Skyscraper Nation

Israel currently has 9 million citizens of whom 7 million are Jews. Israel’s Haredi population is expected to reach the 40 million mark at the end of the 21st century and 16 years later double to 80 million and then 160 million. Israel’s non-Haredi Jewish population has a relatively high growth rate for a developed nation and doubles every 50 years at the current growth rate (which is rising!). This means that with current demographic trends will there be some 12 million non-Haredi Israeli Rabbinic Jews in Israel in 2070 excepting any future Rabbinically Jewish immigration from the Diaspora which is likely to occur on a vast scale once Israel becomes sufficiently economically attractive for what will be the assimilated, secularized and intermarried remnants of Western Jewry. 

There are however tens of millions of Median Jews inside and outside the Middle East for whom economically developed and technologically advanced Israel is already a very attractive destination for emigration. While most Median Jews joined religious imperialism and became Muslims, Christians and Buddhists and are thus no longer considered Jewish – a significant remnant of Median Jews inside and outside the Middle East have withstood the pressure and remained Jewish.

In order to sustain this tremendous growth in the Jewish population of Israel will the country need to transition into a nation living in skyscrapers. This transformation is already happening in Tel Aviv and will no doubt take place in other Israeli cities as well. Israel is well on the way to become the world’s most densely populated nation. What is clear however is that other Jewish immigration notwithstanding (whether Median Jewish immigration or Rabbinically Jewish immigration) will Israel increasingly become a majority Haredi country with an ever-growing proportion of Haredi Jews vis-a-vis non-Haredi Jews. This requires a semi-democratic political system similar to that of Singapore rather than a liberal democracy as of present, since Haredi Jews vote overwhelmingly for pro-theocratic political parties and if given the opportunity would turn the country into a Halakhic state. It is sad to be forced to abolish liberal democracy at some point in favor of a semi-liberal Singapore-style political system but it is surely preferable to theocratic tyranny. It should be added that Haredi Jews have many children (eight per woman on average) for religious reasons only – because they are told so by their rabbis and not for social, cultural or economic reasons and so the rapid Haredi demographic growth is unlikely to lessen unless Haredi rabbis at some point instruct their adherents to have fewer children.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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