The Happy Arab News Service

Friday, September 28, 2007

Levantine Wars

Last updated: May 9, 2008

June 15, 2007

I grew up in a country that had sacrificed 20 million people to win a war against the Germans. At the time 20 million was one out of every ten people. One former Soviet republic has lost 25% percent of its population in a vicious guerrilla resistance. Completely occupied by the Germans, hundreds of thousands of the Belorus were either killed fighting the German army or in reprisals on towns and villages. Many would say that it's history now and it was a long time ago, yet no more than a decade ago in a war between Russia and Chechen separatists, 100,000 Chechens out of one million died. The insurgents inflicted on the Russian army casualties that are estimated to be in thousands and by some estimates even exceed 10,000 Russian soldiers dead and the fighting is still going on.

Last year alone between 30,000 to 60,000 people died in Iraq whose population is several times less than the combined population of Israel, Egypt and Syria and others who fought their wars here over the period of 60 years. And the fighting spirit of Iraqis appears undented. It is in Iraq where martial races live who demonstrate their determination and single mindedness of purpose in the super violent Sunni insurgency and the yearly pilgrimages by Shias to Karballah when hundreds of thousands flock to the sacred city defying on the way multiple suicide and truck bomb attacks that can kill hundreds in one single day.

Israelis and Arabs like to mourn their dead. The way the Israelis talk about their casualties can make one think that Israel is living through one unending Stalingrad. Yet a careful look at the casualties of the Israeli Arab conflict reveals a surprising picture. The total number of casualties on both sides is estimated at around 60,000. And with the Israeli casualties below 20,000, the majority of them happened in the first half of the conflict. Which means in the last 30 years probably ten times more Israelis died in traffic accidents than in wars. Never mind those who succumbed to the old age. The passion for peace making on the grounds of saving lives and preventing sorrow, displayed by many Israelis, conflicts with the obvious fact that for Israel a failed peace can produce far more casualties than all Israeli wars of the last 20 years together.

Watching the latest mess in Gaza it's hard not to be impressed by the fact that with less than 200 dead, the Gaza strip has changed hands almost overnight and the 40,000 strong Fatah security services and police have evaporated into thin air. The inevitable conclusion is that this region is part of the Levant and wars here are fought on both sides by cultures shaped by corruption, cheap opportunism and general hedonistic orientation to life. The spirit of self sacrifice, however much proclaimed in public, has remained only skin deep until now. There are no martial races here.

That's why the relentless Hamas onslaught on Fatah installations in Gaza was refreshingly new and worrying at the same time. The same goes about the ferocious resistance put up by the Fatah al-Islam in Nahr el-Bared that after three weeks of fighting is still refusing to succumb to the Lebanese Army. Seems like new animals came to forest. The wars of this year, whether in Gaza and South Lebanon, or Nahr el-Bared camp in Tripoli, look as if traditional armies of the region, Jewish and Arab alike, are facing new enemies whose reactionary and fanatical agendas are matched only by their willpower of steel and their unwavering determination to win. For the region used to wars whose outcome is determined by a few hundreds or thousands dead, these are bad news.

June 21, 2007

Freaking Dresden

Andrey said:

NC, did you see pictures from Lebanon fighting here or this one? It looks like a freaking Dresden...

The Lebs have got another camp that seems to be at the point of explosion. Their biggest one.

Nahr el-Bared . . . (Thanks, Ellie)

And from the Fatah al-Islam side . . .

June 22, 2007

Lebanon's defense minister declared victory in Nahr el-Bared. Yet he cautioned his co-patriots, and very wisely I should say, that more troubles may lay ahead:

"Is there al-Qaida in Lebanon? Yes. Are there terrorist organizations? Yes. More explosions? Possible. Assassinations? Possible."


For Fatah al-Islam and their ideological comrades this is not their first war in Lebanon and sure not their last one. And no worry, they won't keep us waiting. Or as one of my friends used to say on similar occasions, " . . .

. . .

. . .

. . . I'll be back !!!"

