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Israel’s population time bomb The ceasefire won't end the demographic struggle between Jews and Arabs

What will he become? (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

What will he become? (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)


May 21, 2021   5 mins

The latest cycle of violence in Israel-Palestine might appear to be over, but a pivotal dimension of the conflict remains unresolved: the matter of population. The Israelis and Palestinians are not only engaged in a never-ending territorial struggle, but a demographic one, too.

Israel-Palestine is a distinctive region because it combines low infant mortality and high female education with high birth rates. As Paul Morland has pointed out, Jews and Arabs in the region have much higher birth rates than their “co-ethnics” outside it. For instance, Arab women in Jordan bear 2.69 children, while those in Palestine have 3.49; Jewish women in Israel average 3.17 children each, compared to 1.5 in the US and Britain.

Why is this? One explanation seems to be that birth rates are higher in regions of religious conflict — a hypothesis that also seems to map on to areas inside Israel-Palestine. For example, Arab women in relatively conflict-prone Gaza average 3.64 kids compared to 3.07 in the more peaceful West Bank. Jewish women in tense, religious Jerusalem average 4.27 compared to a national average of 3.17.

What’s particularly concerning, though, is how these high fertility rates further increase the risk of violence, producing a dangerous, combustible spiral. How so?

First of all, political demographers have long identified a relationship between population composition, politics and violence. Young men, due in part to testosterone, commit a vastly disproportionate share of murders in all societies. Indeed, statistical models show that the higher the share of a nation’s population made up of 15-30 year olds, the greater the risk of a violent conflict.

In Sons and World Power, Gunnar Heinsohn analysed this trend throughout history, arguing that surplus males have always played an important part in spurring conquest and aggression. When only the eldest son inherited land, those with the bad luck to be his siblings had to fend for themselves. And so, he explained, during periods when population growth exceeded peaceful economic opportunities, war, banditry and risk-taking became more attractive.

That’s why the ranks of invaders, from the Vikings to Conquistadors, have disproportionately featured men such as Pedro de Alvarado, a younger son from a lesser-noble background who had no inheritance and thus decided, in 1510, to seek his fortune in the New World.

By contrast, as the population of the rich world ages, nations such as China, Russia and the United States will become increasingly unwilling to sacrifice their only sons on the battlefield, producing what Mark Haas has called “geriatric peace”. Indeed, Heinsohn argued that a major reason Lebanon did not descend into full-scale war in 2006, but did so in 1975, was age structure: by 2006, its fertility rate had plummeted and its average age had matured considerably compared to 1975.

Back in Israel, the issue of population has always commanded a central role in the nation’s psyche. First, Zionists worked hard to entice and sponsor European Jews to settle in the Holy Land, with the number of Jews swelling from 60,000 in 1918 to 600,000 in 1948. After the creation of Israel in 1948, waves of immigrants arrived, first from Displaced Persons camps in Europe, then from Morocco and, after 1989, from the former Soviet Union. Without immigration, as Paul Morland notes, there would be 250,000 Jews in Israel instead of 6 million.

And these ethno-demographic considerations are woven into national policy; they shaped Israel’s border wall and helped convince Ariel Sharon to withdraw from Gaza in 2005, which contains just 1% of the territory of Israel-Palestine but over one million Palestinians.

At one time, Israeli planners became concerned that Jews would be steadily outnumbered because of the Arabs’ fertility advantage — a prospect celebrated by Palestinian leaders. In the immortal words of the PLO’s Yasser Arafat, “the womb of the Arab woman is my strongest weapon”. For American political scientist Monica Toft, the two sides were engaged in “wombfare” for control of territory and power.

But while demographers once thought that Palestinian fertility would diverge from the Jewish fertility rate, Palestinian women have been affected by the worldwide slide in Arab birth rates of the past few decades. Meanwhile, Figure 1 (below) shows that while Jewish fertility was trending downward from the 1960s to the mid-1990s, it has since defied the supposedly iron laws of demography, going into reverse to the point that the Jewish fertility rate has now overtaken the falling Palestinian one.

Figure 1. Source: Haaretz

Yet the rise in Jewish fertility has come at a price. Secular Jews and those from moderate branches have historically made up Israel’s elite, but are losing population share due to their relatively low fertility. Instead, the Jewish fertility rise is largely due to the growth in highly religious Jews, especially the Haredim, or ultra-Orthodox. The latter have doubled their share of the adult Jewish population in Israel since 2000, and are extremely young, forming a third of Jewish first-graders — up from a few percentage points in 1960. Though they currently only make up 10% of the American and British diaspora, they are expected to form a majority of observant American and British Jews by 2050.

Within Israel, this demographic shift is already starting to cause tensions. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men generally avoid full-time jobs and the military, and are instead encouraged to study the Torah at Yeshivas to fulfil the ideal of a “scholar society”. The Israeli Central Bank, as a result, fears that their growth will ultimately bankrupt the Israeli state.

Modern Orthodox Jews are, by contrast, successful and serve enthusiastically in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). While the ultra-Orthodox are reluctant or pragmatic Zionists, the modern Orthodox are often passionately so, making up an increasing share of IDF officers and serving as shock troops of the Religious Zionist and Settler movements.

But while ultra-Orthodox Jews rear between 6 and 7 children, modern Orthodox women have 3 or 4 — higher than the secular Jews, who have 2.2. This dynamic is having a number of consequences. First, the relatively poor ultra-Orthodox population is spilling out from concentrated areas such as Meah Shearim, near Jerusalem. A relatively inexpensive option is to move across the Green Line into East Jerusalem or to the Settlements in the occupied territories.

There are political repercussions, too. With their increased vote-share, the Ultra-Orthodox have shifted Israel in a more Right-wing and religious direction, generating increased support for Haredi and pro-Settler parties. This, in turn, makes it more difficult for the Government to trade occupied land — and the settlements of religious Jews which now stand on it — for peace.

Meanwhile, the still-healthy Palestinian fertility rate has resulted in a young and fast-growing population in the West Bank, where the median age is 22, and Gaza, where it is just 18. Indeed, Gaza is the 13th fastest growing political unit in the world, with a population density of over 5,000 people per square kilometre.

Figure 2. Source: Statista

As Figure 2 (above) shows, this, together with Jewish fertility, has resulted in a soaring population in Israel-Palestine. While it is far too crude to describe the region as a ticking time bomb, it’s equally difficult to see how this population boom can continue without resulting in increased pressure on land, as well as producing a surplus of young men willing to join militant groups.

How will this all end? In the long run, it seems possible that the ultra-Orthodox could bankrupt Israel, while Palestine may have to send its excess population to work abroad if Arab countries in the Persian Gulf once again become willing to accept large numbers of Palestinians. The region’s demographic struggle for power is heating up — and, despite yesterday’s ceasefire, it doesn’t look like it will be brought to an end anytime soon.


Eric Kaufmann is Professor of Politics at the University of Buckingham and author of Taboo: How Making Race Sacred Led to a Cultural Revolution (Forum Press, 4 July).

epkaufm

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Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago

Several thoughts arise in response to this fascinating piece. First, differences between males and females are authentic and innate – hence the high murder rate among testosterone-driven younger men. Second, demographic imbalance is as perilous to the aged, sterile side as relative military weakness. Third, people instinctively put a premium on reproduction when the threats to their way of life are made obvious. Finally, Israel offers a microcosm of the problems now confronting the wider west – with an added rider that the state-supported, selfish, irresponsible “liberalism” of our day, quite distinct from real Liberalism, is killing us. It has fostered all the illusions which “woke” is busily turning into dogmas.

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Denis

demographic imbalance is as perilous to the aged, sterile side as relative military weakness.

God, yes! I remember thinking decades ago when there was nonsense about a unified Germany being a threat that in fact the humble Algeria was much more so, because of the demographic feebleness of the former and strength of the latter. I suppose I should have thought of Turkey as an even clearer example.

people instinctively put a premium on reproduction when the threats to their way of life are made obvious.

Hmm, not sure about this one, I think we in the West are too clever for that – which will be our death.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Palestine may have to send its excess population to work abroad if Arab countries in the Persian Gulf once again become willing to accept large numbers of Palestinians. 
About this: 1) there is not now, nor has there ever been a nation called Palestine. 2) The screaming crowds either ignore or are unaware of the rest of the Arab world’s indifference toward Palestinians. Maybe those Arabs are tired of the endless fighting and whining, too.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Doesn’t seem that people In Jaffa, Lod, Jerusalem or Gaza are, however.

And that seems like a real problem.

Last edited 3 years ago by Martin Logan
Rick Sharona
Rick Sharona
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Nor a Palestinian “people” in any real sense of the word.

ldbenj
ldbenj
3 years ago
Reply to  Rick Sharona

What an absurd statement. Of course there are Palestinian people today in Gaza and the West Bank. “Palestinian” may not have been an ethno-national identity in the past, but it certainly is today.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  ldbenj

Whether or not it is isn’t the question. These are masses of people expelled from their homes and culture.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Rick Sharona

That’s absurd. People in the position of the Palestinians perceive facts, not theories.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Nations are social constructions, so if the Arabs who live in Palestine can call themselves a nation and make it stick — which usually involves some kind of force — then they’re a nation. Curiously, it used to be argued that the Jews (or any subset thereof) were not and could not be a nation. I think it’s time for this sort of argument to be retired.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

What do you mean when you say “the Arabs who live in Palestine”? The Arabs who live in Israel and have Israeli citizenship (about 20 percent of the Israeli population)? Or the Arabs who live in Gaza and the West Bank? Because there’s no such actual place on the map as “Palestine”, the terminology can easily confuse.

ldbenj
ldbenj
3 years ago

“Palestinian” refers to Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza. It’s not confusing at all.

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
3 years ago

Look at most any map in the decades before 1947 and you will see a place called Palestine. Its meaning was clear then and is clear now.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Common sense.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I think you’ll find the British Mandate of Palestine predates the creation of Israel by 28 years, so to say it’s never been a country is disingenuous at best. Israel wasn’t a country until 70 years ago, so do you believe in nation creation or not?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Palestine wasn’t a nation in any sense of the word; it was a territory of the Ottoman empire before being taken over by the British after World War One. In the 1920s the British partitioned it to create Transjordan, now known as Jordan. It takes up over 70 percent of the original Palestine territory.

Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright
2 years ago

Well, on that basis, similarly non-existent countries now include Uganda, Zambia, Pakistan, Malaysia and Canada. To name but a few.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago

That would mean that Syria, Lebanon, etc. weren’t nations, simply because they had been conquered.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

A standardized and inaccurate view. Palestine has been recognized as a region for centuries. Other Arab countries are aware of the dynamics of the Occupation. Israel has a “tiger by the tail”.

tamritzblog
tamritzblog
3 years ago

It will be a mistake to suppose that ultra orthodox Jews population growth will bankrupt Israel. The PISA score of ultra orthodox girls is above the OECD average. It is not the kind of population that bankrupts a country. While they are poor because most men dedicate themselves to religion, the women work in computers or in hospitals and in other very productive fields.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  tamritzblog

The Palestinian““the womb of the Arab woman is my strongest weapon”.” is 100% going to bankrupt the nation, but the Jewish one will not.

As I so often say, ‘Idle Hands Are The Devils Workshop’ and young, male, idle hands are it supercharged with all the latest tech.
The Arabs teach the young men their supreme mission in life is to work at a job and get married, have a house and children. That this is impossible in a place of no work for masses of unskilled men means they have been given an impossible mission, and this is very destructive to anyone, and also that this lack of work is because how they are mistreated. So they sit around drinking tea and getting angry and radical – NO outlet. Young men MUST burn off their energies with work or they will become anti-social or self destructive.

The West is raising a entire underclass that are ‘under employable’, and many unemployable – and teaching them this is the fault of their Nation. The difference is their culture does not tell them working hard and having a family they support is what they must do, so they do not have that feeling of being failed as well..

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  tamritzblog

So, half the children (female) being produced by this population will be assets, and the other half (male) a liability, in the sense that they contribute nothing to the economy but still consume resources. So I suppose one cancels the other out.

Jake C
Jake C
3 years ago
Reply to  tamritzblog

Wow

But do ultra orthodox men not even fight?
They won’t even join IDF in a full scale war?

Last edited 3 years ago by Jake C
G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and nobody really knows the future but, after reading this, one can’t help feeling that a huge opportunity was missed by the comparatively moderate but now dwindling voices of BOTH sides back in the latter part of the last century to find and secure a mutually amenable lasting peace in Palestine.

Yesterday’s ‘victory’ can just so easily turn out to be tomorrow’s ‘defeat’ it seems.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Whatever the parties signed-up to last century would have been quickly denounced and torn up as soon as the balance of power stared to move away from Israel. This will always been the case and Israel know this.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

So if you follow that zero sum logic to its inevitable conclusion, and we’re not just talking about the Israelis and Palestinians here, and the balance of power then slowly but surely shifts what would you posit the ensuing ‘equally justifiable’ outcome might be?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

What moderate voices in the latter 1900s? I never heard them. 1950s and Egypt was letting loose Pan-Arabism on the region, and so to the 1967 war, and so Lebanon utter destruction, and so on to every nation in the reigon but Morocco and Jordan going politically self destructive.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

One might consider that if Israel and the nearby Arab states reconciled and pooled their interests, they would constitute one of the world’s great powers. The Turks, the Persians, and numerous other powers with one finger or another in the Middle East might not care for this. But the inhabitants of the region might some day give the idea some thought.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

It’s certainly a nice thought, I’ll give you that.

imackenzie56
imackenzie56
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Perhaps then it would have been much better to have reelected Trump–the first politician to make progress in that direction. Now sadly all being thrown away out of spite and anti-semitism.

john.hurley2018
john.hurley2018
3 years ago

Syrian population rocketed from the 1950’s to its’s civil war. Likewise the Pacific Islands before emigrating to NZ (all we hear about is the “dawn raids” for over stayers).

husam
husam
3 years ago

What was not mentioned at the end of the article in Figure 2 is that out of 8.1 million population of Israel there is at least 20% Arabs. Accordingly, the total Jewish and Arab population within historical Palestine would be 6.5 million jews and 6.7 million Arabs.
Time, demography and the events of last week prove beyond any doubt that Israel’s approach to the problem is UNSUSTAINABLE, and it’s in their interest to accept the two-state solution before it is too late!!

Last edited 3 years ago by husam
Jonathan Oldbuck
Jonathan Oldbuck
3 years ago
Reply to  husam

But Hamas don’t want a state. They want to murder Jews and declare an Islamic rule over the Holy Land. Keep up.

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago

I think one day there will be a push at the behest of Israel to re-settle large numbers of the Palestinians in the US or Europe.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

…then that will bring war here.

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Where do you mean by here?
And why do you think that will lead to war? We have taken and continue to take lots of other immigrants. Many people may be unwilling about that too, but it still goes on.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

The forced importation of people from the Middle East has not exactly been a panacea for Europe.

George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I do not imply it is in any way good for good Europeans.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

O come on! Let’s be candid. It has been an unmitigated disaster and far worse is to follow.

Rather as in 1789, I expect the French will ‘kick off’ first, and the rest will enthusiastically follow.Tally Ho!

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

I think the American right may consider that too big a price to pay.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

Too late. There is an estimated population of 85,000 Palestinians in Chicago alone.

Jake C
Jake C
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

You overestimate the American right

Mark Stahly
Mark Stahly
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

I’ve always maintained – half humorously, that the best way to middle east peace would be to transplant large numbers of Arab settlers WITH teacher from Israel to the middle of Australia. There is endless arid land that basically no one wants or knows what to do with that Israelis know how to make arable and could teach the Arabs how to farm. Sorted!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Stahly

There are also, or used to be thousands of feral camels there! Left over from building the railways.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

I’m sure some are still there. Robyn Davidson, the woman who wrote a book (Tracls, more recently made into a movie) about crossing the outback by camel in the 1980s, had to shoot a few bull camels as they were so dangerous.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Stahly

Not sure if Israel’s irrigation technologies would work smack-dab in the middle of Australia.

J R
J R
3 years ago

The demographic question is well-known by scholars working on Israel-Palestine to be a major political question. The question of population as at the heart of the struggle over land — as it is in all cases of settler colonialism.
But the article doesn’t seem to give enough weight to the the main reason for the growth of the Israeli population over the past decades, migration, and its centrality to the colonial project. The Law of Return, which grants Israeli citizenship to any Jewish person who wants to settle in Israel, is a central part of Israel’s demographic strategy to outnumber Palestinians and gradually force them off their land. A large portion of the Jewish residents of illegal settlements in the West Bank, for instance, are such migrants.

Last edited 3 years ago by J R
Gillian Rhodes
Gillian Rhodes
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

“A central part of Israel’s demographic strategy to outnumber Palestinians and gradually force them off their land.” – seriously? I cannot believe any intelligent Unherd reader could fail to grasp the necessity of a Jewish homeland following the Holocaust.
Jews were perfectly aware that they were in danger in the 1930s but no country would take more than a small trickle. THAT’S why Israel has the law of return. A homeland in the sense when you need to go there, they need to let you in.

J R
J R
3 years ago
Reply to  Gillian Rhodes

OK in that case let’s let the Uighurs make a state in Saudia Arabia.
Sorry what you say is just factually untrue. Most Jews did not want to settle in Palestine during the Mandate era despite huge investments of Zionists to do so. Mainly it was a harsh agricultural life back then on kibbutzim. Most European Jews went to the US because it life was so much better.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Gillian Rhodes

Israel has the law of return because it’s supposed to be a Jewish homeland for the Jewish people. It would always have had such a law.

J R
J R
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

The problem is that it creates different citizenship rights for different people based on ethnicity. This contradicts the basic principle of liberal democratic societies of equal rights.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

It is not a foregone conclusion that the settlements in the West Bank are “illegal”. The legality of the settlements is still very much a matter of debate. If Israel had unilaterally invaded these territories and overthrown their governments, then yes, they would be illegal according to international law. But that’s not what happened. They were disputed territories previously occupied by other foreign governments (Egypt and Jordan) which attacked Israel in 1967.

J R
J R
3 years ago

There is a consensus in the international community (incl UN, U.K., US) that these are illegal. Even Israel regards initial Jewish outposts in the West Banks as illegal and has the IDF dismantle them, until they become big enough and then gives them legal backing.

Michael Cowling
Michael Cowling
3 years ago

good article

GEORGE DAVIDOVICI
GEORGE DAVIDOVICI
3 years ago

The international law as voted by the League of Nations in 1922 mandated Palestine ( the territory between the Jordan river to the Mediterranean ) as the land for Jews to rebuild their ancestral homeland. This fact is ignored by many Jews, governments, media, etc. Consequently demography can be boosted or compensated by ignorance.

Avigail Abarbanel
Avigail Abarbanel
3 years ago

Demographics???… This article is spreading misinformation, not to mention it is chilling in its lack of compassion.
Israel is a settler-colonialist state. Settler-colonialism is by definition entitled, racist and ultimately genocidal, because it requires the elimination of the indigenous people to accomplish its goals (Patrick Wolf). 
Zionism has always intended to replace the non-Jewish indigenous people of Palestine with Jews in order to create an exclusively Jewish state. I come from Israel myself. It took some distance and perspective to wake up from the indoctrination and blindness I grew up with and realise the truth.

Mimi M
Mimi M
3 years ago

Those nasty people (on both sides) should just stop having babies! Someone’s gotta tell ’em!

Jorge Toer
Jorge Toer
3 years ago

Your explanation is a clear indication of strategy,,Arabs awaiting to be majority & finish with the state of Israel,,yes?
Ok ,,now ,way the world criticize Israel and not recognise this strategy,,and force Arabs not recognized Israel existence.
One small piece of land ,,in permanet discussion who is belongs ,,so eny plans to two states,,or eny other are unrealistic,
the master plan is ,Iranian Ayatollah declared,,a cancer in Jerusalem,,the future is easy to predict ,,war upto exterminate us,,,Jewish or ????

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
3 years ago

“The demographer Arnon Sofer of Haifa University is the architect of the current isolation of Gaza. In 2004, he advised the government of Ariel Sharon to withdraw Israeli forces from within Gaza, seal the territory off from the outside world, and simply shoot anyone who tries to break out. “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe,” Sofer told an interviewer in the Jerusalem Post (11 November 2004); “Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”

Cassian Young
Cassian Young
3 years ago

It’s a canard that high levels of testosterone cause violence. In fact, it reduces emotional lability, which ought to reduce violence.
What does appear to cause violence is falling levels of testosterone and this seems to be caused by being on the losing side of a conflict.
So the direction of causation seems to be the reverse of the one imagined here. Large numbers of young people means greater competition and greater numbers of losers.

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
3 years ago

So, ethnic cleansing genocide, done by settler-colonial aggressor, is now called “demographic struggle”? Interesting. Post-truth society.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Lena Bloch

Do you see the population tables above! A very ineffectual genocide increases the population 5 times.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I guess it’s all about feelings. If the Palestinians “feel” they’ve been genocided, it must be true.

Lena Bloch
Lena Bloch
3 years ago

You would never say that about your own kids. Only about “Untermenschen” who are not human beings for you. Nice.

