Demography Versus Democracy: A Time for Israel to Act?

Israel is losing the world's sympathy because it has allowed a growing Arab demographic time bomb to fester. This has led to charges that millions of Arabs are disenfranchised, a practice which runs counter to the accepted Western paradigm of government.

For a nation that prides itself as the "only democracy in the Mideast," this demographic problem can no longer be ignored.

[T]here is no chance of maintaining over time a situation that will be accepted by the international community in which Israel continues to rule those millions of people and does not allow them to vote for the Knesset.”

When will the day come when the world will treat us as it treated F.W. de Klerk in South Africa? - Ehud Barak, in Ha'aretz, as quoted by Daily Kos (Emphasis theirs)

Israel has effective control over the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Even Gaza's hostile autonomy exists only at Israel's sufferance, while the Israeli navy blockades its seacoast, albeit for security reasons.

The usual answer that Israel enfranchises its Arabs is only partially accurate and ignores that roughly 3.5 Million Arabs (in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], and Gaza) have no representation in the Israeli Knesset, which ultimately is the government that rules over them, their borders, their population registry, their frontiers, their entrance and exit. If these Arabs were added to Israel-Arabs, and the non-Jews in Israel, some have argued that Jews are now a minority in the area.

Here are the numbers:

Palestinian Arabs, West Bank: 2,676,740

Palestinian Arabs, Gaza Strip: 1,763,387

(Total Palestinians, Israeli military-administered territories: 4,440,127)

Israeli Arabs (citizens): 1,666,800

Total Arabs under Israeli sovereign administration: 6,106,927

Israeli Jews: 6,056,100


If one questions the addition of the Gaza Strip into the mix - as some Israelis would - one has to remember the separation of Gaza from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) into two administrative districts was an Israeli policy. The Arabs never agreed to it; and they see the separation only as a divide-and-conquer plan to take over Judea and Samaria, while ditching unwanted Gazan Arabs. By no means was Gaza made independent. Moreover, Israel's continued blockade of Gaza's coast further belies any claim that Israel fully withdrew, whatever the reason for it.

One begins to suspect, though I hesitate to say it, that much of Israel’s international legal maneuvering [to say Gaza is not occupied] is more utilitarian than lishma—that is, the arguments are constructed not to find truth but to justify a predetermined position. - JEWISH FORWARD, 2013

Israel is in a fix; and it is starting to look like those numbers are pretty close to what is on the ground.

Yoram Ettinger and the American-Israel Demographic Research Group claim that Arabs inflate their numbers and double count;

Once again, conventional so-called wisdom is refuted by reality, and the demographic trend is Jewish. - The Ettinger Report

But the overwhelming evidence runs against them. There is a suspicion that Ettinger's figure are motivated by an agenda meant to forestall any territorial concessions to the Arabs.

New Palestinian statistics claim there are about as many non-Jews as Jews between the river and the sea. Although one ex-diplomat strongly contests this, official Israeli data suggests Ramallah is correct - Times of Israel

So whose numbers do we trust? As Mark Twain once popularized:

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." - Mark Twain, who attributed the original quote to Benjamin Disraeli

We do know that Israel keeps records on every Arab under its jurisdiction. The Palestinian population registry is controlled by the Israelis, not the PA. At every checkpoint, IDs are checked and personal questions are asked with answers being put into a database. Later this can be checked to see who is lying. From requests to visit doctors, the Israelis can glean who is sick. Israel also controls all points of entrance and exit, except Rafah, on the Egyptian border; and Rafah is open so rarely as to be insignificant. Israel also runs a web of collaborators. Israel controls all the Arabs' phone lines. Switching stations are inside Israel proper.

Israel controls all Palestine's digital infrastructure, limiting the use of phones, mobiles and internet at any time. Al Jazeera

It is hard to believe that the PA could lie about demographic data and Israel not know it. Even if the PA were to double count Palestinians with Jerusalem residency as both Israeli-Arabs and Palestinians, the Israeli demographers, using official data, could easily compensate for the discrepancy.  Ettinger's claims start to fall apart.

