Israel In Facts And Figures
By SIMON GRIVER
As Israel celebrates 40 years of
independence, the following facts and
figures, supplied by the government's
Central Bureau of Statistics, reflect four
decades of, in the main, healthy growth
within the Jewish state.
Population: 4,396,270. Of this figure,
82 percent are Jewish, totalling 3,607,700,
while 14 percent are Moslems, 2.3 percent
Christian and 1.7 percent Druze and
Israel's population is increasing by
1.5 percent per year — 1.3 percent in the
Jewish sector and 2.5 percent in the non-
Jewish sector. By the year 1995,
assuming the current birthrate and level
of aliyah continue, there will be four
million Jews in Israel and in 1996, Israel's
overall population will reach five million.
By 1996, the higher Arab birthrate will
mean that non-Jews form 19 percent of
Israel's population, as compared to 17
Of Israel's Jewish population, 61.4
percent were born in Israel, 17.2 percent
in Africa and Asia, and 21.4 percent in
Europe and America. Some 27 percent of
the world's Jews live in Israel.
Cities: 87 percent of Israel's Jewish
population live in urban areas with 66
percent living along Israel's
Jerusalem, the capital, is Israel's
largest city, with a population of 470,000
(72 percent Jewish).
Tel Aviv has a populaton of 320,000.
Haifa has a population of 223,000, with an
additional 176,000 living in the towns
around Haifa Bay. Beersheba has a
population of 115,000 and Netanya's
population is 112,000.
Settlements: 13 percent of Israel's
Jewish population lives in more than 700
rural settlements established by the
Jewish Agency. Of these, 3.5 percent live
in moshavim, 3 percent in kibbutzim, and
6.5 percent in larger villages.
Immigration: Since independence,
more than 1.8 million immigrants have
arrived in Israel. In recent years, though,
aliyah has dropped to an average of
10,000 to 15,000 per year.
General indicators: Israel's Gross
National Product totals $26 billion.
Inflation has dropped to 15 percent per
year from a mind-boggling 450 percent in
1984. Unemployment stands at 5.9
percent. Israel exports $7 billion worth of
goods per year and imports $9 billion
worth of commodities.
Exports: Israel's exports during 1987
amounted to $7 billion — a record year. In
1950, Israel exported just $35 million of
Israel's current exports include $1.8
billion of polished diamonds, $2.1 billion
of electronics and metals, $1.1 billion of
chemicals and plastics, $500 million of
wood, paper and printing commodities,
and $400 million of foodstuffs.
Almost 40 percent of Israel's exports
are sold to Europe and 30 percent to
Tourism: Almost 1.5 million tourists
visited Israel in 1987 — a record year,
having grown from 1,100,000 in 1980.
Tourists to Israel in 1987 spent $1.5 billion.
Israel has 308 hotels with 32,000
rooms. In 1960, the country had 190
hotels with only 6,500 rooms.
Banking: Israel's banks have
combined assets of $90 billion. The
country's three largest banks — Leumi,
Hapoalim, and Discount — are included
among the 200 biggest banks in the
Leumi has assets of $28 billion —
340 Israeli branches and 70 overseas
offices. Hapoalim has assets of $27 billion
with 350 local branches and 32 offices
Education and Culture
Schools: Israel has 1.4 million
students in educational institutions from
compulsory kindergarten (five year olds)
through to university. This figure has
grown tenfold since 1950 when 140,000
children were in Israeli schools.
Of this total, 250,000 children are in
kindergarten, 530,000 in primary schools,
and 560,000 in intermediate and high
schools. Within this number there are
17,000 pupils at Jewish Agency funded
Youth Aliyah schools for new immigrants
and the underprivileged.
Universities: Israel has 70,000
students in universities and institutions of
higher education. The Hebrew University
and Tel Aviv University, each with more
than 20,000 students, are the largest.
