Like Japan and countless European nations, Israel may soon find itself with a demographic crisis. The elderly population of Israel will balloon in the coming years, with the average Israeli female living to be near 90. Meanwhile, the population is only growing 1.4%–meaning that the population could be heavily skewed towards the elderly in 2035. Another issue raised by the census report is that by 2035 only 73% of Israel’s population will be Jewish. Israel’s non-Jewish populations are growing fast, throwing the traditional makeup of Israel off kilter.
Jewish news of these demographic trends have already unsettled some in Israel. Several Israeli Parliament members are working on a bill to define Israel as a Jewish state. The problem is that no one can seem to agree on exactly what a Jewish state means. Others are exploring raising the retirement age, which has been done in other nations faced with aging demographics.
Others believe the problem may not be as pressing as it seems. The forecast given by Israel’s census was for 2035, more than 20 years away. Many have expressed doubts about the longevity of the current trends. Israel is not the only nation to question the future of its makeup, but in Israel the question is tied to Jewish identity, making it more complex.