“Well, whatever the ‘plan’ may be 😉 , being two steps ahead in terms of technological innovation is of paramount importance”
“Water security, food security… if there’s political crisis in Europe or U.S (likely), and there’s a surge in Jews wishing to return.”
“That, and quite simply quality of life.”
“Go on then fuck it… we’ll have Madagascar as well!” 😀 “A holiday home!”
Op-ed: In 15 years time, when every Israeli city is bursting at the seams, which brave politician will be willing to declare that children are more than just pure joy?
Israel knows very well how to defend itself from its enemies, but cannot identify severe dangers if they come without guns blazing. We put these these dangers from our minds, since fighting against them involves no blood, fire or columns of smoke.
The battle in question is the one over population growth, and it will be a mighty challenge to persuade family-oriented Israelis of the necessity of winning this battle. Will any politician dare to say in public that having so many children is anything over than a pure joy?
Such a brave politician would be attacked with well-known slogans: The Jewish people need to compensate for the loss of six million souls in the Holocaust, to multiply and gain strength like the Hebrews in Egypt, to counter the fertility of Arab women, and to produce soldiers for the fight against the hundreds of millions who come upon us to destroy us.
In October, the Israel Forum for Population, Environment and Society (known in Hebrew as “Tsafuf” or crowded) held a convention headed by Prof. Alon Tal, whose recent book warned of demographic dangers. Prof. Rachelle Alterman, an urban planner, gave a lecture describing Israel’s scenery in 15 years time. According to her, nearly all of us will be living in towers but conducting our public lives underground.
Our country will be a large carpet of cement—from Ashkelon to Nahariya—spreading north and south. If we’ll want to relax under a tree we’ll need to book two years in advance.
Alterman was joined by other researchers who compared us to Singapore, a city-state that manages to fit a similar size population on an island smaller than Israel.
But these crowded countries and city-states—Singapore, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Belgium—they all have a way out via neighboring countries. We don’t.
The Shoresh Institution, headed by economist Prof. Dan Ben-David, published a report similar to Alterman’s, but through the perspective of the economy. Soon, the report says, Israel will be the world’s most crowded nation. More crowded than Bangladesh, the current holder of the top spot.
One of the more well-known indications of over-crowding is Israel’s raging traffic, almost three times as bad as in Europe. Poor public transport services leads people to huddle around big cities for work purposes, a trend that endangers population distribution.
Since the demographic growth is uneven between sectors, and since income is dependant on education, and our education system is failing—there is a growing number of citizen who are becoming a burden on the rest of us. Our workforce productivity is behind in comparison to the developed world, and if this process continues it will surely bring about economic crisis.
If we want to find a way out of this looming disaster, says Ben-David, there’s no other way but to restrain population growth. Families with a large number of children should not be encouraged with generous allowances, housing benefits or subsidized fertility treatments. Education has to improve, and core subjects most of all—the kind that let one find a profitable trade. The best teachers should be chosen, and the entire education system has to be better managed.
If our national agenda is to be drawn from Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s desire to be appointed minister of war, and abandon the Education ministry—we don’t stand much chance.
Israelis live in the most crowded country in the developed world. But few understand the cumulative price they pay now that quantity of life has begun to degrade quality of life.
Signs are everywhere: missing the wedding ceremony of a dear friend because of an unanticipated traffic jam; being turned away from a visit to a favorite nature reserve because the site has long since filled beyond capacity; waiting years for a day in court because of the backlog; seeing a child fall behind and alienated in a classroom of 40-plus children because an overwhelmed teacher cannot provide minimal individual attention; or knowing that one’s successful children will never be able to afford a new apartment due to the insatiable demand that drives ever-rising prices.
On August 14, the Israel National Economic Council issued a seemingly banal, technical publication called “Regional Population Scenarios for the State of Israel During the Years 2015-2040.” The local press paid little attention to the report even though its findings should have troubled anyone who cares about the Land of Israel and the future of the Third Jewish Commonwealth. Distilled to its essence, the report’s three main findings are: Israel’s population is set to expand by 5 million people over the next 23 years; the number of elderly citizens will double; and the percentage of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Israelis will increase from 11% to 20%.
Typically, population pronouncements by the government are festive affairs; on Independence Day, the media historically celebrate this or that new demographic achievement. The report from the National Economic Council, the elite think tank based in the Prime Minister’s Office charged with charting Israel’s long-term economic strategy, strikes a different note, however. It is troubled. The opening letter by its chairman, noted economics professor Avi Simhon, speaks of the associated challenges. His concerns are expressed as a discernible understatement.
When Israel was established, it was home to roughly 850,000 people. In 69 years, that number has grown more than tenfold. As population growth reaches unprecedented levels of 150,000 new people a year, infrastructure and services cannot keep up.
Environmentally, overpopulation is undermining past achievements and pushing the country into a full-blown ecological crisis. With the government racing to create 60,000 new housing units a year, the landscape is paying a dreadful price. According to a 2017 report issued by Maarag, a consortium of environmental agencies, each year for most of the past two decades, 10 square kilometers of open spaces were transformed into new neighborhoods, roads and commercial space. Then, beginning, in 2013, the area lost annually to development doubled to 20 square kilometers.
Study shows Jewish population to grow to 81% of Israel’s total, with massive growth in haredi community, which will make up 32% of Israel.
Israel’s population will more than double over the next 48 years, a new study shows, rising from roughly 8.7 million to just shy of 20 million by 2065.
According to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s population will continue to grow at a fairly steady rate, with the overall growth rate averaging 1.8% over the next half a century, compared to 1.82% from 2006-2015.
Unlike most industrialized countries, Israel’s birth rate has remained well above the replacement rate, with a total fertility rate (the average number of children a woman has) of 3.1, compared to 1.85 for the US, 1.58 for the European Union, 1.39 in Japan, and 2.35 worldwide.
Israel will grow to 9 million citizens next year, hitting 10 million 2024, 11 million by 2030, 12 million by 2035, and 13 million by 2039.
By 2065, Israel will likely be home to 19.954 million citizens, 23 and a half times the number at the time of Israel’s birth in 1948.