The Lord said to Moses, “When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the Lord when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them. Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as an offering to the Lord.” (Exodus 30:11-14)
The Bible warns against counting the Jewish population – for fear that they would begin to doubt their influence based on numerical strength – yet despite this, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s population stands at 8,972,000 citizens.
The latest figures, just 28,000 shy of 9,000,000 show a 174,000 or 2-percent increase in the population statistics – the average rate of growth of Israeli society over the past decade – compared with the preceding years.
The overall figure breaks down in the following way; 6,668,000 (74.3 percent) are Jews, 1,878,000 are Arabs (20.9 percent), while 426,000 (4.8 percent) are defined as “other.”
Israel’s Jewish community was boosted by 100,000. The bureau said 185,000 babies were born, and 28,000 new immigrants arrived — one-third from Russia, 19.6 percent from Ukraine, 8 percent from France, a similar figure from the United States (correlating to approximately 3,500 people), 4.9 percent from Asia and 1.6 percent from Africa, according to a report on JNS.org. There were an additional 37,000 members of Israel’s Arab community and a 3,500 person increase to other communities.