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Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The Demographic Problem

Netanyahu is quoted in this JPost article rejecting Olmert's panic over the demographic problem:
"Attacking Olmert's argument that demographic problems require a unilateral withdrawal, Netanyahu said the only demographic problem is with Israeli Arabs. He said the way to counter the growing Israeli Arab population is by building a healthy economy that would encourage Aliya."

This is a really important point. (Although Bibi is probably just trying to position himself ahead of a contest for the head of the Likud, I'll just take the statement at face value.) When we started talking about building a Jewish state over 100 years ago, Jews were a distinct minority in the land. I think this was true up until the War of Independence. (If anyone knows where I can get Arab/Jewish population numbers, please post a comment.) But we had a stated goal to populate the land, not because we were already the majority, but because it was our land, and we wanted to conquer it, both through fighting and through mass aliyah.

This is still the case. We continue to fight, but we can't act as if, all of a sudden, current demographics must determine our fate. We aren't going to come to a lasting peace agreement any time soon, but meanwhile, the majority of the Jewish world still lives outside the land. Mass aliyah will continue the Zionist project of populating the land and building a Jewish homeland. If we believe that this is our right in our promised land, then we can overcome the demographic prophets of doom, just as we did before 1948.


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