Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies: Growth rate of Arab population in city in past 40 years is double that of Jewish population

Lilach Shoval:

Out of approximately 720,000 Jerusalem residents, the Jews constitute 66 percent of the population. According to the institute, if this trend continues, in 2020 the Jewish population will drop to 60 percent and the Arab population will reach 40 percent, and in 2035 it will reach 50 percent.

At the end of 1967 the Jewish population included 266,300 people. Since then it has grown rapidly, reaching 719,900 people at the end of 2005 – a rise of 170 percent.

The Arab population, however, has grown even faster over the four decades since the Six Day War. While the Jewish population grew from 197,700 people to 475,100 people, (a rise of 140 percent), the Arab population grew from 68,600 people in 1967 to 244,800 people (a rise of 257 percent).

The relatively slow growth rate of the Jewish population has led to a drop in its percentage in the city, from 74 percent in 1967 to 66 percent in 2005. Simultaneously, the Arab population rose from 26 percent to 34 percent.

Only in the past decade, the Arab population's annual growth rate rose by 3 to 4 percent. In the past decade the Arab population's growth rate was more than double that of the Jewish population.

The institution's researchers said that the data presented a contradiction between the reality in Jerusalem and the declared government policy of maintaining the Jewish majority in Jerusalem since the city's re-unification.

What do they suggest? "We are raising a number of alternatives, such as expanding Jerusalem's border to the west, removing Arab neighborhoods from the city's municipal area and making Jerusalem more attractive for the young people and middle class," Dr Maya Hoshen, a researcher at the institute, told Ynet.

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