Volunteer distributes  census info
Volunteer distributes census infoAvi Greenstein

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is author or "Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative" bit.ly/4c2GegI

The number of annual Jewish births in Israel surged by 69% from 1995 (80,400) to 2023 (135,639), compared to a 17% increase of annual Arab births in Israel during the same period, as reported by the February 2024 Monthly Bulletin of Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS).

The 2023 Jewish births (135,639) were 76% of total births (178,454), compared to 69% in 1995.

In 2024 (based on the 2022 data), the Jewish fertility rate (3.03 births per woman) is higher than the Arab fertility rate (2.75), as it has been since 2016. It is higher than the fertility rates in all Muslim countries other than Iraq and the sub-Sahara Muslim countries.

In 1969, Israel’s and Judea and Samaria’s ('West Bank’) Arab fertility rate was 6 births higher than the Jewish fertility rate. In 2015, both fertility rates were at 3.13 births per woman.

This reflects the dramatic Westernization of Arab demography in Judea and Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, triggered by Arab modernity, urbanization, the enhanced social status of Arab women, older wedding age (24), expanded participation of Arab women in higher-education and the job market, a shorter reproductive time (25-45 rather than 16-55) and the increased use of contraceptives.

In 2023, there were 43,353 Israeli Jewish deaths, compared to 31,575 in 1996, a 37% increase, compared to a 43% increase in 2022 (while the size of the population almost doubled!), which reflects a society growing younger. In 2023, there were 6,108 Israeli Arab deaths, compared to 3,089 in 1996, a 98% increase, which reflects a society growing older.

In 2023, the number of Israeli Jewish deaths was 32% of Jewish births, compared to 40% in 1995 – an expression of a society growing younger. In 2023, the number of Israeli Arab deaths was 14.3% of Arab births, compared to 8% in 1995 – a symptom of a society growing older.

Israel’s robust Jewish fertility rate is attributed to high-level optimism, patriotism, attachment to Jewish roots, frontier mentality, communal solidarity, high regard for raising children, and a declining number of abortions (34% decline since 1990, although the policy on abortion is liberal).

In 2024, there is a potential wave of Aliyah (Jewish immigration) of some 500,000 Olim (Jewish immigrants) from the Ukraine, Russia, other former Soviet republics, West Europe, Argentina, the USA, etc., awaiting the Israeli government recognition of Aliyah as a top national priority (as it was until 1992), resuming a pro-active Aliyah policy.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Israel’s Jewish emigration has declined since 1990, where there was an addition of 14,200 to the number of Israelis staying outside Israel for over a year. In recent years, the annual addition of emigrants has declined to an average of 7,000, while the overall population of Israel doubled itself from almost 5 million to almost 10 million. Thus, in 2020, there was an unusually high addition of 10,800 (probably due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions), and in 2021 there was an addition of merely 1,400 (due to COVID-19).

The positive Jewish demographic trend is further bolstered by Israel’s net-immigration, which consists of an annual Aliyah (Jewish immigration), reinforced by the shrinking scope of Israeli emigration: from 14,200 net-emigration in 1990 to 10,800 in 2020 (while the population doubled itself), which is higher than the 7,000 average annual net-emigration in recent years. The 2020 numbers may reflect the impact of COVID-19 on air travel.

In 2024, contrary to conventional wisdom, Israel’s Jewish demographic momentum since the 1990s is due largely to the rise of fertility in the secular sector, while the haredi sector (which has the highest fertility rate) has experienced a moderate decline in fertility rate (since the 1990s due to a gradual integration into the job market and academia), and the Modern Orthodox’ fertility rate has been stable. Israeli Jewish women are unique in experiencing a direct correlation between a rise of fertility rate, on the one hand, and a rise in urbanization, education and level of income, on the other hand.

In 2024, Israel is the only Western democracy endowed with a relatively high fertility rate (almost twice as high as in the OECD), that facilitates further economic growth, which is not dependent upon migrant labor. Moreover, Israel’s thriving demography provides for bolstered national security (larger classes of military recruits), economy, technology and a more confident foreign policy.

