The Jewish population in Israel has hit a record 6 million making the country the world`s biggest Jewish center, the recent census revealed. Israel displaced the US, which until recently held first place with its 5.5 million Jewish residents.
France and Canada occupy the third and the fourth places respectively with 500 thousand and 380 thousand Jews.
While the global Jewish population has reached 13.8 million, it is only in Israel where the numbers have grown, said Professor Sergio Della Pergola, a Jewish demographics specialist at Jerusalem's Hebrew University.
"Israel has indeed experienced a growth in the number of Jews
last year, but world Jewry outside Israel did not fare so
well," he told an Israeli newspaper. "On the contrary, world
Jewry has experienced negative growth."
Within the country most Israelis are attracted to metropolitan Tel Aviv, but government programs, including better transportation, are trying to encourage Jewish people to settle in the Negev and Galilee.
At least half a million Israeli Jews are now residing abroad for
work, study or travels.
The census conducted by Israel's interior ministry also revealed
that the non-Jewish minority consists of 1.6 million Arabs, 350,000
non-Arab Christians and a third group, mostly immigrants from the
former Soviet Union.