How many Muslims, Christians and Jews were living in Palestine before 1948?

I know there were plenty of Muslims living in Palestine during the Ottoman Empire and during the English Mandate, but I was curious about the other two religions.

It would be nice if someone could give me a figure for the three religions separately.

Thank you!


I am asking about the geographical area of what is known today as Israel.

Thank you!

Update 2:

If anyone can find a population count of the three religions dating back further than the 19th century, that too would be greatly appreciated. Any information or website that can provide answers to this question would be wonderful. The further back to the beginning of the Ottoman Empire, the better.

Thanks again!

15 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    In 1854, according to a report in the New York Tribune, Jews constituted two-thirds of the population of that holy city. (The source: A journalist on assignment in the Middle East that year for the Tribune. His name was Karl Marx -- yes, that Karl Marx.)

    In 1867, Mark Twain took a tour of Palestine. This is how he described that land: "A desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds. A silent, mournful expanse. We never saw a human."

    In 1882, official Ottoman Turk census figures showed that, in the entire Land of Israel, there were only 141 000 Muslims, both Arab and non-Arab.

    A travel guide to Palestine and Syria was published in 1906 by Karl Baedeker; The book estimated the total population of Jerusalem at 60,000, of whom 7,000 were Muslims, 13,000 were Christians and 40,000 were Jews.

    As the Jews came and drained the swamps and made the deserts bloom, Arabs followed. They came for jobs, for prosperity, for freedom. And, they came in large numbers.

    In 1922, with what was widely acknowledged as the illegal separation of Transjordan, the Jews were forbidden to settle on almost 77% of Palestine, while Arab settlement went unrestricted and actually encouraged by British mandatory authority.

    Prior to the Second World War, Mojli Amin, a member of the Arab Defense Committee for Palestine, proposed the idea "that all the Arabs of Palestine will leave and be divided up amongst the neighboring Arab countries. In exchange for this, all the Jews living in Arab countries will leave and come to Palestine."

    Did you know that Saudi Arabia was not created until 1913, Lebanon until 1920? Iraq did not exist as a nation until 1932, Syria until 1941; the borders of Jordan were established in 1946, and Kuwait in 1961. Any of these nations that would say Israel is only a recent arrival would have to deny their own rights as recent arrivals as well. They did not exist as countries. They were all under the control of the Turks. Over 80% of the original British Mandate land was given to Arabs, without population transfer of Arabs from the land designated for Jews.

    In 1947, the Jewish state huddled on 18% of the original British Mandate land. The Jews accepted it gratefully. The Arabs rejected it with a vengeance and seven Arab states immediately declared war against Israel.

    In 1948, the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Most of them left in fear of being killed by their own Arab brothers as traitors.

    Some 850,000 Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab countries, due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.

    The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is claimed to be around 630,000 (but where did they get this number?). Based on population census, the estimated number of Arabs who left Israel was around 460,000. They were ordered to leave by Arab leaders at the time.

    From 1948 till 1967 Arabs made no attempt to create a Palestinian state. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated, 58 synagogues in Jerusalem were destroyed, and the Jews and Christians were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.

    Arabs began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1964 only, on the initiative of Egyptian-born Yasser Arafat. The idea became popular Arab propaganda tool after Israel re-captured Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the defensive Six-Day War of 1967,

    Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, Arab-Palestinians are the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own peoples' lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel.

    Arab refugees INTENTIONALLY were not absorbed or integrated by the rich Arab oil states that control 99.9 percent of the Middle East landmass. They are kept as virtual prisoners by the Arab power brokers with misplaced hatred for Jews and Western democracy.

    There is only one Jewish state. There are 60 Muslim countries, including 22 Arab nations.

    The PLO's Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.

    Pan-Arabism, or the doctrine of Muslim Caliphate, declares that all land that used to belong to Muslims must be returned to them. Thus, Spain, for example, must eventually be re-conquered.


  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    How many Muslims, Christians and Jews were living in Palestine before 1948?

    I know there were plenty of Muslims living in Palestine during the Ottoman Empire and during the English Mandate, but I was curious about the other two religions.

    It would be nice if someone could give me a figure for the three religions separately.

