The Mystery of Israel’s High Fertility Rates

On average, the Israeli fertility rate is significantly higher than that of any developed country. In fact, while other countries have seen a decline in births, Israel has seen an increase since the beginning of the century. This anomaly cannot be explained by the high birthrates of ḥaredi women (whose fertility rates have remained steady) or of Arab women (whose rates have declined). Shannon Roberts writes:

[T]he rise in Israel’s fertility over the last two decades has actually been largely driven by non-Orthodox Jewish women, whose average fertility rate is 2.2 children per family.  This is [by itself] higher than any other country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Perhaps strangely, it has been increasing despite women having children later in life and working more. In fact, non-Orthodox Jewish women have higher employment rates than women in any other OECD country, except for Iceland.

Also unlike other Western countries, highly educated Israeli women have just as many children as their less educated counterparts. . . .

Some factors affecting fertility are the cultural and religious nature of life in Israel, and that women are able to balance work life with family life relatively easily, but this does not fully explain why Israel is so different from other OECD countries. Israel is doing well economically from a macro perspective, with GDP growth high (but not per capita), the standard of living increasing, and poverty levels falling slightly, [but this fact is likewise insufficient to explain the fertility rate].

[C]an the many countries grappling with how to increase their own fertility learn something of Israel’s secret?

Read more at MercatorNet

More about: Demography, Fertility, Israel & Zionism, Israeli society

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security