Saturday, March 24, 2012

Oops, There Goes the Fertility Rate

My friend, Yaakov Faitelson, has published a short piece on projections of the "demographic problem" that seem to claim that there is a threat to the future of the Jewish state and terms them a form of terror which are repeated every few years [from 1993: Israeli settlement in the West Bank is failing to win the demographic war against Palestinians in the West Bank, according to a recently completed major study]. It appeared in Makor Rishon and he formulates his response to what he calls the

making the Jews a minority in their country is presented as a prophecy that must come true.

[this blog now reflects important input from Yaakov F.]

Note: In 2010, the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of the Jewish woman resident in the Jewish communities throughout Yesha was 5.18 versus 3.12 of an Arab woman in the the same area (the WB).  And the natural increase of the Jewish population there was 3.54% that year versus 2.13% for the Arab population.  That's the natural increase per 1000, from CIA World Factbook 2010.
He notes at the outset that the forecast for this minority status to occur keep moving forward in time, from 1985 to 1990 to 2000, 2008 and on to 2016 and now 2020.  He quotes a Yedioth Ahronot headline from July 1985 that "by 2000, Israel will not be Jewish" to an August 1988 headline reading "In 20 years there'll be here but a Jewish autonomy." Maariv announced in February 2002 that that Israel has only 15 of existence as a Jewish state left.

(And here is from a Haaretz piece from January 2 this year:

the bottom line of the Palestinian Authority's report. "On the basis of the estimations presented by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics in 2010, and provided that natural growth remains unchanged, the number of Palestinians and Jews will become equal and stand at 6.3 million [each] by the end of 2015," it said. "In addition, by 2020 the number of Palestinians living in historical Palestine will stand at 7.2 million people, while the number of Jews will stand at only 6.8 million."

where is is claimed that there is a "right-wing approach, according to which any demographic problem is far less serious than the picture that the Israeli left-wing is trying to paint.")

There is another trick: creating an artificial block of "enemies of Israel" so as to enhance the sense of the demographic danger which in addition to Arabs also now include "the Russians", "prostitutes from Moldova" and "foreign workers".  Recently, the list is expanded by including "the hareidim".

Of course, this is a form a racism.  The opponents of retaining the areas of Judea and Samaria create a backdrop of an engineered nightmare with resulting hysterical predictions that soon all this horrible mass would unite and then eliminate the existence of Israel.

The attempt to present the Druze, Circassians and Bedouins, who serve in the IDF, and Arab Christians and Muslims, some of which are disabled army veterans as non-loyal citizens, as if they were a homogeneous bloc hostile to Israel, is just pure folly.  It is inciting sectarian passions.

All these are completely contrary to the scientific approach.  These are forecasts based on erroneous demographic data, especially in assuming that birth and death in Israel are fixed and permanent. They also ignore data Jewish immigration to Israel and her Arab immigration, claiming that you can anticipate them.

Examination of demographic processes over long periods of time proves that like everywhere in the world, even in Israel they are dynamic and not static. Even the head of the demographic unit in Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, Dr. Ahmed Halihel: "We were wrong in assessing Jewish fertility growth, and on the other hand, the rate at which Arab fertility declined. We believe the fertility of the Arab population will continue to fall toward the 2-3 children."

Indeed, if in the State of Israel in 1995, for every Arab baby, 2.3 Jewish babies were born, then in 2011, 3.05 Jewish babies were born for every Arab child which is less than even what native-born Israeli women are producing, 3.09. Within the last decade, the increase in fertility among Jewish women has been to 2.97. According to the CIA, - total productivity of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria declined by half, from 6.2 in 1988 to 3.5 in 2011. Incidentally, contrary to popular belief, this increase was due to increases in fertility among secular women, when amongst the hareidi population, it fell in that period from 7.71 to 6.53. Integration of immigrants from the former USSR have greatly contributed to an increase in the general Jewish fertility...

