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Time Out

Conventional wisdom says Israel must reach a peace deal quickly, before population trends and diplomatic isolation overtake the Jewish state. Demographics and geopolitics tell a different story.

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The press center at Middle East peace talks, January 2000. (SVEN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
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“Time isn’t on Israel’s side” must be the most-repeated phrase in Israeli politics, in the Jewish state as well as in the Diaspora. It’s Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni’s refrain, as Simon Schama put it recently in the Financial Times. Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, said so in a Jerusalem speech to Jewish legislators from various parliamentary democracies June 29. We’ve heard the same shibboleth this year from Australia’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, Turkish commentator Ömer Taşpinar, Rabbi Donniel Hartman of the Shalom Hartmann Institute, Jewish Week editor Gary Rosenblatt, and many others.

The claim that Israel is fighting the clock has two components: diplomacy and demographics. Israel’s diplomatic isolation will corner the Jewish state while fast-breeding Arabs will overwhelm the population balance between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, goes the argument. On both counts, though, the facts speak against the notion that time is running out for Israel. Time, on the contrary, seems to be on Israel’s side.

The Palestinian Authority’s much-feared march toward a United Nations vote for statehood has become something of an embarrassment. A vote for statehood in the General Assembly has no legal implications, and the United States will always veto the measure in the Security Council. Some Palestinian leaders think that token support in the General Assembly will do more harm than good; Palestine Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki last week offered to withdraw the U.N. vote if negotiations with Israel restarted before September. And even the Kingdom of Jordan might vote against Palestinian statehood, according to the Middle East Research Center’s Alexander Bligh.

Arab rhetoric in support of Palestinian statehood, moreover, isn’t matched by real support. Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority’s prime minister, complained last week that Arab donors have paid out only a third of their pledges to his government, leaving the Palestinian Authority without enough cash to pay public employees’ salaries. “The Palestinians cannot count on the friends cheering them on rhetorically to step up financially if the going gets rough post-September,” warned Michael Singh, an associate fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in a blog post on Foreign Policy’s website.

Israel hardly seems as isolated as it did before Greece blocked another Gaza flotilla earlier this month, and the IHH—the Hamas-linked Turkish “charity” that sponsored the Mavi Marmara flotilla last year—dropped out of the exercise. Israeli diplomacy seemed quite effective. “The decision [for IHH to drop out] was taken for no other reason than that the Turkish government has made restoring its previously excellent relationship with Israel a priority,” reported Stephen Pollard in the Guardian. “The very last thing the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants is another pointless conflict. Having been re-elected for a third term he no longer needs to play to the gallery and paint Israel as a pantomime villain—his stock message since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009. With Syrian troops on his southern border, Erdogan has been keen to move on from the Mavi Marmara incident and return to good relations and military co-operation with Israel.”

Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim countries—including Turkey—have shifted their rhetoric away from Israel and toward the risk of rising Iranian influence. Only a few months ago, conventional wisdom stated that the United States needed a Middle East peace deal to steer the Arab Spring in a pro-American direction. But as it turned out, the Arab Spring had little to do with the Palestine issue, and as the political chaos in the Arab world became less tractable, Israel’s position improved.

Israel is less isolated because Syria is isolated—except for Iran’s continued sponsorship—and because civil wars in Yemen and Libya and renewed political unrest in Egypt have validated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim before the U.S. Congress in May that “Israel is the one anchor of stability” in “an unstable Middle East.” Until the Syrian government provoked attacks on the American and French embassies in Damascus, the U.S. administration and other Western governments made it clear that they preferred to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power there, based on the commonplace notion that no comprehensive peace agreement is possible without Syria and no partial agreement is likely, given the dependence of Hezbollah and Hamas on his regime. It is hard to pressure Israel to negotiate a peace deal when a pivotal player is absent, and the recent meeting of the Middle East Quartet (the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations) in Washington ended without a public statement.

Total Fertility Rate (Children Per Female)

Even if the Arab revolt and its consequences have eased Israel’s diplomatic isolation and undercut the pressure for a settlement with the Palestinians, that does not serve Israel’s interests, according to President Barack Obama. “The number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River is growing rapidly and fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories,” he told the America-Israel Political Action Committee in May.