September 28, 2007

Our Little Dresden is Live and Kicking

The Lebanese army has allowed reporters into a part of Nahr el-Bared camp cleared from mines and explosive devices. Our little Dresden seems to be finally secure and doing just fine.

May 9, 2008


Charles is providing regular updates from Beirut if you are interested. He's stranded in Hamra unable to leave and by now this neighborhood, just as many others, has been taken over by the opposition. And this brings me to the main subject of this post: news agencies report that in three days and with 30 something dead and wounded the entire Muslim section of the city fell into the Shi'ite hands. As far as I can remember never in its history has our region fallen that low.

In the good old days one could hardly do a descent shopping in Beirut without shooting dead at least a dozen of people on the way. Now it's barely 30 dead and wounded and an entire city changes hands. What is this shit? This is not even Gaza !!! At least Hamas and Fatah supporters spent a few days doing some real stuff like dynamiting buildings, shooting kneecaps out from behind to each other supporters and throwing each other from towers. By all standards what we are seeing these days in Beirut is the ultimate disgrace.

What's next? Once any tourist who dared to show his face in the Middle East would have been immediately kidnapped and beheaded. At the minimum mutilated. Once... but no longer. And if it keeps going this way we will soon get a new kind of tourism here with people from all around the world streaming to epicenters of our regional conflicts to be entertained by our symbolic street battles and mini-wars. Just imagine whole families with children booking tables in restaurants along main avenues of Beirut and Baghdad in anticipation of new clashes between Sunni and Shia gunmen.

I can only hope that people of the region will come back to their senses and save us from this disgrace lest we become a joke in the eyes of nations of the world. Otherwise the fearsome reputation won for all of us by the selfless efforts of countless generations of our extremists, suicide bombers and other psychos will be compromised irreparably.

All I can say right now: Shame on you! Shame on me! Ashamed to be a Middle Easterner!!!

Hezbollah... Policing Beirut. (Photo: Reuters)

Where are you, ya crazy Sunnis?

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Demographic Race - II

Last updated: May 9, 2009

September 13, 2007

Unintended Consequences

On August 3 2003 Daniel Pipes was reviewing a research by Onn Winckler of Haifa University published In "Fertility Transition in the Middle East: The Case of the Israeli-Arabs," Israel Affairs, Autumn/Winter 2003.

The government subsidizes large families, he explains, to maintain a Jewish preponderance in the Jewish state and to increase the number of Jews in the world.

Over time, however, the impact of these subsidies have been increasingly felt among Israel's Muslim citizens, whose very high population growth Winckler in part attributes to the ever-growing subsidy they have received from the Israeli government for having many children.

This sum has increased for two reasons: (1) Before 1997, those who did not serve in the army received lesser amounts than those who did (a way to single out Jewish parents for higher benefits) but for six years now, the amounts have been equalized. (2) The amount of the state subsidy has gone through the roof; for example, the sum received for six children in 1960 was 8 percent of the average income of salaried workers; by 2001, it had reached 43 percent of that average income. For prolific parents, child-rearing can replace gainful employment; in 2001, Winckler reports, "the monthly children's allowance for seven children was $930, much above the minimum wage in Israel, which was approximately $770."

These large sums, Winckler explains, had "a major role in maintaining the high fertility levels among large segments of the Israeli-Muslim population, particularly during the past decade." Put more concretely: "the overall economic condition of a poor family with six children and above in much better than that of a poor family with only two or three children."

As one might expect, the natal subsidy has most impact among the poorest elements of Israeli society; indeed, Winckler finds, "high fertility rates among the lowest classes, both Jews and Arabs, function as a major tool for economic survival." And who are those economic "lowest classes"? They happen to number three: ultra-Orthodox Jews, Muslims in eastern Jerusalem, and Bedouin in the Negev desert. They also happen - and here the law of unintended consequences rears its head - to be the three least Zionist communities in the country. (August 3, 2003)


Since then there has been a significant drop in the Arab birth rate attributed by many to the reforms enacted by the current Likud leader Bibi (Benjamin Netanyahu) when he served as finance minister in Sharon's government. Bibi slashed child pensions, welfare handouts to single parent families were cut too, sending the ultra-Orthodox and Arab sectors tumbling below poverty line together with their birth rates. There was a certain downward trend in the Arab birth rate in years preceding Bibi, but it does seem that the reforms knocked the sector out demographically. The comparative analysis of the first six months of this year with the same month of 2006 shows that the trend continues and another percentage point will be knocked out of the rate this year.

