The demographic threat

While we must take demographics seriously if Israel is to remain the national homeland of the Jewish people, the solutions offered by Israel's right-wing are not only naïve and dangerous, they also overlook the only effective strategy regarding the Arab sector: invest and integrate.

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October 1, 2011 08:53
uzi dayan points at map 298

uzi dayan points map 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) recently held its annual conference in Herzliya on combating terrorism. As is inevitably the case during any such conference that concerns itself with Israel's security, a number of speakers referred to the "demographic threat"—short-hand for the concern that eventually Jews will become a minority. Sometimes, this concern refers to the Land of Israel (the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea). Other times, speakers focus solely on the State of Israel proper, meaning they express concern about the growing proportion of Arab-Israelis.

Of the many, many things that perturb me about these discussions, one is how right-wing thinkers themselves—who lambaste left-wing "naïve optimism" regarding the potential for a negotiated two-state solution—embark upon reckless flights of fancy regarding Jordan. Far worse, however, is when it comes to the growing percentage of Arab-Israelis, right-wing ideologues ruefully ignore the only real effective policy option: vastly increasing the educational and professional opportunities available for Arabs, and particularly Arab women.

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