Whether the proportion of Arabs in Judea and Samaria as well as in Israel itself is growing may be the most politicized demographic question in the world. Yet the Israeli Jewish fertility rate has risen to three children per female while the Arab fertility rate has fallen to the point where the two trend lines have converged and perhaps even crossed. A 2006 study by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies claims that the West Bank and Gaza population in 2004 was only 2.5 million, rather than the 3.8 million claimed by the Palestinian authorities. Presumably the numbers were inflated to increase foreign aid and exaggerate the importance of the Palestinian population.

Most of the phantom population, the report argues, comes from births that never occurred:

[The Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics] projected that the number of births in the Territories would total almost 908,000 for the seven-year period from 1997 to 2003. Yet, the actual number of births documented by the PA Ministry of Health for the same period was significantly lower at 699,000, or 238,000 fewer births than had been forecast by the PCBS. … The size of the discrepancy accelerated over time. Whereas the PCBS predicted there would be over 143,000 births in 2003, the PA Ministry of Health reported only 102,000 births, which pointed to a PCBS forecast 40% beyond actual results.

Palestinian fertility on the West Bank has already fallen to the Israeli fertility rate of three children per woman, if we believe the Palestine Ministry of Health numbers rather than the highly suspect Central Bureau of Statistics data. The Begin-Sadat estimates were disputed by other Israeli demographers, notably Sergio DellaPergola of the Jewish People Policy Institute. Yet the idea that economic and cultural modernization leads to falling birthrates is a commonplace among demographers who study the developing world. In 1963, Israeli Arab women had eight or nine children; today they have three, about the same as Israeli Jews. Education explains most of the fertility decline among Arabs, and it is likely that Arab fertility behind the Green Line as well as in Judea and Samaria will continue to fall.

More recent data also show that the Israeli Jewish birth rate has risen faster than predicted. Jewish births rose from 96,000 in the year 2000 to 125,000 in 2010, while Arab births fell slightly over the same period—from about 40,781 to 40,750, according to a new study by Yaakov Faitelson at the Institute for Zionist Strategies. The proportion of Jewish pupils in Israel’s elementary schools is increasing, Faitelson reports:

The percentage of students in the Arab educational system out of all Israel’s total first grade student body will decrease from 29.1% in 2007 to only 24.3% in 2016 and 22.5% in 2020. At the same time the percentage of students in the Jewish educational system out of the total first grade student body will reach 75.7% by 2016 and 77.5% by 2020.

While Israel’s ultra-Orthodox minority contributes disproportionately to Jewish population growth,  most of the increase in Jewish births comes from the secular and non-Orthodox religious categories, which average 2.6 children per woman. Faitelson notes that the ultra-Orthodox fertility rate fell over the past decade, while the fertility of the general Jewish population rose.

If present trends continue, the proportion of Jews in Israel and the West Bank will remain roughly constant; it may even rise. Muslim fertility is falling faster than anywhere in the world, with some Muslim countries—notably Iran, Turkey, Algeria, and Tunisia—reaching levels well below replacement. “In most of the Islamic world it’s amazing, the decline in fertility that has happened,’’ Hania Zlotnik, head of the United Nations’ population research branch, told a 2009 conference. Within every Muslim country and across the Muslim world, one variable explains most of the fertility air-pocket, namely education. Once Muslim women leave the cocoon of traditional society for secondary or university education, their fertility drops quickly to levels below replacement.

If Israel’s total fertility rate holds at three, its population will reach 24 million by the end of this century, the United Nations’ population model predicts. And if the low fertility rates prevailing elsewhere hold steady, Israel will have more people under the age of 25 than Turkey, Iran, or even Germany. It will be able to field the largest army in the Middle East. And it will have a thriving high-tech economy, enormous energy resources, and a reliable supply of desalinated water. Israel has a near-optimal mix of economics and demographics, while time is running out for Arab countries that have failed over and over again to rise to the demands of the modern world.

