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Israel at 58

Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221•

May 1, 2006 -- New York, NY-- On this Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day, and the eve of the 58th Independence Day of the State of Israel, Jewish National Fund is offering the following information published by The National Bureau of Statistics:

  • In 1860, the year set as the starting point for counting those who died in Israel's wars, the first Jewish settlers moved out from behind the ancient walls of Jerusalem and began establishing Jewish neighborhoods.
  • From 1860 to April 26, 2006, 22,123 people have fallen fighting for the Jewish State. From the last Memorial Day to April 26, 2006, 138 have fallen.
  • On the eve of the 58th Independence Day, the population of the State of Israel is 7,026,000, (8.7 times greater than at the time of the establishment of the State, when there were 806,000 inhabitants -- about half of whom live in Israel today).
  • Some 5,639,000 inhabitants are "Jews and others," comprising 80% of the population. Of these, 5,333,000 are Jews, constituting of 76% of the total population; 306,000 "others" are immigrants and their children who are not registered as Jews at the Ministry of the Interior -- about 4% of the population. 
    The Arab population comprises some 1,387,000 inhabitants, or 20% of the total population of Israel.

Between the 57th Independence Day and the 58th Independence Day:

  • The population of Israel increased by some 118,000 people.
  • 138,000 babies were born.
  • Some 21,000 immigrants arrived in the country.

Israel has five large cities, each with over 200,000 residents: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Rishon Lezion and Ashdod.  A quarter of the population of the country (1,786,000 people) live in these five cities.


Population in 1948

Population in 2005




Tel Aviv-Jaffa






Rishon Lezion






The rural population of Israel is 571,600 -- 8% of the total population.  In this group, the population of the kibbutzim is about 118,000 or less than 2% of the total population. When the State was established, 6% of its population lived on kibbutzim.

As always, JNF-KKL is prepared for hundreds of thousands of visitors at its sites across the country. More than 12 million people visit JNF-KKL's parks yearly.

Among the events and tours to be held country-wide, a "Praise for Israel" event recounting the "Independence Haggada" -- will be held in the Eshta'ol Forest. On Independence Day itself, discussions will be held at the JNF-KKL Givat Yeshayahu site on the significance of our connection with the land and its past, archaeology, and the sources connecting us to our past and our culture. The gathering will be combined with a tour of the ancient Jewish village of Itri. A special event entitled "Zionist Streets" will take place in Tel Aviv, through quizzes and tasks in which the story of the Zionist Movement is interwoven.

Fifty-nine youngsters from 34 countries around the world will take part in the 43rd World Bible Quiz on Independence Day. In the Bible Quiz for Diaspora communities held last Thursday, Yisrael Mordechai Witty of Canada was crowned the Diaspora Bible Champion.

JNF-KKL is one of the partners of the Bible Quiz, organized each year by the Education and Youth Corps Command of the IDF. On May 7th, 2006, quiz participants will plant trees in the Ben Shemen Forest, with the Senior IDF Education Officer. The vice-chairman of JNF-KKL, Menachem Leibovitz, will be a member of the adjudicating panel of the World Quiz. After the quiz, participants will be taken on a three-day tour of JNF-KKL sites in the north of the country -- Hula, Italy Park, Nachal Alexander, Gilboa, and Mt. Bental.

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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