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July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
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A Response to the Demographic Argument in 1971

Shmuel Katz and a former Mapai MK Eliezer Livneh coauthored a pamphlet in 1971 arguing against the appeasement of Palestinian terrorists.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with President Mahmoud Abbas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with President Mahmoud Abbas.
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / Flash90

Shmuel Katz…would have denounced recent comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he stated the need for a Palestinian Arab State is the only way to “prevent the eventuality of a binational state.” Here, Netanyahu is accepting one of the premier arguments of Israel’s left – that if the Arabs living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza do not get their own state, Israel will have no choice but to incorporate them as citizens into a Jewish one, and the Jews would then be overrun demographically.

Shmuel rebutted the argument that the Arab birthrate was cause for concern in the 1971 pamphlet, “Will Appeasement Lead to Peace”, which he co-wrote with former Mapai Knesset Member Eliezer Livneh:

Already in the three years after 1967 the Jewish birthrate in Israel rose by 20 percent and it is still rising, thus narrowing the gap. Moreover, it is likely that Arab emigration — a striking feature of the nineteen years of Jordanian rule — will continue. At the same time there has been a sharp rise in Jewish immigration, the numbers are rising from year to year, and there are more candidates for immigration than Israel is at present capable of coping with — a condition, however, which is improving.

The net result of the operation of these factors since 1967 is that the numerical preponderance of the Jewish population has increased. In 1967 the ratio of Jews to non-Jews (Arabs, Druzes, and others) throughout the territory held by Israel was 63.2 per cent to 36.8 per cent. Today [early 1971] the ratio is 66 percent to 34 percent. There is no doubt that the Jewish people has the necessary resources, spiritual and material, to meet the challenge of the Arab natural increase.

Shmuel’s predictions over 40 years ago are borne out today. As former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger, perhaps the leading voice against the demographic doomsayers, writes recently, “In 2013, in sharp contrast with projections issued by the demographic establishment, there is a 66 percent Jewish majority (6.3 million Jews) in the combined area of Judea, Samaria (1.66 million Arabs) and pre-1967 Israel (1.65 million Arabs), compared with a 40 percent Jewish minority in 1948 and a 9 percent Jewish minority in 1900.”

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About the Author: Yisrael Medad resides in Shiloh and is a foreign media spokesperson for the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities.

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