NEWS AND INFORMATION
Events, happenings, and Opinions Concerning
Israel, Israelites, Judah, and Everyone Else
Date 3nd April 2008, 27th Adar-2 5768
1. Ultra-Orthodox Jews deliver a
population boom to the West Bank
2. Skirl of the pipes to encircle the world
3. Latest Stats: Israel's Demographic Trend is Jewish, Not Arab
1. Ultra-Orthodox Jews deliver a
population boom to the West Bank
by Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent
The settler population is growing twice as fast as the rest of the country every
year, and the ultra-Orthodox community is responsible for approximately half its
annual growth, according to Haaretz's analysis of Interior Ministry figures for
2006. In the last year, the settler population has grown by 5.45 percent, from
260,932 to 275,156.
Without the ultra-Orthodox community the West Bank settlements' growth is 3.7
percent, only a little more than the natural growth the settlements would see,
which stands at 3.5 percent.
The growth rate in the ultra-Orthodox Beitar Ilit and Modi'in Ilit is higher
than most places in Israel. Modi'in Ilit's population, some 40,000, grows
annually by about 11 percent (this year it has grown by 12.5 percent).
Beitar Ilit's population, some 35,000, grows annually by some 10 percent - five
to six times more than Jerusalem and Tel Aviv's population growth respectively
and twice as much as the growth of many other settlements.
By the end of June, 72,106 people - more than a quarter of the West Bank
settlers - were concentrated in Beitar Ilit, Modi'in Ilit and Kochav Yaakov,
another ultra-Orthodox settlement, according to Interior Ministry figures.
Most of the ultra-Orthodox settlers - young couples or young families with
numerous children - do not live in the West Bank for ideological reasons. They
moved to the settlements due to the soaring real estate prices in the
ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, which created an acute
Between the end of June 2006 and June 2007, the number of settlers in the West
Bank grew by 5.45 percent. Last year the growth of the ultra-Orthodox population
made up 40 percent of the increase in the settlers' numbers, and this year its
contribution is bigger.
Beitar Ilit and Modi'in Ilit are in the settlement bloc earmarked to be annexed
to Israel, according to this government and the plans of previous ones. Before
retiring, former GOC Central Command Yair Naveh signed an order joining Beitar
Ilit's area with Jerusalem's municipal area. Ilit, the region's busiest
transport company, makes some 400 trips to and from Jerusalem daily.
Modi'in Ilit, which is on Highway 443 between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, is also
near Highway 6 and will be on the future Tel Aviv-Modi'in-Jerusalem railway
2. Scotland: Skirl of the pipes to
encircle the world
3. Latest Stats: Israel's
Demographic Trend is Jewish, Not Arab
by Hillel Fendel
(IsraelNN.com) Yoram Ettinger, a former Israeli Embassy liaison with Congress,
says it's critical for Israeli decision-makers to know that, contrary to popular
perception, the proportion of Jews in the Land of Israel is rising.
"The demographic problem is not only not lethal to Israel," Ettinger told Yishai
Fleisher on IsraelNationalRadio.com, "the tailwind is in fact going in favor of
the Jews, not the Arabs."
In 1995, the number of Jewish births comprised 69% of all births in Israel,
while today it is 75%.
The most startling recent demographic finding, Ettinger said, "is that between
1995 and 2007, the annual number of Jewish births has increased by 40%, from
some 80,000 to 112,000 Jewish births each year. During this period, the number
of Arab births within the Green Line [pre-'67 Israel] has stabilized at around
39,000 a year.
In addition, in 1995, the number of Jewish births comprised 69% of all births in
Israel, while today it is 75%. This means that from year to year, Jewish society
in Israel becomes relatively younger, while Arab society becomes older."
The true numbers, Ettinger told Arutz-7 last month, are as follows: "Within the
Green Line, there are currently 1.4 million Arabs, compared with almost 6
million Jews. In Judea and Samaria, there are 1.5 million Arabs, and not 2.3
million, as [the PA] claims. In Gaza, there are 1.1 million, and not 1.5
Ettinger then summed up: "What this shows is that the trend is Jewish, not
Arab. One of the conclusions must be that there is absolutely no reason for
Israel to give away Jewish geography in favor of Jewish demography. Anyone who
says otherwise is either recklessly wrong or misleading."
There is no doubt that demographic optimistic and hope is much more conducive
for better long-term planning, a better economy, a better investment climate,
and a better social climate.
Asked by Fleisher about other important demographers whose conclusions are
otherwise, Ettinger responded clearly and concisely: "The facts are that the
others have been wrong, and here are some examples. In the 80s, those
demographers told Israelis that there was no chance of a massive Aliyah
[immigration] from the USSR, and that if the gates were to be opened, the Jews
would mainly go to the US, Germany and elsewhere. Of course, one million came
to Israel... The founder of the Central Bureau of Statistics told Ben-Gurion
back in 1948 to delay the Declaration of Independence because conventional
demographics at that time said that the 600,000 Jews were expected to become a
minority within 20 years. They also told him not to expect Jewish Aliyah after
the War of Independence. Once again, they were wrong. They also said in the
1970s that we shouldn't expect Soviet Aliyah - when in fact about 200,000 came."
"So time after time," Ettinger said, "the conventional Israeli demographers were
wrong on Aliyah, and were wrong on Jewish fertility, and were wrong on Arab
fertility. Jewish fertility in Israel over the past 10-15 years is the highest
in the industrialized world - contrary to predictions that it would drop!"
Asked about the Arab growth rate in Judea and Samaria (Yesha), Ettinger had a
detailed answer: "Arab fertility in Yesha reached its peak in 1992, for a simple
reason: The Six Day War in 1967 brought about an interaction between a Western
society and a third-world society - the Arabs of Yesha. When this phenomenon
happens, it triggers one generation of unprecedented growth rate in the
third-world society, primarily due to better health services, longer life
expectancy, etc. After one generation, the fertility rates begin dropping and
coming closer to Western fertility rates; at the same time, the death rate
increases because the increased life expectancy meant there were many more older
people - leading to a general decline in growth. The Jewish birth rate, however
- seeing as we are a non-normative Western society - defies these rules, and we
keep creeping upward."
The bottom line, Ettinger concludes, is that "Arab fertility rates have
decreased tremendously since 1993, and perhaps more importantly, emigration has
increased considerably, especially since 2000. When Hamas took over Gaza,
25,000 more people emigrated than immigrated, compared with 16,000 the year before.
Between 1950 and 2007, in every year except for six of them, they lost people in
Ettinger explained that it is important for a country to know the truth, and not
wallow in "baseless, pessimistic, fatalistic projections" and "suicidal talk
about the 'besieged Jewish state.' There is no doubt that demographic optimism
and hope is much more conducive for better long-term planning, a better economy,
a better investment climate, and a better social climate. Certainly it is
better to enter into critical national security and diplomatic issues with
demographic confidence; this expands your options and your room for
maneuverability. If, on the other hand, you come with fatalism and demographic
sweat on your brow, it restricts your options and leads to defeat."
"Right now, we have a 60% Jewish majority between the Mediterranean and the
Jordan River - and 67% if we don't include Gaza. Those who say that this is not
good enough and that we must therefore give away Arab-populated areas, I say
that we should remember that in 1947, when the UN granted us the right to have a
State, the Jews were only 33% of the population. In 1900, we were only 8%!
Anyone who understands nationalism and demographics cannot deal with short-term
considerations, but rather must look 100 years backward and 100 years forward.
Over 100 years we have grown from 8% to 60%, and looking to the future, we can
also derive comfort from the growing Jewish birth rates and the declining Arab
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