If there is no change in the reproduction rate among Jerusalem residents, by 2035 there will be an equal number of Arabs and Jews residing in the capital, a study by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies has found.
The institute presented the data at the opening ceremony of a lecture series which marked 40 years of the reunification of Jerusalem. The data reveals that the reproductive rate of the capital's Arab population is double that of the Jewish population.
According to the study, 720,000 people live in Jerusalem: 66 percent are Jewish (475,000); and 34 percent (245,000) are Arab. But, it is believed that the Arab rate would double that of the Jewish population. By the year 2020, the gap is expected to narrow, with Jerusalem’s expected population rate to be 60 percent Jewish and 40 percent Arab.
Since 1967, when Israel recaptured Jerusalem, there were a total of 266,000 residents, its population has grown rapidly with the Arab population increasing at a faster rate than the Jewish population. The Arab population grew at a rate of 257 percent per year, from 68,000 in 1967 to 244,000 in 2005.
“If these trends continue, we'll reach a situation in which the Arab population outnumbers the Jewish population,” Dr. Maya Choshen, a researcher at the institute, told Ynet.
“The separation barrier being built around Jerusalem is hastening the growth rate of Arabs in the city because many that are afraid of losing their civilian rights move to the Arab neighborhoods,” she said. “There are a few possible options to prevent the process -- like for example increasing the attractiveness of Jerusalem through development, or even separating from a number of the city's neighborhoods.”
The institute stressed that the data challenges Israel's national policy to maintain a Jewish majority in its capital.