There is just one remaining argument that the clock is ticking against Israel, namely “linkage” between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran’s strategic threat to Israel. Gen. David Petraeus, the new head of the Central Intelligence Agency, made this assertion in congressional testimony in March 2010. “Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations,” Petraeus argued. “The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas.” I argued at the time that Petraeus was outrageously wrong and that Jewish conservatives were misguided to hail Petraeus as a hero.

Iran’s nuclear program and its support for Hezbollah and Hamas are significant threats to the Jewish state. Yet it is hard to find a policy analyst of any stripe today who will defend the idea that an Israeli-Palestine agreement, even if such a thing were possible in the present environment, might meaningfully reduce the Iranian threat. In the uncertain aftermath of Arab revolts, Petraeus’ “linkage” argument has quietly faded into the inoperative list of embarrassing past policy statements. The commonplace argument that time is not on Israel’s side looks like it will be next.

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Bill says:


1. I signed the letter.

2. There is also a demonstration on September 21 in New York.
Ahmadinejad leads the conference (!) and it doesn’t matter whether we agree with what Israel is doing or not. It is important to be seen and heard.

This year’s conference theme is “Racism in the Jewish religion.”

Shalom Freedman says:

I would hope that the data given here is correct. It certainly suggests that it is wrong to try and rush to an Oslo- like agreement which the other side never intends to keep. But is it’s real suggestion that Israel does not need any kind of agreement, any kind of settlement with the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab world? If t
And if so what of our traditional goal of arriving at Peace, and a society and world transformed to greater goodness and well- being for all?
I of course am asking rhetorically. I have lived in Israel too long and seen too many failed efforts and ideas for resolving the conflict, to trust that there will be a successful one soon.

Herb says:

Politicians in democracies are of course obsessed with staying in power which means elections which means voters which means democracy. Feeding off this obsession comes the big demographic question – in Israel, in Europe (Eurabia), even in Russia. Spengler/Goldman has addressed these.

Add to this the concern than Madison voiced:

“The right of suffrage is a fundamental Article in Republican Constitutions. The regulation of it is, at the same time, a task of peculiar delicacy. Allow the right exclusively to property, and the rights of persons may be oppressed… Extend it equally to all, and the rights of property or the claims of justice may be overruled by a majority without property, or interested in measures of injustice…

In a just & a free, Government, therefore, the rights both of property & of persons ought to be effectually guarded. Will the former be so in case of a universal & equal suffrage? Will the latter be so in case of a suffrage confined to the holders of property?”

James Madison, 1787

So, is the democracy the only future for the enlightened world? Could new forms of political organization other than one person one vote emerge as so successful as to be emulated in the West (against the wishes of most politicians, but not holders of property or persons)?

I am waiting for some country somewhere to pull it off: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that relies on the consent of the governed in a new format. Somewhere, some time soon, the new model will emerge.

Jay A Friedman says:

I do not know whether or not “Time” is on Israel’s side.

I do know something else. I know that “I am on Israel’s side”. So is my spouse. So are our children. So are our grandchildren – some of whom are presently serving in the Army and others who will shortly join the privileged ones who defend their nation and their homes.

My neighbors are on Israel’s side. My friends are on Israel’s side.

And Israel – it is on our side as well. It is in front of us. It is behind us. The spirit and the love that is Israel encompasses us.

I realize that many will consider all the above statements to be the ramblings of a non-sophisticate who is not capable of quoting the intellectual comments of our leading commentator.

Let them continue to postulate. I look forward to an equitable peace. I desire a two state solution. I would like the region’s leaders to sit with each other without any pre-conditions whatever …without public protestations and declarations. But, if my Palestinian neighbors continue to live with their fantasies, I will continue to live with my dreams.

babawawa says:

The explosion of the demographic time bomb myth has been around for a while. I’ve read these very same statistics elsewhere. What it means is that Israel can pursue peace to its advantage. Those who claim that Israel has no time have their own agenda, and it’s usually the ascertainment of power. Hashem is the Boss, and He will not abandon us, ever. Our cause is just, our claim true. The Jews will prevail in Eretz HaKodesh.