Actually to be precise the reforms had a surprisingly limited effect on the demographic situation of the ultra-Orthodox sector. The two sectors responded differently and while the Arab birth rate nosedived, this did not happen in the ultra-Orthodox sector. Instead the work force participation went up dramatically in the ultra-Orthodox sector. The process was facilitated by the staggering success of the reforms - this year the unemployment in Israel hit its lowest level in a decade. That's why even the record low unemployment rate doesn't reveal the full scale of Bibi's stunning success as it doesn't account for thousands of ultra-Orthodox who were absorbed into the rapidly growing economy, never mind those who went to work on the black market unreported. In short what transpired is that, unlike Israeli Arabs, Jewish fundamentalists don't make children just for the sake of getting more welfare and their birth rate happened to be relatively resilient to the impact of the reforms. But there should be no doubt that the ultras did not like Bibi's tough and uncompromising approach.

Bibi's failure to stem the demographic surge of the ultra-Orthodox sector (if he has ever attempted to achieve this at all) is heavily loaded with far reaching consequences for the future of Israel and the whole Jewish world but this is not the subject of this post. What's relevant to the subject of this post is that at the beginning of this year in an attempt to improve his standing with the ultra-Orthodox sector Bibi addressed its leaders on several occasions. On one such occasion he tried to explain the rationale behind the reforms.

Speaking at a convention of the ultra-Orthodox local authorities held in Gush Etzion on Tuesday evening, Likud Chairman Netanyahu explained his economic moves during his tenure as finance minister which caused harm to the ultra-Orthodox public, particularly regarding child pensions.

In his speech, Netanyahu referred to the cuts in child pensions, saying that since they were implemented "two positive things happened: Members of the haredi public seriously joined the workforce. And on the national level, the unexpected result was the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public, where there was a dramatic drop in the birth rate."

. . .

Ynet News
January 3, 2007


Needless to say the ultras refused to be impressed. Anyway, to put it short: At some point the state of Israel introduced the policy of child pensions that had set off demographic explosions in the Arab and ultra-Orthodox sectors plunging both into deep poverty. In the process the demographic explosion in the Arab sector has been threatening the Jewish majority in Israel all along, while the demographic explosion in the ultra-Orthodox sector has so undermined the secular majority that the question of secular Israelis becoming a minority in Israel and even in the Jewish sector itself seems to be no longer the question of if but of when.

But the most amazing about all this is that whether it's the senseless and self destructive policy of the previous Israeli governments, or Netanyahu's reforms that have finally put an end to this madness, they almost wrecked the country and then saved it by the way of unintended consequences. The mess the Jews always make of their politics makes one really appreciate the fact that at least the creation of Israel happened to them as an intended consequence.


The following table is maintained and monthly updated by the Central Bureau of Statistics. The number of births per thousand in Israel, Jewish and Arab sectors.

Source: CBS

The number of births per thousand in the Arab sector can be seen dramatically declining after Netanyahu serving as a finance minister in Sharon's government has cut down on child allowances and other social benefits. The same indicator for the Jewish sector is slightly edging up, probably due to the ongoing demographic surge in the ultra-Orthodox sector which shows little signs of relenting. The ultra-Orthodox sector currently accounts for 1/3 of all Jewish births and 1/4 of all births in Israel and its share is expected to continue growing in the next decade.


For the sake of fairness I should say that on some occasions Bibi was talking as one who actually comprehends very well the consequences of his reforms. So maybe the demographic consequences of his policies were not so unintended after all.

May 9, 2009


My current understanding of the demographic situation of Israel is summarized in this post: The True Convergence

September 16, 2007

Roman Kalik said...