    Thank you!

    Source(s): muslims christians jews living palestine 1948:
  • 3 years ago

    Population Of Israel 1948

  • Jeanne
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Jonathan, sorry but that is a funny question... its not the muslims who immigrated to Palestine, Palestinians, locals living in that Land are mostly muslims, christians and there were a small jewish Minority. Jewish people from around the world , Europe, Russia and other countries immigrated to what is called now Land of Israel after the British promised to establish a jewish land in the ME.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Muslims, Christians and Few Jews here and there.1948

    Jews , Muslims and few Christians here and there. After 1948

    Due to the Jewish immigration.

  • 1 decade ago

    Obviously you're going to get a bunch of different answers depending on the POV of the person answering. I can tell you this:

    From Wikipedia:

    In 1922, the League of Nations granted the United Kingdom a mandate over Palestine under terms similar to the Balfour Declaration. The population of the area at this time was predominantly Muslim Arab, while the largest urban area in the region, Jerusalem, was predominantly Jewish.

    The third (1919–1923) and Fourth Aliyah (1924–1929) brought 100,000 Jews to Palestine. From 1921 the British subjected Jewish immigration to quotas and most of the territory slated for the Jewish state was allocated to Transjordan.

    The rise of Nazism in the 1930s led to the Fifth Aliyah, with an influx of a quarter of a million Jews. This caused the Arab revolt of 1936–1939 and led the British to cap immigration with the White Paper of 1939. With countries around the world turning away Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust, a clandestine movement known as Aliyah Bet was organized to bring Jews to Palestine. By the end of World War II, Jews accounted for 33% of the population of Palestine, up from 11% in 1922.

    From Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (

    Today, Palestinian citizens of Israel comprise close to 20% of the total population of the country, numbering over 1,000,000. They live predominantly in villages, towns, and mixed Arab-Jewish cities in the Galilee region in the north, the Triangle area in central Israel, and the Naqab (Negev) desert in the south. A part of the Palestinian people who currently live in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Diaspora, they belong to three religious communities: Muslim (81%), Christian (10%), and Druze (9%). Under international instruments to which Israel is a state party, they constitute a national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious minority.

    I can't find anything definitive on populations prior to 1800. As the area was under Ottoman rule, the numbers I have found are populations for the Ottoman Empire as a whole and not for this specific region.

  • Zeno
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    As of 1948 the population was approximately 30% Jewish,20% Christian and 50% Muslim. Most of the Christians were Palestinians,principally Eastern Orthodox. They have largely left - driven out would be a more realistic term - although churches and clergy continue to operate unmolested to extremely small congregations. The Jewish population before 1919 was about 6%,almost entirely in Jerusalem,with the exception of a few early Zionist enclaves. Currently every effort is being made to drive out the remaining Muslims. Christian and Muslim immigration to Palestine is forbidden under "Israeli" law. Many personal accounts of their years in Palestine by American clergy from the turn of the century through the early 1950's are available in any large library; they present a very different picture of Palestine than the Desolate Wasteland of Zionist lore. Haifa was a thriving seaport. The Galilee was under full cultivation and was predominately Christian. Nablus and Hebron were thriving mercantile communities. Native Jews were extremely hostile to Zionists since they were invariably atheists with nothing but contempt for Judaism. The Gaza was considered a large garden,producing oranges,figs and vegetables in great abundance. Today so much water has been drained from it's natural supply to irrigate the Negev that wells have been penetrated by seawater. Jaffa,which no longer exists,was considered the producer of the finest oranges on earth; they were exported to gourmet suppliers in Europe. So was Palestinian soap and olive oil produced in Hebron.

  • 1 decade ago

    The best way to answer your question is for you to read "From Time Immemorial" by Joan Peters. The book was so successful it created an entire industry of 'historians' and 'experts' to refute it. Every detraction has been exposed by objective scholarship and scholars. The truth is oil money was and is being used to create false histories and timelines because the Arab/Muslim Holy Wars were lost. You can verify every footnote in her book yourself and judge for yourself. 8~)

  • 1 decade ago

    What's important is that, they were all living in peace and harmony till these motherhorse thieves showed up and initiated their rape of Palestinians land while massacring those innocent souls and little kids relentlessly, as it's their religion to murder.

