Yaakov Feitelson, a Demographer associated with the Institute for Zionist Strategies, revealed that the Palestinian Authority has been concealing data regarding large-scale negative immigration and includes Palestinians living abroad in its population count to increase EU assistance, Srugim reported.
Speaking on Monday at the annual conference of the Torah and Land Institute, in a forum dealing with demographic changes with halakhic ramifications, Feitelson said that within a decade, by 2026, the number of Jews in Israel is expected to match the number of Jews everywhere else in the world. This would usher us into an halakhic reality whereby most of the Jews are back in the land of Israel, triggering a large body of relevant commandments such as the jubilee, shmitta (which would include loan forgiving), tithes, orla (prohibition on eating a fruit from a tree before its fourth year), kla’ayim (plant cross breeding), and leaving portions of the harvest to the poor — to name but a few.
Feitelson said that Israeli Jewish women’s birthrates are rising, while around the world the Jewish birthrate is down except among the ultra-Orthodox.
As to Arabs living in Israel, Feitelson revealed that the Palestinian Authority statistics bureau, much like its US counterpart, conceal or alter data regarding the high rates of negative immigration of Arabs from Judea and Samaria, which he puts at about 10,000 each year. According to Feitelson, in a meeting he and a few colleagues had attended a few years ago with a senior official at the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the latter told them that the agency is aware of this phenomenon, but opt to accept the official PA figures, which continue to count every Palestinian immigrant for seven years after they leave. They also add the children of Palestinian immigrants as PA citizens.
Incidentally, the Israeli Interior Ministry maintains a very similar policy.
Feitelson believes there’s a gap of several hundred thousands between the PA census figures and the demographic reality there.