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October 1, 2015 8:24 am

Israeli Statistics Bureau Reveals Muslim Population Decrease, Rise in Employment

avatar by Alexander Apfel / Tazpit News Agency

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Mount Zion gathering of Jews and Muslims. Photo: provided.

Mount Zion gathering of Jews and Muslims. Photo: provided.

Statistics released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) have revealed demographic and economic information about Israel’s Muslim population.

According to the findings, at the end of 2014, the Muslim population stood at 1.45 million — an increase of approximately 33,000 people from the year before; the population’s growth rate, however, has fallen from 3.8% in 2000 to 2.24% in 2014.

The statistics also show that Jerusalem is the city with the largest concentration of Muslim residents, numbering 303,000 people. This constitutes a total of 20.9% of all Muslims in Israel, and 35.7% of the population of the entire city of Jerusalem. Rahat has the second largest Muslim community, with 60,000 people.

Regarding employment trends, the statistics show that 63.5% of the Muslim population ages 15 and up were in the workforce during 2014 (of which 44.3% were men and 23.9% women).

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The report also points out that Muslim female participation in the workforce is significantly lower in comparison to that of their Jewish, Christian and Druze counterparts.

Hamutal Gouri, executive director of the feminist NGO, the Dafna Fund, told Tazpit that “Muslim women in Arab localities, where there is no public transportation to nearby cities, have no mobility to commute and employment opportunities … in the villages are extremely limited.”

To resolve this issue, Gouri suggested that employment infrastructure and opportunities be developed within Arab villages themselves, along with affordable and accessible public transportation systems.

Alluding to the fact that most households only own one car, as is often the case among Israeli Jews, as well, she said that “men, and not just Arab men, have more access to private cars and therefore greater mobility.”

The CBS report also revealed the gender-related professions common among the Muslim population. Construction accounts for 26% of male Muslim employment, while educational fields account for 37% of the female workforce. Samah Salaime of the CBS explained that “education is still a safe place to be for women. It is not too many hours away from home and the educational system is very attractive because it is public service and offers good vacations.”

When it comes to higher education, 5,000 Muslims graduated from Israeli institutions of higher education in 2013-2014. Among this group, enrollment was notably higher in the following fields: education, teaching and instructing, pharmacy, and Arabic and Arabic literature.

 

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  • Matt Schein

    Your headline is misleading. It is not the muslim population that is down, but the growth rate of that population. This is typical of economies where education and opportunities for female employment are rising as women become more mobile and aware of more options.

    Here in Israel it is ordinary and normal for muslim women to work in many fields.

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