Minorities in Israel: Muslim Arabs

The number of muslim residents (including east Jerusalem permanent residents) in Israel at the start of 2004 stands at around 1.350.000, about 19.5% of Israel’s population, the vast majority of which are sunni muslims (about 76 per cent of all arabs). Muslims (including bedouins) make up 82% of the entire israeli arab population. About 9% are druze, and 9% are christians.

Roughly 25% of the children born in Israel today are muslim, and as result, Israel’s muslim population is mostly young: 42% of muslims are children under the age of 15, compared with 26% of the jewish population. The percentage of people over 65 is less than 3% for muslims, compared with 12% for the jewish population.

The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Israeli muslims have a natural reproduction rate that is more than double that of the jewish population (their rate of increase being 3.3% compared to 1.4%).

According to forecasts, the muslim population will rise to over 2,000,000 people, or 24-26% of the population within the next 15 years. They will also comprise 85% of the israeli arab population in 2020 (3% up from 2005).

Since more than 50% of the arab population is under nineteen years old, demographers expect the population growth trend to continue since most of the arab population in Israel will only reach reproduction age over the next 20 years.