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U.S. Religious Freedom Report: Israel

A look, by the numbers

Orlee Maimon
October 30, 2009
(Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)
(Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. State Department released this year’s installment of its annual International Religious Freedom Report this week. Here are some numbers from the section on Israel and the occupied territories:

Estimated percentage of country’s Jewish population born outside the country: 30
Approximate number of Messianic Jews living in the country: 10,000
Immigration applications by Messianic Jews blocked by Ministry of the Interior and now in court: 3

Start date of Yom Kippur-related rioting caused by an Arab driving in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood: 10/08/2008
Number of legal permits for foreign workers issued during 2008: Almost 100,000
Number of illegal workers residing in country: at least 80,000

Number of recognized Jewish holy sites: 137
Number of recognized Muslim holy sites: 0

Approximate number of citizens who immigrated under the Law of Return but are not considered Jewish by the Orthodox rabbinate and cannot be married, divorced, or buried in Jewish cemeteries within the country: 310,000
Year that a law was passed requiring the government to establish civil cemeteries: 1996
Number of secular cemetery currently planned: 1

Yearly average number of Hajj pilgrims traveling from Israel via Jordan in order to receive papers on the way to Mecca: 4,500

Number of Jews per synagogue in Beer Sheva: 700
Number of Muslims per mosque in Beer Sheva: 5,000
Number of Bedouins per mosque in unrecognized villages: 80,000

Number of comparisons of women to clay “to shape and mold as husband pleases” in Orthodox marriage pamphlet distributed during marriage counseling necessary to marry in government-recognized ceremonies: 1
Number of suggestions to compliment wife regularly, even if untrue, in that pamphlet: 1
Number of couples that go abroad each year, mostly to Cyprus, to marry in civil ceremonies: at least 5,000

Minimum number of Israeli Muslims killed by Gaza rocket fire: 1

Reports of forced religious conversions: 0