Israel’s demographic future

As I noted in my review of Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth (also see John Derbyshire’s review) “In 1960 15 percent of elementary age students in Israel were Arab or Haredi. In 2010 ~50%….” Additionally, while the Arab Israel TFR has been dropping, that of the ultra-Orthodox has not. In 2001 30% of births in Israel were to Arab Israelis. In 2008 25% were. The difference was a function of dropping Arab fertility combined with no decrease among the ultra-Orthodox. Projecting current trends 40 years the Haredi will be a majority of Israelis. I don’t think this projection is reasonable though, at some point the lack of proportionate Haredi participation in the labor force will result in a fiscal crisis and the Israeli nation will have to restructure itself.

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3 Responses to Israel’s demographic future

  1. Moshe Rudner says:

    In Israeli terms four decades is an eternity. Before the chareidi become a majority of Israeli Jews a restructuring of some sort MUST take place. Bear in mind that Chareidim not only participate at exceedingly low levels in the labor force but in the military as well. To some extent the Russian Aliya of the 90s was intended to bolster Israel demographically (though it came with its own easily predictable problems) but it certainly didn’t resolve anything for the long term.

    One of the reasons why Buffett’s major investment in an Israeli company a few years back was so surprising to so many was because it seems to most serious analysts of Israel that ever since the commencement of the post-zionist era (circa 1992) Israel has been flying by the seat of its pants with no cogent long term vision for its future as a nation a century hence.

    Today the chareidim are among the most zionist of Israelis but they neither serve in the military (the nachal chareidi is composed of few true chareidim) nor participate openly in the labor force. This attacks at the zionist ideal in every manner but one – the finagling of money from western orthodox Jews who enjoy imagining a shared identity between themselves and their chareidi same-dressers abroad. In most every other respect chareidi zionistic values serve to harm those values – they do almost nothing on behalf of those values and serve to alienate the secular populace from those values by embracing them and dressing them up in the most religious and parochial terms.

    And soon, for better or worse, they will comprise close to a majority of Israeli Jews.

  2. pangloss says:

    Not only do they not participate in the labor market, they are largely on welfare – creating a huge drain on a state budget that is already subsidized by the US at a rate of 25%

  3. daw says:

    scott aaronson had a nice formulation somewhere in “shtetl optimized”:
    people divide up into “believing darwinists” vs “practicing darwinists”

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