Two points. One, the ultra-Orthodox are very big on mutual financial aid. There are several initiatives going, on a fund-raising basis, that help bring to large Haredi families a similar grant to the one the government used to give . . .

. . .

This basically explains the mystery of the ultra-Orthodox demographics.

September 17, 2007

Unintended Implications

The Jerusalem Post
Aug 1, 2007

Haredim are set to account for a majority of Jews in the UK and US by the second half of the century, according to new research by a British academic.

University of Manchester historian Dr. Yaakov Wise says the increase in Britain's ultra-religious Jewry has now reversed the decline in the overall Jewish population, which he says has been shrinking by 1 to 2 percent per year since the 1950s.

According to Wise, Europe's haredi population is growing more rapidly than at any time since before WWII. Almost three out of every four British Jewish births, he says, are ultra-Orthodox, and the community now accounts for around 45,500, or 17 percent, of a total UK Jewish population of around 275,000.

"If current trends continue there is going to be a profound cultural and political change among British and American Jews, and it's already well on the way," Wise says. "This is in spite of demographic studies which show that the non-ultra-Orthodox Jewish population is flat or falling."

"My work, and that of Prof. Sergio Della Pergola [of the Hebrew University], reveal a similar picture in Israel. By the year 2020, the ultra-Orthodox population of Israel will double to one million and make up 17% of the total population. A recent Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics report also found that a third of all Jewish students will be studying at haredi schools by 2012, prompting emergency meetings at the Education Ministry," Wise says.

. . .

. . .


DellaPergola, 2005

The Jerusalem Post
Nov 9, 2005

By the year 2020, the haredi population of Israel will double to 1 million and make up 17 percent of the total population, said Hebrew University demographer Professor Sergio DellaPergola Tuesday.

DellaPergola, who belongs to the Department of Contemporary Jewry and the Institute for Jewish People Policy Planning, spoke at the Knesset's Interior and Environmental Affairs Committee

. . .
DellaPergola said that presently the haredi public made up about 11% of the Jewish population in Israel, or 550,000 individuals.

DellaPergola's estimate conflicts with a Central Bureau of Statistics survey released last week that estimated the haredi population to be just 8% of the population, or 420,000 adults.

"Unlike the CBS, which based its data on peoples' self-definition, I factored in other variables such as voting habits," said DellaPergola.

Every city in which more than 70% of the citizens voted for one of the haredi political parties, including Shas, was considered entirely haredi. However, DellaPergola assumed that a certain percentage of Shas voters were not haredi, rather traditional.

DellaPergola also assumed that the haredi population had more children per family.

Haredi families average 6.5 children, compared to a national Jewish average of 2.6 children.

"Still, these patterns will not continue indefinitely," said DellaPergola. "So it is difficult to forecast when the haredi population will become a majority."

. . .

. . .


The demographic trends inside the Jewish world highlighted by recent demographic reports are generally in line with global trends. The world seems to be progressively more given to massive and rapid demographic shifts that change the ethnic balance across nations and continents. I touched on some of this stuff here (Arabs), here (Lebanon) and here (Russia).

There may be several reasons for this. One should certainly have something to do with Western living standards and way of life. Modern Western secular culture and education, equipped with the latest technology and social protection mechanisms, seems to be the ultimate population growth stopper. In fact, it call it a stopper is an understatement given the massive demographic implosion under way in Europe.

On the other hand those bits of modern Western medical science and technology that reached the third world have shaken it to its very foundations. With infant mortality decreasing in many third world countries (and elsewhere), societies and communities oriented on demographic expansion have experienced demographic explosions unheard in human history. Over the last three decades some nations and communities have doubled and tripled their populations.

The final piece to complete the picture are globalization and increased mobility that enabled massive migration flows between countries and continents capable of affecting ethno-demographic shifts in some places almost overnight.

It's unclear to what degree secularism is responsible for the demographic implosion of Europe but similar trends were observed in many Communist countries who have never reached the Western level of prosperity. In fact some Communist countries have experienced demographic implosions of even worse scale than Western Europe. For example already in the 70's the demographers noticed something weird happening in Communist Russia.

