Israelis have for decades been worried about the exponentially growing rate of Palestinians and Arab Israelis. They fear that, as equal citizens, if the ratio of Arabs to Jews in Israel grows disproportionate enough, Arabs could soon control the Knesset and young Israel might cease to be a Jewish nation.

Israeli arab womenWell the birthrate of Muslims in Israel is actually on the decline, though out of any other ethnicity in the country, it is still by far the largest. According to new data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics: the growth rate of Israel’s Muslim population stayed at 2.8% in 2008, compared to 3.8% in 2000. The Druze population was 1.8% last year. The Christian population grew at 1.3% and the Jewish population growth rate stood at 1.6%.

Jaffa MosqueLast year the Muslim population totaled 1.24 million people – that’s 34,000 more residents than the end of 2007. The majority of Muslim Arabs live in the north with 21.4% in Jerusalem. 11.3% are in the Mercaz region, 13.8% are in the south and only 1.2% of the Muslim population is in the greater Tel Aviv district.

The 256,000 Muslims in Jerusalem make up one-third of the city’s population and the majority of residents in Nazareth are the 46,000 Muslims there.

While the fertility rate among Muslim women in Israel has dropped steadily in the last few years from 4.7 babies in the year 2008 to 3.8 in 2008 – however this Muslim birthrate is still higher than women’s fertility rate is still higher than that of Jews, Druze and Christians in the country – but also, and this is crucial, higher than the fertility rate for Muslims in other Sunni countries:

In Israel there is an average 3.1 children for each woman, in Syria and Jordan there is 2.9, in Morocco 2.4, in Algeria 2.2, Lebanon 1.9 and in Tunisia in Northern Africa there is an average 1.9 children per mother in Muslim households.

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