The Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council announced in its annual report on Thursday that the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria grew 3.9 percent in 2016, more than twice the national average of 1.9 percent per year. 421,400 Israeli residents lived in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley at the end of 2016.
The report stated that the rate of growth had dropped slightly since 2012 due to building freezes enforced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in response to international pressure, particularly from the administration of US President Barack Obama.
The report stated that one-third of the population in these areas is secular, one-third dati leumi (Religious Zionist)and a third are Haredi (ultra-Orthodox). The data also shows 60% of the residents of Yehuda, Shomron and the Jordan Valley live in so-called settlement blocs and the remaining 40% in other areas. 47 percent of Yehudah and Shomron residents are age 18 and under, compared to the national average of 27 percent.
These figures exclude Jewish residents of east Jerusalem, where more than 200,000 Israelis live.
Commenting on the report, the Yesha Council said that “this year is the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, which led to the liberation of Yehudah and Shomron and the Jordan Valley. There is no greater birthday present than this report about the increase in population. This increase has turned Yehudah and Shomron into an indivisible part of the State of Israel. The numbers speak for themselves. Were it not for the building freezes that have plagued the region, there would certainly be more than half a million residents here.”