If there is no change in the reproduction rate among Jerusalem residents, by 2035 there will be an equal number of Arabs and Jews residing in the capital, a study by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies has found.
The institute will present the data Thursday at the opening ceremony of a lecture series to mark 40 years to the reunification of Jerusalem.
The data attained by Ynet reveals that the reproductive rate of the capital’s Arab population is double that of the Jewish population.
According to the study, 720,000 people lived in Jerusalem, of which 66 percent were Jewish (475,000) and 34 percent (245,000) were Arab.
By the year 2020, the gap is expected to narrow, with Jerusalem population expected to be 60 percent Jewish and 40 percent Arab.
Since 1967, when Jerusalem numbered 266,000 residents, its population has grown rapidly, although over the past four decades the Arab population has increased at a higher rate than the Jewish population.
Since the Six Day War, when there were 197,000 Jews in the capital, the population increased to reach 495,000. In comparison, the Arab population grew from 68,000 in 1967 to 244,000 in 2005.
“If these trends continue, we’ll reach a situation in which the Arab population outnumbers the Jewish population,” Dr. Maya Choshen, a researcher at the institute, told Ynet.
“The separation barrier being built around Jerusalem is hastening the growth rate of Arabs in the city because many that are afraid of losing their civilian rights move to the Arab neighborhoods. There are a few possible options to prevent the process – like for example increasing the attractivity of Jerusalem through development, or even separating from a number of the city’s neighborhoods,” Choshen said.
The institute stressed that the data challenges Israel’s declared state policy since the city’s reunification to maintain a Jewish majority in Jerusalem.