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.