The combination of these and possibly some other factors is rapidly destabilizing nations and communities across the Middle East, Asia and Africa and even Europe. Lebanon was one of the first signs of the incoming storm when its Christian community was swept away by the demographic explosion that consumed the world of Islam a few decades ago (Though it should be acknowledged that idiocy is responsible for what befell the Christians in Lebanon almost to the same degree as demographic factors).

In the US the rising tide of the evangelical and other Christians is expected to shift the balance of forces between the democrats and republicans within a decade and some American liberals are already pondering the stark choice facing them between being marginalized politically and compromising on such issues as abortions and gay marriages.

In short, the modern age seems to have greatly exacerbated the tendency of secular societies to stagnate/implode demographically and it clearly favors religious groups in this sense. And there are more than enough indications that the Jewish world is no exception to this rule.

The statistics on average family sizes in the ultra-Orthodox sector alone and the Jewish sector as a whole and the huge gap between the two cited by DellaPergola suggest that the secular sector may be already facing demographic stagnation the style of old Europe. The recently observed demographic prowess of the Jewish sector in Israel probably owes it all to the ultra-Orthodox.

DellaPergolla declined to forecast the haredi majority in Israel, but it should be plainly much easier to do regarding the Jewish diaspora. Jewish secular and traditional communities in the West will continue shrinking, disintegrating and assimilating. In the first world Jews can preserve themselves only as a normal nation based on language and culture, and probably a country, as is the case of Israelis, or as a hardcore form of Jewish religion. All intermediary forms will be wiped out within a generation or two. In this sense the ultra-Orthodox majority in the diaspora may happen even sooner than birth and mortality rates may be indicating.

If the recently spotted demographic trends persist, then this will dictate a totally different order of priorities than that adopted by the secular sector until now. The Israeli Arab co-existence loses much of its relevance as Arabs seem to be both uncooperative and on the way to drop out of the demographic race inside Israel. The issue of the secular ultra-Orthodox co-existence is becoming the top issue. Antagonizing the ultras no longer makes sense. In particular given that these people are winning the demographic race for all of us and on our own we seem to be no longer capable of doing it.

The principles of the future co-existence should be negotiated and established now because as time goes by the ultras encouraged by their swelling numbers may become increasingly unwilling to compromise, tempted instead to impose their will by the sheer mass of their electorate. The principles of the future co-existence should be based on demarcating and respecting each other's space. Trying to force gay parades into the very heart of ultra-Orthodox strongholds (and Jerusalem will be one, if it's not one already) is out of question. This also means that any concessions the secular sector wants to get from the religious sector as for example on civil marriages should be negotiated now as it may become no longer possible to achieve them later.

Weaning the ultra-Orthodox sector off social programs and demanding self reliance is absolutely necessary as the country may soon be no longer capable of supporting such a huge mass of impoverished population. The ultras should sort out their poverty mess by themselves, at the maximum they can expect assistance but there is no place for any more child pensions or any other mechanism of shifting resources from the secular sector to the ultra-Orthodox on a permanent basis.

Whatever course of action the secular sector adopts in dealing with the ultra-Orthodox demographic revolution, it should be based on a very clear understanding that something very fundamental is going to change. We may be witnessing one of the most dramatic turns in the history of the Jewish people: within the next few decades the Jewish world may go back to where it has originally come from - the Jewish religion, and for the secular Jews/Israelis in Israel and the diaspora the implications of this are profound.

September 26, 2006

Anonymous said...

Well, pessimist as usual? the ultra-orthodox sector have a great impact on Jewish fertility in Israel, but secular, traditional and modern-orthodox all have fertility levels above 2.1.

How do we know this? First of all check out areas in Israel (CBS interactive map) with no or almost none Haredi-population. Fertility levels are still above 2.1. Also check out estimates by sociologist for the different groups

Fertility behavior of recent immigrants to Israel

and finally read this very interesting Jpost article

Interesting Times: Israel's 'family values'

Europe is decaying because of the two-childnorm. Israel has a three-child norm wich helps seculars above replacementlevel.

