The year 2013 saw a record number of births in Israel, data published over the weekend by the Central Bureau of Statistics showed.
The total number of births rose 0.2 percent to 171,207 babies born, compared to 170,904 in 2012. Jewish births increased 1.3% to 127,101 babies compared to 125,409 born in 2012. Some 5,000 babies were born to parents who immigrated to Israel under the Law of Return.
The year 2013 saw the number of births among Israeli Arabs drop from 40,433 in 2012 to 39,028 -- a decline of 3.5%. The Muslim Arab sector in particular saw a sharper drop-off of 5.5%, with 34,766 births compared to 36,766 in 2012. Arab Christian women gave birth to 2,602 babies, and Druze women had 2,350.
The numbers also show that the Jewish birth rate is rising, while the Israeli Arab birth rate is declining consistently. An average of 21 out of every 1,000 Jewish women gave birth in 2013, compared to 18.3 per 1,000 in the year 2000. The average birth rate among Arab women, in contrast, fell to its lowest point ever: 24.8 per 1,000, compared to a peak of 35 births per 1,000 women in 2000.