The Demographic Potential: Myths and Facts
The most common myth about the demographic situation in Judea and Samaria is that as one bi-national state, the demographics would tip the scales in favor of the Arab-Palestinian population and upset the balance. According to this myth, the only reasonable solution that would ensure that the State of Israel remains Jewish and democratic is the two-state solution – “two states for two peoples.”
Only one problem – the real numbers tell a different story.
The Jewish Population
- As of 2017, the number of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria is approximately 421,000, which is about 4% of Israel’s population. The birth rate is approximately 4.7 births per mother on average; this contrasts with the statistic of 3.1 births in the overall Israeli population. Essentially, this is the region with the highest Jewish birth rate in the country.
- Current data from the Central Bureau of Statistics shows that the number of births per Arab woman is equal to the number of births per Jewish woman – 3.13, as part of the general trend of an increase in the percentage of the growth of the Jewish population, and a decrease in the percentage of the growth of the Arab population.
- For example, in 2014, the Jewish population grew by 1.9%, as opposed to 1.5% growth in 2005 – an upward trend. In contrast, the Arab population grew by 2.2% in 2014, but by 2.7% in 2005 – a downward trend.
- A captivating phenomenon has been impacting the migration rate. All over Israel, except in the Center, Jewish cities are experiencing migration to other places (a negative net migration rate). The exception is the communities in Judea and Samaria, which are characterized by a positive net migration rate (in simple words – there are more people entering the area than leaving).
The Arab Population
- Today, all of the data regarding the Palestinian population that we have comes exclusively from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. As part of the Oslo Accords, the PA received sole responsibility over the numerical data regarding the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria (until 1995, the Israeli CBS was responsible for population registration).
- After it’s very first census, the Palestinian CBS “jumped” by an additional 113,000 persons in comparison with the last census conducted by Israel, but that was just the beginning. The Palestinian CBS conducted one census in 1997, and used it to predict the growth rate for the next 17 years. These predictions were published by the Bureau every year as current, accurate figures, despite the fact that many imprecisions were found in the census figures themselves, not to mention the predictions, which drifted further from the true figures as the years progressed.
- Imprecisions were detected in several areas: the inclusion of persons living overseas; inclusion of the Arabs of East Jerusalem (who were counted twice); unexplained growth in the very first report in comparison with the most recent Israeli figures; discrepancies in the comparison of the birth figures with the figures for school registration of children; inflating the number of births reported by the Palestinian Ministry of Health; actual negative net migration, in contrast with the reported positive migration predicted by the Palestinian CBS.
- With all of the irregularities that we are aware of in the predictions made by the Palestinian CBS, the result is an additional 1.34 million people, in contrast with the actual figures recorded until 2004. This means an inflation of about 50% (!), from 2.49 to 3.83 million people (2.49 million is a figure that includes the Arabs in Gaza as well. In Judea and Samaria alone, the estimate is only approximately 1.8 million people).
- Jewish birth rates are on the rise; Palestinian birth rates are declining.
- In Judea and Samaria, there is a positive net Jewish migration rate; a negative net migration rate on the Palestinian side.
- The number of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria is actually approximately 1.8 million.
- The number of Jews in Judea and Samaria was approximately 389,300 at the end of 2015, which was 6.15% of the Jewish population in Israel that year.
- An educated look at the demographic trends shows that time is on the Jewish side.
 Journalist Arnon Segal, “Olam Katan.”  CBS website.  Official publication on the CBS website.  “Demographic Trends in Israel,” edited by Ruth Gavison. Data correct as of 2008.  All of the above is based on “The Million Gap” published by the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar Ilan University.  CBS statistical annual of 2016. The data reflect the end of 2015. The calculation is as follows: Israel’s population was 8,463,400. The report states that 4.6% of all Israeli citizens live in Judea and Samaria, or 389,316. According to the report, the Jewish population is 6,334,500. Therefore, 389,316/6,334,500 = 0.061459, or 6.15%.