Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

18 Tammuz 5764 - July 7, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Chareidi Cities in Israel Continue to Grow, Kein Yirbu
By Betzalel Kahn and M Plaut

While Jerusalem, the largest city in Israel, grew 1.9 percent (an increase of 12,800 people), chareidi towns and cities all over Israel continued to grow at a much higher rate than the rest of the country, with the exception of Bnei Brak, which grew just 0.5 percent, according to data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) on Monday. Israel's overall population growth rate in 2003 was the lowest since 1990. In 2003 Israel's population increased by 117,000 people amounting to a 1.8 percent increase.

The overall population growth rate has been steadily declining for the past several years. In 2002, growth was 1.9 percent, while in 2001 it was 2.2 percent and in 2000 it was 2.6 percent.

One factor was certainly the decline in new immigrants arriving in Israel. In 2001, 46,500 new immigrants came to Israel, compared to 36,700 in 2002 and only 26,100 last year. If immigration had continued at the rate of 2001, the population growth would have been about the same as that year, for example. However, for several years more than half of the immigrants declared themselves as non-Jewish, even though many still had the right to enter under the Law of Return.

According to the CBS estimate, Israel's population in December 2003 was 6.7 million people.

At the end of 2003 there were 139,600 people living in Bnei Brak--just 700 more than the previous year. The Central Bureau for Statistics notes that despite a young population profile the city has seen a slowdown in its growth rate in recent years due to the large number of residents migrating out. In 2003 the population of the city was reduced by 3,000 residents due to a negative migration balance (3,000 more migrated out than in) primarily to Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit and Elad as well as the chareidi parts of Ashdod and Petach Tikva.

The towns of Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit and Elad were the obvious magnets for chareidi population. Beitar Illit posted a huge growth rate of 13.4 percent in 2003, increasing its population from 20,200 to 22,900 in one year. Modi'in Illit (Kiryat Sefer) posted a very high growth rate of 10.4 percent in 2003, increasing its population from 22,000 to 24,300. Elad posted a stunning growth rate of 20.5 percent in 2003, increasing its population from 19,000 to 22,900. The summary figures did not indicate how much of the increase was due to births and how much to migration.

The town of Rechasim grew 4.5 percent, bringing the population from 7,700 to 8,100.

Kiryat Ye'arim (Telz-Stone) grew 4.9 percent, bringing the population from 2,800 to 2,900. Emanuel grew 2.3 percent, bringing the population from 2,400 to 2,500.

Beit Shemesh, which has a large chareidi area now accounting for approximately 40 percent of the population, grew 6.8 percent. The number of residents rose from 53,400 to 57,000 at the end of 2003. According to those numbers the chareidi residents of Bet Shemesh number about 22,800, making its chareidi community about the same size those of as Beitar Illit, Modi'in Illit and Elad.

Tel Aviv saw a population increase of only 3,000 during the last year -- less than 1 percent. Cities just outside Tel Aviv, including Ramat Gan, Bat-Yam, Petach Tikva, Holon, Lod, Ramat Hasharon, Herzliya, Raanana and Kfar Saba, had population growth close to zero percent.

Haifa actually shrank last year by 0.5 percent.

Interestingly, the growth rate in Arab communities has been decreasing significantly. The decrease is attributed by CBS analysts to a slowdown in births. Another factor is the decline in family unification under new guidelines of the Ministry of Interior. Some observers expect a further decline in Arab births with the recent cuts in NII child support payments.


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