Israeli Jews or Jewish Israelis (Hebrew: יהודים ישראלים, romanized: Yehudim Yisraelim) are Israeli citizens and nationals who are Jewish through either their Jewish ethnicity and/or their adherence to Judaism. The term also includes the descendants of Jewish Israelis who have emigrated and settled outside of the State of Israel. Alongside Samaritans and populations from the Jewish diaspora scattered outside of the Land of Israel, Jewish Israelis comprise the modern descendants of the ancient Israelites and Hebrews. They are predominantly found in Israel and the Western world, as well as in other countries worldwide in smaller numbers. The overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews speak Hebrew, a Semitic language, as their native tongue. Israel, the Jewish state, is the only country that has a Jewish-majority population, and is currently home to approximately half of the world's Jews.
|Core Jewish population:|
(73.9% of the Israeli population)
Enlarged Jewish population (includes non-Jewish relatives of Jews):
(79.3% of the Israeli population)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Israel||6,300,000 (September 2015)|
|Russia||100,000 (80,000 in Moscow)|
|Modern spoken languages:|
Israeli Hebrew, Levantine Arabic, English, Russian, French, Amharic, Tigrinya
Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic
Historical spoken languages:
Yiddish, Ladino, Judeo-Arabic, other Jewish languages (most endangered, some now extinct)
|Related ethnic groups|
|Samaritans and other Jewish ethnic divisions; Semitic-speaking peoples (Levantine Arabs, Assyrians, etc.)|
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|Jews and Judaism|
The Jewish population in Israel comprises all of the communities of the Jewish diaspora, including Ashkenazi Jews, Sephardi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Beta Israel, Cochin Jews, Bene Israel, Karaite Jews, and many other groups. The Israeli Jewish community manifests a wide range of Jewish cultural traditions and encompasses the full spectrum of religious observance ranging from the Haredim, who observe Orthodox Judaism, to the Hilonim, who maintain a secular Jewish lifestyle. Among Israel's Jewish population, over 25 percent of schoolchildren and over 35 percent of all newborns are of mixed Ashkenazi and Sephardi/Mizrahi descent, and these figures have been increasing by approximately 0.5 percent annually. Over 50 percent of the entire Israeli Jewish population is of at least partial Sephardi/Mizrahi descent.
Despite the ongoing debate over the question of determining Jewish identity among Israeli Jews, the Jewish status of a person, which is considered a matter of nationality by the Israeli government, is registered and controlled by the Israeli Interior Ministry, which requires a person to meet the Halakhic definition to be registered as a Jew. In a December 2017 estimate by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, the Israeli Jewish population stood at around 6,556,000 people, comprising 74.6 percent of the total population of Israel (if the Arab populations in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are included).
A 2008 study by the Israel Democracy Institute shows that a plurality of Israeli Jews (47 percent) identify as Jews first and as Israelis second, and that only 39 percent consider themselves to be Israelis first and foremost.
Jews living in the Holy Land prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 were commonly referred to in English as "Palestinian Jews" (in reference to the Palestine region and its British Mandate) and in Hebrew as HaYishuv HaYehudi Be'Eretz Yisra'el (lit. 'The Jewish Community in the Land of Israel').