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Some good news about Israel and what Obama said about it

Special to WorldTribune.com

By Norman Bailey

Amid all the euphoria about President Obama’s visit to Israel, modified by the realization that Netanyahu’s apology to Turkish prime minister Erdogan under pressure from Obama (and truth be told under pressure also from Israeli industry, which has seen its once-robust sales to Turkey plummet) was a serious and humiliating mistake, insufficient attention has been paid to a very positive fact.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on March 21 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center. /Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on March 21 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center. /Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Obama referred to Israel as “the Jewish state” and said it would always remain so. He was the first U.S. President to affirm this in such unequivocal terms.

Even more important are the conclusions of recent demographic studies, (such as those of David Goldman) that have shown that Israel is among a handful of advanced countries in which the birthrate substantially exceeds replacement level, so that its population is growing naturally, and not only because of immigration.

This fact is applicable to the entire Jewish population, and not merely because of the notoriously fertile ultra-orthodox segment. In addition, the birthrate among Arab-Israelis has declined to the point where it does not exceed the Jewish figure.

Added to this is a rapidly declining birthrate among Arabs in the West Bank (and indeed in the Arab countries in general) and the doomsayers who for decades have been forecasting that the Jewish population would soon be outnumbered by the Arabs were simply wrong.

Under current circumstances this will never happen, even if the West Bank were to be absorbed by Israel.

Thus, for once, Obama’s fine rhetoric is matched by the facts. Israel is indeed “the Jewish state” — and will remain so.

Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft at The Institute of World Politics, Washington, D.C., and a researcher at the Center for National Security Studies, University of Haifa. This column was published by Globes, an online business publication in Israel.

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