West Bank settlers report surge in population growth

JERUSALEM (AP) — A West Bank settler group says the number of people living in Israeli Jewish settlements surged at a much faster rate than the overall Israeli population last year.

Baruch Gordon, director of West Bank Jewish Population Stats, is predicting an even faster growth rate in the coming years, thanks to what he says is a friendly environment under the Trump administration.

Gordon says there is no longer a “cloud” over settlement construction.

The report found that population in Jewish settlements of the West Bank grew to 449,508 as of Jan. 1, up 3.3 percent from 435,159 people a year earlier.

In comparison, Israel’s overall population grew 1.9 percent last year to 8.907 million people, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

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