There is no better way to end this year and start a new one than by acknowledging more good and positive news… writes Michael Kuttner.
Despite many problems looming ahead of us we can be encouraged by the remarkable achievements of the past twelve months and look confidently towards more spectacular results in the coming year.
TOURISM IS BOOMING
Some 2.6 million tourists visited Israel so far this year, a 16.5 percent increase from the first eight months of 2017, according to new data from the Central Bureau of Statistics.
The numbers show 278,800 tourists visited Israel last month, a 10% increase from August 2017, and a 28.9% increase from 2016.
The Bureau says overall revenue from the tourism industry last month was $414 million and $3.9 billion so far this year.
WE ARE GROWING
On the eve of the new Jewish year, Israel’s population has reached 8.907 million — 162,000 more than a year ago, according to data published Tuesday by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
In a press release including data on wide-ranging topics, the bureau summarized the Jewish year of 5778 in numbers, highlighting the fact that 89 percent of Israelis say they are largely satisfied in life.
Ahead of the Rosh Hashanah, Israel’s Jewish population numbers 6.625 million people — 74.4% of the country’s population. Some 1.864 million, or 20.9%, are Arab, and the remaining 418,000 are other minorities.
The country’s population is expected to reach 10 million in late 2024, according to the data.
Israel’s fertility rate, at an average of 3.11 children born per woman, continued to be the highest among member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). About 175,000 babies were born and 43,000 people died during the past year, with 25,000 people making aliyah.
The average life expectancy in Israel — one of the highest in the world — is 84.6 years for women and 80.7 for men.
COMING BACK HOME
What better way to start the New Year and High Holy Days than by yearning to come home?
Shana Tova to all One Community Chronicle readers wherever you may be living. See you THIS COMING YEAR in our Capital, Jerusalem.
Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel.
This article was originally published on J-Wire and is reproduced here with permission from Michael Kuttner.