Secular and Religious Israelis Both Account for the Country’s Demographic Miracle

At 2.9, the Jewish state’s fertility rate is far greater than that of any other economically advanced country. While this is in part due to the high birthrates of religious Jews and Muslims, Israeli fecundity can only be explained by the fact that the secular and moderately religious also have more children on average than their counterparts elsewhere. Danielle Kubes, a Canadian journalist, seeks the reason why:

The real secret to Israel’s fertility rates appears to be cultural. The family is at the absolute center of Israeli life. Getting married and having kids is the highest cultural value. . . . And Israel puts its money where its pronatalist mouth is—it’s the only country fully to subsidize unlimited in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments for all women until they are 45 or have two children. The policy receives little criticism, despite the expense.

But most importantly, children are seen as a blessing instead of a burden. While I often hear my Canadian friends lament the cost of having children and the impact more humans will have on climate change, I have never heard an Israeli do the same.

Israelis simply lack the kind of nihilism seen amongst young Canadians today about the future. Despite the fact that they live in a land where they know they will have to send their children into the army at eighteen, they aren’t afraid to bring children into the world. Rather, they believe the only way to make a better world is to have children. To many Israelis, children represent life—and only life brings hope.

Read more at National Post

More about: Canada, Demography, Fertility, Israeli society

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy