A SPECTER IS HAUNTING ISRAEL—the specter of demography.
Arabs are approximately 18% of Israel’s population. Their birthrate is almost twice that of Jewish Israelis’.
Arabs are also in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, where they have endorsed violent anti-Zionism.
Arab Knesset member Azmi Bishara even went to Syria in June 2001 and spoke at a memorial for the tyrant Hafiz al-Assad. Bishara called for greater muqawama (resistance) to Israel and praised the terrorist organization Hizbullah. (For the American equivalent, imagine a congressman going to Iran for an Ayatollah Khomeini memorial and praising the current theocracy.)
Bishara is candid about his outlook: "The state [Israel] is Jewish as long as there is a Jewish majority, but we are not ideologically Zionist. We cannot be. We are Palestinians."
Individuals of various ideologies have noted demography’s crucial role in Israel:
- "Israel is currently populated by 5 million Jews and more than 1 million Arabs (an increasingly vociferous, pro-Palestinian irredentist time bomb)."
- "At its current rate, the Arab birthrate will overwhelm the Jewish state sooner rather than later, just on the strength of sheer numbers."
- "The great Arab weapon in the battle against Jewish Israel is: babies."
The first quotation is from left-wing Israeli historian Benny Morris; the second is from libertarian Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com; the third is from the late Jewish fundamentalist Rabbi Meir Kahane, assassinated by Egyptian El-Sayyid Nossair in November 1990. (Nossair was affiliated with individuals complicit in the first World Trade Center Bombing in 1993.)
Arab anti-Zionism in Israel might seem like a nuisance instead of a menace since Arabs are less than a fifth of Israel’s population and a tenth of its legislature; but Israel’s enemies understand that what is a thorn today is a dagger tomorrow.
Take Wahid Abdel Maguid of Egypt’s Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. Maguid recommends that Arabs maintain insurgency to cause Israeli emigration and discourage Jewish immigration to Israel. Concurrently, Arabs should resettle in Israel to fortify their numbers.
"We are capable of increasing the demographic threat against Israel, if we demonstrate the necessary determination," says Maguid.
The current Arab terror campaign illustrates Maguid’s hideous logic. Consider this from an April 5 editorial in The Forward on life in Israel:
"How bad is it? One Jerusalemite we know, a native Israeli whose Czech-born parents survived Treblinka, has begun inquiries to see if she can obtain a Czech passport. Another friend in suburban Haifa tells us of neighbors who are buying up real estate in Warsaw and hoping to regain the Polish citizenship that their relatives held before they were incinerated at Auschwitz. For too many Israelis, the charnel house of Europe holds out a greater promise of security than the sovereign Jewish homeland."
If the demographic status quo continues for the next generation, Arabs will constitute roughly a third of Israel. Add the minority of pro-Arab Jewish Israelis (Israel’s Communist Party has representation in the Knesset), and the Jewish State is in an existential nightmare.
What is Israel to do?
When he was a Knesset member, Kahane sought to criminalize sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews and argued against citizenship for non-Jews; instead he wanted to apply the biblical concept of ger toshav (resident stranger) to non-Jews.
Kahane ultimately sought to expel Arabs who would not emigrate voluntarily with governmental incentives, the subject of his book They Must Go. "Arabs to Arabia, Jews to Zion," Kahane’s Kach party put it. ("Kach" means "Thus.")
As a libertarian, I recoil at imprisoning people of different religions for consensual sex and expelling an ethnic group.
As a Zionist, I see a trend in Israel with lethal implications for the Jewish homeland.
"No doubt, most Arabs in some corner of their mind hope and pray for Israel’s disappearance or destruction," Benny Morris writes in Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-2001. And no doubt many Arabs appreciate the nexus between their proliferation and Israel’s erasure.
Today Israel battles in the West Bank. In future decades its battle will be within.
What is Israel to do?