Saturday, April 20, 2013

Faitelson Responds to Lustick on the Demographic Threat

At this previous post, I related to the new article on demography in Israel, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, that is, the state of Israel as well as the regions of Judea and Samaria.  Written by Prof. Ian Lustick, it seeks to undermine the recent prognostications that the so-called "Demographic Threat", that a Jewish minority is the result of the continued administration of the territories, and for sure their incorporation into Israel proper.

I alerted some of the persons involved and one, Yaakov Faitelson, has sent me the following article as a first response.

I am proud to serve as a platform for the discussion of the issue.


I will not respond on the same level of the “quality” of Ian Lustick. He  continues simply to use and to manipulate the same sources such as Arnon Sofer, Sergio DellaPergola and others, despite the fact that their demographic projections and estimates published during last 30 years had crashed to the dust. 

Twenty-six years ago  I was cited by Dan Petreanu in his article "Demography: Men or Myth" published by Jerusalem Post  in August 16, 1987: "But neither Arab population, says Faitelson, will become a majority, because the decline in the Arab death rate in the administrated territories will soon reach a plateau, whereas their birth rate will continue to fall. Thus, their rate of natural increase will decline while that of the Jews will increase slightly". And further: "Faitelson predicts that the Israeli Arabs rate of increase will eventually reach that of the Jews - today about 1.4 per cent - around the first decade of the next century, followed about 10 years later by that of the Arabs in the territories".

The natural increase of the Jews in 2012 was 1.52% which was 14.3% higher than in 1987 and  27.4% higher than in 2000. The Arabs natural Increase was 2.19% which was 21% lower than in 1987, but 33.7% lower than in 2000. The number of the Jewish Live Births was 125,492 in 2012, 77.2% higher than in 1987, while there were 40,080 Arab Live Birth, 58.2% higher than in 1987.

But here one must take a look at the dynamics of the demographic development: the number of the Jewish Live births in 2012 was  36.5% higher than in 2000, while it was  1% lower for the Arabs. Actually, the number of the Arab Live birth has stabilized at around 40,000 during all the past12  years. The Arab Baby Boomers of the 1960s are about 50 years old already. It means that Arab Death rate started to grow, accelerating it towards the average level of the Jewish Death rate. It will sharply influence the Arab Natural increase rate making its decline even faster in the coming years. 

During the same period , the Jewish Natural Increase rate had been stabilized  for the last 45 years and in 2012 it is almost the same, 1.52%, as it was in 1962 which was 1.55%. Taking into consideration the continuous annual addition of immigrants to the development of the Jewish Natural Increase will explain why the heralded “Demographic Doomsday” never came about and , I claim,definitely will not come in the future.

Taking in consideration the demographic development in Judea, Samaria and Gaza Strip, I usually compare the estimates of the Palestinians themselves and of the US Census Bureau.
It is clear for everyone, that all demographers agree that the Arab growth rate is decreasing steadily. I believe that even Lustick had paid attention to such well-known fact. Even while the US Census Bureau takes as their estimate that the migration balance from the Judea, Samaria and Gaza strip as 0, it still shows the decrease of the natural increase in Judea and Samaria from 3.01% in 2002 to 2.05 in 2012, 16.7% less in one decade. The  picture is similar regarding the Gaza Strip - 14.5% less, from 3.58 to 3.06.

In comparison,, the natural increase of the Arabs of Israel declined by 26.8%, while the Jewish natural increase rose by 27.5% during the same time period of 2002-2012.

The Head of Demographic Department of the ICBS, Dr. Ahmad Hleihel, had admitted that the ICBS assumptions regarding  demographic developments of the Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel were mistaken.  "Ma'ariv" journalist Rotem Sela quoted him in his article published on 27.7. 2011:  "We were mistaken in assessing the increase in the Jewish fertility, and on the other hand, the rate at which Arab fertility declined. I believe that the Arab population's fertility will continue to fall in the direction of 2-3 children".  This conclusion of Dr. Hleihel actually confirmed the conclusions I made and published already 26 years ago.

Now regarding  Aliya and emigration.

In the same Dan Petreanu article, Arnon Sofer was quoted saying as follows: "So, without even considering future birth rates, to make up one percentage point today we need an additional 170,000 Jews. Who among us really expects that sort of Aliya in the near future". 

As everyone can understand now, even Lustick, I can suppose, the facts were quite different. The failure to properly assess the ongoing developments in the Soviet Union of 1987 was a cause of huge surprise not only for Sofer...

Actually, the same failure of understanding of the current potential of Jewish Aliya  can be seen now, if  the rising new wave of the anti-Semitism in Europe, Latin America, etc., combined with the world economic crisis, is ignored or downplayed.

Attempting to manipulate the numbers of the Jewish emigrants from Israel is also a failure. According to the ICBS the emigration rate from Israel is now on the lowest level in all 65 years of the Jewish State existence.

