Jewish fertility tops Arab rate in Israel

For the first time ever, the Jewish fertility rate in Israel topped that of Arab residents, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, reported.

In 2018, the Jewish fertility rate was 3.05 children per woman, versus 3.04 for Arab woman.

The nation’s overall fertility rate was 3.08 children per woman, down slightly from 3.11 a year earlier.

The average for the 36-country Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2017 was just 1.65.

Israel begins 2020 with nearly 9.14 million residents, with Jews accounting for 6.77 million, or 74.1%, and Arabs for 1.92 million (21%). The nation’s population has grown 17.8% in the past decade, with the count expected to reach 10 million by the end of 2024.

There were 177,000 babies born in Israel in 2019, with 34,000 people immigrating to the country and 45,000 people dying.

‘Pay for slay’ salaries to be seized

Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett signed an order Jan. 1 that will enable Israel to seize payments made to Arab Israelis convicted on terrorism charges by Palestinian authorities.

“We are taking action, this is a further step in the fight against terrorism,” Bennett said in a statement. “We are working to make the spilling of Jewish blood no longer economically profitable.”

Informally known as “pay for slay” payments, the Palestinian Authority has for years made monthly payments to those under arrest for terrorism-related crimes. Ynet reported that the payments can range from $400 to $3,400 monthly.

Among others, the order covers five Arab Israeli serving life sentences, including a participant in a 2003 double suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed 23, and others who assisted a suicide bomber who killed nine people and injured 38 while attacking a bus at the Meron Junction in August 2002.

Combined-arms combat unit debuts

The Israeli military unveiled its first combined-arms combat unit, reported.

The Shiloah Unit incorporates infantry, combat engineers, armor and air power. A primary mission will be testing new war-fighting techniques, tactics and strategies.

Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi called for the creation of the unit as part of a multi-year plan called “Momentum” designed to make the Israel Defense Forces more deadly and better


The unit is expected to be fully operational by late 2020.

The unit will operate under the auspices of the elite 98th Paratroopers Division, which is commonly called the Fire Formation. JN

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