The Happy Arab News Service

Thursday, June 18, 2009

So how big is that bomb?

A poll, commissioned by the Institute for National Security Studies of Tel Aviv University, established that only 20 percent of Israelis believe that a nuclear Iran would try to destroy Israel. Most Israelis, according to the poll, remain unphazed by the nuclear threat.

Asked how a nuclear-armed Iran would affect their lives, 80 percent of respondents said they expected no change. Eleven percent said they would consider emigrating and 9 percent said they would consider relocating inside Israel.

Source: Reuters

Until now analysts seem to have been in agreement that Iran's rulers are no suicidal bunch eager to incinerate themselves and their country during an exchange of nuclear strikes between Iran and Israel. Some even claimed that Iran's nuclear program is actually designed with the Arabs in mind. Its purpose is deterrence and even not necessarily against Israel. Most Israelis seem to be reasonable enough to avoid succumbing to hysteria.

However, eleven percent who would consider emigrating is a significant number. Of course it's doubtful that even 1 percent will actually do it. Yet, the bomb is now a factor that on some occasions may determine the outcome of personal situations compounded by other considerations. The bomb may have even more impact on immigration, in particular, from the West. In short, even before coming into existence, Iran's nuclear bomb is already taking its toll on the demographic situation within Israel.

That's why I can hardly stress enough a point I was making elsewhere. Regardless of the recent dynamics between the Jewish and Arab birth rates, this is a region where no chances should be taken. And if an opportunity to completely solve the demographic problem for the next 50 years exists, and in this region even 20 years are eternity, then it should be taken advantage of without asking for anybody's opinion.

Jeff Mills

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