Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Israel at 62: Growing and Thriving


Jerusalem - This week, Israel celebrated its 62nd birthday. Israel Independence Day always lends itself to the people of Israel gaining some needed perspective.

When the state was established, the population of Israel was 806,000.

At its 62nd Independence Day, Israel has ave grown to 7,587,000 people.

Moreover, on the eve of its 62nd Independence Day, Israel leads the entire Western world in economic growth.

Data published by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics indicates that the Jewish population is currently 5,726,000 (75.5 percent of the entire population), the Arab population is 1,548,000 (20.4 percent), and the others, including immigrants and their descendants who are not registered as Jews at the Ministry of the Interior, number approximately 313,000 (4.1 percent).

Since Israel Independence Day of last year, 159,000 babies were born and 37,000 people have died; 16,000 people immigrated to Israel and were joined by approximately 9,000 citizens, who come to Israel for reasons of family reunification. In all, the population has grown by approximately 1.8 percent over the past twelve months.

If, in 1948, there was only one city in Israel that had more than 100,000 inhabitants- The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality - today, there are fourteen such cities, of which six have more than 200,000: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Ashdod and Petah Tikva.

In the last quarter of 2009, growth in Israel reached 4.8 percent-more than twice and even three times the rate of growth in most countries of the Western world. In the business sector, growth even reached five percent during that quarter, close to the rate of growth on the eve of the economic crisis that broke out in mid-2008.

Statistics published by the Central Bureau of Statistics indicate that the standard of living in Israel is increasing significantly. Per-capita expenditure increased by five percent at the end of 2009, which says that Israelis spent more money in order to buy cars (an increase of 4.7 percent in annual terms), and electrical appliances and entertainment (an increase of 6.3 percent). Spending on clothing and shoes, medications, housing and travel abroad rose in the fourth quarter of 2009 by 2.5 percent in annual terms. During the same period, there was an increase of 47.3 percent in exports and services from Israel.

Estimates of economists at the International Monetary Fund are that Israel’s rate of economic growth is ranked third in the world, behind China and India and ahead of Turkey and the United States.

See this report in the Philadelphia Bulletin
See this report at Israel Behind the News

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