Last edited 3 years ago by Lena Bloch
Sam Cel Roman
Sam Cel Roman
3 years ago

Lazy article.
Add up the number of Jewish citizens in Israel to get X.
Add up the number of Palestinian citizens of Israel + Gaza + West Bank + people registered with UNHCR (Palestinians exiled in 1948 and their descendants, registered as such with the United Nations) to get Y.
Y has always been bigger than X, by a large margin. If Palestinians ever got the right to vote, Israel would be voted out of existence tomorrow.
Now look at the history of Israel and how desperately they have been trying to get new Jews from everywhere, especially the USA and Soviet Union (but also far-flung places like Ethiopia – see Yasha Levine’s excellent series about this on Substack). And they always fail because Jews prefer to live in the USA, UK, Iran, or France.
THIS IS WHY THERE IS AN ETERNAL CONFLICT and why Israel can never be anything OTHER than an apartheid state.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam Cel Roman

It’s interesting how Israel is repeatedly referred to as an apartheid state, but the Muslim nations who not only kick out Jews but, often, everyone else not like themselves, are never labeled as such.

J R
J R
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Jews have been subject to horrendous pogroms, and worse. The difference is in the type of discrimination: apartheid is institutionalised racial segregation where one group is legally deprived of social and political rights.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

Muslims serve in the Knesset, for crying out loud. They have voting rights, women included. They work in govt, on the police force, some serve in the Israeli military. There is nothing close to an equivalent in any of the Muslim nations. Apartheid sounds like one more word that the left has twisted far beyond its dictionary meaning.

J R
J R
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

First, you are speaking of Palestinian Israelis, not Muslims. Not all Palestinians are Muslims. Second, they have second-class citizenship in many ways. There is not Law of Return for Palestinians. There is no right to claim back property as there is for Jews. The 2018 citizenship law defines Israeli nationality and citizenship on Jewish terms and demotes the status of the Arabic language. Palestinians married to Israelis are are not allowed to get Israeli citizenship or live in Israel. And more. And let’s not get started on Palestinians in occupied territories.
And this kind comparison to other Muslim countries doesn’t really work. Mainly: in other places isn’t a case of a settler population taking the land and suppressing the rights of the indigenous population.

Last edited 3 years ago by J R
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

Not all Palestinians are Muslims. No, just 80%+, so what’s your point?
Mainly: in other places isn’t a case of a settler population taking the land and suppressing the rights of the indigenous population. Several thousand years of history say the Jews are as indigenous to that area as anyone else is.
By all means, let’s compare how a Palestinian fares in Israel vs how a Jew fares on the Muslim side.

J R
J R
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Palestianians do not refer to themselves as Arabs or Muslims, but Palestinians. That’s my point.
To say that Jews not born in Israel-Palestine have a right to take ownership of land and have citizenship is the same as saying English people with Norman heritage have the right to return to France and automatically become French citizens. And again to contrast: Palestinian refugees do not have the right to return, even if they were born there.
Palestinians in the OT are not allowed to enter Israel without a military permit from Israel, if they are lucky enough to get one. Israelis can enter the West Bank and build illegal settlements there, just not Area A controlled by the PA.

Last edited 3 years ago by J R
tamritzblog
tamritzblog
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

Israel was established as a country for Jews by UN 181 resolution. That was the whole point of the partition plan. The arabs refused then and still refuse to accept the partition of the land. Once they do, peace is possible.

Last edited 3 years ago by tamritzblog
J R
J R
3 years ago
Reply to  tamritzblog

Why wouldn’t the Palestinians have the right to have a say whether foreigners are allowed to settle and create a new state on their land?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

Just like the UK?

J R
J R
3 years ago

If you’re referring to the Norman invasion.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

It wasn’t “their land” because they weren’t a nation, so had no more claim to it than any other inhabitants there. It belonged to the Ottomans, then the British.
As for “foreigners”, most of the Arabs who lived there were foreigners themselves, having emigrated there – mostly from southern Syria – no earlier than the late 19th century.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

Come on. From time beginning wars devolve nations and new ones arise from the ashes. to the victor go the spoils. So ended the Ottomans, then the British returned some seized colonies. The UN made a decision then it was challenged by more war. It’s time the arabs stop hating the Jew.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

“Palestianians do not refer to themselves as Arabs or Muslims, but Palestinians.”
They never did that until the 1960s. A leader and founder of the PLO even admitted in an interview, in 1970, that the “Palestinian people” did not actually exist, and that it was a fictional natiionality invented by the Arab nations and the Soviet Union as a strategy for destroying Israel.
“Palestine” isn’t even an Arab name.

