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Monday, July 11, 2011

The demographic misconception

Israel's Left continues to promote the notion that if we don't separate from the 'Palestinians,' we will find ourselves a minority within our own state, leaving us with the choice of being Jewish or democratic. That notion has also been sold to the American government, amongst others.

The problem with it, writes Joel Golovensky, is that it is based on the demographic realities of 30-50 years ago, when 'Israeli Arabs' and the 'Palestinians' were far less urbanized and modernized than they are today. Golovensky presents today's reality.
THE DEMOGRAPHIC reality of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s has been imprinted on the psyches and in the guts of our current leaders. In today’s empirical reality of a developing acculturated population, in which women receive formal education, in which urbanization rapidly increases, and in which other typical trends play out, the TFR sinks to a fraction.

This is today’s reality that Faitelson documents and that our leaders fail to absorb.

In 1965, Israeli Arab women were giving birth to 8.42 children on average. In 2010, they were giving birth to 3.5. Put differently, the TFR gap between the average Israeli Arab woman/ and her Jewish counterpart went from 4.95 to 0.6.

Studies by the American-Israel Demographic Research Group published by BESA, Azure and AEI, among others, and endorsed by a highly prominent US authority on demography, Nicholas Eberstadt, suggest that demographic developments on the West Bank trail those among Israeli Arabs by about three years. Remarkably the CIA reports that West Bank Arabs are more urbanized than Israeli Arabs, and for 2009, it reports a lower TFR for West Bank Arabs than the CBS reports for Israeli Arabs (3.12 vs. 3.5).

While Faitelson’s argument projects current trends to 2030 and even 2050, it is clear that even if the current trends flatten out, the Jewish and Arab fertility rates will soon converge and may reverse so that Jewish fertility exceeds Arab fertility. Even today, among 14 Middle East countries, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate ranks fifth.

Another part of the concept shattered by the IZS study is that the Jewish growth in fertility is to a considerable degree a function of haredi fertility rates. Wrong again. In fact, haredi fertility rates are declining steadily (15.3 percent between 2001 and 2009) as the overall Jewish TFR shoots upward.
Read the whole thing. And keep it in mind the next time someone tells you how a 'Palestinian state' is a vital Israeli interest. What a load of crap.

By the way, the picture at the top of this post was actually taken at the Jewish Family Festival in Skokie, Illinois, and not in Israel.



At 12:44 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

In the 1980s, the Israeli media ran doomsday stories warning how Jews in Israel would become a minority by 2010. Nearly 30 years later, it hasn't happened. Many Israeli leaders still believe the country will be overwhelmed with Arabs if they don't do something. Well the predicted Arab bulge hasn't happened. The worst thing Israel can do is act out of sheer panic to counter a future that is probably highly improbable.

What could go wrong indeed


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