase activities that promote aliyah."
Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said, "In recent years, the vast majority of olim are coming from democratic states. These olim's free choice to live in Israel, and preference for it over other countries, is the real victory of Zionism."