Israel
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Jewish

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Jewish (71.8%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Israel Western Asia World
Jewish 70.7% 2.2% 0.2%
Muslim (all denominations combined) 20.3% 83.4% 22.8%
 
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 18.5% 57% 19%
     
  • Other and Unknown Muslim
  • 1.8% 0.8% 0.3%
    Christian (all denominations combined) 3% 5.6% 29.9%
     
  • Catholic
  • 1.7% 2.1% 15%
     
  • Orthodox
  • 0.5% 3.2% 3%
     
  • Protestant
  • 0.2% --- 5.6%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 0.7% 0.3% 2.3%
    Buddhist (all denominations combined) 0.4% 0.2% 6.6%
     
  • Theravada Buddhist
  • 0.4% 0.2% 1.6%
    Chinese Folk Religionist 0.3% --- 4.3%
    Bahai 0.1% --- 0.1%
    Other Religionist 0.1% 0.3% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 4.9% 1.2% 12%

    Religious Demography3

    Based on its pre-1967 borders, the country has an area of 7,685 square miles and a population of 7.3 million, of which 5.5 million are Jewish, 1.5 million are Arabs, and 320,000 are classified as "other"--mostly persons from the former Soviet Union who immigrated under the Law of Return but who did not qualify as Jews according to the Orthodox Jewish definition or the definition used by the Government for civil procedures. According to figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics for 2005, the latest year such information was available, 7 percent of the Jewish population are Haredi, 10 percent are Orthodox, 38 percent describe themselves as "traditionally observant" or "traditional," and 45 percent describe themselves as "secular" Jews, most of whom observed some Jewish traditions. A growing but still small number of traditional and secular Jews associate themselves with the Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist streams of Judaism, which are not officially recognized for purposes of civil and personal status matters involving their adherents. Although the Government does not officially recognize them, these streams of Judaism received a small amount of government funding and were recognized by the courts. There is a small but growing community of approximately 10,000 Messianic Jews.

    Slightly more than 20 percent of the population is non-Jewish, the vast majority of whom are ethnic Arabs. Of the non-Jewish population, Muslims constitute 16.5 percent, Christians 2.1 percent; Druze 1.7 percent; other religious groups 0.5 percent, including relatively small communities of, among others, Messianic Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Baha'is.

    The Government reported that during 2007 it issued 88,500 permits for foreigners to work in the country, and estimated that another 84,000 illegal foreign workers reside in the country. Most foreign workers are Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim.


    Sources

    1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

    2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

    3.  The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.

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