[Sergio] DellaPergola, a demographer at the Hebrew University’s Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry, said Ettinger’s double-counting argument is incorrect, but said that the Palestinian numbers do not take into account emigration and citizens living abroad and are thus inflated by approximately 380,000 individuals. “This discrepancy is relatively negligible compared to what Ettinger says,” he said.

How would DellaPergola even know this unless Israeli data told him who was outside the country at all times? Do Arabs leave without Israel knowing? Every Arab is ID'd and tracked.

Common sense observations from third party sources tend to support DellaPergola.  Anthony Bourdain, in his journey to Israel for the TV series Parts Unknown, noticed that one Palestinian village was top heavy with children. This does not bode well.

[Bourdain] First impressions of the camp. There is a remarkable number of kids. ... [Palestinian spokeman] ... And two-thirds are under 18 years old. - Parts Unknown - Disclose TV - (9:53)

While Ettinger claims that religious Jewish women are starting to surpass Arab women in fecundity, even that ignores the ominous problem that Jewish women still start child rearing later, which means that Arabs are cycling more rapidly through the generations.

Even worse as DellaPergola notes:

... if foreign workers and non-Jewish Russian immigrants in Israel are subtracted, Jews are already a minority in the land between the river and the sea ... Times of israel

And not just DellaPergola.

[Arnon] Soffer of [at Haifa University] was still harsher in describing Ettinger’s data, warning of its potential to mislead politiicans [sic] and military chiefs with dire consequences. Ettinger and his team “invent things to enable the annexation of the territories. It is undignified to even debate these jokers, who include no demographers, and all belong to the extreme right.” Times of israel

As these numbers increase further, it will become evident to the mainstream press that Israel will be ruling over Arabs from the position of a Jewish minority. At that point, if not already, the term "democracy" will be denied, until Israel has to scuttle its boast of being "the only democracy in the Mideast," in favor of something less contentious.

Even a dated 2001 Knesset Report was ominous:

In 2001 ... The Christian Science Monitor noted a report to the Knesset, Israel's parliament, which said:

In the whole area west of the Jordan—including Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza—Jews last year represented 50.5 percent of the population; the Arabs, 49.5 percent. - Israel's Demographic Miracle - InFocus Quarterly, 2013

The author planted those figures in an article hopeful for a Jewish Israel, without noting that a 50.5/49.5 split would call for a recount in many American elections.  That last data is dated, but the fact remains that whatever the present trends, the Jewish/Arab split is very close, and the trend may not be as rosy as Ettinger and his allies claim. With that many disenfranchised Arabs, those crying "Apartheid" will have some ammunition.

For decades, Israel has simultaneously avoided withdrawing completely from these areas for security reasons while avoiding enfranchisement of these Palestinians for demographic reasons. Maybe Israel was hoping some miracle would occur: A change of heart in the Ummah to encourage the Arabs to leave for Jordan or Syria.

I do not think a two-state solution is possible anymore, nor was it ever advisable. Paying the Arabs to leave or forced removal may be the only options left. I have noticed that while many sympathetic Gentiles think paying the Arabs to leave is a good idea, most Jews I have talked to have choked at the idea. If that be the case, forced removal is the only option left. One Israeli official has publicly suggested expelling Arabs to war torn Syria.

Since this is a Jewish decision, I can only opine; but one thing is clear, if Israel chooses forced removal, there will be no way to stop Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.

Israel is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Demographic catastrophe requiring a form of Kafkaesque separation and regulation to maintain Jewish rule -- which can no longer be explained away -- or expulsion , which will bring worse condemnation, seems the only way out.

The worst thing Israel can do is nothing. Getting the Arabs out may be more important than the method of removal. Israel has to act, unpopular though it may be, or face a South African demise. I do not want to see the demise of Israel, so I can only counsel that Israel must act -- whatever she does.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who is not Jewish, Latin, nor Arab. He runs a website,, where he discusses the subculture of Arabs in Latin America. He wishes his Spanish were better.