The Demographic Fear Factor in Israel… Keep Them Babies Coming!

By Mary Rizzo

Most observers of the Israel-Palestine conflict have heard a phrase without even really reflecting upon what it might mean or any implications behind it. The phrase is that Israel risks the detonation of a demographic bomb. The Israelis have been convinced up until very recently that they are unbeatable in any military milieu. That belief has allowed them to continue with the Occupation of Palestine and the inhumane treatment of the Arabs. All Arabs, even those who have held political office in Israel, are treated as foreign bodies that need to be extirpated. But, with the curtain of “permanent victory” being slashed from the rod to the ground, the illusion of force is dying, and rather than entrust security to the young men and women aged 18 to 35 in combat fatigues, they are now pinning their hopes on Jewish lives still in the womb.

While many Israelis will falsely claim that there are total equal rights for all Israeli citizens (this is a famous and oft repeated hasbara lie), it is enough to ask Azmi Bishara his opinion on the matter. The Knesset Member now lives in exile because his belief in equality appears to be a menacing security threat in the eyes of those who lead Israel and, given the lack of outcry, in the populace. He was accused by the Shin Bet of passing reserved information, of which he actually had no access to, to Hezbollah during the 2006 war Israel waged against Lebanon. But if it’s the Shin Bet doing the accusing, the fear factor would keep even MKs silent, not to mention a citizen that is not guaranteed any parliamentary immunity, which is an instrument introduced so that lawmakers could freely express their views without being imprisoned for them. If an MK is not even treated according to law for expressing his pacific point of view of equality that is closer to Martin Luther King than it is to Avigdor Lieberman, what can we expect by way of protection and justice for common citizens?

There is indeed racism in Israel against Arabs, even those with Israeli citizenship, as they receive treatment that is “merely” discriminatory, such as the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel who are given the charming epithet, “Fifth Column”, indicating an internal risk for national security. Discrimination in allotment of public services and risk of losing residency rights if they exercise freedom of movement that a Jewish Jerusalemite enjoys, is the order of the day for Palestinian Israelis. The Palestinians who are outside the Green Line have things much harder, as torture, collective punishment and oppression are the daily bread, a fact that is well-documented and does not need to be stressed more in this instance.

Yet, all of these people are considered to be an existential threat to Israel. The fact that THEY, the Arabs who live in the Occupied Territories and Israel itself, exist is considered to be a weapon that even the faith in military might can’t compensate for, in lieu of massacres, deportations and bloodbaths that go under the name of counter-terrorism.

As a matter of fact, history has always shown that the masses, when pushed too far, tend to rebel. Restrictive laws, collective punishment and even exile have never been unsurmountable obstacles to an oppressed people. Therefore, Israel is correct in assuming that there is danger in numbers.

However, the numbers they fear don’t concern a popular uprising, given that so far, there has never been the leader or the historical circumstance to permit an effective rebellion that will overturn the state of affairs. There is a great deal of internal division, fomented also by the “international community”, and the very fact that Palestinians themselves are divided into groups does not contribute to an effective popular movement. The Fifth Column is, in that way, extremely useful for Israel, because the unity that Palestinians on this side or that side of the Green Line should feel is undermined at every turn. They are not allowed to be in contact, nor are they permitted a unified national, political or cultural identity that they are able to express. As long as the Palestinians in the Historic Homeland are divided, and into as many segments as possible, this allows the schizophrenic identity of Israel as a Jewish Democracy to continue unthreatened in essence. Deporting Palestinian Israelis is out of the question perhaps more for the reason of political astuteness than for reasons of ethics and morality. As the story of Cain and Abel shows, sometimes there is no greater enemy than one’s own blood, and dividing brothers is entirely possible and politically feasible.

The numbers that are important to Israel are the number of Jews that are citizens of Israel. Aliyah worked in the past, and to a certain extent, still is effective, especially in the young, upwardly mobile adult sector who is looking for a cheap break away from the nest. If you go to Tel Aviv or New York, it’s all the same for an IT expert from the heart of America. The success of Birthright and other programs that finance not only trips to Israel for aspiring immigrants, but state financed and privately financed programs to settle in the Olim in lovely, modern flats, find jobs, some of them perhaps even created by the Shin Bet just to bring in the numbers of promising youth, are testament to all of this. Yet Aliyah is not what is used to be. It is harder to sustain the expenses of transferring families, and in fact, the settler movement is no longer willing to live in a rural and traditional way, but demands bigger homes, gardens in the desert, services that are equal to those they can get in North America. Private companies that speculate on the upward mobility factor specialise in proposing real estate that has little to do with living a life according to Jewish tradition, but with making a solid investment, profit for the real estate developer, cheap housing for the newcomer and political dependence on the government that maintains the apartheid state.

As an article in Le Monde Diplomatique expresses, the settler movement has changed its colours a bit:

We need to look at their social composition and economy, and ask who profits from the colonial project. What drives ordinary people to take part in it, becoming instruments of dispossession and perhaps its future victims? Modi’in Illit is a perfect example. It was not the work of nationalist-messianic settlers and their political representatives, but of a heterogeneous social-political alliance linking real-estate developers, investors looking to make a profit and politicians pushing the colonisation project.

As a matter of fact, it creates an intense political bond between those making Aliyah or those moving from Israel to the settlements and the power structures in Israel. The two entities protect one another and give the essential oxygen to keep Israel alive as a Jewish State based on containment of the Arab population and Jewish control of land and resources. The article continues:

These settlements are not based on messianic fervour alone, but offer answers to social needs – quality of life for the upper middle class, jobs and subsidised housing for the underprivileged. They broaden the social base of the settlement movement and link it to additional constituencies, particularly the real wall profiteers: contractors, capitalists and the upper class seeking a grander life in gated communities, far from the poor and shielded from the Palestinians. They also tie to colonisation those searching for a way out of hardship, large families looking for cheap housing or new immigrants dependent on government subsidies and seeking social acceptance. These pay the price of the hostility and hatred that the wall generates, and are completely dependent on capitalists and politicians.