And for the western secular diaspora where I live, we survive for same reason as for a 100 years ago: Immigration. There currently 700 000 yordim and the number increases with 10-20 000 a year. My mother i Israeli and so is at least 1/3 of the Swedish community. As long as you guys reproduce, we will continiue to exist. /Michael

September 26, 2007 4:57 PM

Nobody said...

who is this? Midi ?

:D :D

why pessimist? i am not ...

Fertility rates are still above 2.1 but in the secular sector it won't continue for long. I dont know any country in Europe apart from Albania that does not live through demographic implosion.

In some places the population age structure is reported to have become so skewed that it's possible to talk about the demographic implosion having moved beyond the point of no return and even in a highly improbable case the birth rates suddenly move back to normal levels, there is left not enough young women to stem the decline. I mean of course native European populations. Many immigrants, in particular, Muslims seem to be doing fine.

In the US the overall situation is different, but once again it's the Christians and immigrants who do the trick. The democratic constituencies are shrinking. Secular liberalism is proving itself incapable of surviving the modernity without going into a demographic collapse. I see this point made in many articles. The secular - religious ratio will change in the West everywhere.

Demographically the secular sector in Israel follows Europe with a delay of a decade or two. Right now the national Jewish average is 2.7, but don't forget that in the ultra orthodox sector it's something like 6.5 and this sector accounts for something like 1/3 of all Jewish births.

Reduce 1/3 from 2.7 and you will get something like 1.8. To be generous with you :D :D I will give it two percentage points. It will be 2.0. So it's flat in the non orthodox sector.

It's true that in many non orthodox places the fertility rates seem to be higher than this but we also have traditional people and semi orthodox.

My point is not particularly pessimistic. It's just that the country will be more religious. It will get a clear religious or pro religious majority and that's all. What's so pessimistic about it ?? Or you think you will be missing our leftists and liberals ??? :D :D

:D :D

Because i won't ... it's true that I am absolutely secular ... but I am not a utopianist ... I don't see my mission in assisting the creation of some special and very perfect society .. to stay alive and in a Jewish, or better non Arab, state is good enough for me ... I can survive without public transport on weekends ... Neither I mind having gay marriages outlawed as I am not gay :D :D

:D :D

September 26, 2007 5:34 PM

September 28, 2007

The Silent Revolution

I think it would be apt to end this never ending post with this piece from the USA Today that illustrates very well the nature of the trends discussed in the post and the comments section.

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic mother of five from San Francisco, has fewer children in her district than any other member of Congress: 87,727.

Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah, a Mormon father of eight, represents the most children: 278,398.

These two extremes reflect a stark demographic divide between the congressional districts controlled by the major political parties.

Republican House members overwhelmingly come from districts that have high percentages of married people and lots of children, according to a USA TODAY analysis of 2005 Census Bureau data released last month.

MARRIAGE GAP: Elections could sway on status

GOP Congress members represent 39.2 million children younger than 18, about 7 million more than Democrats. Republicans average 7,000 more children per district.

Many Democrats represent areas that have many single people and relatively few children. Democratic districts that have large numbers of children tend to be predominantly Hispanic or, to a lesser extent, African-American.

This "fertility gap" is crucial to understanding the differences between liberals and conservatives, says Arthur Brooks, a professor of public administration at Syracuse University. These childbearing patterns shape divisions over issues such as welfare, education and child tax credits, he says.

GOP 'traditional families'

"Both sides are very pro-kids. They just express it in different ways," Brooks says. "Republicans are congenial to traditional families, which is clearly the best way for kids to grow up. But there are some kids who don't have that advantage, and Democrats are very concerned with helping those kids."

Children in Democratic districts are far more likely to live in poverty and with single parents than kids in GOP districts.

Rep. José Serrano, D-N.Y., has 227,246 children in his Bronx district, the 10th most in the House. Only 29% of those children live with married parents.

By contrast, 84% of children live with married parents in Cannon's central Utah district.

