Israel welcomed 16,000 immigrants, mostly from the former Soviet Union, over the past 12 months, Israel's immigration absorption ministry announced Thursday, April 26, during the 53rd anniversary of the country's founding.
But immigration fell to 11,259 in 2000, down from a total of 78,000 in 1999.
Meanwhile, Israel's population has increased by 152,000 people over the past 12 months, the ministry said.
The country's citizenry hit 6.2 million people in April, including 5.2 million Jewish citizens, their families, and one million Arab citizens, according to government statistics published Thursday.
Jews represent roughly 82 percent of the country, while Arabs make up the other 18 percent. The Arab population does not count the 200,000 Palestinians who live in occupied east Jerusalem, most of whom have refused Israeli citizenship.
Since its creation in 1948, Israeli has welcomed 2.9 million immigrants. Roughly, 20 percent of this group has left the country. — (AFP, Jerusalem)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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