Monday 12 December 2011

Pronatalism in Israel?

From the Jerusalem Post, a straightforward account of falling abortion rates in Israel.
The rate of legal abortions in Israel – among the lowest when compared to the countries of Western Europe for both women under 20 and women over 35 – has declined since 2000 after being steady from 1995 until then.

This emerges from the abortion report issued by the Health Ministry for publication on Monday. The report does not explain the reasons for these trends.

Details of the numbers follow, then:
But when The Jerusalem Post suggested that it could be a result of the decline in aliya [immigration of Jews to Israel] and the aging of women who arrived from the former Soviet Union – where abortions were widely used instead of contraception – and the improved access to birth control among these immigrants – ministry official Dr. Yoram Lotan said it “sounded very logical.”

Now, another story on the same topic from a source I'd never seen before, Israel Today.
Israel Today has written several times before about how Israel has an abortion problem. Since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, more than one-and-a-half million babies have been aborted - more than the number of Jewish children killed in the Holocaust. Going by current birth rates, had those children been allowed a chance at life, there could be 5-10 million more Israelis today.

Alarm bells going off? Specifically the 'demographic winter' aka 'THEY-are-outbreeding-US!' SHRIEEEEK alarm?

Israel Today notes and dismisses the JPost's 'very logical' supposition for the causes of falling abortion rates and instead points to the work of 'a handful of pro-life organizations'.
One of those organizations is the Messianic-run Be'ad Chaim (Hebrew for "Pro Life"). With centers around the country, Be'ad Chaim is able to provide assistance and teaching to hundreds of women who may otherwise have aborted their children every year.

While the work of Be'ad Chaim and other such organizations may only be scratching the surface of Israel's abortion problem, it is making a difference. The latest Ministry of Health report revealed that women with a higher education or from better socioeconomic conditions are already far less likely to have an abortion today. Most abortions today are performed on mothers with low socioeconomic status, or, in other words, crisis pregnancies, the very ones being targeted by Be'ad Chaim and others.

Hoookay, crisis pregnancy centres in Israel.

So what is Be'ad Chaim?
Be’ad Chaim (Pro Life) is a registered Israeli non-profit
organization dedicated to the protection of mothers and unborn children. (Registered in 1989) We are a national organization with offices and Hotlines throughout Israel. All women are eligible for our assistance, regardless of nationality or religious beliefs.

We have no reason to doubt that last bit, but . . .

Next, what the heck is Messianic Judaism? (That link comes with a warning: 'Article contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed.')
Messianic Judaism is a syncretic religious movement that arose in the 1960s and 70s.It blends evangelical Christian theology with elements of Jewish terminology and ritual.

Our next question is posed by Israel Today.
Israel Today: How many Messianic Jews are in Israel today?

Asher Intrater: When we speak of Messianic Jews in Israel, we are speaking of people who are Jewish and Israeli citizens and who believe in Yeshua as their messiah. This is the Messianic Remnant, and it numbers about 15,000. In addition, there are many Arabs who believe in Yeshua, and there are many international Christians who make their home here.

Are we creeped out yet?

I went looking for other Israeli anti-choice organizations and found EFRAT.
Efrat is an Israeli pro-life group which tries to convince Jewish women not to perform an abortion. To this end, the organization distributes explanatory materials and offers economic aid to pregnant women considering abortion.

Let's see what it has to say about itself.
Since 1977, EFRAT has saved over 34,000 children. Through a combination of education and economic assistance, EFRAT has helped establish a new generation of Jewish families.

Hm. Not quite so non-denominational. . . But to its credit, there's little of the USian-style lies and fear-mongering. No links between abortion and mental health and/or breast cancer, for example.

So, what the heck is going on here?

Last week, deBeauxOs blogged on the Israeli Ministry of Immigration Absorption's campaign to discourage Israelis from marrying or befriending American Jews for fear of losing their identity.

Taken together, it sure seems some Israelis are flirting with notions of nativism and pronatalism.

They really want to go there?

I'm definitely creeped out.

(Gee. Look where I found that image from 'Demographic Winter'. Yup, Big Nurse Jill Stanek's. Quelle surprise.)


Beijing York said...

Could be the IDF targets children and young males with this concern in the back of their minds. I wouldn't put it past them.

Niles said...

Given that a cornerstone of the evangelical Christian Dominionist Rapture movement is that Jews need to have a 'come to Jesus' enlightenment before they get to be 'saved' in the Second Coming,(as troped and underlined twice in the 'Left Behind' books) Messianic Jews echoing the slant of their American fellow forced-pregnancy travellers is so very not a shock.

I wouldn't be surprised to find out their funding comes from the usual suspects.

I'm also not surprised at the monies devoted to breeding perfect red heifers.

Strange how these folks tend to worship absolutely accurate foretelling....I mean fictional literature like the Left Behind books, where The RaptureTM has God aborting fetuses right out of women's bodies vvvt around the globe. Of course, people spend the rest of the books only mildly bothered by this. They have priorities after all.

Israeli politics teacher said...

I am glad to see these statistics. How could any woman, in Israel, America or anywhere in the world, consider it okay to kill a child just because it is very small and she has not seen it?

fern hill said...

@Israeli politics teacher: People who have and value human rights consider it a duty to exercise self-determination. You'd think Israelis, let alone Israeli politics teachers, would get that.

But then, look at Palestine. So. Maybe not.

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