    ***'s a cut & paste competition here lol ........and when it comes to forcing some one to believe their zionist garbage, lies and BS stuff, one could do a better job than these scums.

    'Lupines'......does it also say in torah,

    there's a reason to have brain!

  • 1 decade ago

    Hi. What things are not noted by actual numbers are the types of numbers

    UN figures and laws aren't accurate as they gave just another naive and ignorant internationalist meddling point to argue about. They didn't take into account early Jewish nation building and the influx of Syrian nationals to take advantage of that. They also didn't take into account the large displacement of Christian and Jewish settlements from the incoming hostile Arabs that later squatted in Judea and Samaria and Gaza and pushed out those residents. Hence non-Jew can also mean some numbers replaced Christian with Arab. And they didn't take into account the 1mil Jewish inhabitants in Arab lands that were displaced without compensation some of those Jews were held hostage and had to pay ransom for their release (Morocco) or abandon all assets (Iraq&others) And they didn't take into account that even while Jewish people were in diaspora, we were still a nation with Jerusalem our capitol as home away from home as defined by nationalistic cultural standards and that Palestinians have no distinct culture apart from any other Arab unless you count suicide bombing and tunnel digging. These Palestinians all called themselves Syrian at the start of this mess and they still have no distinct culture to distinguish them from Syrians. The UN didn't take into account that International laws show Incoming hostiles are never considered indigenous during times of war no matter how long they remain on the land and squat as hostiles and no matter how many babies they produce. And international law didn't take into account that a sovereign nation gets to decide for herself who is indigenous and who they welcome in. As the Brits told them prior to the UN vote "it is not international land therefore not internationalist's place to divvy up the land." The place was just wickedly hostile barbaric and the civilized Brits bugged out they had their own nation to go back to. To Jewish people, we were returning to our nation already and it was fine that we would defend our homeland as we basically had no other choice.

    The Christian and Jewish cleansing by Muslims is not new. At no point in time have either of our two groups lived peacefully with the Muslims. Even in Andalusia we were dhimmi and used and then abused when they felt we were no longer useful. They cleansed the Christians from all other Arab countries and they are still doing it in Gaza and Judea and Samaria region today and Hezbollah keeps doing it in Lebanon. They shot those rockets on Christmas Eve purposely at a group of their own Gazan Christians trying to go to Bethlehem for festivities and they stabbed that Gazan Christian store owner. The Christians fell thru the cracks and migrated out

    So when one looks at Jewish and non-Jewish numbers one has to take into account all the other facts that surround "numbers" and the Christians who were displaced from all the Arab lands and from Judea&Samaria region as the Arabs all owe us restitution. They don't get to binge/purge by hostility then count heads and claim indigenous. I'm a Jew living in deep American South (bible belt country) and I'd much rather have a Christian as my neighbor and get Judea and Samaria "happening again" than a death seeking extremist Muslim as my neighbor any day.

    By my calculations, Israel already absorbed all the "indigenous" non-hostile Arabs her population comprises 20% now. The Arabs you see WB&Gaza are really hostile Syrian squatters that keep pushing their way in for more. By my calculations Christian demographics in the region is too low, Muslim demographics too high off the chart, and Jewish demographics too low off the chart for Judea and Samaria region (her namesake) Judah is our largest tribe and it is a Jewish state.

  • 1 decade ago

    Are you wanting to know the populations for the entire British Mandate of Palestine, or for the area that forms the State of Israel?

    82 percent of British Mandate Palestine was made into the country of Jordan.

    If you are using 1948, I am wondering if you really want to know about the entire region or about the small portion of the geographic region that became Israel?

    Please clarify and that will help with the answer.

    If you include the entire region, the numbers for the entire region are often skewed out of proportion to claim a disproportionately large number of non Jews for "Palestine" thus trying to delegitimize the Jewish presence in Israel.

    thank you. I'll return when I see the clarification. In the meantime, UN archives do have population figures.



