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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Israeli Jews’

The ‘Demographic Time Bomb’ Debunked Again

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Originally published at The Ettinger Report.

The following are excerpts from an essay by Yakov Faitelson, the lead expert on the Jewish-Arab demographic balance:

“Since 2003, the annual population growth rate [birth, mortality and migration rates] of Israeli Jews has grown steadily from 1.48 percent to 1.81 percent while the aggregated annual increase of the Arab Middle Eastern countries has decreased to 1.45 percent….

“While the natural increase rate [birth and mortality rates] for Israeli Jews rose by 41.6 percent from 1995 to 2012, the Arab natural increase rate declined during the same time by 30.6 percent – due to rapid modernity [e.g. urbanization, family planning, expanded education among women, higher wedding-age] with the rate in 2012 at its lowest level since 1955.

“For example, in 2000, the number of Israeli Arabs born was 39,579 (including 34,667 Muslims). By 2012, the number of Israeli Arab newborns was 40,080 (35,730 Muslim). The number of children born within the Jewish population rose from 90,900 in 2000 to 125,492 in 2012 and in the expanded Jewish population [including Olim from the USSR who are not yet recognized as Jews by the Rabbinate] from 94,327 to 130,460 in 2012. Thus the share of babies born to Jews increased from 67.9 percent in 2000 to 73.6 percent and of expanded Jewish population from 70.4 percent to 76.5 percent in 2012 [The trend persists during 2013]….

“From the beginning of the twenty-first century the TFR [number of births per woman] of Israeli Muslims decreased considerably, from 4.7 in 2000 to 3.5 children per woman in 2011. The TFR of all Arabs decreased still further to 3.3 children per woman, very close to the 3.09 for Jewish women born in Israel….

The shape of Israel’s age-pyramid clearly shows that the younger the age, the more the number of Jews increases while the number of Arabs either decreases or remains stable. During the last ten years, the share of Israeli Jews versus Israeli Arabs within the overall young Israeli population has increased, indicating that the Jewish population has started to become younger while the Israeli Arab population is getting older. With existing life expectancies factored in, the natural aging of Israeli Arab ‘baby boomers’ will significantly increase their mortality level over the next two decades, causing an accelerating decline in the overall Arab natural increase rate.

Continuation of current trends will result in a convergence in 2025 of the natural increase rate [which does not include migration!] for Jews and Arabs in Israel. For the first time in the modern history of the Land of Israel, the Arab natural increase rate may not be higher but rather equal to the natural increase rate of the Jews. Given the possibility of continued Jewish immigration, one can expect an intensification of the steadily rising Jewish share of the total population of the Land of Israel.

The decline in the Palestinian natural increase rate in Judea and Samaria [caused by modernity] is accelerating even faster than among Israeli Arabs. Combined with a massive emigration of Arab youth from these territories, especially from Judea and Samaria, the size of the younger age group will be reduced and coincidentally, the elderly age cohort of the population will increase, resulting in an increased mortality rate in the near future. Following these trends, the natural increase rate of Arabs in Judea and Samaria will be decreasing even faster.

“Any proper analysis of demographic developments in the Land of Israel must take into account the critical role of the migration balance. Aliya—Jewish repatriation—has been a significant factor in narrowing the difference between Jewish and Arab natural increase rates. Israel may experience a substantial Aliya wave into the near future, including an influx of skilled professionals, a welcome addition to Israel’s fast developing economy. The recent discoveries of huge gas deposits create an enormous momentum for the Israeli economy that is bound to change the geopolitical situation in the Middle East.

Many Israeli expatriates may also seriously consider returning to the Jewish state. During the years 2000-10, the number of returning Israelis was 21.3 percent higher than the previous decade. These developments would lead to a further increase in the annual growth of the Jewish population.

A Government Update With Jeremy Man Saltan

Friday, May 24th, 2013

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Yishai is joined by Jeremy Man Saltan to get an exclusive political analysis in English. They talk about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s budget & spending in Israel, Minister Yair Lapid’s approach to Finance, and finish with Minister Naftali Bennett’s approach to expanding Israel’s already hot Commerce engine.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Western Wall Rabbi ‘Can Live’ with Non-Orthodox Kotel Site

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

The rabbi of the Western Wall said he “can live with” a plan presented by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky for a permanent prayer section at the Western Wall where women can organize minyans, even one for men and women together.

Sharansky briefed Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel Shmuel Rabinowitz on the plan before he left Israel to present the plan to Jewish leaders in New York on Tuesday.

