Israel's Population on Independence Day Is 6.8 Million

On the eve of Independence Day, Israel's population stands at 6,780,000, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Of these, about 81 percent are Jewish - 5,180,000 are registered as Jews and 290,000 are immigrants who are not registered as Jews with the Interior Ministry - and 19 percent of the population is Arab.

Jerusalem is Israel's largest and most populated city, with 692,000 residents, of which 464,000 are Jewish and 288,888 are Arab.

There are 14 cities in Israel with a population greater than 100,000 and most are located in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. In 1948 the only city with a population greater than 100,000 was Tel Aviv-Jaffa, which today has a population of 364,300.

Haifa is Israel's third largest city with a population of 270,500. The city had a population of less than 100,000 in 1948.

Among the 14 largest cities in the country are several of the first communities built by Jews who immigrated in the 1880s. Rishon Letzion, the first such community, is Israel's fourth largest city today with over 200,000 residents. In 1948 it and a population of 11,000 residents.

Two other pioneer communities, Petah Tikva and Rehovot, also grew tremendously since 1948 and today have populations of 174,000 and 100,000, respectively.

Sixty-six percent of Israel's Jews were born in Israel. The figures were reversed In 1948, when 35 percent of the Jewish population was native. About 30 percent of Jewish residents (1.5 million) were born to a native Israeli father.

About 1.2 million residents were born in the former Soviet Union, or to a father who was born in the former Soviet Union. Some 500,000 of Israel's residents claim Moroccan ancestry, 245,000 claim Iraqi ancestry, 240,000 claim Romanian ancestry and 220,000 claim Polish ancestry.

In the past year 144,000 babies were born in Israel and 21,000 people immigrated to the country. Of the new immigrants, 11,000 came from the former Soviet Union, 2,600 from Ethiopia, 1,800 from France, 1,600 from the United States and 1,200 from Argentina.