On eve of Hajj, Muslims in Israel number almost 1.8 million

Muslims pray near the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount during the Eid al-Adha holiday, June 28, 2023. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.

(JNS) — To mark Eid al-Adha (“Feast of the Sacrifice”), a Muslim holiday that marks the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released data about the Muslim population of Israel.

At the end of 2023, the Muslim population of Israel was estimated at 1.782 million, (18.1 percent of all residents) — an increase of 35,000 compared with the end of 2022.

The annual growth rate of the Muslim population in 2023 was 2.0 percent (2.2 percent in 2022).

The total fertility rate (the average number of children that a woman is expected to bear in her lifetime) in Israel’s Muslim population has been on a downward trend since 2001.

In 2022, the rate reached 2.91 children per woman, compared to 3.03 children for a Jewish woman, 1.85 for a Druze woman, 1.68 for a Christian woman and 1.26 for women not classified by religion.

Jerusalem has the largest number of Muslim residents (380,000), comprising 21.3 percent of all Muslims in Israel and 38.1 percent of the city’s residents.

The Muslim population is young: The proportion of children aged 0–14 is high (31.9 percent), and the proportion of persons aged 65 and over is low (4.9 percent).

Approximately 26 percent of the households headed by Muslims have six or more persons, compared with only about 9 percent of the households headed by Jews.

The life expectancy of Muslims in 2022 was 77.0 years for men and 81.8 for women.

In 2022-23, there were 399,282 Muslim students in primary and secondary education. Of those students, 6,778 were enrolled in Hebrew education and the rest were enrolled in Arabic education.

Of the Muslim women, 41.9 percent went on to study for a bachelor’s degree within eight years of graduating high school, more than twice the percentage of Muslim men (19.3 percent).

The labor force participation rate among Muslims aged 15 and over in 2023 was 48.8 percent (63.7 percent among males and 34.0 percent among females).