Geography and demography: Spatial transformations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Twice a year, at the Jewish New Year and on Independence Day, the Israeli Bureau of Statistics publishes a “demographic balance of Israel,” which presents demographic distributions according to national origin, religion, and gender. These unpretentious announcements usually become the headlines of the news and provoke dozens of articles and comments in Israeli newspapers concerning the future ability of Jews to live safely in Israel and in the Middle East. What makes these announcements a source of public debate? The answer is simple: they point to the major cleavage in Israeli society, as they present the demographic balance between Jews and Arabs in Israel (see Table 2.1). The “demographic problem” underscores the contemporary debate among Jews in Israel on the nature of the peace agreement and Israel's future borders (see chapter 1). The demographic concern consistently occupies the Israeli parliament and also the High Court of Justice. One recent example is the debate over the “Nationality and Entry into Israel Law” (Temporary Order) – usually nicknamed “Citizenship Law.” The law, originally adopted on July 31, 2003 by the Israeli parliament, bars West Bank Palestinians from obtaining any residency status or citizenship in Israel, even through marriage to an Israeli citizen, thereby prohibiting Palestinians of the occupied territories from living in Israel with their Arab spouses. The High Court of Justice rejected petitions to abolish the amendment to the law, as it ruled that “The welfare and benefit that the Citizenship Law provides for the security and lives of the residents of Israel overrides the damage the law causes to a few Israeli citizens who married or are due to marry Palestinians, and to those who want to live with their partners in Israel.”

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIsrael since 1980
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780511756153
ISBN (Print)9780521855921
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2008.


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