alex bachel
alex bachel
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I’m constantly annoyed at the way that the Western media talks about the awful treatment of Arabs in Israel but is oddly quiet about the treatment of Jews in Arab countries. Do they think that Arabs are inferior to Jews and this is why they can’t expect the same civilized behaviour from Arabs?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

I think in many muslim counties they have simply liquidated the minority non-muslim populations, just as they seem to be doing now in Lebanon. Indeed the christians and other minorities sided with the evil dictator Assad in Syria because they were all too well aware of what the alternative was.
Being a muslim in Israel must be a virtual paradise compared to being a christian or a jew in a muslim country

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

But most Palestinians can’t vote for the Knesset. And if that is so, isn’t that sort of like “apartheid?”
What’s your point?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

how many Jews can vote for anyone in any Muslim nation? It’s curious the knots people tie themselves into to justify a misapplied term.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Like the people who call Israel a Western Style Democracy?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Elected officials are voted on by citizens, which sounds curiously like a democratic system. It’s amazing how in a sea of autocrats and despots, the one oasis where people can generally move about freely is the one the rubs some folks wrong.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Some people can generally move about freely. And democracies also have characteristics such as equal citizenship rights and property rights for citizens regardless of ethnicity.
I think Israel is in many respects governed in a much more humane and democratic way than almost anywhere else in the region. And criticism is made of many other regimes in the region.
But sanctions are not imposed on Israel as they are on other regimes because Israel is generally seen by Western Democratic State governments as a Western Democratic State. Which also means it is expected to behave like one.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Which it does, until attacked.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

They have the full support of the greatest power on earth or have you missed that?

‘Someone’ once said “You don’t argue with a man who has thirty Legions at his back”.

That is the reality, and the sooner the Arabs wake up, the better it maybe for them.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

It’s arguably more Democratic than Westminster.
Although granted, that wouldn’t be hard would it?

tamritzblog
tamritzblog
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

The west bank is not part of Israel. It is an occupied territory. It is like saying Iraqi citizens should vote in the Bush v Kerry election. It is true that some right wing politician support annexation but I hope it will never happen.

J R
J R
3 years ago
Reply to  tamritzblog

No equivalence there. They are occupied territories, not their own state.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  J R

“Territories”… plural? Gaza – which is causing most of the problems – is not an “occupied territory” at all; it is entirely self-governed. Israel completely pulled out of it in 2005 and forcibly removed all the Jewish settlers there. Hamas thanked them by declaring war on them, which is why the blockade still exists today. Egypt blockades them too, although we never hear about that.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  tamritzblog

The Arabs lost! Vae Victis!
The Israelis should annex the West Bank immediately. By vacillating for more than fifty years they have only exacerbated and encouraged the otherwise wretched Arabs.

If the Israelis had the audacity of say Ancient Rome, they would clear the Temple Mount of both the Al-Aqua Mosque and the Dome of Rock, and rebuild the Temple.

The Emperor Hadrian did something similar in the second century, if they wish for inspiration.

Last edited 3 years ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  tamritzblog

The Arabs lost on every occasion. They failed in the ultimate test; Battle.

They should stop whining and move on. History has left them behind a and will soon forget them.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

No it isn’t!
Research Apartheid before making such an ill informed comment. You may just learn something! Before it is too late.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

Palestinians, if by that you mean Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza, obviously can’t vote in Israeli elections, because they don’t live in Israel and (unlike the Israeli Arabs who make up at least 20 percent of the Israeli population) don’t have Israeli citizenship. They have their own political leaders and their own elections, or at leaast they’re supposed to, though Hamas in Gaza hasn’t allowed an election in 15 years.
Do you think Indians should be allowed to vote in Pakistani elections, or vice versa, just because they or their ancestors once lived in those neighbouring countries?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam Cel Roman

What a ‘lazy’ ill informed comment.
You haven’t a clue about Apartheid, it’s just a useful throwaway word for people such as your good self. Admit it.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam Cel Roman

Although you may wish it to be otherwise, the Jewish population of Israel is doing just fine, with a higher birthrate (even among the secular Jewish population) than any European country or the USA. Many Jews are in fact immigrating there from France because of the increasing violent anti-Semitism there.
“If Palestinians ever got the right to vote”…if you’re referring to Arabs who are citizens of Israel (at least 20 percent of the population), they do have the right to vote.
Arabs who live in the West Bank or Gaza or elsewhere obviously do not have the right to vote in Israeli elections because it’s not their country.