israeli flag 88.
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For the first time since the first century, there are more Jews in Israel than in any other country, and within 30 years the majority of Jews in the world will be living here, according to one of Israel's top demographers.
Ahead of Independence Day on Wednesday, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced that the country's population stands at 7.03 million, of which 5.64 million are Jews. This is more than the number of Jews living in the US, until now home to the most Jews.
"If current trends continue, there could be an absolute majority of world Jewry living in Israel within 25 to 30 years," Prof. Sergio DellaPergola of the Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
He attributed the increase in Israel's Jewish population to higher birth rates rather than a population increase due to immigration. The difference between the birth rate and the death rate alone added around 70,000 to the current figure, he estimated. "Israel is the only country in the world with a natural increase in its Jewish population," said DellaPergola.
Immigration, however, was relatively insignificant, he said, adding that this year, after taking emigrants into account, new immigrants swelled the Jewish population of Israel by only "a few thousand".
The Jewish population of the United States, in the meantime, is notoriously difficult to measure, DellaPergola said.
"The last surveys were taken in 2001, and even then the figures are not as accurate as the numbers provided by Israeli statisticians," he said.
A survey taken then found that there were around 5.3 million Jews in America, but DellaPergola expects that number to have declined somewhat over the last five years.
"In 1990, there were an estimated 5.515 million Jews in the US; in 2001 there were only 5.3 million," he said, suggesting that this decline could be extrapolated to estimate a lower 2006 figure.