UPDATES 5 pm Israel time Thursday:
*The COGAT division of the IDF proudly reports that it has absurdly reopened the Kerem Shalom and Erez Crossings into Gaza. Both of these were closed last week after Palestinian Hamas terrorists fired 5 rockets into Sderot and surrounding communities.
Do you remember back in November that the IDF said that no further launches of missiles into Israel would be tolerated? What hogwash. The IDF cannot even keep a border crossing closed. Meanwhile southern Israelis on the Gaza border are back to having to be within 15 seconds of a bomb shelter all the time.
*More than 30 Palestinian terrorists have been arrested for carrying out shooting and Molotov cocktail attacks on the Jewish community of Migdal Oz near Bethlehem. All of the terrorists are from Beit Fajjar–and all of the terrorists are members of Tanzim Fatah, the military wing of the PLO (aka Palestinian Authority).
The Jewish population of Israel continues to grow.
For the first time in history, Israel now has more than six million Jews, making it the largest concentration of Jews in the world.
According to Israel’s leading demographer, Hebrew University professor Sergio Della Pergola, the United States by comparison now has 5.5 million Jews* with two million in the New York City area, France has approximately 500,000 Jews with most of them in Paris, Canada has about 380,000 Jews most of whom live in Toronto, and Britain has 290,000 Jews mostly living in metropolitan London.
All told, Pergola reports that there are only 13,800,000 Jews in the world–with Israel the only place in the world experiencing positive Jewish population growth.
Interestingly, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics reveals that the Arab population of Israel, while continuing to grow, has begun to decline slightly as a percentage of the overall population–with about 20% of the Israeli population (1.6 million) being “Arab”.
The remainder of the Israeli population consists of 350,000 non-Arab Christians and some 50,000 “others” whose religion is not identified such as relatives of immigrants from the former USSR.
What is the bottom line? Simply that Israel is becoming ever more the home of world Jewry. If you are a Jew, shouldn’t you think about living in Israel?
*Some “estimates” put the Jewish population of the United States as high as 6.5 million.
*Your humble servant acknowledges Yedioth Aharonot for portions of today’s blog.
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