"These numbers are amazing," Cannon says. "I see now where José is coming from."

Cannon used to have a locker next to Serrano at the congressional gym and considers him a friend. "The needs of kids in his district are just not the same as the needs of children in my district," Cannon says.

Marriage and parenthood define what's different about Democratic and Republican districts even more clearly than race, income, education or geography, USA TODAY's analysis of Census data found.

For example, Republicans represent seven of the 50 districts that have the highest concentrations of blacks. Both parties are well represented among affluent and well-educated districts.

Democrats control only one of the 50 districts with the highest marriage rates.

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., who represents the most-married Democratic district (32nd overall), discounts the importance of the marriage rates. "It's a statistic without meaning," he says. "If you look at numbers from enough different angles, you can see almost anything."

Demographics drive issues

Pelosi says in speeches that her most important concern is "the children, the children, the children," says her spokesman, Drew Hammill. That's why she wants to raise the minimum wage to help low-income parents, he says.

The stay-at-home mom is uncommon in all congressional districts. Mothers work at the same rate — about 71% — in Republican and Democratic districts.

Nevertheless, a big difference in family life is clear:

• Democrats represent 59 districts in which less than half of adults are married. Republicans represent only two.

• Democrats represent 30 districts in which less than half of children live with married parents. Republicans represent none.

"The biggest gaps in American politics are religion, race and marital status," says Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg.


History is not necessarily about wars, dramatic economic reforms programs, ethnic cleansing and peace agreements. There are other factors at work. They may be less obvious and calling attention, yet their impact may be even more far reaching than any global world war III.

In practical terms: contrary to some predictions, the USA support for Israel may actually strengthen in the future as a result of the demographic shift under way across America as the pro-Israel Evangelical Christians are one of the major factors tilting the demographic balance towards the Republicans. Within a decade swing states and even some mildly Democratic states will land in the Republican camp. USA support for Israel won't suffer even if all Jews leave America. There are others to pick up the fight.

(Now tell me that I am a pessimist, Midi)


Parts of the discussion in the comments section centered heavily on the demographic situation in Israel and the West/World in general.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Wonders of Wmware

Last updated: September 19, 2007

August 10, 2007

This post has nothing to do with the Middle East/Israel. It's for Linux folks.

The Black Ubuntu emailed me this screenshot of Ubuntu Linux and Windows running on the same machine. He says Wmware does it all.


All contributors to this blog (I am the only one who contribute anything actually) are running on their computers varieties of Debian Linux. I and Jean are using regular Debian distributions. The Black Ubuntu is running ... running Ubuntu Linux (also Debian based).

September 19, 2007

Genuine Validation

Absolutely hilarious snapshot from Black Ubuntu...

Black Ubuntu said...

I wanted to download IE7 for someone but these days you need to validate your Windows in order to download anything from Microsoft. I thought I'll give it a try , downloaded the validating software from Microsoft , it scanned my Linux box and reported that I have a perfectly genuine version of Windows and graciously allowed me to download IE7.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Shalom Haver

Another Shalom post . . .

The Jerusalem Post
Sep 11, 2007

Hundreds of Dutch Israelis, some of whom have been living in the Jewish state for more than 30 years, were accidentally wiped off the National Insurance Institute's computer database last week following a technical glitch, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

"Since last Tuesday we have been receiving complaints from our members that they were suddenly notified by the NII that they were no longer recognized as Israeli citizens and were not eligible for social security benefits or health insurance (!!!)," said Hanoch Weisberg, head of the Dutch Immigrant Organization in Israel, which represents more than 1,400 former residents of the Netherlands.

. . .

. . .


So what can I say? Shalom Tsedek.


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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Wahhabite Russia - II

Continued from Wahhabite Russia - I

Last updated: September 2, 2007

August 26, 2007


Another Russian Muslim republic in the Caucasus seems to be exploding. On August 23 a Russian convoy came under attack in Ingushetia. One APC (armored personnel carrier) and a truck were destroyed.

