Israel will celebrate its 66th Independence Day with 8,180,000 citizens, according to an annual demographics report. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the Jewish population stood at 6,135,000 – or 75 percent of the population. The Arab population numbered at 1,694,000 (20.7 percent), while non-Arab Christians and other minorities made up 4.3 percent of the population at 351,000 citizens. The Israeli population grew by 157,000 – about 2 percent – over the last year. During that period 178,000 babies were born in Israel and 42,000 people passed away. The number of people who made aliyah in the past year stood at nearly 24,000.
At the end of 2012, about 75 percent of the Jewish population was “sabra” – natives of Israel, at least half of whom are second generation – compared to 35 percent in 1948. The entire founding population of the nascent state numbered at 806,000 residents. In that pivotal year, there was only one city in Israel with over 100,000 residents – Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
Today, 14 cities have a population greater than 100,000, including six that top 200,000: Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Ashdod, and Petah Tikva.