2015 May 16 Saturday
The Battle Of The Womb In The Middle East

At the time of Israel's creation 13,000 out of 65,000 Bedouins did not flee. There are now 240,000 Bedouins in Israel about 67 years later, 18.46 times more. That's almost a 4.5% growth rate per year. I wonder if the growth rate has slowed at all.

In the 20th century some groups got pushed out of areas or dominated because they lost the battle of the womb. Serbs got pushed out of Kosovo by higher Muslim fertility. Christians in Lebanon dropped as a percentage of the total population which set them up for defeat in the Lebanese civil war.

The 21st century will witness similar shifts in the power of various groups. What is going to happen in Israel and the occupied territories? Will Arab Muslims win a long demographic war against Israel? Or will Israel push Muslims out of Israel proper? Israel's Jewish growth rate is lower than its Arab growth rate. But the Haredi Jews have the highest growth rate. If the Haredis maintain their high growth rate they could push the overall Jewish growth rate above that of the Arabs.

The Christians in the Middle East will continue to lose ground, flee, and be killed. They've already lost the demographic war. The Yezidis are facing a bad situation as well.

I also wonder about Shiites versus Sunnis. Iran has a fertility rate below 2 in contrast to Iraq with a fertility rate above 4. But in Iraq are Shiites or Sunnis making more babies? Same question in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other gulf states. I also wonder about the relative fertility rates more moderate versus more radical Sunnis. My guess is that the moderates are losing the battle of the womb.

Another interesting demographic war: Turks vs Kurds vs Arabs. The fertility rate of Turks is lower than the fertility rate of Kurds in Turkey. Some Turks fear they will become a minority in their own country some time in the 21st century. By contrast, the Kurdish fertility rate in Iraq, while high, is not as high as the Arab fertility rate in Iraq. So the Kurds might take over Turkey (or perhaps secede from it) but lose territory in Iraq.

Other Middle Eastern conflicts come to mind. In Yemen are the Houthis or Sunni Arabs winning the battle of the womb? How about the fertility rates of various Syrian factions? Will fertility rate differences determine who eventually comes out on top in Libya?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2015 May 16 08:21 PM 

bob sykes said at May 17, 2015 5:33 AM:

Some knowledgeable Israeli's deny the Muslim birth rate is higher than the Jewish rate. They claim the PLO data are bogus and entirely politicized. Mostly they cite the very high Orthodox rate. The Orthodox are probably a majority of all Jews in Israel, and increasing.

Wolf-Dog said at May 17, 2015 7:03 AM:

The ultra-Orthodox Jews are sometimes called "Haredi", and in Israel they are only 10 % of the population. As you can see, their growth rate is twice that of Arabs inside Israel, but they are only 10 %. And this does not take into account the high birth rate in Gaza and West Bank, which are not considered Israeli. There are also modern-Orthodox Jews who still have above average birth rate but their birth rate is below that of ultra-Orthodox Jews. However, still close to 40 % the population are close to being secular. In israel the secular Jews are very close to being total atheists.If we combine the non-religious traditionalists and the secular Jews, then the religious ones are not the majority.

EXCERPT (The "Arabs in the statistics below are Israeli citizens, not the ones in Gaza and West Bank, where the high growth is):
As of 2009, 8% of Israeli Jews defined themselves as Haredim; an additional 12% as "religious"; 13% as "religious-traditionalists" ; 25% as "non-religious-traditionalists" (not strictly adhering to Jewish law or halakha); and 42% as "secular" (Hebrew: חִלּוֹנִי, Hiloni).[8] As of 1999, 65% of Israeli Jews believe in God,[9] and 85% participate in a Passover seder.[9] However, other sources indicate that between 15% and 37% of Israelis identify themselves as either atheists or agnostics.[10][unreliable source


Group[8][9] Population Proportion of total Growth rate
Jews: 6,119,000 75.0% 1.7%
Non-Haredi 5,499 000 65.1% 1.2%
Haredi 750,000 9,9% 5.0%
Arabs 1,688,600 20.7% 2.2%
Other 349,700 4.3% N/A
TOTAL 8,157,300 100% 1.9%

Abie Gefiltefish said at May 17, 2015 8:56 AM:

The bigger problem for Israel is the Haredi birth rate. Not so much in their sheer numbers, but in the political power they wield in Israel's parliamentary system.

Netanyahu couldn't form a ruling coalition without them and they vote as a block. He has been forced to back off on a bunch of reforms (including national/military service for Haredim) to keep in power. And it took him 3 months to cobble his ruling coalition together. Haredim may be a bare ten percent of the Jewish people in Israel, but they can throw elections as long as the secular Jews are divided and at each other's throats.

It wouldn't be a major problem if the Haredim were committed to religious-nationalism (a religious nation-state). But they aren't. In fact, many if not most see secular Jews as a greater existential threat than Christians and Muslims (who have little power). It is the secular Israeli Jews who are pushing the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskala) down the haredim's throat, not Christians and Muslims. Think of it as the exilic shtetl mentality versus the cosmopolitan Jewish mentality. As long as Cosmo Jews remain fractious, the Haredim can punch way above their weight.

painlord2k said at May 21, 2015 7:25 AM:

The OP is lacking in considering the falling of the birth rates in all MENA.
Yes, they are higher than in Europe and the US, but they are falling like stones.


The question is "How they will adapt when oil will not be enough to pay for their food needs", because chineses want eat pork and they will feed their pigs with corn; and if this make the Middle East starve, who cares? not the chineses, for sure.

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