Birthrates in Israel Have Switched

Despite what U.S. President Barak Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have been saying in recent months in order to pressure Israel into solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s birthrates are not going to turn it into an Arab state anytime soon. Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby seems to set forth facts that prove this in his June 26, 2013, Globe article entitled “The myth of the inevitable Jewish minority in Israel.” The following are excerpts from this article:

“In the 1960s, when the fertility rate for Israeli Arabs (9.2 births per woman) soared far above that of Israeli Jews (3.4 births per woman), that demographic challenge certainly seemed plausible. Yasser Arafat liked to say that the ultimate weapon in his arsenal against the Jewish state was ‘the womb of the Arab woman.’

“Arafat’s boast notwithstanding, Palestinian women, like women throughout the Muslim world, are bearing far fewer children than they used to. Within Israel proper, the birth rate among Muslims has trended steadily downward and stands now at 3.5 children per woman. It is even lower for Palestinians in the West Bank — just 2.91, according to the CIA Factbook. In a 2012 survey by the Population Reference Bureau of family planning attitudes in the Arab world, 72 percent of married Palestinian women (ages 15 through 49) said they preferred to avoid a pregnancy. That was typical of the modern Middle East: The same survey showed most Jordanians, Egyptians, and Syrians felt the same way.

“But while Palestinian birth rates have dramatically declined, Jewish birth rates in Israel have been heading up. Israel now has the highest fertility level of any modern industrialized nation. The fertility gap between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, a yawning 5.8 in the 1960s, is just 0.5 today. Defying longstanding conventional wisdom, writes former Israeli diplomat Yoram Ettinger, it is Israel’s Jewish population that is undergoing a remarkable surge, rising from about 80,000 births per year in 1995 to 130,000 in 2012. (The annual number of Israeli Arab births has held steady at between 35,000 and 40,000).”

 


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