It’s hard to be believe another week has already passed, but with Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in the middle the week felt somewhat shortened.
In the spirit of Yom Ha’atzmaut, this week’s Good News Friday edition will focus on Israel’s national achievements.
Every year we are astonished anew at Israel’s wonderful population statistics. This year Israel’s population stands at 8,345,000! – a statistic which would have seemed barely imaginable to our founding fathers when the newborn nation struggled to hold its own at the Declaration of Independence:
The Central Bureau of Statistics has published new figures ahead of Independence Day showing that the country’s population stands at 8,345,000, some 10.4 times greater than the 806,000 at its founding.
Jewish residents number 6,251,000, comprising 74.9% of the population. The Arab population, which stands at 1,730,000, represents 20.7% of the general public. Non-Arab Christians, members of certain religions and new immigrants who according to the population registry are not part of any religious group, comprise 364,000 people (4.4%).
Israel’s population grew by 2%, or 162,000, from the previous Independence Day. A record 176,000 babies were born during that period, and 44,000 residents died. Some 32,000 people made aliyah since last year’s celebrations. Israel holds a record when it comes to immigration: some 3,500,000 people made aliyah since the state’s founding (41.9% percent).
Some 75% of Jewish residents are native born and the capital, Jerusalem, is the most populated city in the country, with some 815,300 residents (9.8% of the population).
Not only did our population grow, but our economy grew at a massive rate during the 4th quarter of 2014 as well:
The Israeli economy grew 7 percent in the last quarter of 2014, its highest rate of growth in recent years, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reported.
In the third quarter of 2014, the Israeli economy grew only 0.3 percent while the war with Hamas was ongoing. The economy grew 1.5 percent in last year’s second quarter. By the end of 2014, Israel’s total economic value crossed the trillion-shekel threshold and reached its highest-ever amount: 1.09 trillion shekels ($278 billion).
Not only do we have a growing population and booming economy but we seem to have the coolest president too. 🙂
President Reuven (“Rubi”) Rivlin came up with the idea (or at least he actively promoted it) of an “internet choir” of hundreds of Israelis who will join together over the internet to sing a love song which also could show our love for Israel. The song is “Ahavtiha” – “I loved her”, originally performed by veteran popular Israeli singer Shlomo Artzi.
The website Hebrew Songs has the translated and transliterated lyrics
Here is Rubi singing his part of the song with Shlomo Artzi (whom I at first didn’t recognize with his white hair! I’m feeling old…) sitting next to him and singing along:
And here is the finished result:
Isn’t that a beautiful idea? And the result is just great! If only Am Yisrael could stay as united as this in our ordinary day-to-day lives, and not just on Independence Day or G-d forbid in times of tragedy.
May the coming year bring even more news of growth, Aliya and unity to Israel and the entire Jewish nation!
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom.