Minister of Regional Cooperation Issawi Frej (Meretz) on Wednesday warned the Knesset Internal Security Committee about the demographic woes of Israeli Jews whose majority is threatened.
“The Jewish majority and the Zionist idea are in danger, I’m telling you this as honestly as can be,” the minister told committee members, adding, “We have a trend of a growing birthrate, we all want more male children. We want as many boys as possible to ensure our continued existence.”
MK Sami Abu Shehadeh (Joint Arab List) interrupted Frej and argued that “this is not true, in the last decade they (the Jews) have brought forth many more children.”
Frej yelled at him, “Let me express my opinion,” and continued: “When there’s a fear of crime in Arab society, many Arab families migrate to Jewish cities in the Galilee, to live in quieter places. The lack of personal security leads to a migration movement to Jewish cities and then you need more Arab schools.”
Now the facts: according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, until the year 2000, the average number of children an Arab woman was expected to have during her lifetime was about 3.8, compared to about 2.6 in Jewish women. However, that gap has narrowed over the past decade, and in 2019, for the first time, the fertility rate of Arab and Jewish women was the same, averaging 3.05 children per Jewish woman and 3.04 per Arab woman.
With that in mind, we can surmise that his prophecy of Jewish extinction probably reveals Minister Frej’s wishful thinking but does not reflect reality.