However, moving families from Israel or from other countries to the Occupied Territories, while it does increase the electoral power of those who finance the move and therefore a continuation of settlement policies, does not guarantee a Jewish majority in times when the Arab birthrate is far higher than that of Jews in Israel or the OPTs. What is essential, in the view of some, is to increase the birthrate. The creation of an “Inner Aliyah” is what moves the activists of Efrat, an organisation that seeks to aid women who have decided to opt for abortion or who are unsure as to whether to continue a pregnancy. As stated in their site:

Israel is currently fighting a war for her very survival as a Jewish State. As this is being written Israel’s borders are in jeopardy due to the demographic threat of being out numbered. The Arab birthrate is 4.6 double the Jewish birth rate of 2.3. It is forecasted that the Arabs will be the majority in Israel by the year 2020, less than fifteen years from now.

Israel has lost more than one and a half million Jewish children to abortion since 1948. In a country of about 5.5 million Jews this number has great demographic significance. Imagine how much stronger Israel would have been today with one million more Jews. Imagine if we could create an “Inner Aliyah” of 10 to 15 thousand Jews a year. At a cost of just $1,000 per “Oleh” Efrat is a bargain compared to other Aliyah projects. And the Israeli government wouldn’t even have to pay for housing or airfare as the potential Olim are already in Israel just waiting to be born!

Not wanting to go into the issue of abortion itself, what does seem very interesting is the reasoning behind “keeping them babies coming”, for the good of the State. It is well known that under Fascism and Nazism, policies were implemented for increasing the birthrate of Italians and Germans. The size of the citizens of the State was considered to be a formidable security weapon and a duty to the State itself.

From my translation of a Wikipedia entry on Fascism in Italy:

The Demographic Battle (with the Bachelor’s Tax) to increase the Italian population according to the concept inherited from an agricultural tradition, implied that more children means more available workers and especially more soldiers. For this reason, having families with many children was encouraged in every possible way. The fathers of large families received increased salaries, the mothers were awarded with ribbons, diplomas, gold and silver medals. Public loans were granted to the new couples that had to be paid back only if they had not given birth to children or if too few of them were born.

While Efrat is a private organisation, looking around their site we are informed that they are proud of the support they gain around the world. Heavyweights in the Washington Israel Lobby, the
Friends of Lubavitch and the endorsement of many political figures such as US Senators and other policy makers finance and promote the program. Obviously, the Israeli demographic question is seen by some as a “pro-life” campaign and by others as a “pro-Israel” one. While the ideological reason behind support of it by those in power may differ, the result is the same: financing so that the Jewish population increases in order to balance Palestinian birthrates, which have always been high.

So, a few might be asking, “what’s so bad about women having babies? Are you picking on Jewish women, as if their families are worth less?” Actually, it’s not the case at all. If a woman or a family wants to have children, they should be encouraged to do so, and this would mean that their society should provide stability for all of its citizens so that children are not seen as a luxury and a burden, not only of the family itself, but the society as a whole. But, it isn’t what I think that matters. What is important to stress is that it is not about the welfare of individuals and about improving the society, but it is all about waging a cultural war against a people that have not yet surrendered.

Let’s have a look at what a Settler Friendly (and self-styled Machavellian) site, Samson Blinded, has to say in the post equating Arabs with roaches:

The phrase “and it was good” concludes every act of Creation. Everything is good – including the evil, also a created thing. Everything stems from the divine goodness. Why do we fight, then? Why not accept the good intentions of Arabs who breed to dominate the Land of Israel? One answer is that for Jews the ultimate goodness rests in the Torah, and every opposition to it should be quashed in the name of goodness. On the practical plane, goodness doesn’t matter. Our actions toward Arabs are evil. People pursue self-interest which, in the case of Israel’s right, only incidentally correlates with the divine goodness of Torah. Roaches are not happy when we squash them. They are unthreatening, but merely aesthetically detestable. Arabs, likewise, suffer through no guilt of their own. They are good, but still have to be evicted from Israel for the Jewish good.

Judaism resents hunting because animals have to be killed for food properly, with respect for their lives. Stone Age people enjoyed hunting because it gave them food; modern hunting is recreational. Enjoyment of murder, even of animal, is unethical. There is nothing wrong with Arabs. They lived their lives on the hills which they plowed for generations when Jews came to their country.

Naturally, the Arabs fought back – not because of the European Judophobism, but as normal people who resist their country usurped by aliens; it’s a pity that Jews are less normal than Arabs and accept that Arabs breed to become a majority in Israel. Jews have to push the Arabs out and inflict suffering. That’s regrettable, but there’s no choice: as we need food to sustain bodies, we also need sovereignty to sustain our communal body. We “hunt” the Arabs without enjoying it – just because we have to live in a state of our own.

I might say that there is very little to add, although terms such as “breeding” and much less doing it for the sole reason of becoming “a majority in Israel” denote an image of Arab inferiority bordering on being less than human in the eyes of this faithful follower of the Torah, that even the most lazy eye can’t miss. Yet, it seems as if reasons of eminent domain of Palestinian property to secure Lebensraum for Jews being the practice has not been enough. With Aliyah and the programs to get the Israeli birthrate up, considering people as animals, tools, weapons and cannon fodder is intrinsic in Israeli thinking and in the thought pattern of those who support the “right” of a Jewish State to exist in Palestine, no matter how many justifications they make, or how “humanitarian” their project for achieving this goal might look. They are in war, and that embryo is the soldier.

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