Each year an estimated 50,000 or more potential Jewish lives are aborted in Israel.
The demographic threat is, by common consensus, the greatest danger to Israel today. Everything from the Gaza withdrawal to hare-brained schemes to convert en masse hundreds of thousands of non-Jewish immigrants is justified in terms of that threat.
The demographic threat is both external — 2 million Palestinians over whom we have no wish to rule — and internal — a rapidly growing and increasingly irredentist Israeli Arab population.
Arabs constitute 20% of the Israeli population. The Israeli Arab population is much younger than the Jewish population — one-half of Israeli Arabs are under 18, only one-third of Jews are — and has a birthrate twice that of the Jewish population. Demographically, the situation of Israel is even worse than that of Western Europe, which, at current rates of growth, will be majority Moslem by the end of the century.
Despite the magnitude of the threat, the Israeli government has neglected the easiest and most obvious steps to increase the Jewish population. Each year an estimated 50,000 or more potential Jewish lives are aborted. Twenty thousand abortions are approved by hospital committees, and some experts place the number of illegal abortions as twice that figure.
That’s close to 1,000 Jewish lives terminated a week. Compare the number of Israelis killed on the roads — approximately nine a week in 2003 — or by terrorists — four per week.
EFRAT, an organization that works with women contemplating abortion, proves the point. As soon as EFRAT learns of such a woman, one of its nearly 3,000 volunteers, many of them who were themselves helped by EFRAT, contacts the woman. The volunteer offers emotional support and tells the woman that if she delivers her baby, EFRAT will supply her with all the baby equipment and necessities, and will give a check to her local grocery for six months prior to birth and six months thereafter. No theological or ideological arguments are presented to persuade her.
Reducing the number of abortions alone will not turn the demographic tide. Nor will all, or perhaps even most, women who currently undergo abortions be dissuaded by any combination of incentives or more information.
Nevertheless it is a national scandal that thousands more Jewish lives are not saved each year for a mere pittance.
Visit EFRAT’s website at http://www.efrat.org.il/ . It is only available in Hebrew.