Demography Is on Israel’s Side

March 24, 2023 | Yoram Ettinger
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Yasir Arafat was often quoted as saying that his “strongest weapon is the womb of an Arab woman.” That is, he believed the high birthrates of both Palestinians and Arab Israelis ensured that Jews would eventually be a minority in the Land of Israel, at which point Arabs could call for a binational state and get an Arab one. Using similar logic, both Israelis and their self-styled sympathizers have made the case for territorial concessions to prevent such an eventuality. Yet, Yoram Ettinger argues, the statistics have year after year told a different story:

Contrary to the projections of the demographic establishment at the end of the 19th century and during the 1940s, Israel’s Jewish fertility rate is higher than those of all Muslim countries other than Iraq and the sub-Saharan Muslim countries. Based on the latest data, the Jewish fertility rate of 3.13 births per woman is higher than the 2.85 Arab rate (since 2016) and the 3.01 Arab-Muslim fertility rate (since 2020).

The Westernization of Arab demography is a product of ongoing urbanization and modernization, with an increase in the number of women enrolling in higher education and increased use of contraceptives. Far from facing a “demographic time bomb” in Judea and Samaria, the Jewish state enjoys a robust demographic tailwind, aided by immigration.

However, the demographic and policy-making establishment persists in echoing official Palestinian figures without auditing them, ignoring a 100-percent artificial inflation of those population numbers. This inflation is accomplished via the inclusion of overseas residents, double-counting Jerusalem Arabs and Israeli Arabs married to Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, an inflated birth rate, and deflated death rate.

The U.S. should derive much satisfaction from Israel’s demographic viability and therefore, Israel’s enhanced posture of deterrence, which is America’s top force- and dollar-multiplier in the Middle East and beyond.

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