How a Culture of Child-Rearing Has Made the Israeli Demographic Miracle Possible

The Jewish state’s high fertility rates buck all trends among developed nations, and cannot be explained solely by the large families of Ḥaredim or Israeli Arabs. While insurance coverage for fertility treatments, generous maternity-leave policies, and the like may provide a partial explanation, Melissa Braunstein also points to a variety of social and cultural factors—and urges America to learn from the Israeli example:

Israeli culture starts from an assumption that nearly every family will have some kids and will need kid-related things. By extension, parents in families with three or more kids aren’t looked at funnily or quizzed about their lifestyle choices. . . . It’s understood that kids . . . not only will be but deserve to be in public spaces like restaurants. It’s also not considered noteworthy if graduate students bring their kids to class because childcare fell through on a given day. . . .

Many workplaces are willing to work with parents on work-life balance. It’s not uncommon for parents to work from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., rather than from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and many workplaces will host kids for a week after summer camp ends.

Public school starts at age three. The group that typically runs aftercare at the local school also organizes activities on days when school is closed but parents must work. Beyond that, museums, national parks, and malls all have kid-specific programming, especially during school vacations.

[Perhaps most importantly], “free-range parenting” is the national default position. Kids are independent from young ages, arranging and ferrying themselves to playdates. A six- or seven-year-old walks to the corner store with friends for ice cream. Ten-year-olds regularly cross Tel Aviv on scooters or on the bus with friends. Parenting in Israel offers more freedom to both kids and parents. It also seems to result in happier parents with more kids.

Read more at Federalist

More about: Children, Family, Fertility, 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