The proportion of university students
of Oriental origin has risen from 18
percent to 27 percent in the last decade.
Culture: Israelis see more theater
performances on average than any other
nation. Fifteen percent of Israelis see an
average of one theater performance per
Israel publishes nearly 4,000 new
book titles each year. Israelis are avid
newsreaders with 21 daily newspapers,
some specialized, and hundreds of
weekly, monthly, and quarterly journals
Health and Social Welfare
Hospitals: Israel has 27,400 hospital
beds in 150 hospitals, meaning that there
are six beds for every 1,000 Israelis. In
1986, Israelis spent a total of 8,746,000
days in the hospital.
Life Expectancy: Israeli males live to
an average of 74 years old compared to
66 in 1961. The average female can
expect to live to 77 years, compared to 69
The Elderly: Israel's pensioners, who
formed 3 percent of the population in
1950, today form 10 percent of the
population. Over 75's have risen from
52,000 in 1970 (1.5 percent of the
population) to 170,000 (3.7 percent) today.
The Poor: Israel's urban poor and
underprivileged are being rehabilitated
through Project Renewal. Funded by the
Israeli government and the Jewish
Agency, through Diaspora funds, more
than 300,000 Israelis in 87 neighborhoods
are receiving assistance.
World Zionist Press Service
Project Otzma: An Israel Adventure For Young Adults
By HEIDI PRESS
Young people can be very
creative when it comes to
supporting Israel. They give money
to Jewish National Fund to plant
trees, they study Israel's history,
they participate in programs
celebrating Israel's independence.
But these are all long distance. One
way in which they can make an
even more significant contribution is
by going to Israel to participate in
Designed for persons age
18-24, Project Otzma provides
young adults with an opportunity to
experience Israel, by living, working
and studying there. The adventure
begins at a kibbutz ulpan, where
there are intensive language study,
work and social and cultural
activities. The next couple of
months are devoted to service in
YES! . . .
I want to live an adventure in Israel. Please send me more information
about Project OTZMA and an application.
The Jewish Welfare Federation —
United Jewish Charities of Detroit
163 Madison Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48226
FRIDAY, APRIL 22, 1988
Youth Aliyah villages tutoring pupils,
followed by agricultural work on a
moshay. The rest of the time is
spent in the young adult's home
community Project Renewal sister
city in Israel. There, the participants
will be involved with volunteer
groups devoted to urban renovation
and public service.
"It is the highest form of
service a young Jew can perform,"
said Detroiter Peter Alter, national
chairman of Project Otzma. "Otzma
provides an opportunity for a year of
real service in Israel in a most
positive kind of way."
According to Alter, Otzma is a
training ground for future Jewish
leaders. In addition to teaching
leadership skills, Otzma helps
participants "form a close and
permanent bond between Israel and
U.S. young people," Alter added.
To date, nearly 125 persons
have participated in Otzma since its
founding two years ago.
To get a real feel for the
country, Otzmaniks are "adopted"
by an Israeli family connected to the
Israeli Forum — a group of
successful professionals and
business people who work closely
with Americans on special projects.
The family will provide a home-
away-from-home, offering guidance
as well as a place to go on
vacations and holidays.
The year-long program is
coordinated by the Council of
Jewish Federations in cooperation
with the United Jewish Appeal, the
Jewish Agency, the Israeli Forum,
World Zionist Organization and
Otzma is a training
ground for future Jewish
leaders. In addition to
skills, Otzma helps
participants form a close
and permanent bond
between Israel and U.S.
locally by the Jewish Welfare
Federation — United Jewish
Charities in Detroit. Because the
program is subsidized by the North
American federations and the
Jewish Agency, Alter said
participants have a fee of only $750.
Alter said he was gratified by
the Detroit Jewish community's
participation in Project Otzma. "The
Detroit Jewish community has been
in the forefront of doing exciting and
innovative things in Israel and in our
own community. We'll be no
different with Otzma."