Growing, growing, gone
In 2059, the ultra-Orthodox will make up between 23% and 40% of Israel’s population, says Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics
Shahar Ilan, Hiddush Vice President: "Any government that doesn’t work to integrate ultra-Orthodox into society sells out our children's future, the future of Zionism and the future of those ultra-Orthodox children"
Haredi child running in Beitar Illit. 09.04.2010. Photo: Nati Shohat
In another 50 years, Israel’s total population will be 23%-40% ultra-Orthodox, according to a forecast by the Central Bureau of Statistics commissioned by the Finance Ministry's budget division. CBS made three sets of predictions: low growth, moderate growth and high population growth.
Predictions of moderate population growth, Amotz Shapiro reports on Monday, says Israel's population will number more than 16 million people in 2059. Given current ultra-Orthodox population growth, 12% of the population in 2019 will be ultra-Orthodox, 16-21% in 2034 and 40% in 2059.
Hiddush Vice President, Shahar Ilan, said the following about the data: "It is clear that the Israeli economy and society cannot meet this burden of the population, most of whom does not work, does not serve in the army or national service and do not provide their children with the education necessary to participate in modern society. These numbers show once again that the Israeli government to must take bold and difficult moves to integrate ultra-Orthodox society; otherwise, Israel faces tremendous risk."
Ilan added "We must stop all funding of educational institutions who refuse to teach core curriculum and limit the number of publicly funded yeshiva students. The Trajtenberg Committee recommended the important policy changes, but the coalition refuses to implement them for fear of the power of ultra-Orthodox political parties. The government wastes what little time there is left for change, selling out the futures of all the children in Israel, including the ultra-Orthodox."
These numbers show once again that the Israeli government to must take bold and difficult moves to integrate ultra-Orthodox society; otherwise, Israel faces tremendous risk.
According to the report, the ultra-Orthodox population growth over the next 50 years will amount to 580%, while non ultra-Orthodox Jewish population will grow by only 50% and the Arab population will increase by 130%. The Arab population will maintain its percentage of the general population (20% to 21%), varying slightly by age. The percentage of Arabs ages 0-19 will decrease, while older age brackets will increases. According to the forecast assumptions, the population of Jews and other non-ultra-Orthodox populations, which is 70% of Israel's population today, will be between 66% to 67% in 2019, 55% to 63% in 2034 and 37% to 58% in 2059.
Yossi Greenstein notes in NRG that the rate of children (under age 19) who are ultra-Orthodox will jump from 16% to 46%, due to high birth rates in ultra-Orthodox families. Since the Haredi population does not study secular studies and most children do not work, the significance of this figure is rising unemployment and widening cycle of poverty.