Eran says:

While your graph is most likely correct, one must consider the total population of each county when making such comparison between adversarial nations. The Muslim population is many times larger then the entire global Jewish population, and any lower Islamic fertility rate is really a minuscule percentage in the total schema of demographic change.

Time is on Israel side because Israel survival is assured by its brain power and investment in military science and technology that deters her enemies from attacking. Just, think and imagine what Israel could contribute to global peace and prosperity if it did not have to invest such vast resources in its military?

It is up to the Muslim’s religious leadership to come to term with the reality that Israel as a Jewish state is here to stay, prosper and be a beacon of hope for better life for the billion and a half Muslims who would like to improve their living conditions in their own countries. When Islamic leaders will know and really mean their greeting “SALAM ALECKOOM” that it means “peace be unto you” only then peace will prevail.

Dubala says:

Time or no time…how about the oppression of Palestineans? How about the corrupting influence on the Jewish state of of the continued occupation? Israel’s democracy is undermined day after day by the policies of the radical right in power and its insistence on Greater Israel.

Scott Egolinsky says:

Time is on Israel’s side to do what? Continue to send generation after generation of 18-year-olds to man checkpoints? No mention of what that’s done to Israeli society over “time.” How about ethics? Is ethics on Israel’s side? Hmmm, no mention in this piece.

So what is the point of this column? The status quo is acceptable? That’s like be told you have cancer that can be cured with treatment but you decline the treatment. The issues on the table are not the Arab-Jewish birth rate or whether or not Israel has friends; or whether or not the UN will recognize a Palestinian state.

The issue is that for 44 years, Israel -which claims to be a democracy, has ruled over millions of people who are not citizens of the country. And please don’t send me a litany of all wars and terrorist attacks that Israel has been subjected to for decades. The occupation must end and the State of Palestine must finally come into existence -not for the sake of the Palestinians, but for the sake of Israel!

Bill Pearlman says:

Mitch, I love comments like yours. Ok, it’s Israels fault. Therefore Israel can wind this up by next week. At least in your mind. If you were PM of Israel what would you do, whats your plan. I’m sure its brilliant.

From the face of all this gibberish it sounds like someone pulling our eyes over the wool. First off, I think the Palestinians want the world to think things are not so cool, but then I see a handcuffed photo of the imprisoned revolutionary calling for peaceful demonstrations in conjunction with the UN vote rapidly approaching; so who needs to anything about it – right?
Secondly, Jerusalem and to the East, Haifa and to the North, Hebron and Yaffo and to the South are increasingly populated by Islamic Arabians, and the Negev desert 50% people of Arabic persuasion, and I am giving first hand evidence as I see it from the windows of my steibel from its viewpoint in Arad.



Thank GOD.

For the Extermination of the babylonian Imposters, theyve had a long run. But now its time for the True House of Israel to stand with its Capitol and Return to Their GOD as HIS Promised intened.

Dubala, Scott and Mitch, obviously if you believe that immediate, unilateral withdrawal from the remainder of the West Bank (Israeli troops are already absent from most of it) is a moral imperative irrespective of its impact on Israel’s security, then arguments about demographics will seem irrelevant to you. However, the vast majority of Jews, both in Israel and outside it, don’t agree with you, because they either don’t share your moral urgency, or consider Israel’s security more important, or both.

The “demographic argument” was formulated with the goal of persuading this latter group of people, by convincing them that irrespective of morality, immediate, unilateral withdrawal would be in Israel’s security interest, because it would prevent a dangerous future scenario in which a Jewish minority ruled over a Muslim majority. Of course, if it’s based on incorrect demographic estimates, then it loses its force, and the solid majority of Jews who see Israel’s continuation of its current posture as morally unobjectionable under the circumstances will continue to do so.

