258. Jews will soon be minority anyway

One of the issues raised by Ari De-Levie in his "Community View" is the issue of Israel's demography. He claims that the 5 million Palestinian refugees, if allowed to return, will bring about the "demographic annihilation of Israel as a Jewish state."

Israel's demographic problem lies elsewhere. According to Maariv (June 26), "barely 15,000 (immigrants) will arrive by the end of the year." More alarming is the fact that the number of immigrants is smaller than the number of emigrants, who are about 20,000 a year. Furthermore, nearly a third of the Israeli babies born last year were Arabs.

Jerusalem has also a demographic problem. A recent publication by the Jerusalem Institute shows that Jerusalem's Jewish population grew in 2001 by 1.3 percent while the Arab population grew by 3.2 percent. Between 1967 and 2001, Jerusalem's Jewish population grew by only 130 percent while the Arab population grew by 214 percent.

Finally, the breakdown of the population of "Eretz Israel" is also revealing. The number of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is 3.5 million. The number of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship is 1.3 million. The number of residents who are neither Jews nor Arabs is 0.3 million. The total is 5.1 million, which is exactly the number of the Jewish population.

Demographers predict that by 2050, Jews will definitely be a minority between the River Jordan and the sea. Whether the Palestinian refugees exercise their right of return, Israel as a Jewish state is doomed if the present trend continues.

July  12, 2003