A significant decrease was registered this year in the number of Christians who converted to Judaism in Israel. Only 119 Christians chose to become Jewish in 2008, a figure dramatically lower than the annual average in the last 20 years.
According to Immigration Administration statistics, 437 Christians converted in 2003, 884 in 2004, 733 in 2005, 457 in 2006 and only 273 in 2007.
Meanwhile, only five Muslims converted to Judaism in 2008.
Many of those who converted in recent years were non-Jewish new immigrants, and it is possible that a change in the general atmosphere in the country has made it easier for this population not to convert.
The data also revealed a drop in the number of Jews who converted to Islam. In recent years their number stood on an annual average of 40, while in 2008 only 19 became Muslim.
All in all more than 200 Jews converted to Islam since the beginning of the decade.
The process of converting to Islam is carried out at a Sharia court - a religious Muslim court. Unlike the conversion process in Judaism, which can take months, and sometimes even years, in order to convert to Islam all one has to do is persuade the Sharia court that his intentions are genuine and proclaim his belief in Allah.
The majority of Muslim converters in Israel are Jewish and Christian women who converted after marrying Muslim men. The number of men who convert to Islam is significantly lower, although it is also rising gradually.