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The demographic bottom line (Israel & Palestine)
By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Dec 20, 2015 - 3:22:45 AM

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1. The gap of the Jewish-Arab fertility rate (number of births per woman) has been closed ( ). From a 6 births gap in 1969 to a 0.06 gap in December, 2014, the Arab rate is 3.17 trending downward and the Jewish rate is 3.11 trending upward, and 3.4 when both spouses are Israeli-born.

2. Israel's Jewish fertility rate exceeds the Muslim World other than Yemen, Iraq and the Sub-Sahara: Iran -- 1.83 births per woman, Saudi Arabia -- 2.12, Egypt -- 2.8, Jordan -3.1, etc. The Arab fertility rates reflect accelerated modernity: expanded urbanization, enhanced women's rights, upgraded women's education and family planning (contraceptives). The Jewish fertility rate is bolstered by optimism, patriotism, attachment to roots and collective responsibility.

3. There has been an unprecedented 68% rise in the annual number of Jewish births from 1995 (80,400) to 2014 (136,000), despite a moderate decline in the ultra-orthodox sector, but due to a surge in the secular sector. At the same time, the annual number of Arab births in pre-1967 Israel has stabilized (40,000). In 1995, Jewish births constituted 69% of total births, approaching 78%in 2015. The Jewish sector is growing younger: the proportion of total deaths to total births declined from 40% in 1995 to 27% in 2014, while it is growing in the Arab sector from 8% in 1995 to 12.5% in 2014 ( , ).

4. A rapid Westernization of the Arab fertility rate in Judea and Samaria: from 5 births per woman in 2000 to 2.76 in 2015; from a median age of 17 in 2000 to 22.7 in 2014 (CIA World Factbook).

5. The negative Arab net-migration from Judea and Samaria (since 1950) trends upward since 2000: 25,000 -- 2014, 20,000 -- 2013, 18,000 -- 2012, etc. The positive Jewish net-migration trends upward. A pro-active Aliyah policy, suspended since 1993, would produce another strong wave of Aliyah.

6. The December 2014 number of Judea and Samaria Arabs was 1.7mn and not 2.8mn, as claimed by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) -- a 66% inflation.

7. The 1.1mn inflation consists of:

400,000 overseas residents (for over a year) are included in the census as documented by PCBS Directors, Hassan Abu Libdeh (press conference, February 26, 1998) and Luay Shabaneh (Neeman Institute, Technion, June, 2005), PCBS website (1997 and 2007 population censuses), Palestinian Under Secretary of Interior, Hassan Ilwi (October 20, 2014) and a World Bank report (page 25, volume 6, September 1993, ).

300,000 Jerusalem Arabs, bearing Israeli I.D. cards, are doubly-counted as Israelis (by Israel) and Palestinians (by the PA).

Over 100,000 (mostly) Judea and Samaria Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs, possess Israeli I.D. cards, and are doubly-counted.

A World Bank survey documented a 32% inflation of births recorded by the Palestinian Authority ( ).

A mythical life expectancy in the Palestinian Authority: the 2007 population census included Arabs born in 1845 and 1850....

8. There is no Arab demographic time bomb, but a 66% robust Jewish majority (6.6mn Jews, 1.7mn Arabs in pre-1967 Israel and 1.7mn Arabs in Judea and Samaria), trending upward, benefitting from net-positive migration and an unprecedented tailwind of fertility. In 1900 and 1947, there were 9% and 39% (respectively) Jewish minority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria.

9. Israel's fertility rate is unique -- quantitatively and qualitatively - among the world's advanced economies. It is a source of reality-based optimism, producing substantial economic and national security opportunities.

Wishing you Shabbat Shalom, a gratifying weekend and Merry Christmas

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
The Ettinger Report
"Second Thought: A US-Israel Initiative"
First published in "Israel Hayom" newsletter

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