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Demographer: 62% Jewish is Not Enough

Israel cannot annex Judea and Samaria and remain a viable state, demographer argues.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/19/2013, 8:41 AM

Children march through Samaria
Children march through Samaria
Samaria local authority

Israel cannot annex Judea and Samaria (Shomron) and remain a viable state, demographer Professor Sergio Della Pergola warned in a recent interview with Arutz Sheva.

Pergola, who has previously expressed support for the “two-state solution,” said annexation is a bad idea “because of the high natural growth of the Arab population.”

“The percent of the Israeli population that is Jewish is shrinking,” he argued. “We may have grown since the [1967] Six Day War, from 2.5 million Jews to six million, but the Arab fertility rates are higher.”

Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, there are not enough Jews for an Israeli state, he continued. “If we do not count Gaza, Jews are 62 percent of the population, and Arabs are 38 percent. There is no country on earth that functions with numbers like that. Even in France only 10 percent are Arab,” he said.

“We’ve seen states fall apart because of issues like this, it happened in Cyprus and Yugoslavia,” he warned.

If Israel were to annex Judea and Samaria it would face two bad options, either of which would mean an end to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, he said. If Israel gives citizenship to the Arab residents of the region “it would be a binational state, and if they are not given citizenship or voting rights, it would be a serious blow to democracy.”

He expressed support for the idea of population transfer via land swaps.

Della Pergola’s arguments have previously been rejected by demographer Yoram Ettinger and by Doctor Emmanuel Navon, who argue that the data he uses is based on inaccurate figures provided by the Palestinian Authority, and that changing fertility rates and rates of immigration and emigration mean that the Jewish population is expected to grow more quickly than the Arab population, and not vice versa.