The report, authored by demographer Arnon Sofer, said the
ultra-Orthodox, based on an annual natural increase rate of up to seven
percent, would expand their representation in
Israel's parliament. Sofer said Haredi political parties would seek to
enhance Jewish observance in public life.
"Education will become Torah-based, courts will be operated according to
Jewish religious law and much of the media will undergo a transformation in
which a large amount of the content it broadcasts will disappear," the
This marked Sofer's second study on Jewish demography in Israel. In the
1980s and 1990s, Sofer published studies that warned of soaring Arab birth
rates that would make them the majority of Israel, predictions that have not
been borne out.
The latest report said Israel would have an Orthodox Jewish majority by
2030 should current birth rates continue. Sofer said this could result in
Israel's annexation of the West Bank, the country's loss of democracy and
"As long as the Haredi percentage of the population increases, the
economic gaps between the haredi population and the remainder of the
population will continue to grow, requiring a greater transfer of funds
[from the secular population] to support them," the report said. "Their
differential participation in the work force not only creates a situation of
total dependence on the income-earning population, but also inequalities
that only continue to grow as well as higher dissatisfaction, bitterness and
feelings of suffocation among taxpayers."
Since its establishment in 1948, Israel's leaders have sought to reduce
the influence of Jewish observance. In the 1950s, young Orthodox immigrants
were pressured to remove their earlocks and work on the Jewish Sabbath.
For his part, Sofer recommended that the government introduce what he
termed "Western and democratic elements" in all schools. At the same time,
he raised the prospect that secular Jews would stage a "revolution" and
impose their values throughout the country.
"If our decision-makers do not come to their senses, the Zionist
vision will come to a tragic end and the people of Israel will again find
itself in the Diaspora facing anti-Semitism and assimilation," the report