Some remarks regarding Lustick's argumentation as to  my forecasts from 2007 for the possible growth of the Jewish population in Israel and the Jewish Aliya to Israel till 2050 are in order.

I presumed that the natural increase will continue to be 1.27% and, together with  Aliya numbers, the annual increase would have been 1.42%.

Lustick wrote that my assumption made in 2007 that there will be Aliya of 10,000 Jews annually till 2050 is not real. Let's see what really happened during the years of 2007-2012.

The annual increase of the Jewish population was 1.83%, which was a 28.9% increase, higher than my own assumption.
The total number of new immigrants during this time period was about 86,000 or more than 14,300 annually. That represents a figure 43% higher than my assumption.

In my paper published by the IZS I had predicted that the Jewish population of Israel in 2012 will reach 5,878,820 people and  the Arab population would be 1,614,415. Actually, in 2012 there were 6,014.100 Jews (a 2.3% increase above that  projection) and 1,648,400 Arabs (2.1% more than what I projected). In any case, my mistake was just little bit higher than 2%, which is only a half of the 4%  statistical error factor.
I will not relate to  the facts about the increased Jewish population. It appears to be more a moral problem for such persons like Lustick than a demographic problem of the Jewish State. It is enough for me that Prof. Sofer who only in 2002 talked about the demographic danger caused in State of Israel by”Arabs, Russians and Moldavian prostitutes", has changed his opinion and now declares that the members of the mixed families of the repatriates from the Former Soviet Union are a part of the Zionist majority in the State of Israel. It took him a lot of time and rivers of the young soldiers’ blood spilled on defense for Israel to understand it. 

However, also Prof. Sergio DellaPergola has different approach now to the definition ‘who is a Jew. As he had written in his paper, "Jewish Demographic Policies", published by the Jewish People Policy Institute in 2011: "It seems that ways must be found to include and ‘embrace’ this population within the Jewish community, especially those who have integrated into the country, and whose children are in the school system and are serving in the IDF".   It couldn’t be better stated.

And finally, for such a short note, let's now see what the Arab demographers, researches and journalists say when they work for the international institutions and what they are publishing in Arabic. Here just some examples from many:

According to Mustafa Khawaja,Director of Jerusalem Statistical Department, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics: "The net balance of arrivals and departures for the West Bank in the period 1967 to the present has been consistently negative, with an average of about 10,000 leaving annually… the main reason for migration by Palestinians relates to the economic factors resulting from the political instability and the infighting between the Palestinian parties" as quoted from his work published by the Robert Shuman Centre for Advanced Studies, San Domenico di Fiesole (FI): European University Institute, 2010.

Khaled Abu Toameh, "80,000 Palestinians emigrated from territories since beginning of year (a rise of 50 percent compared to last year), a senior Palestinian Authority official said Monday. The official, who asked not to be named, told The Jerusalem Post another 50,000 Palestinians are now trying to leave through the Jordan River bridges and the Rafah border crossing".  Jerusalem Post, Aug. 26, 2002.

The Egyptian journalist Bissan Edwan, published on April 16, 2004 the article in Arabic  "Demographic bomb in Israel and the self-deception" this data: "According to Jordan statistics, at least 150 thousand Palestinians left the West Bank during the intifada years from 2000 to 2002 and did not return". 

Bissan Edwan comes to the conclusion that the economic situation in the Palestinian Authority causes the possibility of new waves of large emigration as it had happened during the Intifada. Bissan Edwan writes that the demographic factor will play a limited and marginal role in the future of the conflict. She mentions that the Jewish net migration was able to maintain a significant Jewish majority of the population in Israel and that the results of the higher Palestinian natural increase vanish because of the high rates of emigration, the increasing mortality and the successful programs of birth control that help lowering Palestinian fertility rates.

There are a lot of facts that I bring in my papers to establish my case based on the international official Data bases and the researches of the Arab and other demographers, including the PCBS. It is difficult to somebody who isn't looking for truth to follow it. But this is an acknowledged fact by every objective researcher that the Arab and Muslim fertility is fast decreasing, not only in the Land of Israel, but across the countries in the Middle East. Another fact is that Jewish fertility is stabilized with some significant increase (temporarily, in my opinion, until, that is, the large part of the Jewish population will be finally absorbed in the Israeli nation) during the 2 last decades. The Arab TFR in Judea and Samaria is already equal to the Jews in general, the Israeli Arabs TFR is decreasing towards convergence with Jewish and even the Arabs of Gaza Strip are on their way to the same direction.

It needs a higher moral level and integrity to be able to accept these facts than Prof. Lustick owns.


1 comment:

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

about Prof Lustick's character and morality, bear in mind that he is an enemy of academic freedom, in that he brought about the dismissal of Prof Francisco Gil White from the University of Pennsylvania. This was because Gil White was too pro-Israel.