“This re-division of the plaza does not match my worldview, as I believe that there should be one site of prayer according to the place’s customs, but we can live with this solution,” Rabinowitz told the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot Wednesday.

The proposal, reported here yesterday, would turn an archaeological site adjacent to the main Western Wall plaza into a permanent place of what proponents call “egalitarian” worship.

A women’s minyan now already has been allowed under a Supreme Court ruling that sets certain times, such as Rosh Chodesh, for the women, who can pray on the women’s side of the main section of the Western Wall whenever they want as individuals.

Under the proposal, the plaza would be expanded to encompass the additional prayer space, which is at the southern part of the Western Wall.

New Poll: Israeli Arabs, Jews Pessimistic About Prospects for Peace

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

A majority of Israeli Jews and Arabs are pessimistic about the likelihood of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian in the coming years, according to the results of the Peace Index poll, conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute in conjunction with Tel Aviv University.

The survey, conducted from April 30th – May 2nd polled a representative sample of 599 Israeli Jews and Arabs, on a variety of questions about the peace process, national identity, and government efficacy. Jewish and Arab responses to the question “do you believe or not believe that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will lead to peace between Israel and the Palestinians in the coming years” mirrored each other, with two-thirds of both demographics responding in the negative. As to the question of whether they believe “that there is a real chance to resolve the conflict in accordance with the ‘two states for two peoples’ formula in the next ten years,” the attitudes of the two demographics again coalesced, with 58% of Jews and 61% of Arabs expressing at least a moderate level of skepticism.

Israeli Jews and Arabs differ sharply on their views of government priorities, for while “reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians” registered as the most important priority for 34% of Arab respondents, the same priority was ranked third among Jewish respondents (15%), behind “reducing socioeconomic gaps” (41%) and “creating affordable housing” (16%). “Reducing the socioeconomic gap”, a longstanding issue in the Arab sector, registered as the most important priority for 28% of Arabs polled.

The greatest contrast between the two sectors was reflected in their answers to the question of whether ‘Hatikvah’ is suitable “to serve as the national anthem of the State of Israel, in which approximately one-fifth of citizens are Arabs”: 80% of Jews said that it was moderately or very suitable, while 90% of Arab respondents said that it was moderately or completely unsuitable.

In terms of evaluating the state of Israel’s success in a variety of fields, 85% of Israeli Jews said that Israel was moderately or very successful in ensuring the state’s existence militarily, versus 75% of Israeli Arabs; and 63% of Israeli Jews said that Israel was moderately or very successful in maintaining the democratic regime, versus 42% of Israeli Arabs. Interestingly, whereas only 18% of Israeli jews said that Israel was moderately or very successful in promoting peace with the Arab world, 45% of Israeli Arabs felt the same way.

Here’s My Problem with the Dalai Lama

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

That’s right.  I’m calling out the Dalai Lama.

I have worked with the Tibetan diaspora, met privately with the Dalai Lama (see the picture, above), he grasped my hands and sent energy racing up my arms (no lie), and His Holiness even put a Tibetan prayer scarf (Kata) around my neck, which I still have to this day.  I get it.  He’s the Dalai Freaking Lama.  And everyone loves Mr. Lama.

But here’s my problem with His Holiness in particular, with Buddhists in general – and it also happens to be one of the first things that drew me to Judaism:

Jews understand evil.  Buddhists do not.

As Sara Yoheved Rigler wrote, “Judaism does not just resign itself to a world of darkness.  Judaism advocates jumping into the fray, facing evil head-on.”

“Facing evil head-on” is the defining characteristic of my life.

Wherever and whenever I see evil, my first reaction is to run at it and punch it in the face.  I do this for a living: on behalf of Tibetans, Falun Gong, Israeli Jews, and against anyone who threatens America.

What did the Dalai Lama do when Tibet was threatened by the evil of Communist China?  He retreated into exile.  Since then, Tibet has been virtually destroyed and consumed by its invaders.  That does not mean there were no courageous monks.  A number of them fought valiantly against the Chinese.  But the Dalai Lama was not among them.  He followed the example of Buddha and retreated.  As Maurice Lamm wrote, “buddha, upon seeing death, sickness and poverty, retreated from the world into a life of contemplation.”  In that way, Buddhism is more attuned to peaceful retreat than to facing evil head-on.

When Israel was threatened by its neighbors with destruction, Israel did not retreat.  It faced evil head-on.

That is not to say that all Jews, or even all Israelis, are 100% badasses who fully understand how to deal with evil.  Many Jews today still believe that they can get along peacefully with those whose only aim is to wipe all Jews from the map.

But Judaism, as I have come to understand it, is profoundly “of this world.”  It demands that we take action in this world.  And sometimes that means facing evil head-on.

By contrast, Buddhists believe that “enlightenment” means elevating one’s self out of this world.  Buddhist monks retreat from the world into monasteries, and this particular monk – the Dalai Lama – retreated from his country in 1959 and has lived in exile ever since.  Perhaps the Buddhist lack of understanding of evil is what led the Dalai Lama in May 2010 to declare “I’m a Marxist,” or to say in January 2012 that he was still seeking a “middle-way” policy with the Chinese communist thugs who took over his homeland and butchered his brothers.

That’s my problem with the Dalai Lama.  When evil crawls up your leg with a knife in its teeth you don’t retreat, you don’t meditate on it, and you don’t try to find a “middle-way.”  You kill it.

Jews love life.  But the world’s most evil people (who just happen to be the world’s biggest Jew-haters) proudly declare “we love death more than you love life.”

How do you deal with bad people who love death?

You give them what they love.

http://notajew-jew.com/?p=92

Survey Says: Israeli Jews Becoming More Religious

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A study published Thursday by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) and the AVI CHAI Foundation has found that Israeli Jews are becoming more religious.

The results of the survey, titled “A Portrait of Israeli Jews: Beliefs, Observance, and Values of Israeli Jews,” contrast significantly with the last survey undertaken in the 1990s, and suggest that the orthodox and ultra-orthodox communities are growing in demographic influence.

An overwhelming majority (85%) of Israeli Jews believe that it is “important to celebrate Jewish festivals in the traditional manner,” with 90% celebrating the Pesach Seder. The study also found that both the orthodox and ultra-orthodox communities “observe religious precepts more stringently than they did in the past.”

The last study found that attachment to Jewish tradition and religion had declined sharply, but this has been mainly been attributed to the mass influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

Israel-American Knesset Caucus Established

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

A new Israel-American Jewish Knesset Caucus was inaugurated on Wednesday, in recognition of the importance of the American Jewish community, and the need for a fixed platform with which to deliberate on the relationship between the two communities.

According to a caucus statement, it will be the “central Knesset address for all issues related to the American Jewish community.”

The inauguration comes on the heels of a recent poll, sponsored by Brandeis University and the Ruderman Family Foundation, that assessed the attitudes of Israeli Jews towards their coreligionists in the US. The results lent overwhelming support to the establishment of the caucus, as close to 90% of Israeli Jews surveyed said that the American Jewish community is crucial to Israel’s security and continued existence. 71% of Israeli Jews polled also believe that the Diaspora should be considered when legislating fundamental laws like ‘Who is a Jew?’.

Kadima MK Ronit Tirosh, the caucus chairperson, was one of six MK’s to participate in the Ruderman Fellows Program in 2011, which seeks to increase knowledge and understanding among Israeli leaders about the American Jewish community.

Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation, was quoted as saying that “[t]he fact that the Knesset members are now willing to examine and address the shifting dynamics in the American Jewish world is a huge step for Israeli political leaders, and it will have a direct impact on the future of Israel and Jewish unity.”

Do We Really Care About Jerusalem?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

   For a nation that swore an undying oath of loyalty to Jerusalem more than two millennia ago, we Jews sure have a funny way of showing it.
 
   Indeed, more than four decades may have passed since Israeli soldiers bravely liberated the eastern part of the capital and reunited the city, but our control over its most sacred of sites has never seemed so precarious.
 
   Take, for example, the events of last week. During the course of the Sukkot festival, Israel’s police succumbed to threats of violence from Palestinian and Arab leaders and barred non-Muslims from setting foot on the Temple Mount. Muslim women, and men over 50, were of course permitted to ascend freely.
 
   Consider the irony of this situation: the guardians of law and order in the Jewish state saw fit to allow the followers of Muhammad to pray where Solomon’s Temple once stood, but not the followers of Moses.
 
   Adding insult to injury was an astonishing, though highly predictable, decision by Israel’s Supreme Court, which on October 8 rejected a petition filed against the police over their policy prohibiting Jews from visiting the site.
 
   The petitioner, Yehuda Glick, made a simple and compelling argument to the justices: what about the basic and fundamental right of Jews to freedom of religion and worship?
 
   Moreover, he pointed out, the police were trampling on the elementary principle of equality before the law by differentiating between Jews and Muslims.
 
