Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Summary

I'll be going offline soon. A member of our clan, a young man who fought in Gaza in the same brigade as our son Achikam, is getting married. A year ago his father and I were exchanging tidbits of information seeping out; tonight we'll dance.

An item on the news earlier this afternoon told how in 2009 the number of young Israeli Arabs volunteering to do National Service (a non-military alternative to military service) has more than doubled. Maybe we're doing something right.

The Shin-Bet has the numbers for terrorism in 2009. Not many countries in the free world would live well with such numbers, but compared to what we've been having all decade it has been a good year. I think 1997-98 were similar, more or less, but before that you've got to go back to the mid-1980s for numbers as good as these.

The Israeli economy did better than the experts expected. GDP grew by 0.5%, but keep in mind that it was 2009, and we're not China. Unemployment is at 7.7%.

There are 7,509,000 Israelis living here, give or take a few. The Jewish birthrate is inching up, the Arab birthrate is inching down, and the 4.3% of non-Jews, most of whom are non-halachically Jews from the former USSR, are still on track to disappear into the Jewish surroundings over time. Demographically, it's a young country compared with most rich democracies.

I once wrote here that after all the excitement, vituperation and turmoil, Israeli society needs to be measured by three criteria, in rising order of significance:
1. Is the economy stronger than the previous year. (Guarded yes).
2. Did Jewish creativity have a good year. (You bet).
3. Are there more Jews here than a year previously. (Yes).

So it has been a good year.


NormanF said...

I see no reason to worry for Israel's future. If it wasn't for Iran, Israel can just grow stronger. The Arab World is sliding backwards and Iran is in the grip of a domestic upheaval. Things could be worse and they are in fact getting better all the time.

Anonymous said...

I hope you'll have a wonderful evening, wake up with feet sore from excessive and exuberant dancing and that none of you will have to pick up a gun in earnest in 2010 and ever after.

Anonymous said...

silke said it.
מזל טוב
johannes z. wien