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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Shrinking Muslim Families

More than statistics are showing that enormous Muslim families are going the way the enormous Catholic families have gone.  Davka, Maureen Dowd recently wrote an article which mentioned how her parents controlled the size of their family a generation plus ago.  They had many fewer children than their own parents did.  In a couple of generations, Italian Catholic families, which once shunned birth control, are now so small that the Italian population is seriously shrinking due to their negative birthrate.

Hat tip: IMRA
One of the unexpected bits of knowledge I've picked up working in Yafiz-Clothing for the Entire Family, in Sha'ar Binyamin is the fact that young ambitious Muslim families are small, and the parents treasure and spoil their children.  Successful-looking thirty-something Arab businessmen visiting the area from ? show me pictures of their one, two or three children so I can help them pick out clothing they want to bring home as gifts.  We also get many Arab families including their one-four children,ranging in age from infants to high school, who pick out and try on and buy clothes.

Israel Hayom has an informative article by Yoram Ettinger which gives more background on the changing demographics in the Arab Muslim world.
For example, the fertility rate among young Arabs in Judea and Samaria — at an average of three births per woman — has converged with the respective fertility rates of young Israeli Arabs and Jews, while (mostly secular) Jewish fertility rates are currently trending upwards and Arab fertility rates are trending downwards.
The Arab fertility rate in Judea and Samaria is declining at an accelerated pace as a result of modernity: urbanization (70 percent rural in 1967 vs. 75% urban in 2012), increased education, especially among women (most of whom complete high school and increasingly attend community colleges), enhanced career mentality and growing integration into the workforce among women (reproduction starts later and ends earlier), all-time high median wedding age and divorce rate, minimal teen pregnancy (common in 1967 but rare in 2012), family planning and secularization.

I've noticed this across the board, not only with Arabs who speak English and Hebrew, but those who can only communicate in Arabic.   Arab culture is changing, just like in other parts of the world.  The young Arab men who shop in Yafiz buy the best name brand shirts, the Fila and Diadora.  The favorite clothing for little Arab girls are Hello Kitty and Barbie.

Yes, things are changing here.  I deal with real people, not politicians.

I can't get over the irony of it.  When we first came to Israel, soon after the 1967 Six Days War, many Israelis took advantage of the fact that they could shop in Arab cities, towns and stores. They insisted that the prices were less for the same or better merchandise.  Today Jewish Israelis are forbidden (true apartheid if you look at the facts) from entering Arab towns, but you find Arabs in Jewish cities and stores.  The Sha'ar Binyamin Shopping Center is not restricted to Jews or security passes only.  The Arabs who shop in Rami Levy and Yafiz insist that our products and prices are the best.

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