   But the august judges would have none of it. Tossing aside all those pesky “rights” and “principles,” they preferred instead to accept the State attorney’s claim that the police decision was based on the need “to preserve public order.”
 
   Now, you might be thinking: Isn’t that as it should be? Who doesn’t want “to preserve public order”?
 
   But don’t let such hogwash fool you.
 
   If there is a threat to “public order,” it emanates from the Arab rioters who gathered on the Mount on Yom Kippur and hurled stones at a group of French tourists visiting the site because they mistakenly thought they were Jews.
 
   And if there is a real danger to public safety, it stems from the likes of the northern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement, whose leadership incited Arabs to “defend Al-Aksa mosque” knowing full well that violence would result.
 
   But it most assuredly does not come from loyal, law-abiding Israeli Jews who merely wish to exercise their right to visit a holy site and commune with their Creator.
 
   So if the police truly wish to preserve “public order,” let them start by taking a stand in the face of the Palestinian rioters, thugs and hoodlums who resort to threats and violence to get their way.
 
   Instead of blocking Jews from visiting the Mount, the police should escort them up there and arrest anyone who tries to prevent them from doing so.
 
   It seems our leaders have yet to learn what Thomas Jefferson pointed out some two centuries ago – namely, “The most sacred of the duties of a government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.”
 
   That means when one group – in this case, Palestinian Arabs – tries to block another group (Israeli Jews) from effectuating their rights, it is the responsibility of the powers that be to come to the defense of the latter, rather than capitulate to the former.
 
   But all this, unfortunately, has become par for the course in Israel. For years we have tolerated the intolerable and watched in muted silence as the Temple Mount slowly slips out of Jewish control.
 
   Tangible proof of this can be found just a few minutes outside the Old City, at the Tzurim Valley National Park at the foot of Mt. Scopus.
 
   It is there that a group of volunteers each day sorts through mounds of rubble dug up illegally by the Muslim Wakf (Islamic religious trust) on the Temple Mount over the past decade.
 
   In a deliberate attempt to tighten their grip on the Mount and erase any evidence of a Jewish presence there, the Wakf has systematically burrowed under the site where the Temple once stood, in the process destroying invaluable archaeological and historical relics.
 
   The Wakf then proceeded to unceremoniously dump the tons of wreckage near the Kidron river valley, right under the noses of Israeli authorities.
 
   Officially known as the Temple Mount Antiquities Salvage Operation, the volunteers sifting through the piles are valiantly looking to rescue whatever remains of our ancient past. The program is run by the City of David (or Ir David) Foundation, and it has recovered some incredible items dating back to the First Temple period and beyond.
 
   These include coins and pendants, mosaic tiles and pottery, and even a seal bearing the name of a priestly family mentioned in the book of Jeremiah.
 
   When I visited the project last week, I was overcome with emotion as we sorted through the mud and “got our hands dirty” trying to recoup what is rightfully ours.
 
   A few minutes later, as we separated the soil and rocks, several pieces of bone became apparent, sending a shudder through us all.
 
   The staff member present quickly examined the findings, and identified them as being from an animal, noting that the singe marks indicated they had probably been used in a sacrifice offered at the Temple.
 
   Where else in the world, I wondered, can a Jew possibly connect in such a concrete and physical way with the glory of our magnificent heritage?
 
   But amid all the excitement, there was something deeply unsettling about the whole experience.
 
   After all, does it make any sense that in the sovereign Jewish state we are forced to pick through the refuse from our holiest site while foreigners defile it at will?
 
   We may turn in prayer toward Jerusalem three times a day, plead for it to be speedily rebuilt, and even break a glass at weddings in memory of its grandeur. But if we really cared about Jerusalem, would we allow it to be sullied and despoiled so wantonly by our enemies?
 
   The answer, of course, is no. We do love Jerusalem, and we do care for it, each of us in our own very personal way.
 
   But as the events of recent weeks make clear, we need to start translating that concern into action, and do something to strengthen our collective hold on the Holy City.
 
   So the next time you pray, add another plea for Jerusalem. Write your congressman and send a letter of protest to the White House. Make a donation to the City of David Foundation, or buy a home in Israel’s capital.
 

   Whatever it is, do something – now! – to keep Jerusalem Jewish. Before it slips through our hands once again.

 

 

   Michael Freund, whose Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the third week of each month, served as deputy director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu from 1996 to 1999. He is founder and chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists “lost Jews” seeking to return to the Jewish people.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/do-we-really-care-about-jerusalem/2009/10/14/

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