The government of Israel is concerned that the country is no longer attracting Jewish immigrants at the rate it would like.
The government of Israel is concerned that the country is no longer attracting Jewish immigrants at the rate it would like. At the same time, its Arabs population has a very high birthrate, and is increasing fast. A study in the Untied States has estimated that in 100 years, Arabs will outnumber Jews even in pre-1967 Israeli territory -- that is, excluding the West Bank of Jordan and the Gaza strip.
SYNOPSIS: Immigrants still fly in to Tel Aviv, but not enough, in the official view, particularly form Western Europe and the Americas. Some Russians, too, are choosing to go somewhere else form their transit camps. Uzi Narkis of the Jewish Agency explains:
On the other hand, the Israelis say that, in economic terms at least, the Arabs in Israel are better off than the majority of people in Arab countries.
This family has a five-roomed house in a village specially built for Bedouins in upper Galilee.
Family allowances, maternity and child welfare clinics, have helped to raise the birthrate and life expectancy of the Arabs in Israel. In fact, they have one of the highest birthrates in the world -- and the average age of the Arab population in Israel is nine years younger than that of the Jewish population.
But the Arabs still feel themselves second-class citizens. For instance, they find jobs making amy uniforms, but are not acceptable in the Israeli army.
Last March, Arab resentments boiled over into violent demonstrations in Galilee -- touched off by requisitioning of Arab lands. But the government has disclaimed a controversial report which said the Arabs in Galilee were becoming too influential and their facilities should be reduced. Schmuel Toledano, adviser to the Prime Minister:
Official policy, Mr. Toledano said, is integration of Arabs and Jews in Israel -- difficult though that may be, for reasons of national sentiment. He also believes that with more education the Arab birthrate will eventually drop to something more like the Jewish one.