Report Suggests Palestinians May Outnumber Jews by 2020

Often, those who oppose Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, do so because they see the Palestinians as a minority and Israel as an oppressive majority. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often pointed out that although there are more Jewish people than Arabs living in Israel and the surrounding area, Israel is, in fact, the only Jewish state – not only in The Middle East, but in the world. This status alone makes Israel and particularly it’s Jewish residents a minority, but a recent study suggests that Jews in the area are about to become even more of one.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth (Ynet), a report by the Palestinian Authority’s Central Bureau of Statistics suggests that by 2020, there will be more Palestinians than Jews in the area “between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.” In just three years, according to the report, the two populations will be equal.

Ynet also says that the report suggests that there will be 6.5 million Palestinians living in the region in 2016. In 2020, it says, there will be 7.2 million, compared to around 6.9 million Jews.  According to Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), this change is expected to happen because Palestinians enjoy a  slightly higher birth rate than do Israelis. The Palestinian fertility rate, says DPA, is currently 3.3, while the Jewish birth rate is only 3.

This news comes just as Israel is celebrating the fact that its population has just risen above 6 million. According to Harriet Sherwood of The Guardian, this number is symbolically important to the Jewish state, because it is equal to the number of Jewish people who were murdered during the Holocaust.

Sherwood reports that many Jews living in Israel are applauding this milestone, but that some are less joyful than others. One, Anita Shapira, professor of Jewish history at Tel Aviv University, said, “living Jews do not compensate for dead Jews.” She also said that while the number 6 million was “significant” that it signified “catastrophe, not a recuperation.”

Meanwhile, Dina Porat, chief historian of Yad Vashem told Sherwood that while Israel’s population was growing, “Before the Holocaust there were around 18 million Jews in the world; after it, a bit more than 13 million.” There were still just over 13 million Jews living in the world, she said.

Filed Under: Politics

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Miranda Flint About the Author: Miranda has a B.A. in political science and has worked over a decade as a news reporter, financial news writer and political blogger. More about Miranda

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