New statistics project ultra-Orthodox Jewish population will more than triple in Israel

Associated Press/December 12, 2011

Jerusalem -- In new research, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics is predicting that the fast-growing ultra-Orthodox Jewish community will make up nearly a third of the country's population within 50 years.

The figures have great implications for Israel, which is struggling with the high cost of supporting the largely impoverished ultra-Orthodox population.

The figures released Monday predict that Israel's population of almost 8 million will more than double by 2059. It projects that 30 percent of the population will be ultra-Orthodox, up from the current level of 10 percent.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews observe strict interpretations of Jewish law. They generally shun modern society, don't serve in the military and are often unemployed.

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