Israel Has No Reason to Fear Demographic Growth

Due to concern over global warming, some have argued that the world needs to reduce its population, and have even encouraged people to stop having children. In the Jewish state, a small country whose population this year surpassed 9.3 million, the argument becomes a more specific claim that “Israel is full.” Sam Lehman-Wilzig thinks such predictions of doom are all wrong:

First of all, from a global standpoint, Israel’s population is a drop in the bucket. Moreover, around 2050 or 2060 the world’s overall population numbers will start to decline! Some countries have already started on this downward slide: Russia, Japan, Portugal, [for instance]—and many others (China, most of Europe) are not far behind. Second, the naysaying Cassandras (of every generation) tend to disregard completely original solutions that human ingenuity—driven by economic necessity—comes up with to resolve “existential” problems.

After offering some concrete suggestions for how the Israeli government could handle growing demand for housing, Lehman-Wilzig admits that such technical solutions miss the bigger picture, which is that there is no population crisis:

In my opinion, the biggest benefit of increasing population numbers lies elsewhere: social psychology. [Those] countries whose population is growing are upbeat about the future; countries with stagnant or declining population represent (and are felt by the populace to be) stagnant societies. It is no coincidence—although it is impossible to “prove” any direct causation—that Israel is one of the few Western countries with a rising population, and simultaneously has one of the most vibrant economies, with close to the strongest currency in the world today. When people subconsciously feel that they are living in the midst of a vibrant society, they will be happier (Israel is near the top of international “happiness” surveys) and more productive.

Twenty million Israelis living in the country by 2050? Bring it on. Yes, it will offer challenges, but it also means doubling the country’s brainpower to meet those challenges.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Birthrate, Demography, Israeli economy, Israeli society

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship