[Avodah] A Third of Israelis Will Be Ultra-Orthodox by 2050, Forecast Finds

Akiva Miller akivagmiller at gmail.com
Sun Nov 28 04:02:17 PST 2021

R' Yitzchok Levine and I both complained about the math, and how estimates
exaggerated the actual figures. But R' Ari Zivotofsky wrote to me offlist,
and allowed me to post to you all:

> the math was fine - some were talking about percentage of JEWISH
> and some of TOTAL population. re-read

They estimate that in 2050, the Jewish population will remain at 80% of the
total population, meaning that 80% of the 16 million total will be Jewish.
That comes to 12,800,000 Jews. They also say that Chareidim will be 24% of
the total 16 million, or 3,840,000 Charedi Jews.

Summary of their estimates for the year 2050:
A) Total human population of Israel: 16,000,000
B) Total Jewish population of Israel: about 12,800,000 - about 80% of A
C) Charedi population of Israel: 3,840,000 - 30% of B, 24% of A

I have posted additional details about these numbers on Areivim. Some of
you don't read Areivim, so I'm posting this summary here as an attempt to
repair some of the damage I caused by accusing the authors of severely
exaggerating the figures. In actual fact, I see no exaggeration at all.
Referring to 24% as "about a quarter" should not be wrong in anyone's book.

And referring to 30% as "a third" isn't much of an exaggeration either. The
only real exaggeration occurs when someone (such as ME!) reads the headline
and jumps to conclusions, and thinks that the author refers to 3,840,000 as
"a third" of 16,000,000.

But my question to Avodah still stands. Suppose that article - or some
other article - HAD contained a major exaggeration. I suspect that this
would not be a problem from a Torah perspective.

In my previous post I cited the mathematical exaggeration, that the Torah
requires only a simple majority of Jews to be living in Eretz Yisrael for
certain mitzvos to apply, yet the wording in the written Torah refers to
"kulchem" - ALL of you. In today's post, I'll expand that to moral
exaggerations, where the Torah tells us that a certain tzadik "sinned", and
then we are taught that it wasn't really an actual sin at all, "merely" a
severe moral failure. So too, I suspect that the Torah has no objection to
exaggeration in the headline of an article.

Akiva Miller
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