    In addition to the page showing Jewish and non-Jewish population figures for Israel at the jewishvirtuallibrary

    there are other great pages there at that site, too

    also, when Jordan had control of the "Holy Places for both Judaism and Christianity" in Jerusalem, Jews and Christians were barred from them. Here is something interesting to read at the UN archives.All responsibility in connection with the Holy Places and religious buildings or sites in Palestine, including that of preserving existing rights and of securing free access to the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites and the free exercise of worship, while ensuring the requirements of public order and decorum, is assumed by the Mandatory. The latter has no authority to interfere with the fabric or management of purely Moslem sacred shrines, the immunities of which are guaranteed. The Mandate also provides for the appointment by the Mandatory of a special commission to study, define and determine the rights and claims in connection with the Holy Places and those relating to the different religious communities in Palestine. The method of nomination, the composition and the functions of this commission were to be submitted to the Council of the League for its approval.6/ In the event of the termination of the mandate, it is for the Council to make all necessary arrangements for safeguarding in perpetuity, under guarantee of the League, the rights secured by the mandate in respect of the Holy Places.

    In the Mandate for Palestine, Transjordan is dealt with separately. Under Article 25 of the Mandate, the Mandatory is entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application to this part of the territory of such provisions of the Mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions and to make such provision for its administration as he may consider suitable, subject to the clauses relating to freedom of conscience, non-discrimination between the inhabitants, the supervision of religious institutions, economic equality, etc. On September 16th, 1922 7/ the Council, in accordance with this article, approved a proposal by the mandatory Power to the effect that the provisions of the Mandate respecting the Jewish national home and the Holy Places should not be applied to Transjordan. At the same time, the British Government expressly accepted full responsibility as Mandatory for Transjordan and undertook that such provision as might be made for the administration of that territory should conform to those provisions of the Mandate which had not been declared inapplicable. By a special Agreement concluded on February 20th, 1928, the British Government recognised the existence of an independent Government in Transjordan. It once more declared itself responsible to the Council for the application of the Mandate in that country. On September 1st, 1928, the Council took note of this declaration and recognised that the Agreement in question was in conformity with the principles of the Mandate.8/

    I'm still trying to find the pages that refer to their official statistics for population figures...for some reason, the search criteria I formerly used at the UN site comes up with NO links to " Population statistics for British Mandate Palestine" when only last year there were PAGES of such information to that search.. and they even REFER TO those pages in THIS document still available...this is VERY ODD

    Oddly, the only census figure I can find at the moment is this one from 1922

    A Proclamation of 1st September, 1922, provided the authority for the taking of a census, and by an Order of the same date a Superintendent of Census was appointed.

    Enumerators and Revising Officers were recruited from the Administrative and Departmental staffs of districts. The taking of the census, the first of its kind in Palestine, met with the general co-operation of the population, with the exception of the Beduin of the Southern District, who have a traditional objection to being numbered. Their numbers were estimated by reference to tithes payments.

    The census results were:--

    Moslems ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 590,890

    Jews ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 83,794

    Christians ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 73,024

    Druzes ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 7,028

    Samaritans ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 163

    Bahais ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 265

    Metawallis ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 156

    Hindoos ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 1,454

    Sikhs ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 408


    Total ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 757,182

    PLEASE NOTE that the 1922 figures include the ENTIRE area of British Mandate Palestine, including area that was forbidden in 1921 to Jewish settlement, that of Transjordan that was in 1922 declared to be exempt from the protection of holy places to other religions. See the UN documents above.


    EDIT: This from the bottom link below

    The Arab population shows a remarkable increase since 1920, and it has had some share in the increased prosperity of Palestine. Many Arab landowners have benefited from the sale of land and the profitable investment of the purchase money. The fellaheen are better off on the whole than they were in 1920. This Arab progress has been partly due to the import of Jewish capital into Palestine and other factors associated with the growth of the National Home. In particular, the Arabs have benefited from social services which could not have been provided on the existing scale without the revenue obtained from the Jews.

    Source(s): Other interesting documents for a study of the formation of the nation-states in existence today and the entire Middle East OFFICIAL REPORT OF THE BRITISH GOVT ON PALESTINE FOR 1930 MORE BRITISH REPORTS
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