Friday, August 31, 2012

The Left fears Israel's demographics

Haaretz   This week, as children returned to school, another public servant, Deputy Education Minister Rabbi Menachem Eliezer Moses, was quoted at a gathering of Haredi school principals saying with satisfaction that this year, for the first time, a majority of children in Israeli kindergartens are either ultra-Orthodox or religious. It was a misleading statistic - Moses was not including Arab children in his calculations and not all the children enrolled in religious kindergartens are actually religious. Many parents place them there for the longer hours or simply because they are closer to their homes and next year they will continue in secular schools. But the Haredi rabbis who privately despise the national-religious for their compromises with modernity are happy to include them in their camp when it pushes secular Israelis into a minority. Today the kindergarten - tomorrow the Knesset. 

But despite Malthusian demographic trends indicating a joint Haredi-settler majority in Israel by 2050, both Moses and Levanon are aware how tenuous their advantage could be. None of the current trends are inexorable. As the Haredi community grows, the hold of its ancient leaders over a generation who have grown up in the 21st Century is rapidly eroding and the trickle of defections will increase to a torrent. The growing number of West Bank settlers is also misleading. Three-quarters live in comfortable suburbs by the Green Line, easily absorbed into the sovereign Israeli state as part of a two-state solution which a clear majority of Israelis still support. 

The fundamentalists see their majority beckoning on the horizon if only they can hold on for another 20 years, perpetuating the settlement program and shutting off their young from outside influences. It is impossible to foresee whether they will prevail, but we are giving them a much better chance of success by not listening to what they say.


  1. When I was in Israel, I remember listening to people arguing about different subgroups of Jews and their political/religious outlooks, which is right, which is wrong.

    Of course, these arguments are a waste of time. The subgroups of Jews that produce the most children will always win in the end, no matter how right or how wrong they are.

    1. reminds of my biology professor, "People mistakenly think that evolution is the survival of the fitest. That is wrong - survival goes to those who have children not the strongest or smartest. When the two strongest males are fighting each other over the female - it is the weak non-combatant who ends up mating with the female"

    2. I think you did not understand the phrase "survival of the fittest". it means survival of those whose genetic constitution is best adapted to the environment... And, of course, ample reproduction will enhance chances of (long-term) survival of this genetic combination...

    3. no I understand it and you misunderstood my point

    4. So why are gays so powerful? They should've died out long ago and at best remained a small inconsequential demographic today. There reproduction rate is pretty close to zero.

    5. I suppose it is because of factors like religion that push gays to reproduce rather than have gay sex...

    6. a,

      Why is the Catholic church so powerful? They too don't reproduce. Because they don't have to spend too much money and worry about raising children.

    7. the Catholic Church has a prohibition on birth control. In traditional families one child was selected for the priesthood perhaps one daughter to be a nun. So as an organization they make sure to maintain or increase their numbers.

      In contrast the left either don't marry or they marry with few if any children - therefore they can't compete over the generations with those cultuers/ideologies or relgious who simply have large families which retain a loyalty over to a cause or religion.

    8. Actually, it turns out that none of the monotheistic religions is consistently against contraception. In times, where it is obvious that over-population goes against the interests of the nation/region, birth control (and abortion) is made available. That was the case in the history of the catholic church, that is the case in present-day Iran and many other countries...

      As far as the "one son for church" is concerned: in France under the ancien régime, for example, only the oldest son would inherit (because often the properties were not large enough to be split up again and again and again). So the eldest would take over the farm, the second would be a priest, and the third and younger would just go to town and try his/their luck, perhaps learn a craft...

      the daughters were married or sent to the nunnery (sometimes as a punishment for unruly behaviour, sometimes because they wanted to, (sometimes the had to pay high dowries to the nunnery)...


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