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Instead of Statistics, Israel published Racistics

Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.Evan Esar



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There is no better testimony on how easy lying had become to people than the latest report by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics. On January 14, 2013, its Demographic Situation in Israel 2011 was released to the press with odd contradictions in it. Was that intentional? Yet, even if just for the formal presentation of the State of Israel as a liar, taking a short look at the report is worthy. First, let me quote a questionable statement: "The population growth rate of the 'Jewish and others' was 1.7%, very similar to the 1.8% rate of the 'Jewish population.'" The sentence is reproduced in the box below, in Hebrew. In a logical analysis, "Jewish population" is a subset of "Jewish and others;" yet, such a segmentation makes no sense in a statistical analysis of a population, where one expect exclusive subsets. The term "others" was defined in a different part of the document as "mainly new immigrants and their relatives, who are not defined as Jews in the Registry of Denizens;" considering this definition, the comparison is not valid. In friendlier terms, it is like comparing the group "fruits and bread" with the group "fruits." Nobody can stop you from doing that, but the result has little meaning beyond shedding light on the analyst's wrong manipulation of the data. What was the Lord of Statistics hiding from the people?

Demographic Situation in Israel 2011

Demographic Situation in Israel 2011, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics | Odd contradictions



The first sentence of the report clearly shows its politics: "At the end of year 2011, Israel had 7,836,600 inhabitants: of them 5,907,500 were Jews (75.4%), 1,610,900 Arabs (20.6%), and about 318,200 others (4.0%)." The rest of the report was similar, obsessed with ethnic comparisons. In Israeli jargon, "Arabs" refers mainly to Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Yet, others are included in this discriminated against segment: Druze, Bedouins, Circassians, and—please allow me a little joke—others.

Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics logo

Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics logo
Protect your case from invalid statistics

The main issue was hidden among large piles of numerical hay. The point presented as one before the last in the report's executive summary was, "The immigration balance of Israel's denizens (not including new immigrants) in the year 2010 [another error?] is negative and stands at 5.4 thousand. This is a rate of 0.7 for every thousand denizens; the lowest rate in thirty years." The numbers are so small compared to those in the first point that most people would ignore them. Yet, two interesting points are hidden there. First, new immigrants so terrified by what they have seen that they leave their new home, are not counted by Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics. This is a pretty central error. Second, in its minimalistic way, the Bureau recognized that negative immigration is the norm in the last three decades. People are running away from Israel.

Statistics Cartoon

Numerical Issues in Statistical Computing for the Social Scientist

Another key issue was what was defined by the Bureau as "Arabs." Several points were of interest. The report says, "by the end of year 2035, the 'Jewish and Others' population would be between 7.7 and 9.9 million, the Arab population would be between 2.3 and 2.9 million." The margin of error included in these figures is so large that it renders the estimations useless, except for two issues. It shows that Likud's recent claim that by 2040 there would be 14 million Jews between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River (see Likud Announces Greater Israel) is based on cataclysmic events unmentioned by the party. Second, the Bureau claim clearly shows that what it calls "Arabs" (no bad intentions; it is an error, Circassians are not Arabs) will continue to grow more rapidly than the Jewish population. An awkward way was chosen by the Bureau to put this in numbers, "the decrease in the growth rate among the Muslim population continues. In 2011, the rate was 2.5% while in 2000, it was 3.8%." Beyond the negative definition, which implies a political bias, note that it says "Muslim" and not "Arabs." Do the numbers include Christians and Druze? Only the Lord of Israeli Statistics knows.

I was tempted to end the analysis at this point. The report is clearly politically motivated and biased. Its statistics are mere "racistics" attempting to prove that the State of Israel will remain a Jewish country. Yet, the Arab population is young and growing while the Jewish population is ageing and displays a low rate of growth; this is a true contradiction in the analysis. However, one additional point was screaming to be quoted. It was half-hidden in a section named "Geographical distribution of the Population." It said, "About 96% of Israel's population in 2011 lived in the six districts of the country and another 4% lived in settlements in Judea and Samaria." Israel counts the Jewish population in the West Bank as its own while it doesn't count the Palestinian population there. The point is that Israel recognizes extra-territorial citizens in the West Bank, when it doesn't do so for those elsewhere. For example, I cannot vote from Bolivia in the upcoming elections while settlers in the West Bank are allowed to vote. In other words, according to what was declared several times in recent months, Israel has unofficially annexed the West Bank except for its Palestinian denizens. Under the Central Bureau of Statistics wrong data manipulations hides one of the manifestations of this illegitimate resolution. This alone more than justifies the time wasted on this racist document.

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