Yaakov Hillel says:

We have antisemitic Americans and British, we have antisemitic Moslems, and worse of all we have antisemitic Jews who feel that the existence of Israel gives them the delegitimization to their fidelity to America in the eyes of the other antisemites. This sounds like a ridiculously bad joke, it is fact. Once when there was no Israel, Jews suffered and were something to be suffered because there was a nationality without its country. Today That Israel not only exists it is anti everything the diaspora Jew belonged in. secondly there is no more diaspora. The largest concentration of real Jews is in Israel. The Jewish Agency does not weant to admit this but it is fact. Nobody really knows for sure how many Jews live in the United States. In order to be considered a Jew you have to be born to a Jewish mother or go through an orthodox conversion. Israel does not consider people who have gone through a reformed conversion as Jews. From my family I have literally hundereds of second and third cousins. At least half are not Jewish. Some because they do not want to be classified as Jews. You can not force a person to be a Jew if he does not want to be a Jew. All the above political science is a lot of bunk. Israel has the same percentage Muslim per Jews over the last sixty years. You may say that this is the hand of God, It is hard to believe that this is just luck. If the numbers perdicted are true than the percentages found will have greater percentages of Jews. Recent DNA testing has shown that villages and cities have large populations of people who have closer chromosome comparisons to European Jews than they have to other groups in the Arab world. We are talking about hundereds of thousands of city and village dwellers that were forced to take on Islam. The waves of people are becoming interested and have already seen the first group reconvert to Judaism. This may snowball, causing many Israeli leftists to either leave he country or say may be there really is a God.

Yaakov Hillel says:

Of course much of the Arab percentage will be hurt. This can also cause greater dislike of Israel by the surrounding states. On the other hand their populations may demand the same DNA testing and come out with some very surprising results. I believe that Europe over the next 15 years will become more Muslim with the populations living under Shaaria Laws with their women wearing Burkas and homosexuals beheaded in town squares (to start with). Were as Israel with its 13-15% muslims as compared to its 80+% of Jews running the country with an Iron hand. The Muslims and other groups in Israel have realized that every ytime they make an intifada they come out with the short end of the stick. It takes many years of good neighboring for Jews to build a busniess relationship with their Arab neighbors a few weeks or months of their intifada destroys it for many years. The Arabs were thrown out of the building trade and Rumainians Poles and thailandies have taken their place. The last Intifada that Arafat started 2000-2001 has not had its damage repaired. When Most of the Northern Arabs praised Nasrallah of the Hezbollah, Many were fired from their jobs in Israeli firms. Who needs a fifth column! The same people who had their chidren murdered by his missles praised him. How would you react if a group of Mexican immigrants praised an outlaw from the other side of the Mexican border who shot missles at your home. We now have the same story with A northern town of Majdal Shams who threw stones at Israeli troops. The hundreds of Israelis that would come weekly to their village vanished, and many people will be forced into bankruptcy. Some people have always to learn the hard way. Israel will have no choice but to retake the Gaza Strip. There is a limit of how much a person can take, and how many missles you can shoot at him. Haniye of the Gazan Hamas has pulled the string to tight, next time Israel will enter Gaza it will not be to kill 600 terrorist fighters.

Sarah says:

Durban 3:

like Bill said, demonstration is on September 21 in New York.

tell your friends and family about durban.

I’m curious about the demographic argument you make, Mr. Goldman. You write:

“While Israel’s ultra-Orthodox minority contributes disproportionately to Jewish population growth, most of the increase in Jewish births comes from the secular and non-Orthodox religious categories, which average 2.6 children per woman.”

Most of the increase is from the secular and non-Orthodox population? Would you please share the numbers/citations? I ask this of you not as a challenge to your claims, but because I’ve read a lot of articles that make the opposite case.

If, indeed, the folks who disagree with you (those who insist that the rising Israeli Jewish birthrates are predominantly from the Haredi world), I’m not so sure that’s a happy scenario. If a future Israeli democracy were to be dominated by religious literalists, one presumes that the country wouldn’t remain the regional anchor and beacon that it is today.

Frank says:

THis is a gross misuse of statistics to support an unsupportable conclusion: that Israel can hold on and wait the Palestinians out without concessions.

The worst mislead is the graph of fertility rates which actually doesn’t support the article’s premise at all. It lists a fertility for Israeli women (ie Jews and Arabs) without breaking them out.

Mati says:

I am glad that you tackled the question of whether demographics is on the side of Israel or the Palestinians, but I think your use of the word “breeding” with regard to the Palestinians will simply alienate people from your argument.

You write: “The claim that Israel is fighting the clock has two components: diplomacy and demographics. Israel’s diplomatic isolation will corner the Jewish state while fast-breeding Arabs will overwhelm the population balance between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, goes the argument.”

Although you use the term “fast-breeding” in your characterization of the argument you oppose, you still own the term, and it has no place. Breeding is a racialized term meant to reduce others to a sub-human status.

I understand that you are trying to place the racist conception in the mouth of your opponent on this matter, but it would be better to just keep it out altogether.

philip mann says:

I wish this could be true. sadly,our history shows how things don`t go way for long.

Still. The Arab states are busy attacking themselves . Europe is going bust,and is not concerned with their crying once more to the U.N. And,both Greece nad Turkey could be allies of Israel. If those two finally agree to make peace,then Moshiach is on his way.

If he turns out to be the late (yes ) Lubavitcher rebbe,all bets are off.

@ Christopher Orev

The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics published a month ago data according to which the haredi women fertility rate went doen from 7.5 to 6.5 from 2001 to 2009, and the Arab women one from 4.5 to 3.5.

On the other hand the overall Jewish fertility rate rose from 2.5 to 2.9 – a simple math tells us that the non-haredi Jews went from 2.1 to 2.6 on the same period.

This is known data and absolutely nobody who knows the data in Israel says anything else.

Jehudah Ben-Israel says:

By going to the UN the PLO/PA breaks a written and signed agreement, i.e. the Oslo Accords, and goes back on its acceptance of UN Security Council Resolution, 242, as the basis for all peace talks. Thus, if the PLO/PA can’t hold to agreements it has accepted and signed, why should Israel ever trust that these people will accept any agreement in the future…?? Therefore, if the PLO/PA makes a move to the UN, Israel must determine what territory it must retain permanently and apply Israeli law there, while the rest may remain to be controlled by the PLO’s PA as an autonomous region.

Rocky says:

Israel should prepare itself for the day when the US is forced to shrink its role on the world stage. The US is going broke. The ability of the US to meet its financial commitments is still probably still there but the willingness is not. Billionaire Stephen Schwartzman was foolish enough to compare an increase in taxes on hedge fund profits to Hitler invading Poland. When push comes to shove, Social Security and Medicare benefits for the old and disabled will even trump AIPAC.

Raymond in DC says:

Mati writes, “Although you use the term “fast-breeding” in your characterization of the argument you oppose, you still own the term, and it has no place. Breeding is a racialized term meant to reduce others to a sub-human status.”

What do you say then, Mati, about Arafat’s insistence that the “Palestinian womb” was a “strategic weapon”, that they would overwhelm the Jews by sheer force of numbers?

Raymond in DC says:

Mati writes, “Although you use the term “fast-breeding” in your characterization of the argument you oppose, you still own the term, and it has no place. Breeding is a racialized term meant to reduce others to a sub-human status.”

What do you say then, Mati, about Arafat’s insistence that the “Palestinian womb” was a “strategic weapon”, that they would overwhelm the Jews by sheer force of numbers?

There is however one aspect of Israel’s Arab demographics that isn’t, and needs to be, addressed: that of the Bedouin. While some Arab cohorts – the Christian Arabs, for example – have growth numbers approximating those of the Jews (if not lower), the Bedouin, many of whom still practice polygamy, are rapidly increasing. That puts pressure on land use, with ongoing seizure of state lands for illegal settlements and political pressure to cede that land altogether.

esthermiriam says:

This play with statistics has been challenged by other readers. Even so, it skips right past the changes on the ground (i.e., settlements and related infra-structure) whose (arguably illegal, but…) expansion threatens the possibility of a viable Palestinean state and thus of a two state solution.

Before he died of AIDS, Yasser Arafat’s prophesied that Israel will be defeated by the Arab woman’s “cuss”. It appears that he didnt know what he was talking about.

I haven’t checked in here for a while as I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)


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Time Out

Conventional wisdom says Israel must reach a peace deal quickly, before population trends and diplomatic isolation overtake the Jewish state. Demographics and geopolitics tell a different story.

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