Yakov Faitelson
Yakov FaitelsonCourtesy

Israeli Jews will account for half of all of world Jewry by 2026, according to leading Israeli demographer Yakov Faitelson.

Faitelson presented his findings to the annual Torah and The Land Conference in Israel, which dealt with the halakhic ramifications of demographic shifts among world Jewry.

In particular, a scenario in which the majority of all Jews reside in the Land of Israel would have major ramifications on the status of Torah commandments vis-a-vis the Land of Israel; for example, it would bring back into effect the Jubilee (Yovel) Year, which has not been practiced for thousands of years, and would also have major ramifications regarding the status of shmitta - issues addressed at the conference by Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi David Lau

Among Faitelson's other findings were statistics which showed the already positive birthrate among Israeli Jewish women steadily rising, at a time when Diaspora Jewry is experiencing a negative birthrate.

Faitelson's research was not limited to Jewish demographics, however. The demographer claimed that both the Palestinian Authority and United States Central Bureau of Statistics were either hiding or altering figures regarding the massive emigration of Palestinian Arabs out of Judea and Samaria, which Faitelson said stands at around 10,000 annually.

He cited a meeting he held, together with other demographic experts, with a senior officer within the Israeli Civil Administration, who acknowledged the figures - but noted they were limited to statistics held by the Palestinian Authority's Population Register, which only registers Palestinians as emigres after a full seven years living abroad, and hence could be higher still.

What's more Faitelson said the PA was further inflating its population number by counting children of emigres who return to visit as "residents" - even though they still in fact reside abroad. Such fake "residents" number in the hundreds of thousands, he claimed.

The PA has numerous motivations for falsely inflating its population statistics, he added. Apart from gaining more international aid, PA officials are able to use reports of a rapidly growing population to pressure Israel to withdraw and make concessions.