By Ted Belman
Recently I was surprised to learn that not all right wingers accept the New Demographic Study.
In my recent post, An expanded Israel will be both democratic and Jewish , I challenged Gadi Taub’s who also didn’t accept it. In response he wrote
I saw your remarks on my NYT op-ed piece. And I agree that arguments – mine as yours – are only as good as the facts they rely on are. But the demographic studies you rely on, with which I am familiar, are considered highly unreliable by professional demographers. The One Million Person Gap is a politically motivated study, rather than a scientific one. I’ve quoted some professionals on this very briefly here.
I forwarded this response to Mike Wise who wrote,
I read the article and the Yediot OpEd. I would be delighted to sit down with Gadi and explain to him our demographic work. He might be shocked! The work has been updated based on several factors including dramatic further declines in Arab fertility and increasing Jewish fertility.
By the way, after hearing the shocking statement at the 6th Herzliya Conference January 23, 2006, by Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt- one of the preeminent demographers in the US, many of the professionals in Israel both academic, think tank amd government offials realized that they had been duped for many years by “professionals” that did not do their homework.
Eberstadt said the following:
“Friends, in discussing demography and the future of the Jewish State I’m very mindful of my status as an outsider being both a US citizen and a Roman Catholic Christian. For this reason, I’ll limit my remarks to some technical but I hope nonetheless relevant comments.
“First of all, I want to salute Bennett Zimmerman and his Team for their path-breaking study. None of the Team members happen to be professional demographers, but they caught the demographic profession asleep at the switch. Serious internal inconsistencies are evident in the data and estimates on the current demographic situation in the PA areas and this report brilliantly reviews these. Further, the conclusions of this report are not only plausible but also quite persuasive.
“Why? Because it relies upon rigorous logic and simple, but very powerful, arithmetic to reach its results. And because this arithmetic offers internally consistent reconstructions of overall trends the findings look not only defensible, but also really quite robust. Second, this study should be carefully read by professional demographers and I hope it will impel, not only local, but also international statistical organizations to look at the PA demographic situation a little bit more carefully than they have been doing.
“Right now there are some fairly significant discrepancies in the PA’s own internal population estimates. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics estimates fertility levels for the population to be nearly 1.5 births per woman higher than other parts of the government. That’s a 25% gap, right within PA numbers. There are also fairly important discrepancies between the estimates of the US Census Bureau and the UN Population Division, the two most authoritative international demographic providers. Until there is a credible new population count in the PA areas, there will be some irreducible uncertainties but now is the time for the demographic profession to seek truth from facts here following the Zimmerman Team’s very important invitation.”
Indeed in the past year we have been delighted to hear that the Government of Israel understand that 1.5 million is the more correct number and not 2.5 million for Arab population on the West Bank.
You might download some of the studies available at Israel Demography.