Demographic Fatalism Afflicts Israel's Center and Right )., December 26, 2006

Israel's Center and Right have been afflicted with faintheartedness, perpetrated by Israel's "Prophets of Demographic Doom." They accepted – without any examination – that Jews were supposedly doomed to become a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.  Therefore, they concluded that irrespective of critical historical and security considerations, Israel should giveaway Jewish geography (Judea & Samaria), in order to security Jewish demography.  But, what if the pathological fear of Palestinian demography is grossly mistaken and misled?!


Israel's "Prophets of Demographic Doom" have accepted, as a Gospel, the numbers and projections published by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), although such data have been refuted annually by the documentation of births, deaths, immigration and eligible voters by the Palestinian Ministries of Health and Education, the Palestinian Election Commission, Israel's Border Police and Jordan's Bureau of Statistics. The "Prophets of Doom" did not scrutinize the data base of the PCBS numbers for Judea & Samaria and Gaza (the 1997 census).  They did not know that the PCBS numbers for 1998-2006 constitute significantly-flawed projections and not tangible numbers.  They overlooked the inclusion, by the PCBS, of some 400,000 overseas residents, in contrast with global demographic standards, which include only de-facto residents. They ignored the double-count of about 250,000 Jerusalem Arabs and additional 105,000 Israeli ID card carrying Palestinians, who are counted as "Green Line Arabs" as well as "West Bank Arabs". They were unaware that PCBS numbers included a projection of a 300,000 person net-immigration since 1998, while in fact a 100,000 person net-emigration has occurred, with an average annual net-emigration of over 10,000 since 1950.  They embraced the PCBS numbers – blindly – in spite of the fact that the PCBS assumed a population growth rate twice as high as Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea and Niger, which lead the globe in that category. The "Prophets of Demographic Doom" never mentioned such gross errors in their writings or lectures.  If they were aware of such errors by the PCBS, but chose not to report it, then it would be doubly concerning.


However, Israel's Center and Right did not bother to question the "Demographic Doomsday Prophecies."  They were trapped by refuted PCBS numbers, plagued by Demographobia (illogical fear of demography) and therefore subscribed to the illusory equation: A retreat from Jewish geography (Judea & Samaria) is a prerequisite for securing Jewish demography.


The PCBS number of Judea & Samaria Arabs has been inflated by 70% (1.5MN and not 2.5MN), and the total for J & S and Gaza is beefed-up by over 50% (2.6MN and not 4MN). But, Israel's Center and Right are smothered by demographic fatalism.


One of the symptoms for the westernization of Israel's Arabs has been the decline of their fertility rate.  Thus, the Arab-Jewish fertility gap has declined from 6 children per woman in the 1960s to 0.9 in 2006.  For the first time, the Jerusalem Arab-Jewish fertility rates have converged at 3.9 children per woman in 2006.  While the number of annual "Green Line" Arab births has stagnated during 1995-2006 (around 39,000), the number of annual Jewish births has increased by 36% from 80,400 (1995) to 109,000 (2006).  But, Israel's Center and Right are addicted to the "Geography-for-Demography" delusion. 


In contrast to the "Prophets of Doom", the Jewish majority west of the Jordan River is long-term and robust – 67% without Gaza and 60% with Gaza since the 1960s, compared with a 33% minority in 1947 and an 8% minority in 1900.  Since 1882 – the launching of annual Aliya (Jewish immigration) to Israel – the Jewish population west of the River has grown 164 times, while the Arab population has grown 6 times.  Since 1949, the Jewish population has expanded 9 folds, while the Arab population has expanded 3 folds.  But, Israel's Center and Right prefer hysterical demography over historical demography. 


The grossly erroneous path of the "Prophets of Doom" – based on inaccurate PCBS data – is exacerbated upon applying the 2000-2025 projections made by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS).  These projections have been refuted annually and substantially by the ICBS' own documentation. For instance, the decline of "Green Line" Arab fertility rate (3.6 children per woman in 2006) is 20 year faster than ICBS projections, while the Jewish fertility rate (2.75 per woman in 2006) has been higher – annually – than the best case ICBS scenario.  Since its inception, the ICBS has under-projected Jewish fertility rate, over-projected Arab fertility rate, under-rated the weight of Arab emigration and heavily under-stated the scope of potential Aliya (e.g. discounted the possibility of a substantial Aliya from the USSR in the 1970s and in the 1990s).


Israel's "Prophets of Demographic Doom" are wrong: There is a demographic problem, but there is NO demographic machete over Israel's neck, and the demographic momentum/trend has been Jewish!  Would Israel's Center and Right, and Israel's allies abroad, recognize the facts, or would they perpetuate their subservience to dramatically mistaken and misleading information, which would yield equally erroneous policy decision?!