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  • April 6, 2013

    Demographic projections look good

    Israel’s Jewish Demography Defies Conventions
    Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
    “Israel Hayom”, April 5, 2013,

    On March 21, 2013, President Obama stated at the Jerusalem Convention Center: “Given the demographics west of the Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.”

    President Obama was misinformed by his advisors.  The suggestion that Israel should concede Jewish geography, in order to secure Jewish demography, ignores demographic trends in Israel, in the Muslim world in general and west of the Jordan River in particular. These trends reaffirm that time is working in favor of Israel’s Jewish demography.

    In 2013, in sharp contrast with projections issued by the demographic establishment, there is a 66% Jewish majority (6.3 million Jews) in the combined area of Judea, Samaria (1.66 million Arabs) and pre-1967 Israel (1.65 million Arabs),compared with a 40% Jewish minority in 1948 and a 9% Jewish minority in 1900. The Jewish majority benefits from a robust tailwind of fertility rate and migration, which could produce an 80% Jewish majority by 2035. 

    The 66% Jewish majority of 6.3 million (including 350,000 Olim not yet recognized as Jews by the Rabbinate) exposes the systematic errors of leading demographers.  In 1898, the leading Jewish demographer/historian, Simon Dubnov, projected a meager 500,000 Jews in the Land of Israel by the year 2000.  In 1944, the founder of Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics and the guru of contemporary Israeli demographers and statisticians, Prof. Roberto Bacchi, projected only 2.3 million Jews in Israel by 2001, a 34% minority. On October 23, 1987, Hebrew University’s demographer Prof. Sergio DellaPergolla, told Yediot Achronoth that no substantial Aliya was expected from the USSR, but, one million Olim arrived.  In a September, 2006 article, Prof. Sofer projected that by 2011 there would be 4.5 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, double the number published in 2011 by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics – 2.6 million. And, in fact, the Palestinian number was inflated by one million Arabs: 400,000 overseas residents; a double count of 300,000 Jerusalem Arabs, who are counted as Israeli Arabs and as West Bankers; etc.

    In defiance of demographic projections, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate of three births per woman is higher than any Arab country other than Yemen, Iraq and Jordan. The modernity-driven downward trend of Muslim demography is highlighted by Iran’s fertility rate of 1.8 births per woman, Saudi Arabia’s 2.3 births and Syria’s and Egypt’s 2.9 births per woman.  The Westernization of the Muslim fertility rate was triggered by the unprecedented expansion of education among women, urbanization and family planning.  The surge of Israel’s Jewish fertility rate was triggered by high level optimism, patriotism, collective responsibility, the stable economy and attachment to roots.

    In contrast with conventional wisdom, Israel’s Jewish-Arab fertility gap has been reduced from six births in 1969 to half a birth in 2012.  Moreover, the fertility rates of Jewish and Arab women in their 20s and 30s – in Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel – has converged at three births per woman, with the Jewish rate trending above – and the Arab rate trending below – three births.  Furthermore, the fertility rate of Israeli-born Jewish women is already above three births per woman.

    In defiance of the demographic profession, the annual number of Israel’s Jewish births has surged by 62.5% from 1995 (80,400) to 2012 (130,000), while the annual number of Israeli Arab births has been sustained at around 40,000 annually. In 1995, there were 2.3 Jewish births per 1 Arab birth; in 2012 – 3.2 Jewish births per 1 Arab birth.  In 1995 Jewish births amounted to 69% of total births; in 2012 – 77% of total births.  In 2013, the Jerusalem Jewish fertility rate is 4.2 births, compared with the 3.9 Arab fertility rate.

    Contrary to political correctness, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate is surging at a time when the fertility rate of the ultra-orthodox sector declines, due to its growing integration into the employment market and military service. The surge in fertility is produced by Israel’s secular Jews, and mostly by the yuppies around Tel Aviv and the Olim (immigrants) from the former USSR.

    David Goldman, author of How Civilizations Die, wrote: “the stronger the Jewish commitment, the more likely Jews are to have children. Living in the Land of Israel is one of the strongest manifestations of Jewish commitment…. As unique as the Jews are among the world’s people, their fertility in Israel is also unique among the nations, and cause for optimism about the future of the Jewish people (inFocus, Spring, 2013, The Jewish Policy Center).”

    Anyone suggesting that Jews are doomed to become a minority west of the Jordan River is either dramatically mistaken or outrageously misleading.

    Shabbat Shalom and have a pleasant weekend,

    Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, Israel, “Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative”

  • Posted by Ted Belman @ 7:38 am | 11 Comments »

    11 Comments to Demographic projections look good

    1. NormanF says:

      Israel’s politically correct demographers have a catastrophic record of underestimating Jewish population growth in Israel over the last century.

      They’ve been proven wrong time and time again and they will be proven wrong again far into the future.

    2. Although several experts have reported this, the challenge is to turn it into conventional wisdom that affects Western policy thinkers, while not creating a new bit of inter-Arab propaganda about “the Jews overrunning the Arabs”.