MOSCOW, Aug 23 (Reuters) - One Russian soldier was killed and at least three wounded when a column of troops came under attack overnight in the southern province of Ingushetia that borders Chechnya, Russian news agencies reported on Thursday.

Itar-Tass said the unidentified attackers, who used guns and grenades, escaped after targeting a truck and an armoured personnel carrier carrying Interior Ministry troops. The attack took place late on Wednesday.

Interfax later said another Interior Ministry serviceman was injured in a separate attack by gunmen at a police checkpoint in Ingushetia on Thursday.

Russia has managed to subdue large-scale resistance by separatist rebels in the predominantly Muslim Chechnya region after two major wars since 1994.

But in Ingushetia there has been a considerable rise in attacks on police and Russian troops that officials blame on criminal elements and Islamist militants linked to Chechen rebels.

Russia sent an additional 2,500 troops to Ingushetia earlier this month.


One of the wounded soldiers was interviewed by the Russian Channel NTV in a hospital.

The TV presenter starts with news from Dagestan (another Muslim republic in the Caucasus) where a special unit of Russian police came under fire too. Two policemen were killed and five injured. Another battle erupted in Ingushetia when a column of an APC and an 'Ural' truck came under small arms and RPG fire. One person was killed and another five wounded. This is how one of the soldiers related the incident:

We were at about 500 meters from the police checkpoint when there was an explosion. The APC was thrown into the air. We came under fire from all directions. We turned around and returned fire. The battle went on for about two minutes then there was silence. Apparently they retreated into the forest.

The situation in both Muslim republics remains unstable and attacks on the army and special police units are frequent. Ingushetia appears to be particularly tense.

Radio Free Europe was reporting on August 1:

. . .

Simmering Insurgency

Many young men, especially those whose relatives were abducted and disappeared, have flocked to join the ranks of the Chechen resistance, and took part in the multiple attacks in June 2004 on police and security facilities in which some 80 people died.

In recent weeks, attacks by militants aligned with the Chechen resistance on government and police facilities and the killings of local and republican government officials have become an almost daily occurrence. On July 21, gunmen opened fire on Zyazikov's (President of Ingushetia NB) motorcade in Magas, and on July 27, militants opened fire with mortars on an FSB (Federal Security Service NB) base, killing at least one Russian serviceman.

. . .


August 29, 2007

To give some color to this grim subject...


Dags (Dagestan) vs Ossetians

Midnight. Moscow. A late underground train. Lezginka. (Russian speaking enthusiasts of diversity and peaceful co-existence are strongly advised against reading the comments section of the original Youtube page.)

A Chechen is dancing Lezginka

Ossetian Honga

Last Updated: September 2, 2007

The mess in Ingushetia appears to be moving into a new stage. Ethnic Russian civilians have been deliberately targeted in one of the attacks.

BBC World Service
Friday, 31 August 2007

Four people have been killed in a large explosion in the city of Nazran, capital of the southern Russian republic of Ingushetia, reports say.

The blast took place as a security forces vehicle passed a government building, Interfax news agency says.

The Nazran blast killed four policemen, Russian news agencies reported. Three died at the scene and one later in hospital.

One police officer told the Reuters news agency a Lada car packed with explosives blew up in the town centre.

. . .

On Thursday night three men - the husband and two sons of an ethnic Russian schoolteacher - were killed in an attack.

The woman, Vera Draganchuk, escaped by jumping out of a window, police said.

The attack is the second of its kind in two months.

Lyudmila Teryokhina, a Russian teacher, and her two children were shot dead in Ingushetia in July.


The situation in the Northern Caucasus now looks like this: the Russians largely succeeded to crush the bulk of the Chechen rebellion though low scale insurgency continues. At the same time violence is on the rise both in Dagestan and Ingushetia and attacks on the army and police are now reported on a weekly basis. This means that the Russians may have succeeded to fight off the Chechen rebels but they seem to have failed to stop the insurgency spreading across the Northern Caucasus. The Russian military may find fighting three insurgencies at the same time a real challenge.


This is what news from Ingushetia looked like today on Russia Today.

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