Jerusalem – This week, Israel celebrated its 62nd birthday. Israel Independence Day always lends itself to the people of Israel gaining some needed perspective.When the state was established, the population of Israel was 806,000.

At its 62nd Independence Day, Israel has ave grown to 7,587,000 people.

Moreover, on the eve of its 62nd Independence Day, Israel leads the entire Western world in economic growth.

Data published by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics indicates that the Jewish population is currently 5,726,000 (75.5 percent of the entire population), the Arab population is 1,548,000 (20.4 percent), and the others, including immigrants and their descendants who are not registered as Jews at the Ministry of the Interior, number approximately 313,000 (4.1 percent).

Since Israel Independence Day of last year, 159,000 babies were born and 37,000 people have died; 16,000 people immigrated to Israel and were joined by approximately 9,000 citizens, who come to Israel for reasons of family reunification. In all, the population has grown by approximately 1.8 percent over the past twelve months.

If, in 1948, there was only one city in Israel that had more than 100,000 inhabitants- The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality – today, there are fourteen such cities, of which six have more than 200,000: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Haifa, Rishon Lezion, Ashdod and Petah Tikva.

In the last quarter of 2009, growth in Israel reached 4.8 percent-more than twice and even three times the rate of growth in most countries of the Western world. In the business sector, growth even reached five percent during that quarter, close to the rate of growth on the eve of the economic crisis that broke out in mid-2008.

Statistics published by the Central Bureau of Statistics indicate that the standard of living in Israel is increasing significantly. Per-capita expenditure increased by five percent at the end of 2009, which says that Israelis spent more money in order to buy cars (an increase of 4.7 percent in annual terms), and electrical appliances and entertainment (an increase of 6.3 percent). Spending on clothing and shoes, medications, housing and travel abroad rose in the fourth quarter of 2009 by 2.5 percent in annual terms. During the same period, there was an increase of 47.3 percent in exports and services from Israel.

Estimates of economists at the International Monetary Fund are that Israel’s rate of economic growth is ranked third in the world, behind China and India and ahead of Turkey and the United States.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

1 COMMENT

  1. I pray that Israel and the Jewish population will continue to grow and more Jews from across the world make aliyah. Baruch HaShem to the only Jewish state in the world.

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