    3. RaymondF says:

      It warms my heart to see the rapid growth of Jews in Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem, now at 650,000. When this number reaches one million in the not too distant future, the world will be forced to recognize the irreversible presence the Jews have in this area.

      The old claim of Arab fecundity eclipsing Jewish growth is now being shown to be the lie it is. Mr. Ettinger is correct in observing “the stronger the Jewish committment is, the more likely the Jews are to have children.” In days gone by families were large in order to ensure enough strength to keep families fed and housed and to defeat the grim harvest of disease, starvation, and pestilence. Now Jewish families are large because of confidence in their future and the knowledge that they need to overwhelm the enemy by sheer numbers.

      Conventional wisdom has said the Arabs would subdue Jews by virtue of their faster growth. The truth is that the Jews are growing nominally faster in number and vastly faster in bricks and mortar, educational institutions, scientific and medical advancement, and business growth.

      This surge is unstoppable, but Jews cannot afford to be complacent and ever let their guard down.

    4. @ RaymondF:
      This development turns conventional sociological wisdom about large families being caused by high mortality and the need to have enough children to assure family income in agricultural societies, on its head. Of course Orthodox Jews in non- agricultural societies, and many Catholics, have added a dimension RaymondF alludes to. There is room here for several PhD theses, where poverty is also insufficient to explain thesis proliferation :-)

    5. David Chase says:

      Has anyone emailed this report to Obama. After all, he knows what’s best for Israel.

    6. yamit82 says:

      David Sternlight Said:

      Although several experts have reported this, the challenge is to turn it into conventional wisdom that affects Western policy thinkers, while not creating a new bit of inter-Arab propaganda about “the Jews overrunning the Arabs”.

      You have the Phd, why don’t you suggest how to follow your own free advice?

      Check out the comparison between Jewish and Arab children up to ages 7-8.

      I think you will find the Arabs have almost 35% in that critical age group. Many of the immigrants from FSR/USSR are very old and dying off. Many came beyond child bearing age. We have up to a half million Israelis who are not Jewish according to Jewish Law, are they included as Jews by Ettinger or not? There are almost a million ex Pat Jewish Israelis abroad many still counted on our roles as Jewish Israelis. Are these counted in Ettinger’s findings and as what?

    7. yamit82 says:

      @ David Sternlight:

      The future belongs only to those nations with a net positive population growth. Irony of Ironies: Only Mexico is keeping America in the plus column but just barely. In 30-50 years America is more likely than not to resemble today’s third world countries, just like Europe. Too many educated idiots who are unqualified for anything and too few Butchers, Bakers and Candlestick makers.
      Forgotten it seems: “With the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” Gen 3:19
      “If you eat the toil of your hands, you are praiseworthy, and it is good for you.” Psalm 128:2

    8. RaymondF says:

      @ yamit82:
      How can the Arab cohort of age 0-7 be 35% of the total for Israel when Jewish fertility rate at present is 4.2 births per woman vs. 3.9 for Arabs (in Jerusalem), and in 1995 Jews accounted for 69% of all births and 77% in 2012? Granted many Olim are past child-bearing age but the fact remains that Israeli Jews are following the Biblical admonition to “multiply and replenish the earth.”

      Add to that Jewish children and adults are far more dynamic and productive than their Arab neighbors. Israel’s GDP at around $250 billion a year, roughly on a par with Hong Kong and Singapore is surging. The West Bank share of that is only around $9 billion, about 3% of the nation as a whole.

    9. Honey Bee says:

      RaymondF Said:

      Jewish children and adults are far more dynamic and productive

      Like breeding cattle quality over quanity. Now if one achieve both?

    10. yamit82 says:

      RaymondF Said:

      @ yamit82:
      How can the Arab cohort of age 0-7 be 35% of the total for Israel when Jewish fertility rate at present is 4.2 births per woman vs. 3.9 for Arabs (in Jerusalem), and in 1995 Jews accounted for 69% of all births and 77% in 2012?

      The stat I quoted is based on the Israeli bureau of statistics. I believe Ettinger’s figures are incorrect in that they fail to recognize the ramifications of that particular age group demographic going forward.

    11. Nanushka says:

      In my 34 years living in Israel, with friends and family in bohemian/arty, academic/Erocentric, religious/haredi yuppie/working class circles, Tel Aviv and Hebron… I have never met an emotionally and physically healthy married couple healthy, who chose not to have children. (My extended family in America is another story. They are busy dying off, in favor of pointless careers, ski vacations and “four legged children”)

      The most significant factor in the growth in Jewish Israeli births, is the Russian Olot. After 20 years in Israel, their birthrate has skyrocketed to equal that of other Israelis.

      A few minutes ago I rode my bike thru a Jerusalem park, when the Yom Hashoa siren went off. I was by the sandbox and slides. 20 Jewish mothers and baby sitters, speaking Russian, French, English and Hebrew stood, as their beautiful toddlers continued to play. What sweet “Nekuma

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