“The Demographic Threat is Dying”

Hagai Segal, Makor Rishon, Feb. 23, 2007

“YORAM ETTINGER IS RELENTLESSLY UNDERMINING DEMOGRAPHIC HYSTERIA. It has been many months since this polite person, a top expert on US policy, has conducted 4-5 daily briefings with policy-makers and public-opinion molders, sharing with them his PowerPoint presentation on the demographic reality. Each such presentation lasts for 1-1.5 hours, but Ettinger does not relent and does not get bored. He is as enthusiastic as if each presentation were his first presentation…

“THERE HAS BEEN A DRAMATIC BENEFIT FROM ETTINGER’S EFFORTS. Ettinger has already convinced most politicians and journalists that Israel’s leading demographers have been mistaken and have misled. The larger political parties and most Israeli newspapers have admitted that Ettinger and his partners – and not Prof. DellaPergola and Prof. Sofer – are right: The number of Arabs in Judea & Samaria is barely 1.5MN and not 2.5MN. There is a solid, long-term Jewish majority, since the 1960s, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, and the demographic momentum is Jewish and not Arab. Arabs produce fewer babies and escalate emigration.

“ETTINGER’S DETAILED FINDINGS HAVE BEEN WIDELY DOCUMENTED by most Israeli newspapers. In brief, he has been able to instill a terminal doubt in the conventional estimates of the Palestinian population. He has proven that such estimates are based on deceit and erroneous projections. Hundreds of thousands Palestinians, who reside abroad, are counted as de-facto residents by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Jerusalem Arabs are double-counted as Israeli Arabs and as Palestinians, and no reference has been made to the sharp decline in Arab population growth rate. A significant gap has been developed between the actual and the perceived number of Palestinians, which highlights the baseless demographic fatalism.

“ETTINGER’S DILIGENCE HAS ALREADY PRODUCED RESULTS… Even left-wingers, such as former Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Justice Minister Dan Meridor have accepted his findings. Senior members of “Ha’aretz’” and “Ma’ariv’s” editorial board have been exposed to Ettinger’s presentations, and have covered it in their newspapers. Former Finance Minister, Baiga Schochat has slept better, as a Jew, since he saw the presentation. The “Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies” published the AIDRG study. A significantly smaller number of Israeli reporters and columnists still wave the demographic threat. Although Prime Minister Olmert is still reluctant to watch the presentation, the current pace of Ettinger’s initiative suggests that the Israeli government will soon accept AIDRG’s updated data.

“THE ESSENCE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IS A GREAT DEAL OF TENACITY. Ettinger does not rest on his laurel… If Ettinger can convince his interlocutors that the demographic problem is by far less severe than previously (mis)perceived, than it is possible to convince them that a withdrawal from Judea & Samaria would be wrong. SOME INVESTMENT, SOME MONEY, 20-30 ETTINGERS, AND THE SUN SHALL RISE.”

February 24, 2007 | 2 Comments »

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