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Study: Israel’s secular Jews will be minority in schools

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Secular Jews will be a minority in Israeli primary schools and among young voters in two decades, according to a newly published study.

The study, posted on Foreign Policy magazine’s Web site this week, predicts that by 2030 Arabs and fervently Orthodox Jews together will make up 60 percent of Israel’s primary schools and will be about 40 percent of eligible voters, though about half of new 18-year-old voters.

Richard Cincotta, a consulting demographer to the U.S. government’s National Intelligence Council, and Eric Kaufmann of the University of London used figures from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics to make their predictions.

The demographers use their study to try to make sense of the rise of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beiteinu Party.

"Many have offered explanations for Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu’s rise, from rocket attacks to a religious revival, but one key factor has been overlooked thus far: They have demographics firmly on their side," the report said. "The party’s platform taps into the fears of the country’s demographically ebbing secular middle ground and feeds off of working Israelis’ frustrations with the country’s two most dissonant minorities — Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews (haredim) — both of which are on the demographic upswing."

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