Thursday, November 08, 2007

"Almost one-fourth of Israelis are Muslims."

Almost one-fourth of Israelis are Muslims.

That's what he said. Here it is again:

Almost one-fourth of Israelis are Muslims.

This is not the first time I have heard this. My guess would be that the majority of Americans have no clue about the demographics of Israel. Conversations with other people who have gone to Israel typically include a similar report. Donald Sensing's recent posts following his recent trip to Israel are worth following. He's a credible witness in my book.

During my visit to Israel last month, our study group spent an afternoon conferring with an Israeli-citizen Arab, whose safety was so precarious that he asked his photo not be taken, saying, “I don’t want my picture to wind up on someone’s blog so that certain people will know what I look like.” (Hint: it was not Jews he was afriad of, nor Israeli Christians.) Though his name is well known, since he writes for the Jerusalem Post, I’ll refer to him only by his first name, Khaled.
Khaled was very candid about the difference of the lives of Palestinians living under the PA (to say nothing of those living under Hamas in Gaza) and the lives of Israeli Arabs. He did point out that Arabs are a minority in Israel, and they know it. Israel is a Jewish state, and all its Arab citiziens, whether the 70 percent who are Muslim or the 30 percent who are Christian, are not merely ethnic minorities, but religious minorities.

But Khaled also pointed out that despite the mild oppression that Israeli Arabs generally feel, they know they are the freest Arabs anywhere in the Middle East. That’s why the reverse of yNet’s headline is never printed: Israeli Arabs are neither crazy nor stupid enought to migrate into the West Bank or Gaza, where they would live under the mere facsimile of democracy in the former and outright tyranny in the latter.
But the blunt fact is that Israel is not about to receive these vast numbers of Palestinians. Several officials we spoke to, including very senior persons at Israel’s Foreign Ministry, indicated clearly that they are well aware of the demographics between Jews and Arabs in and around Israel. Almost one-fourth of Israelis are Muslims. One official said clearly that because Israel is a democracy, it simply was unthinkable that its government would allow massive numbers of Palestinian Muslims to take up citizenship and ultimately vote the Jewish state out of existence.

I am not an end-timer fundamentalist by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a pro-Israel Christian for reasons explained elsewhere in my blog. Statistics like these are part of the reason. Readers who care to learn more are referred to Sensing's blog.

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