As an Egyptian researcher states, the presumed advantage of the higher natural increase of Palestinian Arabs is disappearing due to the success of family planning programs and especially the emigration of young people, especially from Judea and Samaria, abroad...
(and not only that study but this one asserts:

Taking into account the current situations that Palestinians live in since the beginning of the current decade such as closure, poverty and unemployment, it is obvious that there is a trend of migration preference amongst the youth sector and unemployed persons particularly. Data from questionnaires carried out by the Institute of Development Studies in Birzeit university during February 2007, indicates that percentages of individuals aged 18 years and above, who prefer migration from the Palestinian territories, has reached 32.4%.)

Indeed, according to the CIA, - total productivity of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria declined by half, from 6.2 in 1988 to 3.5 in  2011, and in Gaza, it dropped from 7.49 in 1988 to 4.74 per woman in 2011.  This is a clear downward trend.

(I found this from January 2007 here:

Khawaja, for example, finds that the fertility rate among the Palestinian refugee populations is not conclusively higher than that of non-refugees. In 1991–1994, a refugee woman in the West Bank had on average 0.4 children less than a non-refugee woman. Between 1983 and 1994 the decline in the fertility rate among refugees in the West Bank was more rapid than that among the non-refugee population; 15 percent and 9 percent respectively...From the data accumulated on the Palestinian population in the years 1968–2003, the Palestinian TFR in the West Bank and Gaza has remained one of the highest amongst Muslim populations worldwide. Yet the total Palestinian fertility rate has, for over a decade, moderately declined. In the West Bank, this process has been gradual, moderate but consistent, whereas its progression in Gaza is marked by cyclical change. From 1968 to 1975 an increase in the fertility rate is apparent in both population groups, or, at least, neither exhibited signs of decrease.44 From 1975, there was a gradual and slow decrease that came to an end towards the end of the 1980s. From the late 1980s, signs of difference began to appear between the two regions. In the West Bank, after a slight increase, a slow and gradual process of moderation is evident and this continued until the beginning of the twenty-first century. In Gaza the level of fertility continued to rise until 1992, when it peaked at 8.1 children per woman. From 1993 on, there was a slow, gradual but consistent decrease in the fertility rate (see Figure 1). Due to the nature of the statistics and their level of credibility, it can be cautiously suggested that the gradual decreasing trend in the fertility rate was a product of the following interrelated factors: change in the political climate due to the signing of the Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestinians; developments in Palestinian expectations due to the changes in economic conditions; and the activities of various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) towards the promotion of social causes (including family planning))

The continuation of Jewish immigration and a growing stream of Israelis returning to Israel in recent years, together with growth of Jewish fertility on the other as well as the decline in fertility amongst Arabs and increased Arab emigration from Israel on the other hand, ensures that not only the Jewish majority will be maintained, but may grow in the coming years.

Here is Yaakov's previous academic article.
And this in an Arab research, p. 12:

The land of Palestine has always attracted migrants, and those who migrated there developed a deep attachment to the country. (Shiblak, 2005) The immigration of non-Jews increased steadily between the two Worlds wars. About 100,000 (8% of the total population of Palestine in 1948) of immigration (entrepreneurs, professionals and laborers) came from neighbouring Arab countries. However, most of them left the country after the war of 1948.

In other words, the relatively high "refugee population" is false in that, as we know, a "Palestinian refugees" was someone who only had to have spent but two years in the Mandate territory.

Back in 2005, the issue became 'hot' even though for years that I can remember (and I am referring to articles that appeared in Zot Haaretz, the bi-weekly of the Land of Israel Movement) it was always pointed out that the ominous predictions that we'd be a minority never came to fruition - ignoring the other aspect: if Arabs increase more than Jews, what difference if we yield up Judea and Samaria: there's always the 'problem' with the Arab population within Israel, no?
Here are some more articles.

And here are two more: one and two.


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