President G.W. Bush: “One of the interesting breakthroughs has been that the Israelis have come to believe, that it’s in their long-term interest that we work toward a Palestinian democracy [state], otherwise, the demographics will overwhelm the Israeli democracy.” (Oct. 3, 2007, Lancaster, PA Chamber of Commerce). President Bush echoed that message at GOP fundraisers in Texas and NY.
However, the assumption that Jews are doomed to become a minority, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, defies demographic reality, as documented by the World Bank, the Palestinian Health and Education Ministries, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS), Gallup and the groundbreaking study by the Zimmerman-led American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG):
1. Israel’s Jewish fertility rate (2.8 children per woman) is the highest in the industrialized world and trending upward.
2. Israel’s Jewish-Arab fertility gap has been reduced from 6 children in the 1960s to 0.8 child in 2007. Arab fertility has declined 20 year faster than projected by the ICBS.
3. A 36% increase in the annual number of Israeli Jewish births – between 1995 and 2007 – while the number of annual Israeli Arab births has stabilized at 39,000. The one million Olim (Jewish immigrants) from the USSR have contributed significantly to the robust increase: They arrived with a typical Russian fertility rate of 1 child per woman, and are speedily catching up with the secular Jewish fertility: 3, 2 or 1 children per woman.
4. The World Bank documents a decrease in Palestinian fertility rate (a 32% gap between Palestinian projection and actual documentation of six year old youth!) and acceleration of Palestinian net-emigration.
5. Reduced population growth rate in Judea & Samaria has been caused by: high emigration (since the 1950 Jordanian occupation, accelerating since the 2000 2nd Intifadah and further escalation since the 2006 Hamas victory) and declining fertility. Fertility decline has been triggered by reduced teen-pregnancy (which is a key Arab demographic competitive edge), all-time-high divorce rate, unprecedented use of contraceptives, transformation from rural society (70% in 1967) – where each child is a helping hand – to urban society (60% in 2007) and expanded higher education, especially for women (higher median wedding age).
6. According to a March 17, 2006 Gallup study, Arab women – in Gaza, Judea & Samaria and the “Green Line” – prefer less children, while Jewish women prefer additional children. Prior Gallup studies suggest that actual fertility tend to converge with fertility preference.
7. The number of Judea & Samaria Arabs has been inflated by 70% (1.5 million and not 2.5 million!), by counting overseas residents, including Jerusalem’s Israeli Arabs, over-projecting birth, projecting net-immigration, etc. The Jewish majority west of the Jordan River has been robust and long-term since the 1960s – 67% without Gaza and 60% including Gaza, compared with a 33% minority in 1947 and an 8% minority in 1900. Since 1882 – the beginning of modern day Aliya (Jewish immigration to Israel) – the Jewish population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean has grown 164 times, while the Arab population grew 6 times. Since 1949, the Jewish population grew 9 times, while the Arab population grew 3 times.
8. President Bush’s Israeli advisors have misled him: Demography constitutes a strategic asset, not a liability, for the Jewish State. Anyone contending that there is a demographic machete at the throat of the Jewish State is either drastically mistaken or outrageously misleading!