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Monday, April 04, 2011

Israel's new demographic threat: It might become - GULP! - a Jewish state

Professor Arnon Sofer of the University of Haifa is the biggest fear mongerer over the 'demographic threat' to the State of Israel. Now, Soffer is warning of a new 'demographic threat': The State of Israel might become - GULP! - Jewish by 2030.
The report concludes that by the year 2030, the majority of Israel’s Jewish population will be religious – a reality that could lead to several different results, including an increase in poverty, the annexation of the West Bank settlements and Israel’s deterioration into an anti-democratic country.

The report, which was compiled by Prof. Arnon Soffer, who holds the Reuven Chaikin Chair in Geostrategy at the University of Haifa, also concluded that by 2030, the haredi population will reach more than a million people, which will place an especially high economic burden on the secular population.

“As long as the haredi percentage of the population increases, the economic gaps between the haredi population and the remainder of the population will continue to grow, requiring a greater transfer of funds [from the secular population] to support them.

“Their differential participation in the workforce not only creates a situation of total dependence on the income-earning population, but also inequalities that only continue to grow as well as higher dissatisfaction, bitterness and feelings of suffocation among taxpayers.”

The report, a continuation of Soffer’s 2008 study “Israel: Demography and Density 2007-2020” also finds that the higher haredi birthrate and their increasing demographic weight will strengthen the voting power within their community and the legislative influence of the haredi parties.

“The public agenda, the public square and the cultural aspects of the country stand to all reflect the spirit of the haredi and religious world,” it stated. “Education will become Torah-based, courts will be operated according to Jewish religious law and much of the media will undergo a transformation in which a large amount of the content it broadcasts will disappear.”

The report states that these changes will lead to greater emigration of secular Israelis from the country, further degrading the quality of life in the country.
Soffer is assuming that the current situation - in which most Haredi men study Torah full time into their 40's and 50's and earn practically nothing - will continue. It may or it may not. He also assumes that the national religious public will vote with the Haredim on everything. They may or they may not. He's also making a whole lot of other assumptions about which I could spend an hour writing a post if I had the time to spend an hour on one post. I don't right now.

But here's the bottom line: Soffer is a fear mongerer. He deserves to be ignored. If this really disturbs people who are secular, they have two options: if they're in Israel, they can join the crowd or leave. And if they're abroad and they want to have an impact in Israel, they can move to Israel. No one who is religious here is going to become not religious to satisfy Jewish donors from abroad.

On the scale of things about which this country needs to worry, I'd put an explosion in the number of religious Jews far down the list.

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At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Professor Sofer:


At 8:38 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Haredim are making a shift towards Zionism.

Shas is already a Zionist party.

Just what does Arnon Sofer fear? The state the HaRav envisioned coming into existence?

Israel has problems to be sure. But a religious state isn't one of them.

At 10:00 PM, Blogger docfromjerusalem said...

The Army will become all male. There will be a much higher standard of morality, Once that happens-we get much closer to Moshiach.

At 11:01 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

If seculars don't want religious Jews taking over, they need to have more children, and the ones they have need to stop becoming yordim. America doesn't need anymore art supply kiosks in shopping malls with tattoo laden ,body pierced salespeople.

At 4:44 AM, Blogger Chief said...

The Israeli army will be all male, religious women will not feel violated in the workforce and, neither will religious men. Since the Yeshivos will be forced to decide who should stay in Yeshiva and who should go to the army, standards will be established requiring Yeshivoh Bochorim to show credentials to choose the Yeshiva over the army. Going to the army will be a mitzvoh again. And, the non-religious minority, contrary to what these so called experts are saying, will be looked at, as nebechs. And this is all with the current trajectory. Of course, if we are worthy, we will have the Mashiach way before then, but that is a different matter.

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Chief said...

It won't be that bad. The Haredim will go to the army and the women won't, of course. Religious woman, and men, won't feel violated in the workforce with all the innuendo that takes place there now. It will be a very different country, granted. But contrary to what this professor is saying, the secular will not be forced to change and they won't feel stifled either.


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