New Article: Rosenberg-Friedman | Ben-Gurion and the ‘Demographic Threat’

Rosenberg-Friedman, Lilach. “David Ben-Gurion and the ‘Demographic Threat’: His Dualistic Approach to Natalism, 1936–63.” Middle Eastern Studies 51.5 (2015): 742-66.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00263206.2014.979803

 

Abstract

This article illuminates one of the many facet of Ben-Gurion’s leadership that had an impact on his public image – his stance on fertility and childbirth, during the years 1936–63. The article outlining Ben-Gurion’s thoughts on the birthrate in Mandatory Palestine and the State of Israel, analyse the developments in his views over the years and the reasons for it. His perception of the Jewish national importance of boosting the birthrate grew over time in keeping with historical developments and the soaring natural increase of the Arabs. In the first stage, births were important to him due to the need to create a Jewish majority that would pave the way for a Jewish state. In the second stage, once this goal had been achieved, it was out of concern for the security and stability of the state – in this stage, however, he built his leadership as a prime minister of all Israel citizens, including the Arabs. The analysis demonstrates, therefore, that Ben-Gurion’s approach was characterized by dualism. The reasons for this dualism as well as Ben-Gurion’s image as a ‘godfather of fertility’ are the focal point of this article.

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