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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A brief history of the demographic debate in Israel

The 'Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics' released a report last month, in which they claimed that by 2014, Arabs will be a majority between the [Jordan] River and the [Mediterranean] Sea. Israel's chattering classes rushed to use the new report as evidence that we must immediately relinquish Judea and Samaria.

The report was wrong. Yoram Ettinger explains why the report was wrong.
In December 2010, the PCBS published its most recent population estimate, inflating the number of Judea and Samaria Arabs by 66% (almost 1.6 million and not 2.5 million) and the number of Gaza Arabs by 23% (almost 1.3 million and not 1.6 million). The PCBS estimate includes over 400,000 overseas residents, a "double count" of 240,000 Jerusalem Arabs, ignores the sustained annual net-emigration of well over 10,000 Arabs and misrepresents the number of births by some 30,000 annually.
He also explains the legacy of the Israeli Left's worship at the altar of 'Palestinian' statistics.
Reality has refuted "Demographers of Doom," at least since the end of the 19th century. In March 1898, Shimon Dubnov, the leading Jewish demographer-historian, contended that Herzl's Zionism was devoid of demographic infrastructure, since no more than 500,000 Jews could be expected in the Land of Israel by the year 2000. He was off by 5 million Jews!

On the eve of the establishment of the Jewish State, Professor Roberto Bacchi, the founder of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics and the guru of Israel's demographers and statisticians, warned that Jews were eventually doomed to become a minority within the Partition Plan. He pressured Ben Gurion to delay declaration of independence and projected that – under the best case scenario – there will be 2.3 million Jews in the Land of Israel, a 34% minority. He was off by 3 million Jews!

Since 1967, Bacchi's students have attempted to convince Israeli prime ministers to subordinate national security considerations to the "Demographic Scare." They have urged Israeli leaders to sacrifice the irreplaceable geography and topography of the over-towering Judea's and Samaria’s mountain ridges – historically and militarily – on the altar of demography.

In 2010, they adhere to Professor Bacchi's legacy. Thus, they underrate Jewish fertility, which is higher than most Arab countries (2.9 and trending upward versus 2.8 in Jordan, 2.5 in Egypt, 2.5 in the Gulf States and trending downward.) They idolize Arab fertility ignoring its sharp collapse. And, they ignore annual net-Arab emigration from Judea, Samaria and Gaza since 1950 (other than six years), while downplaying the prospect of aliyah.

During the 1980s – as they do today - they underestimated the number of Soviet Jews by 50% and stated that no massive aliyah was expected even if Moscow would open its gates. In defiance of Israel's demographic establishment, over one million olim arrived, catapulting the Jewish State to unprecedented heights technologically, medically, economically, culturally and demographically.
There's more. Read the whole thing.

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At 12:00 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yup... and if the Jews became a minority, it would not change their dominant position in the slightest. The Jews were already the dominant people in British Palestine when they constituted but a third of the population.The Arabs outnumber Jews in some respects but have never been a serious contender for statehood in the past and that shows no signs of changing in the future. Mere numbers don't tell you anything about the Jewish future.


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