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mota bhai

Israel's 'Demographic Time Bomb' Is a Dud

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The argument can be summarized (if you don't want to read this) like this:

1. Don't count Arabs in the Gaza Strip.

2. Let Israeli citizens abroad the right to vote.

3. Ensure Jewish life expectancy remains higher than Arab life expectancy.

Israel’s ‘Demographic Time Bomb’ Is a Dud
Sorry, but the real number of Arab Israelis isn't an existential threat to the Jewish state.

BY Uri Sadot

DECEMBER 18, 2013

...

The argument, in a nutshell, goes like this: The birth rate among Arab families in Israel and Palestine is higher than it is for Jewish families. Therefore, at some point in the future the Arabs will become a majority in the area Israel occupies. When that day comes, Israelis will have to choose between having a Jewish state or a democratic one, because giving every person an equal vote would mean losing the Jewish character of the state. Israel's only hope of maintaining its identity, proponents of the "demographic time bomb" theory would argue, is to soon cut a peace deal that paves the way for an independent Palestinian state.

There's only one problem: The numbers just don't add up. Demography relies on more than just birth rates, and similar predictions have a long history of falling flat.

...
In mid-2013, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics reported a population of 8,018,000 citizens. A fifth of those, numbering 1,658,000, are Israeli citizens who identify themselves as Arab. The estimates for the number of Palestinians living under Israeli control in the West Bank, without voting rights, range from 1.5 million to 2.5 million. Even if one uses the upper-end estimates issued by the Palestinian Authority, then, the combined number of Israeli-Arab citizens and Palestinians amounts to less than a third of Israel's current population. As for the residents of the Gaza Strip, it is hard to argue for their inclusion, since Israel has not exerted civilian control in the area since 2005.

...

Israel is unlikely to see an influx of Jews like that from the former Soviet Union ever again -- but it also hasn't exhausted its ability to affect the demographic balance. A 2012 report by the Knesset research center, for example, assessed that there are somewhere between 230,000 and 750,000 Israeli citizens abroad. Although many of those Israelis are already counted in Israel's total population, large portions of them aren't, and none of them are represented in the Knesset.

Israel currently does not grant any voting rights for these citizens living abroad ... If Israel simply matched its expatriate voting policies to those of the United States or Canada, it would add hundreds of thousands of additional voters to its electoral register.

...

Dramatic improvements in public health are also changing the demographic picture ... Between 2000 and 2010, for example, the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics recorded that the life expectancy for Israelis increased by approximately three years ... While Israeli Jews registered a 3.2-year increase over that period, expectancy for Israeli Arabs grew only by two years. This divergence was equivalent to a 2 percent increase to the Jewish population of Israel over that decade, equivalent to the arrival of 128,000 new immigrants. Demographic projections, it turns out, require far more than simple arithmetic.

There are countless reasons for Israelis and Palestinians to seek peace, but a false demographic panic should not be one of them. Israel still has many years and policy tools to prevent the disappearance of a Jewish majority in the areas under Israeli sovereignty. The vices involved with ruling another people are many, and the benefits peace would bring are innumerable -- but the motivation to resolve the conflict should not stem from the threat of ticking demographic time bombs.

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So essentially, Israelis should stay the course on the bitter attrition campaign because it's working out pretty swimmingly for them. Got it.

FYI: Wrong article link.

Addendum to FYI: Uri Sadot is a sh_t eating shmuck. Oof, how sexist of me.


"If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello."

- Paulo Coelho

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I wonder why there's such a large gap in life expectancy? I guess you don't live as long when you're living under military occupation with no access to decent healthcare. It would seem that if Israel granted it's expats voting rights, then the Palestinians should be able to do the same.


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If and when Palestine becomes a true functioning State then said State can determine who gets voting rights, who is a citizen, who is eligible for citizenship and who is to be denied, etc.

The OP makes pretty clear that it is not arguing the genius or desirability of the status quo, merely poking a huge hole in the demographic time bomb theory.


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