Population of Israel – Religions and minorities
On May 1948 Israel had been announced as an Independent Jewish state on the Holy Land of Israel. Its Jewish population that day was only about 600,000 people.
Until that day, the Jewish people had no country and they were scattered around the world within the local population, but Jerusalem remained the Holy City every one wished to visit one day and see its glory resumed.
Since that day, Israel began ingathering the exiles – all the Jewish people around the world were welcomed to make an “Aliya” (immigrating to Israel) and make the Jewish state a dream come true. One of the biggest immigration waves happened between years 1989-1991 from former Soviet Union – about 1.5 million Jews. That wave had a big influence on the Israeli social fabric in many aspects.
As a result of the massive investment in welcoming Jewish immigrants and developing the country, the population of Israel grew more than ten times and nowadays it reaches more than 8 million inhabitants.
As a Jewish state, the vast majority of the population is Jewish (more than 75%), though it divided to several streams: secularists (~43%), religious (~38%) and orthodox (~19%).
75% of the orthodox population is concentrated in tow big cities: Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. The other 25% live mainly in small dedicated villages across the country. The reason to that segregation by choice is the unique rituals and way of living, which differs much from the secularists’ and even the religious’.
The biggest minority in Israel, more than 20% of the population, are Arabs. Same as the Jews, they are religiously divided: 83% of them are Muslims, 9% are Christians, and 8% are Druze.
The Arab population in Israel concentrates in few specific areas (the biggest are Galilee, Upper Triangle, Lower Triangle and the Negev) but also in mixed cities as Jaffa, Jerusalem and Haifa.
Another 4% of the Israeli population is defined as “Others”. That category include 1.3% Caucasians, 0.9% Armenians, 0.1% Samaritans, 0.05% non-Arab Christians, and many more small minorities.
As a migration-based country, the spoken languages in Israel are varied – many “Olim” keep speaking their mother-tongue language (as Russian, French, English, Amharic etc.) along with Hebrew or Arabic.