Statistical Analysis of Israel's Manpower;
Ineffectiveness of Arab War of Attrition'
By HANOCH SMITH
The Jewish population in Israel is reaching the 2,500,000 mark.
In 1882 it was a mere 24,000.
If we take that year as a point of departure for political Zionism,
it took 60 years and more to bring the Jewish population in the country
up to the 500,000 mark. Since then the growth has been steep, as
is borne out by the following table:
Time it took to grow by
a half million
in the country
About 60 years
Middle of 1954
Middle of 1962
Middle of 1970
In the period between World War l'f'
II and the present-28 years—the i The Jewish population has grown
Jewish population of Israel has I by 140,000 in the two-and-a-half
grown by about 2,000,000 or ■ years since June 1967. Our losses
fivefold. Even after the large 1948- 1 in dead during and after the war
1951 aliya wave, the population were less than 1 per cent of this
continued to grow steeply. Since growth in population. Quantitative-
mid-1954—a period of little more ly therefore this loss is not dan-
than 15 years—the Jewish popula- gerous. Moreover, it should be
tion has increased by another born in mind that in the last three
The years of growth in popula-
tion were also years of great losses.
There large-scale wars were fought
in and around Israel, and between
one war and another, armed clash-
es were incessant although not on
any scale similar to the present
war of attrition.
The most savage of these wars
insofar as cost in life is concerned,
was the War of Liberation. When years there has been a steady rise
that war broke out the Jewish pop- in the proportion of men in the
ulation of the country numbered 18-35 age bracket, in the general
only 650,000. From the beginning population. In other words there
of the bloody disturbances in 1947 has been a rise in numbers of the
until the end of the War of Libera- fittest type of manpower. Further-
tion, more than 6,000 Jews were more, Israel has not only increased
killed, accounting for 1 per cent its military equipment far beyond
of the basic Jewish population. what it possessed in the Six-Day
The percentage was obviously War, but, despite the fighting, it is
much higher among the young sec- today much stronger also in human
tion of the population.
mowed down by death, 2,000.000
Luckily for Israel, the increase in
new flowers have sprouted.
Two-and-a-half years after the nationality which commenced in
Six-Day-War the Jewish population 1950 continued after the war and
of Israel is nearing the 2,500,000 expanded the country's human po-
tential at a time when it was most
The war of attrition notwith- needed. If the war of attrition
standing, Israel's population con- should continue at the same pace.
and even if the aliya should con-
tinues to grow at a quick pace.
In the two-and-a-half years that tinue at a low ebb, as it did in the
have elapsed since the Six-Day years 1965-1968, Israel's manpower
War, Israel suffered 495 killed, reserves will continue to grow, and
which is just over half the number
of victims claimed by the war of Interfaith Group Seeks
June 1967 (803). The war of attri-
tion declared by the enemy has to End Decline of Clergy
been stepped up in the course of i CHICAGO (JTA)-- An interfaith
time, reaching a head in the sum- committee for religious careers has
mer months of July and August of been formed here to seek means
1969. In this period Israel suffered of ending the decline in the num-
about 300 casualties—over 60 of ber of ministers, priests and rab-
them killed. In recent months bis. The committee has organized
the war of attrition reached new a pilot communications program to
peaks. Israel suffered casualties stimulate an awareness among
ending in death at the rate of about Young people of the ministry as a
300 a year. Losses occasioned by concept of service.
prt s accidents in the army
Dr. G. Douglas Lewis, director
fram vork raised this number
slig y. Although most of the of the National Cooperative Enlist-
wounded return to active service, ment Project of the National Coun-
considerable numbers remain in- cil of Churches, said the interfaith
valids for the rest of their life, committee "has launched a de-
although the majority continue to termined effort to offset some of
live normal and productive lives. negative forces which have result-
It follows that these losses, great ed in fewer young people entering
though they be, are much smaller the ministry, rising drop-outs
than the losses occasioned by road among seminarians and increased
accidents, and constitute but a number of ordained men leaving
very small percentage of the num- their ministerial careers." Dr. Irv-
ber of deaths per annum which ing Bailin, director of the Bnai
amounts to 17,000 in the Jewish Brith Vocational Service, is one of
the Chicago area leaders partici-
Mortality in Israel continues at pating in the new project.
the normal rate. The country's
health and medical services have
St. Louis Jewish Centers
not been upset as a result of the
war of attrition, and the life ex- Set Up Community Drug
pectancy in Israel continues to be
one of the highest in the world.
It is of course impossible to fore-
ST. LOUIS (JTA) — An informa-
tell what desperate means the tion program on drug use, oriented
enemy may have recourse to in an toward Jewish youth, is underway
attempt to increase the number of as a project of the Jewish Com-
Israel's losses again. For the time , munity Association. Described as
being no steep rise may be expect- the first community-wide effort in
ed, unless a full-scale war breaks the St. Louis area to create a pro-
gram focussing on experimental
It's not difficult to visualize what drug users, the project will provide
this entails if we regard our losscs educational programs for youth
in the past as we have described. groups and parents on the problem.
this growth will remain steady for
a number of years to come.
Like other countries, Israel is not
in a position to mobilize the full
100 per cent of its manpower for
war purposes. However, men up to
the age of 55 can do a certain type
of military service, and the wom-
en's manpower in Israel is also
Statistically, therefore, it follows
that Israel's losses in manpower in
the war of attrition are still in-
significantly small, insofar as fight-
ing potential is concerned. How-
ever, the potential of the country's
growth is even higher than the
data quoted above because the
figures based on years of limited
aliya. Immigration to Israel has
always come in waves, which were
followed by periods of recession.
Since the War of Liberation, there
were three waves of aliya, as may
be seen from the following table.
Average No. of
010...has a betor ides
Because they have
14240 W. 7 Mile Road at the Lodge X-Way
From this purely statistical an-
alysis, it may be concluded that
the damage to Israel as a result
of the war of attrition, is negligible
from the demographic point of
In our daily suffering and sor-
row over the death of our sons, we
tend to lose sight of the real pic-
ture of our strength. The individual
Israeli soldier is a hero because he
is held in esteem, and the Israel
Defense Army spares no effort to
reduce the number of casualties to
the barest minimum. This too adds
to our strength both personally and
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10 Friday, January 23, 1970
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