Understanding Demographics

The Real Demographic Problem Facing Israel

By Israel Zwick, CN Publications, Purim 5768

Editor’s Note: Recently, a secret meeting was held at the United Nations by the request of the Israeli representative. Present at this meeting were representatives from the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), United States (USA), Israel (ISRAEL), and the Palestinian Authority (PA). CN Publications obtained advance notice of this secret meeting and introduced a fly into the room. Using the latest advances in Israeli nanotechnology, the fly was fitted with a microscopic microphone and transmitter. Below is a transcript of the conversation transmitted by the fly.

ISRAEL: My friends, I have asked you to come to this meeting because the State of Israel is facing a severe dilemma and we would appreciate your advice and consent before we make any drastic decisions. You know that we are very concerned about criticism and condemnation from the international community so we would like to avoid that.

UN: We are always eager to assist any of our member nations. How can we help?

ISRAEL: Well, as you recall, the State of Israel was established 60 years ago in order to provide a homeland for millions of Jews scattered around the world who have not had a homeland in almost 2000 years. Many of these Jews were survivors of the Holocaust, living in Displaced Persons camps and had nowhere to go. It was decided that the best place for a Jewish homeland would be the Holy Land where the Jews have strong historical, religious, and cultural attachments.

UN: Yes, we are very proud of the role we played in establishing a homeland for Jews in portions of the former British Palestine Mandate.

ISRAEL: The dilemma that we are facing now is that there are still tens of thousands of Jews around the world who would like to immigrate to Israel.

UN: That’s fine, so what’s the problem?

ISRAEL: There is a severe shortage of suitable, affordable housing to attract new immigrants. There is even a shortage of housing to accommodate the natural growth of young Israeli couples who would like to raise their families in their ancestral homelands rich in Jewish history and culture.

EU: Well, the last time I traveled through Israel I saw plenty of vacant land in the Negev. Why don’t you consider building housing developments in the Negev desert. I’m sure that the wonderful research that Ben Gurion University is doing on  desert living would be helpful in making the Negev a more hospitable environment for residential habitation.

ISRAEL: Yes, that’s true. But, unfortunately, much of the Negev is now within range of the Katyusha and Grad rockets being fired by terrorists in Gaza. Families are reluctant to live there after seeing the difficulties of life in Sderot.

PA: Yes, I also believe that the Negev would not be suitable for Jewish settlement. Much of that land is used by the nomadic Bedouins and their camels who are an endangered population. The Jews should find another location for settlement.

EU: How about the Galil in the north, there’s still plenty of vacant land over there?

ISRAEL: Yes, that’s true. However, there is a large population of Israeli Arabs living there who are becoming increasing hostile to the Jewish population. There has been a large increase in anti-semitic and rock-throwing incidents in the Galil. Jewish families are becoming afraid to raise their children there.

PA: I also don’t believe that the Galil would be suitable for Jewish settlement. The Galil is the sight of many Arab villages that were vacated in the Naqba of 1948. When there is a peace agreement, millions of our Palestinian refugees would like to live in the land of their great grandfathers as guaranteed by the Right of Return.

UN: Yes, we cannot allow housing discrimination against the natural growth of the Arab population. Perhaps the Galil would not be suitable for increased Jewish settlement. Perhaps the distinguished representative from the Government of Israel has some other ideas.

ISRAEL: Well, we were considering the development of new housing in Eastern Jerusalem, which still has much vacant land and is close to Jewish commercial and cultural centers.

UN: Oh, No. We cannot approve of increased Jewish settlement in Eastern Jerusalem. That area is considered Occupied Palestinian Lands and Jewish settlement would be a violation of the Geneva Convention and international law.

PA: Absolutely, East Jerusalem is a holy city to over a billion Muslims and will become the capital of the Palestinian State. We cannot allow Jewish settlement there.

EU: Yes, Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem would interfere with the peace process and contiguity of a Palestinian state, we cannot approve of that.

USA: Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem would be a gross violation of the Roadmap agreement, and we not condone that.

ISRAEL: Well, then how about if we build communities on the hilltops in Judea and Samaria? There are still many vacant hilltops in the Judean Hills and each could support a community of about 50,000 people.

PA: Absolutely not! The West Bank is Occupied Palestinian Territory that will soon become a Palestinian state and we cannot allow the illegal establishment of Jewish settlements there. In fact, all existing Jewish settlements are illegal under international law and must be dismantled and their Jewish inhabitants relocated to other Jewish areas.

UN: Yes, that’s true. The UN considers the West Bank to be Occupied Palestinian Territory and Jewish settlement would be a violation of international law and the Geneva convention. No, we cannot condone that.

EU: Jewish settlement in the West Bank would interfere with the peace process and the two-state solution. We cannot approve of that.

USA: Increased Jewish settlement in the West Bank would be a violation of the Roadmap agreement that Israel agreed to. We cannot approve of that. You will have to find another site for Jewish settlement.

PA: How about Montana and Wyoming? There is plenty of vacant land there that would allow Jews to live in a hospitable environment.

USA: That would present a problem. While we admire the many contributions that Jewish immigrants have made to the United States, we are concerned that an increased Jewish presence in those two states might lead to ethnic friction with the indigenous population. In addition, much of that territory is pristine land reserved for national parks. The environmentalists in Congress would not allow any urbanization. Can you imagine the thousands of soiled disposable diapers that would be produced by young Jewish families? No, that land would be better used for cattle grazing. It would not be suitable for Jewish settlements.

UN: Perhaps the Government of Israel should reconsider the British Uganda Program that was proposed to the Zionist Congress in 1903. Why don’t we in invite the representatives from Uganda and Kenya to offer their views on that?

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