Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Kislev 5764 - December 24, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Our Children are Our Future

Demography is in the news, and demography is driving the news these days. Ehud Olmert, Minister of Industry and for many years referred to as one of the Likud "princes" since he is the son of a famous Likud politician, shocked both the Right and the Left when he proposed to withdraw from the areas where there are concentrations of Arab populations in Yehuda and Shomron. He said that the reason he feels such a withdrawal is essential is because of a demographic argument that has in fact been favored by the Left for around two decades.

The Leftist argument says that if we consider the area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean as one political unit, as do their opponents on the Right who advocate a "Greater Eretz Yisroel," the Arabs will soon outnumber the Jews. Roughly speaking there are now about 4 million Arabs in this area (including Gaza) and about 5 million Jews. The Arabs are growing at a much faster pace than the Jews, and they will soon -- 10-15 years at current rates of population growth -- outnumber the Jews. Therefore, the Left has argued, the only way to preserve a Jewish state, which in a democratic government requires a Jewish voting majority, is to withdraw to political lines that leave a solid majority of Jewish voters. The easiest way to draw lines that meet this criterion is to stay close to the so-called Green Line that demarcated the cease-fire lines between Israel and Jordan in Yehuda and Shomron, and between Israel and Egypt in the Gaza Strip.

In truth, the problem is really not such a problem, so that it does not matter so much that the solution is not a solution.

One of the strongest elements of the argument is the time frame. It claims that the problem is a short ten years away. However even now, almost half of all the Palestinians are below the age of 14. Though this is a problem for the future, it means that it will really be around 30 years before the Palestinians will comprise a majority of the voters, based on present trends.

None of the secular politicians is worried about what will happen in 30 years. If they had been, they would have responded to these demographic scare stories two decades ago when they first surfaced. The ten years that are now predicted were even less twenty years ago. That is, although the Palestinian population growth is still very high, it has dropped significantly in recent years. According to the trends of the 80s, the Palestinians would already be a majority today, or by tomorrow at the latest.

If the secular politicians really cared about the future of Klal Yisroel, or even the future of the State of Israel, they would consider the situation as it is already today, within the Green Line. Even if the political population of the State of Israel is defined as the "Israeli Arabs" plus the rest, the sad fact is that Arab children constitute 40 percent of the younger population cohorts. The trends show very clearly that the problem that they feel so urgently now is only postponed by a withdrawal, and the new problem is already quite evident.

If the secular politicians really cared about the future of Klal Yisroel, or even the future of the State of Israel, they would make having many children a matter of national priority, and those who have big families, such as the chareidim, should be national heroes. Rather than removing government support for children, as this shortsighted government is doing, they should boost it. Our children are our future. Whoever has or supports children, is part of our future.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.