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February 14, 2013 1:04 am

Jewish Population in Judea and Samaria On the Rise

avatar by Aryeh Savir / Tazpit News Agency

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Photo: Courtesy of Yesha council.

An examination of statistics presented by the Minister of the Interior and the authorities in Judea and Samaria indicates that there has been a 0.5% increase in the growth rate of the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria. 360,000 Israelis currently reside in Judea and Samaria, an increase of 4.7%, or 17,000 new residents since 2011. This is a 0.5% increase in the growth rate in comparison with the previous year.

The highest growth rate was registered in 2008, an increase of 5.6%. Since then the growth rate has declined yearly, with the lowest numbers recorded in 2011 due to the government imposed building freeze in Judea and Samaria. This trend has now reversed.

The average growth rate in the region since 2005 (the year of the Gaza disengagement) stands at an average of 5% per year. This rate is about three times faster then the average in all of the State of Israel (1.9%), making Judea and Samaria’s population one of the fastest growing in Israel.

Another piece of data indicates that the most remote communities are the ones growing fastest. Maskiyot in the Jordan Valley grew by 30%. Har Gilo, grew by 20%. This may indicate that the motivation to live in Judea and Samaria is still ideological.

The average age of the population in Judea and Samaria is comparatively young, as indicated by the statistics presented by the elections committee. 51% of the population in Judea and Samaria are eligible voters, as opposed to 72% in the general Israeli population. This means 49% of the population in Judea and Samaria is under the age of 18, as opposed to only 28% of the population in the rest of the country.

Avi Roeh, incoming chairman of the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council, stated: “Thank G-d, we are witness to an increase in number of students in the educational institutions, and especially in the grade schools. Our region is very attractive to young families and there is much demand for residents here. We expect the government to acknowledge this necessity and develop all the communities and enlarge the schools in all of Judea and Samaria. This will further assist all the residents of Israel by making housing available and by bringing down the housing costs.”

Miri Maoz-Ovadia, spokesperson for the Binyamin Council, the largest council in Judea and Samaria, told Tazpit News Agency that the increase in the population growth rate is evidence of the prosperity of the region. “This prosperity has been supported by a development of joint industrial areas, shopping centers  open to all populations and an increase of tourism throughout the region. We hope that the development continues for the benefit of all residents living in Judea & Samaria.”

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