Israel's Population Crosses 8 Million Mark

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel's population now numbers more than 8 million, with Jews making up 75 percent of the total, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported on the eve of the nation's 65th Independence Day.

According to the report, Israel's Jewish population has reached the highly symbolic figure of 6 million, the same number of Jews who perished during the Nazi Holocaust.

The report shows 75.3 percent of Israel's population is Jewish, while 1.66 million Israeli Arabs account for 20.7 percent.

The remaining 4 percent, numbering 318,000, are Christians who are not Arabs and spouses and children of Israeli Jews who are not considered Jewish under halacha (Jewish religious law). Only children whose mothers are Jewish are counted as Jews.

Some additional statistics in this year's report show that 70 percent of the population is Israeli born.

The population in 2013 is has increased tenfold since May 14, 1948, when the modern nation-state of Israel was established.

Fourteen Israeli cities have populations exceeding 100,000. Ten percent of Israelis (804,000) live in the nation's capital, Jerusalem, while 5 percent (404,000) live in Tel Aviv.

Although immigration to the Jewish state has slowed somewhat, still about 20,000 Jews make aliyah (immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return) annually, factoring into a 1.8 percent annual growth rate.

The number of births is four times the number of deaths, with the average life expectancy in Israel among the highest in the world.

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