In 2024, the Western establishment persists in reverberating official Palestinian Arab demographic numbers without due-diligence (auditing), ignoring the 100% artificial inflation: inclusion of overseas residents, double-counting of Jerusalem Arabs and Israeli Arabs married to Judea and Samaria Arabs, ignoring the significant net-emigration, inflated births – and deflated deaths – data (as documented below).

Westernization of Arab demography

*A dramatic Westernization of the Arab fertility rate in Israel and in Judea and Samaria features a shift from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 3 births in 2022 (2.75 in pre-1967 Israel). It reflects the shift from a 70% rural Arab society in 1967 to a 77% urban society in 2024, in general, and the rising status of women, their wedding age (from 15 years old to 24), the substantial use of contraceptives (70% of Arab women in Judea and Samaria) and the shrinking of the reproductive period (from 16-55 to 24-45).

*The median age of Judea and Samaria Arabs is 22 years old, compared to 18 years old in 2005.

*The Westernization of fertility rates has characterized all Muslim countries, other than the sub-Sahara region: Jordan (which is usually similar to Judea and Samaria Arabs) – 2.9 births per woman, Iran – 1.9, Saudi Arabia – 1.89, Morocco – 2.27, Iraq – 3.17, Egypt – 2.76, Yemen – 2.91, United Arab Emirates – 1.62, etc.

*The number of Arab deaths in Judea and Samaria has been systematically under-reported (for political power of clans and financial reasons), as documented by various studies since the British Mandate. For example, a recent Palestinian Arab population census included Arabs who were born in 1845….(!!)

*The demographic and policy-making establishment of Israel and the West refrains from auditing the official Palestinian Arab data, and therefore it does not report the following well-documented Palestinian departure from a credible census:

-500,000 overseas residents, who have been away for over a year, are included in the Palestinian Arab population census. However, internationally accepted procedures stipulate only a de-facto count. It was 325,000, as stated by the Head of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in the aftermath of the first Palestinian Arab census of 1997; increasing to 400,000 in 2005, as documented by the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows daily due to overseas births.

-375,000 East Jerusalem Arabs, who possess Israeli ID cards, are doubly-counted. They are included in the Israeli census as well as in the Palestinian census. The number grows daily due to births.

-413,000 Arab emigrants from Judea and Samaria – since the first 1997 Palestinian census - are not excluded from the population census of the Palestinian Authority. The latter ignores the 20,000 annual net-emigration in recent years of mostly-young-Arabs from Judea and Samaria. Net-emigration has been a systemic feature of the area, at least, since the Jordanian occupation in 1950. For example, 23,445 in 2023, 15,466 in 2022, 28,000 in 2021, 26,357 in 2019, 15,173 in 2017 and 16,393 in 2015, as documented by Israel’s Immigration and Population Authority, which records all Jewish and Arab exists and entries via all of Israel’s land, air and sea international passages.

-The aforementioned data documents 1.55 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when deducting the aforementioned documented-data (1.7 million) from the official Palestinian number (3.25 million).

The bottom line

*In 2024, in contrast to conventional demographic wisdom, Israel’s Jewish majority in the combined areas of Judea and Samaria (the 'West Bank') and the pre-1967 Israel is not threatened by a potential “Arab demographic time bomb.” In fact, the Jewish majority in these combined areas benefits from a robust demographic tailwind of fertility rate and net-immigration.

*The US derives substantial benefits from Israel's demographic viability. It has enhanced Israel’s strategic capabilities and posture of deterrence, which have transformed Israel into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.

*In 1897, there was a 9% Jewish minority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria, expanding to a 39% minority in 1947. In 2024, there is a 69% Jewish majority (8mn Jews, 2mn Israeli Arabs and 1.55mn Arabs in Judea and Samaria), benefitting from a robust demographic tailwind of births and net-immigration.

Yoram will be available for speaking engagements in the US in May and September 2024: